Feelin Alive

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It’s late at night and the energy is high. 

The music is blaring and the lights are loud. 

My friends and I are dancing to the music not worried about the steps. 

I can feel the beat inside of me and I’m feeling alive. 

I could stay here all night. 

My favorite song is playing and I know every word. 

I’m screaming so loud. 

Does anyone hear me?

I feel free as a bird when the music is playing. 

I get lost in the beat. 

I’m feeling alive. 

My Musical Journey

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Twenty years ago I fell in love with a song that some would say is a silly little kids song but, what most people don’t realize is that “MMMBop” by Hanson has a strong message: hold onto the ones who really care because they could be gone in an instant.

When I was a teenager, I was struggling with a feeling of emptiness and nothingness and was battling daily against worthlessness. I needed someone or something to tell me that life was worth living and that everything would be OK. I found that when I first saw the video for “MMMBop”. These teenagers were having so much fun playing and singing that I wanted what they had: happiness. I didn’t realize it then, but I had discovered the true meaning of MMMBop and Hanson’s music became something that I needed to hold onto.

As I started on this new musical journey I began to feel like I was worth something. My feelings of worthlessness and nothingness went away and I began to feel truly happy. I was able to finally be the person I longed to be. I quickly made friends with people in the community with whom I am still friends with today. I met my best friend through pen paling. I don’t remember the details but I must have seen something on Hanson’s website on the forums about people pen paling and decided to write a few of them. I started writing letters to people regularly and became very immersed in pen paling and the Hanson fan culture. I had pen pals from all over the world. We would send not only Hanson merchandise to each other that you couldn’t get from the country you were from but other culture related things such as food, clothes, and books. One day I got a friendship book made up of little pieces of paper that is sent through the mail from person to person. Everyone involved adds their address and a little something about themselves on each page. The friendship book I got was filled with Hanson fans so I knew I would be able to bond with any of them. I read through the pages and one that caught my eye was a girl from Pennsylvania. We seemed to have the most in common so I wrote her a letter and a week later, got a response. We instantly became friends and continued to write letters for several years until I traveled to Pennsylvania and we met in person. We have always dreamed of going to a Hanson concert together but it hasn’t happened yet.

Hanson’s music is almost like my religion. Their music is a part of me. It’s something I need to survive and something that has helped shape my life and the person I am today. Each of their albums represents a different period in time for me. Middle Of Nowhere came out when I was young and didn’t want to be in this world. Many songs from that album have become anthems for my life. “With You In Your Dreams” helped me through my grandfather’s passing and I cry every time I hear that song. “Weird” got me through High School because it showed me that everyone is a little weird and that living in a cookie cutter world would be boring. This Time Around came out when I was about to graduate High School and enter the real world. The songs were fun and provided an escape when I needed a break from reality. Underneath an album about the weight of everything crashing down on you and still having the strength to overcome it all was the perfect outlet I needed to overcome the struggles of college and life at the time. The Walk album gave me a new outlook on life. Many of the songs are about finding hope and wanting to change. I was living with my dad at the time and he told me I had to leave and that I had three days to move out. I was mad and sad at first. I didn’t understand why he was kicking me out. I turned on The Walk and the songs gave me such hope that I knew everything would be OK and not even twenty four hours later I had found a new place to live with wonderful roommates. Shout It Out was there when I was going through a divorce and becoming a new mother. The songs provided the joy I needed to believe that I could be a single mother and that I didn’t need anybody to help me. And finally, Anthem came at a time when I was feeling confident about my life, and the album provided the joyful music I needed.

Going to a Hanson show is like coming home because the fan community is home. All of us fans have grown up with the music and each other. The journey begins long before the lights go down, when tickets go on sale. My friends and I all make plans to buy tickets and discuss which shows we are going to attend. The day starts early as Hanson fans are known for lining up early and camping out on the sidewalk. I know that sounds terrible. WRONG! Camping out on the sidewalk brings us fans together. The camping out on the sidewalk is always a highlight for me; I get to catch up with all my friends I only see when Hanson go on tour. Together, we share stories of past concert experiences and the excitement and anticipation of the show to come. We make new friends and strengthen the bonds with the ones we already have. The fans have come together and started a number system for while we are waiting in line. We put numbers on our hands so that we can come and go from the line and not lose our place. While standing in line I have seen some unusual things. I was once handed doughnuts by a stranger. A homeless girl asked us if were homeless or if we were just mocking the homeless.

