Hanson Brothers Interview
The Hanson Brothers, a side project of Vancouver punk band No Means No, are stepping into the front lines for an upcoming tour. No Means No began in the late 70’s after brothers John and Rob Wright found themselves at a Ramones concert, the same show that co-conspirator Jello Biafra also attended that fateful night. As with many of their peers this was the beginning of a long relationship with the punk music scene, practicing in mom’s basement and evolving into a real band.
Fast forward to 2014, all three members of No Means No; Rob Wright or Robbie Hanson on bass, guitarist Tommy and drummer John Wright who trades in his custom drum kit to front the HB as lead vocalist. Replacing John on the drums is “Some Guy” Hanson. Not only is John Wright a talented musician but he is also a passionate home brewer, in fact he is co producing a new brew with Le Trou du Diable brewery, in true punk rock fashion it is called “Johnny Hanson’s Punk Rauch “beer.
What better way then to celebrate a new brew then to tour the Hanson Brothers? That’s exactly what the band is doing and Toronto is lucky enough to welcome the HB to Lee’s Palace on March 27th.
In anticipation of the show (and a beer tasting) here is a fun little interview with HB Tommy. Make sure you check them out at Lee’s Palace or any of their other tour dates listed at the bottom.
March 26- Ottawa @Mavericks
March 27- Toronto@Lee’s Palace
March 28- London@the Call Office
March 30- Hamilton@ClubAbsinthe
March 31- Vankleek HIll@Windsor Tavern
April 1- Quebec City@L’agite
April 2-Shawingan@Saon Wabasso
check out the rest of the dates and more about the band(s) at :
How are the Hanson Brothers different from No Means No, both in terms of sound and personality of the band?
A: Well it is the same trio of neurotics + one other neurotic, Byron
Slack who plays guitar with our good chums, Invasives. Byron is
drumming with us.
The sound is not that much different, really, same instruments
through the same amp. The Hansons music is a little easier to play,
as such, but we try to maintain as high a level of tightness and
focus as possible with both projects.
The Hanson Brothers are a little schticky also. There are the
occasional set pieces which we like to keep in the act. There is a
vaudville side there.
Do you think it’s hard for people to ever learn about you being a
punk band because of your name being associated with that “other boy band”?
It’s actually funny as you are polar opposites!
A: I think learning is hard for many people, period. We probably have
more in common with the ’other band’ than is commonly supposed: both outfits have had career ups and downs over the years and both bands have continued with their visions. Hanson kept touring and trying to improve as musicians long after the platinum sales. Kudos to them! They may not be my cup of tea musically but they are real musicians who do it because above all they like playing. I have heard they are putting out a craft beer, as Johnny Hanson is also doing. May confusion ever triumph!
Is there any seriousness to the lyrics and music or is it just about
irony and quirkiness?
A: There is a serious side to everything and an ironic side and a
fatuous side; everything appears outwardly to have two sides but there are always scads of permutations.
To go further in pedanticism: there are more than two sides to every
coined phrase; gosh that is terrible.
How did you deal with the death of Stompin Tom? Did he know about you?
A: I am sorry he passed but death is a common human bond. It always a
good thing to remember ”the bones of all men” adage. He did indeed know of us! We made him some royalty money.
What is this new record and tour all about?
A: About three and a half weeks of shows and beer rather than vinyl
at the heart of it all! Hopcore.
After all these years of music and touring, what motivates you and what has changed in the business?
A: Little has changed in the business, perhaps there is less of it
owing to ‘advances’ in technology but nothing really. I think the music business really began to change in the early seventies when concerns such as the Kinney Shoe company, for one, began to diversify into the music business as the coporate umbrella opened and reigned over all. More of a regression, really. But people want to be in music for the same reasons they always have. Affection, attention, artistic stimulation, the public immolation of goats…
I play music because I love to play music - most of the time.
Sometimes I go for a few weeks without picking up a guitar. I define
myself in many ways by playing music and I should not really.
How do you think you have evolved as a band and individually?
A: Individually I have probably shrunk half an inch physically.
I think I can play with a little more facility than I used to. 16ths
still come hard to me. I am not a very fast player.
As a band….well, influences both musically and other have
changed. I listen to a lot more classical.
Have your audiences diversified too or are they just all-older punks?
A: We have been lucky to have had a fairly diverse audience for many
years. We go back to the time when punk rock was not as definable
or conservative as it be- came, I think. I would be stoked if people came to our shows leaning on walkers!
What does your creative process look like, especially with the new
material; how do all work together and get it together?
A: We will never really get it together but we are trying. I think,
in order to remain as independent as possible and certainly with all possible good intentions we attempted too long to manage ourselves and sometimes that could be detrimantal. We get together and sometimes we annoy each other and most of the time we don’t. The creative process is rarely visible, in my case anyway and when it does choose to appear it does most often in the guise of the shadow of doubt.
What’s in your listening bag right now?
A: As I write I am listening to Francis Poulenc ‘Les Biches’. I love
many pieces of late 19th and 20th century french music. The best
'rock' band I have heard in a long time are The Buildings, from
Minneapolis. I am still waiting to get a copy of the new Invasives
disc from Byron.
We’re having our baseball pool tonight! Probably throw on a Lee
Morgan CD at some point. The most recent album by Ford Pier, Huzzah,
is also a household favourite of my wife Carrie and I.
I’m not just saying this to assauge the sensitive Pier! Although I
have every intention of beating him like a rented mule in this pool.
Anything you want to tell your fans about yourselves that may
surprise or shock them?
A: Shop locally if you can and live by the golden rule. They already