Ah, sweet memories…This picture was taken four years ago today, May 6, 2008, with my favorite band, Hanson. Why I still like them and consider them to be my favorite I can’t be sure, other than their feel-good music.
I laugh at my dorkiness as I met them totally by accident…sort of. My sister and I were on our way to the House of Blues quite early, because we were going to do Hanson’s charity walk called The Walk. Before we even left the neighborhood, having the radio blasting, the MC tells us that Hanson will be in the studio soon. We both looked at each other in excitement and knew we were taking a short detour. The radio station was five minutes down the road and on the way to the House of Blues anyway, so we decided that we were going to hang out and see if we could get a glimpse of these boys.
We pulled in to the tiny parking lot by the radio station and it seemed eerily still. No fans were outside, no tour bus, no nothing. We were wondering if we had missed them and maybe it was a recording we would be hearing later. We actually left, reconsidered and did a U-turn, deciding that we needed to wait it out. Acting like a stalker, I told my sister to look out for a car that was either a taxi, an SUV, a van, anything with tinted windows. We waited…and waited…until finally a taxi that was a van with tinted windows pulls into the front of the radio station. My gut instinct was that it was them. I was so excited, I flung my car door open, and acquired tunnel vision while making my way to the van. I’m pretty sure I walked so fast, I left my sister in the dust.
I watched in awe as Taylor climbed out of the van, followed by zac, who grabbed his guitar and went straight for the door, then Isaac. Taylor, just standing there, looked oblivious to my presence. Meanwhile I’m just standing there in silence with my voice not working. My conscience screamed in my head “Don’t just stand there! Say something!”. I had to really muster up the courage, being so nervous with him right in front of me.
“T-t-taylor!” He didn’t hear me. I was nervous enough and he’s going to make me say his name again? “Taylor!” I said a little louder, which took more effort. This time he turned and noticed me.
“Hi,” I said a little too breathy and gave a small wave. “I’m going to see you tonight! I’m going on the walk, too!” I blurted out in true fan freakdom, even going so far as to point to my shirt that I had gotten at their previous tour.
“Oh cool! So, uh, did you just happen to be here by coincidence?”
This is where I do a mental face palm because my answer should have been cooler. But it wasn’t. It was honest and full of Hanson nerdiness. “No! We heard you guys were going to be here on the radio!”
“Oh. What’s your name?” He asked walking toward me and sticking out his hand for a shake. This is when I noticed two things. Isaac was leaning up against the van, arms crossed, dazzling white teeth showing in his broad smile, watching my dorkiness unfold. Then out of the corner of my eye I notice this dude with a camera, recording my dorkiness unfold. This guy was almost in between Taylor and I, and when I noticed him I must have made a face because he backed away a little. I’ll note here that I’ve never been to fond of being video tapped.
I told him my name, which yes, I remembered. Then he turns, hand still out offering a shake, and I’m wondering what the heck he’s doing. “And what’s your name?” he asks my sister. My sister! I had forgotten all about my sister! It was as if as soon as I saw Hanson, all other thoughts and knowledge escaped my mind. Nothing else existed. Including my sister. I’ll admit that that particular part of the memory gives me a chuckle when I think about it.
Taylor then explained that they were going in for an interview and they’d be back. “Okay!” I excitedly exclaimed.
At that time, two other girls showed up who had followed them from the House of Blues. We weren’t alone anymore but we were the only four fans there, which was nice.
The taxi driver had his window down, the radio on turned to the station where Hanson would be interviewing from. He asked us if we wanted to have a seat inside his taxi where Hanson sat. It was alluring at first, but my sister and I both looked at each other and shook our heads no. I personally felt that even though it was just a taxi, it would feel like we would be crossing a line or entering a territory that wasn’t necessary to enter. The taxi driver did, however, let us listen to the interview on his radio as we stood outside of the passenger window.
In the interview, they mentioned how there was a small group outside and how usually they like to keep interviews at radio stations under wraps and the radio station had asked people not to show up. Again, my sister and I just looked at each other, sort of like “Oops…Oh well…We’re here now!”. Suddenly, the taxi driver got a call on his cell phone, said the guys were ready to be picked up. The driver literally backed out of the parking spot to park not even 40ft away. But it was right next to the door of the radio station and I sensed Hanson wanted to make a quick getaway.
Well that didn’t happen. Because the four of us just as easily walked down to the door. The guys came out, and I’ll never forget how Isaac said “Hi guys!” in a way that was like “Oh damn. You’re still here.” No quick getaway for you, sir. The other two girls had them if we could get their autographs and pictures. Isaac set his Starbucks cup down and we all got autographs and pictures. I even talked to Zac about his pregnant wife, who was expecting their first baby at the time.
I handed Isaac an envelope that I had in my car from my tip share working at a restaurant at the time, followed by a pen that was having some difficulty writing. There’s nothing worse than handing your favorite band a pen (the only pen you have) that doesn’t work properly. I was already embarrassed to hand them my envelope to autograph, but again, its all I had.
Zac was closest to me at that point, so I asked him if he could sign it, which somehow felt very awkward. On one hand you grow to think of your favorite band as regular people and you don’t ask regular people for autographs. “Yeah, sure, no,” he said. He stops for a second, looks up and goes “Why do people say that? ‘Yeah, sure, no?’ What does that even mean? Am I gonna sign it, am I not? I’m trying to get out of that habit.” And he kind of went on about it, but I could no longer focus on what he was saying. I was way too overstimulated with excitement, sadly. I was like “I gotcha. I get it,” in the nicest way possible with a smile, just to make him stop talking.
There was a moment after that where he and I were just standing there while everyone else was talking. My overstimulated moment had passed, so I asked him “You’re about to have a baby, aren’t you?” At this point, I feel like I faintly heard Isaac go “Hey, my wife’s about to have a baby, too…”
“Yeah. She’s out to here,” Zac told me while demonstrating how big her belly was. It turns out she would deliver a baby boy at the end of the month.
I make my way over to Taylor, who was further away, noting my nerves are once again taking over and also realizing how tall Taylor is. “Do you mind, um, signing this for me, please?”
“Sure,” he said in his soft voice, but in a kind of dry way. It felt like they weren’t totally in the mood to deal with fans, but since we were there they were being good sports and allowing us to have our experience. As I handed him the envelope, I realized Zac had put the cap back on the pen. As Taylor was grabbing for it, I took it back, hesitated a second, then took the cap off and handed it to him. This is when I muttered out lout “I feel like such a dork,” which he didn’t reply to. After he saw my envelope, I saw his infamous “Hanson” ring in person. Its a gold ring molded into their logo they designed. Feeling awkward yet again, but seeing my chance to make conversation, I asked him how long he’s had it. “Uh, about ten years now.” He said it in that same dry tone.
“Wow, that’s a long time,” I said.
Shortly after that something was said about it being Hanson Day, which they then wished us a happy Hanson Day (which is basically when their first album dropped in 1997, and I believe that’s when the Mayor of their town, Tulsa, made it Hanson Day to celebrate. The band now hosts events surrounding that day for fan club members). With that, they were back in their taxi and we were all on our way to the venue for The Walk.
Meeting them, especially in that circumstance, was definitely once in a lifetime. It’s by far one of my favorite memories of the band for me, even though it’s riddled with awkwardness on my part. Ha! I’ll always treasure that day, the small talk with them, the autographs, and the picture with all three members.