Tommy HansonWrong Records
By Dustin Blumhagen on March 21, 2014 at Phone
After calling up Canadian punk rock legend Tom Holliston (NoMeansNo) and exchanging some polite formalities, he passed me on to his alter ego, Tommy Hanson, guitarist for hockey punks The Hanson Brothers. We had a candid conversation about hockey, baseball, hockey, punk rock and more hockey.
The group are currently heading out on a run of Canadian shows and have some exciting plans lined up for the future.
It's A LivingWrong Records
By Bobby Gorman
Hanson Brothers, man, gotta love em.
Taken purely at face value – with no knowledge of the band’s history or other long-running projects – they’d be pretty easy to write off; just a bunch of old dudes blatantly ripping off the Ramones, singing about hockey and beer. Good stuff to be sure, but a little too… niche-specific for most people. But it’s the knowledge of who makes up the band that makes it such a fun listen, almost bordering on theater at times. At their best, they’re a catchy-as-hell Ramones-core band that’s obviously having a blast. At their worst, they’re a twenty-five year old inside-joke band that’s obviously having a blast. Either way, it makes for a good time.
Made up of dudes in their 40s and 50s and consisting of 3/4s of the seminal punk/prog band NoMeansNo, there’s something to be said for a band that could obviously play pretty much any genre of music they wanted to and willingly choose the Ramones template as a vehicle. Hearing Tommy Hanson (Tom Holliston) provide monosyllabic one-liners in between songs and with prompting from the album’s sporadic interviewer, and realizing this is the same man who’s been playing guitar in NoMeansNo for fifteen years, is hilarious. While not up to the Ramones’ quality or consistency (and come on, is that really a reasonable expectation?), It’s A Living is still a decent live record. Many of the tunes are hockey-specific, which I could take or leave, but buzzsaw numbers like “No Emotion” and “Give Me Anything” still come across as ferocious as hell. And keep in mind, we’re looking at nearly thirty songs here; there’s plenty to mull over, and the sound quality’s above average. Like I said, aesthetically it borders on some kind of weird theater – but they’ve got sufficient chops to let you ignore that most of the time.
The DVD includes a 45 minute video, starring Johnny Hanson, about homebrewing beer. It’s informative as hell, seems well planned-out and it’s apparent the dude knows what he’s talking about.
Having heard nothing more than random studio tracks on mix tapes from years gone by, It’s A Living was a good time. I’d generally say it’s for completists – I feel like most live albums are – but definitely seems like it’s a fair representation of the band. The key seems to be fun, and they nailed it here.