By Thomas Conner
© Chicago Sun-Times
The members of Hanson are good Christian lads, but this week they officially began a mission from God.
On Thursday, the fraternal trio debuted a video for its new single, "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'," that pays loving tribute to the Ray Charles scene in one of Chicago's landmark movies, "The Blues Brothers."
The video — which re-creates the interior of Ray's Music Exchange and features more than 300 people dancing in the street — was shot not on location in Chicago but in Hanson's hometown of Tulsa, Okla.
And, eldest brother Isaac Hanson is eager to impart, this is not tongue-in-cheek.
"We want people to know that we're not making fun of this movie," he said. "This is not a parody. This is not us using some iconic film as a way to make us look hip. You've gotta understand, we love this movie. This comes from the fact that this movie made us want to dance."
The idea for the video came almost on a whim early this year as guitarist Isaac, singer-pianist Taylor and drummer Zac tried to wrap production on its new album, "Shout It Out," due for release on June 8.
"Taylor came in and dialed up the 'Blues Brothers' scene on YouTube," Isaac said. In the film, Charles performs the jumpy tune "Shake Your Tail Feather" while Jake and Elwood (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) dance. "He presses play on our song, then plays the video clip on mute. Everyone's jaws dropped. It synced up almost perfectly. It totally worked. We looked at each other and said, 'We have to do this.' "
Kelly Kerr, the director of photography for the video, was one of those left with his jaw hanging. "The beats-per-minute were almost identical. And I thought, 'We're gonna replicate this.' ... We got real close to the movie but also took some liberties with it, as well."
The crew called in set designers to re-create the interior of Ray's Music Exchange inside the Hanson rehearsal space in Tulsa. Then they determined that Tulsa's Greenwood Avenue looked roughly like the similarly historic Chicago streets used in the film. They choreographed and filmed a dance sequence there on March 6.
The video for "Thinking 'Bout Somethin' " is now making the rounds online. The single itself becomes available April 27 via iTunes.
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.