One of my favorite stories took place in Seattle in 2008 on “The Walk Around The World Tour” when I had won the role of fan club reporter for the show. The fan club reporter gets to interview the band, take pictures of the show and, when it’s all over, write a review which is then posted on Hanson’s website. I found out months before the show that I had won and was shocked. I never thought in a million years that I would have been given the opportunity to meet Hanson. I even doubled checked the e-mail to make sure that it was supposed to be sent to me. Someone on Hanson’s team chooses ten people to win meet-and-greets from a pool of us who have submit our names. Nine people get regular meet-and-greet passes and one lucky winner gets to be fan club reporter. I was provided with special instructions for the meet-and-greet and interview. I spent several months coming up with questions, which proved to be harder than I thought but, I prepared seven questions and hoped for the best. I was so excited the night before that I only got three hours of sleep and woke up hours before I was supposed to meet my friends at the venue. I showed up to the venue super early in the morning. I was hoping to meet my friends but instead was greeted by a few fans who had showed up just a few minutes before. I knew I had a long day ahead of me and my nerves were already getting the best of me. The nerves only got worse as the day went on. Finally, it was time for the meet-and-greet. I walked in with the other winners and to see Hanson standing only a few feet away from me. I was so nervous but I walked right up to Isaac and shook his hand, then moved on down the line to Taylor, and finally, Zac. The other winners followed suit. We took group pictures and then I was left alone with Hanson. They led me up some stairs to a room with a couch and some tables. I sat down on the couch, followed by Isaac. As soon I sat down I blurted out “Wow the couch is more comfortable than the sidewalk.” I got the most confused look from Isaac as he said “I hope so.” I was so embarrassed, and I’m sure my face turned multiple shades of red. I managed to compose myself and finish the interview. Finally getting the chance to tell Hanson how much their music changed my life and getting to talk to them about their music was a surreal moment in my life that I will cherish forever.

Deep down, I knew that Blake and I wouldn’t get along but ignored the feeling because I wanted to go to Hanson Day and needed a roommate. The rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath started the night before I was set to leave for Tulsa. I had started to pack and I had to stop several times to calm down.

After a six hour plane ride I finally made it to Tulsa, OK for my first Hanson Day. Still having some anxiety I wandered outside to meet Blake. We make our way to the hotel and then decide to go explore Tulsa. I remember thinking that Tulsa felt open like the way Montana feels, with big sky and open spaces, despite being a huge city, I never felt like I was in a huge city. The hot sun felt good on my skin and I wished I could have stayed there. Blake and I didn’t make it very far before we got lost and had to use the GPS on our phones to get back to the hotel.

The next day there were band lectures, group pictures, and fan club dinners. The group pictures were first. We waited in line for several hours and the moment I walked into Cain’s Ballroom I felt like a teenager all over again. I barely kept it together. Isaac reaches his hand for me to shake and the minute we touch a feeling of overwhelming excitement runs through me. I am then greeted by Taylor and then Zac and the excitement only gets worse and I almost start to giggle like a schoolgirl. I manage to compose myself and find a place to stand for the photo right next to Zac. The guy taking the picture says smile and then it’s over. I walk back out only to be blinded by the sunlight and thinking OMG I just met Hanson. I then get in another line for the band lectures. The excitement I was feeling only got worse as the hours went by. The time seem to pass slowly and I thought we would never be let in for lectures.

Walking into the ballroom for the lectures, I took a minute to take it all in. Looking around the room and seeing all these Hanson fans in one place was amazing and took my breath away. Everyone was rushing to find seats. It was complete chaos. Taylor’s lecture was titled “Song Stories.” He invited five fans on stage to share their story about a song before telling us his story about the song. The first girl talked about “With You In Your Dreams” and how that song reminded her of her grandmother who passed away. Looking up at stage and listening to the fans tell their stories filled me with a sense of gratitude for the band. Not only for the music, but also for the community and the unspoken understanding we all shared as a fandom. Isaac’s lecture was titled “Inside This Time Around.” He broke down the songs on the album by playing the tracks of each song separately, which gave me a deeper appreciation for the songs. Zac’s lecture, titled “Drop Your Digital Pants”, consisted of him recording a song called “Signs of Life” live on-stage. The lyrics came via suggestions from fans. Zac was having so much dancing and singing on stage and the fans got to sing on the song. Now when I hear the song I get to say I sang with Zac Hanson.

