By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
In France, they're lauded with headlines like, “Hanson ...
groupe de l'heure!!!'' In Germany, the boys show up on shows like
“Geld Oder Liebe.'' In Portugal, it's, “Hanson!! Hanson!! A banda
que e sucesso no mundo inteiro!''
In Tulsa, the hometown public hasn't laid eyes on them in nearly
That's because once the Hanson album hit the shelves in the
spring, these three youngsters hit the road (well, boarded the
plane) and haven't looked back.
With “Middle of Nowhere'' and its
hot-agent single “MMMBop'' still resting comfortably in the Top 20
in a majority of the world's time zones, who needs to go home?
Europe is absolutely batty for them, and this week the boys are
sowing the seeds of their adoration on the western edge of the
Indeed, these three tykes from Tulsa have gone from zero to hero
faster than Disney's Hercules himself, and while Tulsans shouldn't
get their hopes up about a hometown performance probably in this
century, the boys' bubblegum sounds are certainly taking over the
world. Here are some curious bits of news about Hanson's
It Ain't Me, Babe
Early in July, the Tulsa World received this desperate plea
through e-mail from a teen-ager in Australia: “I have had mounting
annoyance at the people that think I am Jordan Taylor Hanson. I
have been receiving faxes, e-mails and so forth at all times of day
and night. Due to this I am totally distressed and hope that Hanson
go away! Nothing personal, but I'm furious. What do you suggest I
His name is J. Taylor Hanson.
Not only does he share the name with Hanson's soulful,
androgynous, 14-year-old singer, but this Hanson also happens to
hail from Tulsa. He's in Australia for six months, and the rabid
fans have tracked him down via the Internet thinking he's the
When J. Taylor left Tulsa, the Hanson touring schedule was still
a list of private parties in south Tulsa. Now the group is an
international phenomenon, much to J. Taylor's dismay.
“The trouble really began when "MMMBop' went to No. 1,'' J.
Taylor said through an Internet interview last month. “It was
really weird. People would ring — mostly of the female gender --
and I'd be like, "Who is this?' and they would be going, "Is this
Taylor Hanson?' and I'm like, "Yeah. You are?' but they'd usually
hang up. I had no idea what was happening.''
Then his e-mail address was mentioned in Hanson online circles
as the famous Taylor's personal address, and the messages began
pouring in “hundreds at a time,'' he said. Messages like this one:
“Hi! Oh my god, i can't believe this is your e-mail!!! I love u
sooooooo much, you're sooo SEXY!!! I LUV ALL OF UZ!!! I LUV your
music 2!!! So yeah, if you're not 2 busy E-mail me!!! I luv u
J. Taylor has had to change his e-mail address twice and his
phone number once.
“When I'm in a good mood, I just laugh at most of them,
although there were a few insulting ones which I found scary,'' he
It Ain't Me, Babe, Part II
Last week a woman phoned the Tulsa World also pleading for help.
She claimed that MTV had broadcast the wrong phone number for the
local Hanson hotline. Instead, Hanson fans from around the world
were dialing her parents' west Tulsa home at all hours of the day
Lackeys at MTV could not confirm whether or not they had ever
broadcast a phone number in relation to Hanson, and officials at
Mercury Records said they were 99 percent sure that a phone number
— correct or incorrect — had not been given out.
The phone at the Hanson home in southwest Tulsa features a
regularly updated recording with information on the trio's current
events. Kids may be misdialing the number and getting this woman's
“It's been going on for two weeks,'' she said. “They've got
Caller ID, and they're seeing numbers flash up with area codes from
around the country and all over the world. I had no idea.''
Happy Birthday, Tulsa
Organizers of the city's “Take Me Back to Tulsa'' centennial
homecoming festivities originally had Hanson inked onto the big
weekend's schedule. They were going to do a show Sept. 20 at the
River Parks Amphitheater, but the boys have backed out in favor of
yet another jaunt to Europe.
A friend of the Hansons' father contacted the homecoming
committee and proposed some kind of live satellite remote for the
day while the band was in Ireland, but according to Paula Hale, the
centennial coordinator, the project would not be feasible for the
“It's unfortunate because we really wanted to have something
for the younger kids to enjoy during this celebration,'' Hale said.
“We've got something for every other age group, and we were trying
to different things. This just wasn't feasible.''
Perhaps they'll drop us a line for the state's centennial in
Happy Birthday, Sis
Ah, the life of a superstar. Ever the close-knit family, the
Hansons still manage some quality time while touring the world. It
just requires a bit of cloak-and-dagger to pull off.
While in Australia last week, the Hansons stole away to a
private room at the Sydney Planet Hollywood so they could celebrate
Hanson sister Jessica's ninth birthday. In order to divert the wild
throng of fans, an announcement was made that the boys would be
visiting the Sega World theme park that day. Psyche!
Taking Tulsa to the World
They may not come home much, but simply being from Tulsa has
helped spread the city's name around the world — a nice treat for
our centennial year.
Tom Dittus, owner of the Blue Rose Cafe in Brookside — site of
a Hanson patio performance that helped secure their record deal --
has been basking in the glow of Hanson's stardom.
“We've gotten a lot of mileage out of this,'' Dittus said.
“Entertainment Weekly did a big story on them and mentioned us,
and we were mentioned on Casey Kasem's "Top 40 Countdown' show. The
story gets embellished a little bit each time, but I'm not
Feature stories and photos of the boys in Tulsa media, from
yours truly to several Urban Tulsa stories, have been reprinted in
fanzines — online and otherwise — across the world. Urban Tulsa's
Jarrod Gollihare and I now have the creepy distinction of having
our work appear without permission on a Danish web site dedicated
to Hanson drooling.
