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Q&A: Hanson

Hanson goes indie -- both on record and on film -- without leaving their MMMBop-ping past in the dust

At a recent New York University screening of Hanson’s documentary, Strong Enough to Break, girls sat with rapt attention and adoring faces. They were about ten years old when Hanson hit the scene with the multi-platinum debut, Middle of Nowhere, and its ubiquitous single, “MMMBop.” Back then, the Hanson brothers were cherubic, corn-fed tweens banging cheerfully on their instruments, singing up-tempo pop songs. But this new documentary doesn’t showcase those apple-cheeked boys of the late-’90s; it chronicles the artistic and professional struggles of a mature (but still apple-cheeked) rock band in this decade.

Strong Enough depicts the drama behind the brotherly trio’s recording of 2004’s Underneath, their third full-length album. Over the four years it took to produce the record, Hanson left their major label home, Island/Def Jam, and started their own independent imprint, 3CG. They sought out grown-up collaborators like pop legends Carole King, producer Glen Ballard, and Matthew Sweet, and acquired counsel from been-there-done-that luminaries, particularly Ric Ocasek, whose intense speakerphone call with the band is a cornerstone of the film.PrintEmail