The next day was the member only concert which was the highlight of the weekend. We were treated to rare songs from EPs and fan favorites from albums both past and present. The energy from the band was great and the crowd was equally happy to be there. After the concert, the band hosted an after party where we danced the night away. The last day was the band’s beer and music festival, called “Hop Jam”. There was great music and tons of beer. Hanson also performed a kick-ass show to thousands of people who filled the streets of Tulsa. The energy from the crowd was something I had never experienced before. Standing on the street in Hanson’s home town with thousands of fans from all over world singing and dancing to the music we grew up with is an indescribable moment.

Sitting in Caz’s restaurant, eating dinner during Hanson Day, we turn around to see Taylor attempt to walk down the stairs. He takes the first step and almost falls over. He stops himself, looks around to make sure no one is watching, notices me and Blake, and smiles. He attempts the next step. Not happening. He misses and ends up two stairs down. He takes another look around while Blake and I are laughing so hard. Taylor smiles and tries to go down the stairs again. Still not having any luck he stops again. Blake and I have started to wonder if he was drunk. He makes it down the stairs, walks over to our table, smiles and says “Hello.” As he starts to walk away, Blake stops him and says she has a question. Blake was concerned that her member EP was broken. She starts shaking the cd near Taylor’s ear and says “can you hear that” Taylor gave her the most confused look. Blake continued to shake her CD in his ear. Finally he says “Open it right here and, if it’s broken, I will make sure you get another one.” Blake opens the cd to find it is not broken. Taylor smiles and walks away.

“It’s OK she’s a Hanson fan, everything will be alright,” I said to my family and friends when I decided to go on a week long road trip following Hanson around on tour in 2013 with Michelle who I had met on Hanson.net. My family and friends thought I was crazy but I wanted to see Hanson and nothing was stopping me. Michelle and I had talked online for several months before we met in person.

I walked right up to her and said “Hey” before getting into her car and driving off to find some lunch. That was the most awkward lunch because we didn’t know each other that well and I think we were both a little unsure of how the trip was going to pan out. However, we knew we had an appreciation for Hanson in common, so we talked about them. I had followed the band consistently while she had fallen away from them, always coming back over and over again. She heard they were going on tour and wanted to check them out again. After lunch we started our three hour drive to Portland,OR. We blasted music and sang our little hearts out and laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes. I knew this was going to be start of a wonderful friendship and that this was going to be an epic road trip.

We roll up to her house and crash on the couch, waking up bright and early the next morning. Not wasting any time, we get ready and rush to the venue. It was pouring down rain and , silly us, we forgot the umbrellas. We stand in line for over two hours before it dawns on us go get an umbrella. Right before doors open, a DJ for a radio station rolls up and we start chatting with her. We talk her into giving us meet-and-greet passes that had gone unclaimed by their original winners. The meet-and-greet goes well and the concert was wonderful.

Our trip also took us to Seattle and Vancouver, BC. where the fun didn’t stop. In Seattle, Michelle almost passed out from the heat inside the venue and spent much of the concert outside. Nothing major just a little over-heating. In Vancouver, Michelle lost her car keys and she had to get new keys made. We were stuck in Canada for more time than we wanted but, we made it home in one piece and with newfound friendships.

Today not only marks twenty years of me being a Hanson fan, but twenty years of shouting out loud, building friendships, holding on to the people who really matter, traveling all over the United States, camping out on sidewalks, taking mile-long walks with bare feet, discovering who I truly am, and believing in myself. Hanson’s music not only showed me how to believe in myself but also to passionately love all music, which has helped me discover many wonderful artists. If it wasn’t for Hanson’s music I wouldn’t have believed in myself enough to want to live, and wouldn’t be alive to write this

The Slow Drag

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Its really  easy for me to fall head over heels for music because I love it so much and when I find an artist that inspires me I hold on. I did just that three years ago when I discovered The Slow Drag. 

Austin, the sole member of the band has created a sound that is as unique as he is. Each song is an experience which lets you create your own interpretation, which is one of the reasons I love his music so much. I love creating my own connections to songs. Which makes me love the songs even more. 

As much as I love Austin’s music I love his personality even more. He is full of sarcasm, charm and boy is he good lookin. But my  favorite thing about him is his ability to make everyone feel special and that he really gets invested in everyone.  I admire that in him. 