And everywhere they go, in every other breath in every
interview, the boys say “Tulsa.'' After they went on at some
length describing Tulsa as an oil town in a recent interview for
French radio, the translator piped in with this: “The only real
attraction in Tulsa are the Hanson now. You are the new oil.''
What was that Dittus said about things getting embellished?
Taking the World to Tulsa
With Hanson causing major prepubescent hysteria in Europe,
journalists from the mother continent have begun taking an interest
in writing about every possible detail of the boys' existence and
history. That means coming to Tulsa to check out the hometown and
report the local color. How Tulsa will translate through, say, the
Dutch media is anyone's guess.
Last month, a German journalist showed up out of the blue in the
Tulsa World newsroom. Claiming to represent a series of
publications with a circulation of 6 million, he was after all the
information he could scrape up on the boys — knocking on the door
of their house, quizzing locals who knew them and some who didn't,
and snapping photographs of Tulsa World editors, for some reason.
Five other European media organizations have called to determine
whether it would be worth their time and effort to travel here and
write about Tulsa. Be prepared to give directions to someone with a
Think this talk of Hanson's international hype is just that --
hype? Here's where the boys' product stands on international charts
this week, 14 weeks after the first release, according to Billboard
No. 3 in Germany
No. 20 in the U.K.
No. 9 in France
No. 7 in the Netherlands
No. 1 in Australia
No. 3 in Sweden
No. 3 in Denmark
No. 5 in Norway
No. 1 in Japan
No. 11 in the United States
“Middle of Nowhere'' album
No. 6 in Germany
No. 5 in the Netherlands
No. 6 in Australia
No. 5 in Finland
No. 14 in Japan
No. 4 in Malaysia
No. 7 in Canada
No. 6 in the United States
The second single, “Where's the Love,'' has begun its climb,
Also, watch for the boys on a CBS broadcast Aug. 24 and in a
milk advertisement this fall.
By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
Up, up and away ... yada yada yada.
There are lots of reasons to check out the Gatesway
International Balloon Festival this weekend, but one of the best
barely has been mentioned in the advertising and the hubub: the
festival features a fantastic line-up of local music acts.
For all those harping into thin air about how much Tulsa would
benefit from a music festival of all-local rock acts, this is it.
On Friday evening and all day Saturday, two stages at the festival
will be packed with the creme de la creme of local bands — from
hot pop and rock on the Z-104.5 FM “The Edge'' Stage to more
down-home and bluesy sounds on the KVOO Stage.
Rocker Dwight Twilley is scheduled to headline the festival on
Saturday night, and it's a rare opportunity to see this
underappreciated pop master burn up a stage. Twilley, whose top 20
hits were 1975's “I'm on Fire'' and 1984's “Girls,'' currently is
enjoying the revivalist crest of the power pop movement. Those two
hit singles are popping up on compilations around the world,
solidifying Twilley's importance in rock 'n' roll history.
“It's great. It kind of let's these songs take their place in
history in the pack with all the ones being remembered,'' Twilley
said this week.
The first two albums from the Dwight Twilley Band, “Sincerely''
and “Twilley Don't Mind,'' are scheduled for rerelease in October
from The Right Stuff record company.
Twilley, though, is no nostalgia act. Saturday's show will
feature a good chunk of new material, songs that Twilley has been
writing since he moved back to Tulsa last year and then raised
eyebrows with his showcase at the South by Southwest music festival
“We've got a lot of new songs that we'll be doing this weekend,
stuff we'll be trying out before the centennial show in
September,'' Twilley said. Twilley and his band will open for Leon
Russell on Sept. 19 as part of Tulsa's centennial homecoming
Twilley's band includes guitarists Pat Savage and Tom Hanford,
plus the rhythm section that doubles for two other Tulsa bands
(Crown Electric, Brian Parton), bassist Dave White and drummer Bill
“I came back (to Tulsa) because I wanted to create another band
of Tulsa musicians,'' Twilley said. “I think this is the best band
I've had since the Dwight Twilley Band,'' which included the late
Also on the bill, the Mellowdramatic Wallflowers have a full set
of shimmering new pop songs in advance of a new CD due any time
now. Jenny Labow, formerly of Glass House, is still supporting her
solo debut CD of breezy acoustic pop, and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
once again steer their ever-winding wandering around the country
for another hometown gig.
Jify Trip is returning to form, too, after some juggling of
guitarists. After losing their original axman, Steve Francen --
formerly of Mellowdramatic Wallflowers — sat in with the band, but
his current project, Flapjack Cancer Co., didn't allow the extra
time. A sharp, award-winning player from Oklahoma City, Tony
Romanello, will be playing with the band for the balloon festival.
He's a great player, worth checking out.
The styles run the gamut, too, from the slightly wacky rock of
the Cactus Slayers to the intelligent jazz of the Jazzbos. The
festival's music schedule offers a fine sampling of what's going on
around town every weekend right under your nose, and the event
benefits the Gatesway charity. What's to lose?
Gatesway International Balloon Festival
When 3-10:30 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where Occidental Center, 129th East Avenue and 41st Street
Tickets Admission is free
Parking Available near the sight; plus a shuttle bus will be running from
the sight to Expo Square and Broken Arrow High School
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.