MMMBop: my surreal experience hanging out with Hanson

We’ve all met famous people along the way, and I’ve encountered more than my fair share in this line of work. But some people are famous in such odds ways that you don’t imagine them as real people, and so meeting them becomes bizarre – particularly when you’re already deep in conversation with them before you realize who they are. A few years ago, I went to see a musician friend of mine perform at a small but trendy local music club. After his performance he came over the to bar and we began chatting and drinking. He introduced me to another friend of his, a musician named Isaac, a guy who appeared to be about my age. Later two other guys joined us who looked like they could be his younger brothers. The more we chatted, the more I got the sense that I knew these three guys from somewhere, but I couldn’t place it for the life of me. Perhaps I’d met them before. Eventually they bowed out from the bar because it was their turn to go on stage. “Hi,” one of them said to the audience. “We’re Hanson.” It was then that it hit me that I’d just been drinking with the Hanson kids who once sang MMMBop…

I also realized in that moment that I was unwittingly at a Hanson concert. My friend, it seems, hadn’t bothered to mention that the group he was opening for was in fact the MMMBop kids performing under a fake name. Intrigued, I wanted to hear what they sounded like. They didn’t sing Mmm-Bop, mercifully. But they did sing a number of three part harmonies, including a rendition of Teach Your Children Well by Crosby Stills & Nash, which left me concluding that these kids (ahem, in their late twenties by then) were one of the better vocal harmony trios I’d ever heard perform live. The story got stranger though…

Two days later, Isaac Hanson had a pulmonary embolism and almost died on the spot. So not only did I hang out with the adult Hanson kids without knowing who they were, I was nearly one of the last people to see one of them alive. Thankfully, he fully recovered from it. Nice guys. Great harmonies. And one of these years I’ll probably go see them again. I don’t believe there’s any footage of their performance that night, but I here’s a YouTube clip of them performing Teach Your Children later in that same year.