Now back to the music. You wouldn’t think by looking at Austin that he would be into playing pop rock songs. He sports a slammin moehawk and has a unique sense of style. Ok I know what your thinking dont just a book by it’s cover but when I first saw Austin I didn’t expect him to sing and play those types of songs. I was expecting punk or alternative. Needless to say I was surprised. 

The first time I saw Austin was actually when his band Everybody Else opened for Hanson. I didn’t know at the time he was in the band and after that night I sorta forgot about Everybody Else. Then one day I was looking through Facebook and I see my friend talking about this guy named Austin and how she had been to a stageit show. I thought wow that sounds cool so I checked him out. And I fell in love. I have continued to love his music and look forward to many more years.  

The Slow Drag has recently started broadcasting live on serveral broadcasting sites such has younow.com and krue.tv if you want to catch a live show check him out. Just search theslowdrag on those sites.  You won’t be disappointed. 

Digging to Tulsa

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As many of you know my favorite band is Hanson and has been since I was fourteen, many many moons ago. Every year the band holds a Members Only  Event(MOE) in their home town of Tulsa,OK. The event is always held in May because when the band was at the height of their fame the mayor of their town declared May 6th Hanson day, because their debut album came out that day in 1997.

Hanson fans have been celebrating May 6th has Hanson day ever since. Every years fans would celebrate that day within the fan community. Hanson would honor the day by wishing every one a Happy Hanson Day but never really did anything but release a new EP.  The fans continued to celebrate in our own little ways. Then one year Hanson decided to record a live EP and invited the fans to join them.

Hanson posted on their website an address in Tulsa and a time and told us that anybody that showed up would be let inside. Hundreds of people showed and MOE was born. MOE stayed a small concert for many years until recently. It has grown into this event which lasts a whole weekend, which includes band lectures,an art gallery, a special store a bowling tournament a welcome and street leader dinners, movie nights and of course the concert and all you have to be is a member of Hanson.net, the bands website. This year MOE was held on the same weekend as Mayfest and the bands very own festival, Hop Jam. The band started their own beer company and launched a beer called MMMHops so Hop Jam was a way to drink beer and listen to music. The band performed and hundreds of people showed up to watched. Hope Jam was a huge success.  I’m hoping Hop Jam happens again this year. The details that been given out are the dates and nothing more about next years MOE will be released until next year.

Tulsa has become the ultimate Hanson fan spot to visit. And MOE is the perfect opportunity to visit Tulsa. I have never been and have always wanted to and next year is going to be my chance. I am over the top excited. Hanson fans from all over the world gathering in one place for one truely epic event which will get talked about for years to come and will go down IN Hanson history forever. I couldn’t pass it up. I have already booked my hotel which is only 6 blocks from the concert venue and I’m glad I did because every hotel with in walking distance of the venue is sold out.

Over the coming months I am going to take you on my journey leading up to the event with everything from picking a flight and details of the events that are  going to happen that weekend. You will be getting a front row experience and will get to share my excitement. If you have any stories of similar events you have attended I want to hear about them.

Steve’s Music Mix-Week 4

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The rules:

(1) Go to the music player of your choice and put it on shuffle
(2) Say the questions aloud and press play
(3) Use the song title as your answers
(4) NO CHEATING

1.What is the story of your life?

Song: Oops I did it Again

Response: Is that a sign? Or just bad luck?

 

2.What is your biggest fear?

Song: In the City

Response: Possibly, although I’m not really scared of love.

 

3.If you got a tattoo on your butt, what would it say?

Song: Don’t be Afraid

Response: That would be a good tattoo for the butt if I were to get one.

Be sure and check out Steve’s blog for more.

Weekly Writing Challenge:Moved by Music

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I was fourteen when I feel in love with three boys from Tulsa, OK known has Hanson. The year is 1997 and their hit song MMMBop had made a huge impression on me only I didn’t realize how much until many years later. I had just started High School and I was searching for something to hold onto.  I reached out and held on. Hanson were all around my age at the time and they were doing what they love and inspiring me and lots of other teenage girls. I can hear all of you now, those girls that sang that silly song. No they are not girls and the song is really deep if you listen to the lyrics. The song talks about holding onto the relationships that really matter and how you should hold onto them because in an instant they could be gone.   Here is the official music video from 1997

 

Hanson’s music has helped me threw so much, most recently when a grandfather figured died. I listened to a song they wrote for their Grandmother and I cried and cried and then cried some more. I listened to the song on repeat for about an hour, crying the entire time and they switched to a happier song and a smile instantly appeared on my face. I always smile when I listen to Hanson’s music. I can be having the worst day and I can turn on any song of theirs and my mood will instantly change. There are no words to express how thankful I am that I discovered their music and that I have had the opportunity to have been a fan for so long. I have even gotten to meet and interview the band. One of the best days of my life. I will always love their music and their music will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

Check out the weekly writing challenge to see what others have written.

