The Hanson Brothers are one of those Canadian bands that just need to be heard. They sing of hockey, beer and girls -- but mostly hockey -- and their new release, Sudden Death, reeks of fun and old time hockey. It has been called the quintessential puck rock album. But, for the Hansons, talk is cheap and, like a great ex-Canuck so often did, they decided to step into action and drop the gloves.
Just like Dave "Tiger" Williams. He poured his heart out for the Vancouver Canucks for a number of years, and is the all-time penalty minutes leader in the NHL. The Hansons are pushing to get Tiger inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and it hasn't gone unnoticed in the hockey community, with over 1,000 fans so far supporting the cause. Not much support from the Canucks, though (or the Leafs, for that matter). That's disgraceful! Why wouldn't they support one of their own? Tommy Hanson adds an interesting perspective:
"Maybe Tiger boned them [Orca Bay, owners of the Canucks] with the Voodoo [Tiger's roller hockey team]. Maybe he took them for a ride when he sold it. Maybe there's some bad business blood. Also, right now I don't think the NHL looks too favourably upon it."
Adds Robbie Hanson: "Ya, it doesn't go along with the type of hockey they want to sell to kids in Orange County, they want to turn it into the Mighty Ducks essentially, they want to keep it a funny, fun game. It's the ugly side of hockey that's kept it out of the limelight. To Americans, the classic depiction of hockey is all fighting and then a game breaks out, which obviously isn't true."
"The NHL, with its American influence is becoming very calculated... it's becoming more like the WWF [pro wrestling]. The emotion is still real, it's just more restricted and packaged for the public's consumption. It used to be that the teams really didn't like each other and it was the players like Tiger Williams that created that animosity, and that produces good hockey. It may not make for good baseball, but it makes for good hockey."
Johnny Hanson agrees: "It's that toughness in hockey and the attitude towards it that made it our national sport. When the guys in the mine in Sudbury would go out and watch the Wolves play, they were the same type of guys... you know, for better or for worse and that is Canada." Tommy: "Toughness with character."
This toughness with character is definitely a binding parallel between hockey and punk rock. Robbie puts it another way: "Punk rock is music that's had all the bullshit stripped away."
The Hanson Brothers haven't toured since 1993, but seem to be always on the road, and they hold the honoured distinction of having attended every NoMeansNo gig ever.
Robbie: We've been touring so long, the cool factor isn't really there anymore. We all really enjoy playing live, No Means No always has some good shows. It's a lot of fun. There is no pressure, we don't have to worry about playing complicated music correctly. It's not as seriously focused as it is fun. It's not like starting from square one, it's like adding on to what we have, and we can sit back and enjoy it."
And enjoy it they have, all over the world, having played in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. While in Germany, they discovered a musical treasure that inspired the song, "You Can't Hide the Heino." And Heino is... ?
Tommy: "Heino is a walleyed albino from Bavaria. He's sold like 50 million records. Nobody knows who he is, he's kind of like the German Roger Whittaker... except with a more fascist tone. Heino has a lot of sailing songs. It kind of goes along with that lounge comeback. He's like an albino Marty Feldman and Roy Orbison singing German sailing songs with a Roger Whittaker feel to them."
Huh? "I think we're releasing the 'Hide the Heino' single in Germany, and with the lounge comeback, we'll be at the forefront of it... " Robbie interjects: "... riding off of someone else's coattails." Tommy: "I just hope there's no proctologists around, I don't want to ride on those coattails."
The Hanson Brothers will be riding on their own coattails, however, when they tour Canada during the playoffs, and in the meantime they'll be down south trying to pound some old-time values into the Americans.
Now, we also talked about a cure for hemorrhoids, Stanley Cup predictions, sleeping in the same bed with your bandmates, Mike Tyson and some other interesting topics that are on the unabridged Internet version [ed. coming here... someday] of this coach's corner interview. So go surf! Or else I'll be showing you personally just what it takes to get a ten-game suspension.
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