…but with a younger cast. From the NY Times’ Robert Levine.
(the Hanson Brothers, before it all went wrong. Actually, long before it all went right, too. Pic courtesy Kim Fowley.net)
Plenty of bands have written songs complaining about their frustration with record labels. But Hanson, the band of three brothers that helped usher in a teenage pop craze with the 1997 hit “MMMBop,” has made an entire documentary film about its dismal experience on the label Island Def Jam.
Originally signed to Mercury Records, Hanson found itself with Island Def Jam as a result of major label mergers. In the fall of 2000, Hanson began recording what was to be its third major-label album of new material and hired a director, Ashley Greyson, to film the process. “About eight months in, we realized there was going to be more difficulty than we thought,” said Taylor Hanson, 22.
The movie, “Strong Enough to Break,” follows the band’s disagreements with label executives – over the choice of producer and the need for an upbeat single, among other things – and ultimately its decision to leave the label and found its own, 3CG Records. The album, “Underneath,” finally came out on Hanson’s own label in April 2004 and sold 130,000 copies, a healthy figure for an independent release.
Between concerts on its current tour, the group is screening the film at colleges. The brothers, who have made it into their 20’s without attracting much attention from tabloids, say they would like to educate students about the music business; they take questions after the screenings. Of course, Hanson is also hoping to arouse interest in its new live album and its current tour. “We’re not unaware that we’re reconnecting with people and a few of them might come to the concert,” said Zac Hanson, who is 20.