Steve’s Monday Music Mix Week two

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Here is how it works:

(1) Go to the music player of your choice and put it on shuffle
(2) Say the questions aloud and press play
(3) Use the song title as your answers
(4) NO CHEATING

Question #1 Who do you love?

Song: Crazy Little Thing Called Love By Queen

Comments: Not sure how is fits but love is crazy.

 

Question #2 Who loves you?

Song: Last Friday Night by Katy Perry

Comment: It’s a blur and I can’t remember

 

Question #3 What is love?

Song: Bad Solution by Hanson

Comment: “I thought we were marching peacefully” says the song.

Check out Steve’s Music Monday page.

Can’t Get Enough

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The Daily Prompt asks: Have you ever been addicted to anything, or worried that you were? Have you ever spent too much time and effort on something that was a distraction from your real goals? Tell us about it.

Everybody knows I am addicted to the band, Hanson. I have liked their music since I was 14 and I’m 30. When I was a teenager I would spend any money I had on magazines with those posters inside of them that you could pull out and hang on your wall. My bedroom was covered so bad, that the posters looked like wallpaper. I had to know everything I could about the three brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Everything from their toothbrush color to their shoe size. I don’t remember either of those now. I also had to buy every album they put out. Heck I still do that..shhh don’t tell.  I recently even followed them on tour for a week. I went to three shows and got to meet the band twice. And to top it all off I made some awesome friends along the way. I may not be as addicted to them now am I older but I still turn into my 14 year old self whenever I meet them or attend a concert. I hope the addiction never dies.

Here are what others are addicted to:

  1. Girl Taking Photo of Herself Through a Mirror « Inside my glitching mind
  2. Addicted… | The Rider
  3. addiction | hitting a brick wall
  4. Daily Prompt: Can’t Get Enough When I’m With You | Awl and Scribe
  5. Daily Propmt: Can’t Get Enough | Under the Monkey Tree
  6. Can’t Get Enough – FM Addiction | Geek Ergo Sum
  7. What it feels like to be addicted | The Magic Black Book
  8. ლCaFF-Eine BuzZzZzლ | mët•aRVhëë•n✪ia
  9. I’m A Daily Promptaholic | The Jittery Goat
  10. buttered | yi-ching lin photography
  11. Daily Prompt: Can’t Get Enough
  12. Addiction? Oh yeah « RPMAS
  13. Celebrate Good Times. | gypsy thoughts ..
  14. Daily Prompt: Can’t Get Enough #photography | ThisCornerOfTheWoods
  15. I do hope there’s a rehab for singleness | JC Bride ~
  16. On Facing Harsh Realities | The Magic Black Book
  17. My Toy Box | Kate Murray
  18. Only ever so slightly addictive me | thoughtsofrkh
  19. Addicted to ‘love’ | alienorajt
  20. Daily Post: “Can’t Get Enough” | The Adventures of Rain Dance Megan
  21. Can’t Get Enough | The River Mom
  22. of course i’m an addict | wannabepoet
  23. Add diction – A very short post | Neva Samaki

I wish I could sing

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I can sing but I don’t think I am very good. I love to sing along with radio or my favorite cd and I can match  pitch pretty well, but if I try on my own not very good. I have taken voice lessons in the past and I did manage to sing one song pretty good. I don’t know if its because I am too shy to actually just sing and not worry about what other people sing or if I really can’t sing. I admire so many artists who have wonderful voices and I secretly wish I could I sing like that. I know some people are just born with a natural talent and some have to work at it. I guess I have to work at.

 

Inspired by the Daily Post.

Underneath

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I didn’t write the words but this song is my anthem right now..

 

Song Title:Underneath

Written by:Hanson

 

Waking up this morning
Thinking this can’t be real
But they say there is nothing love can’t heal
Why don’t you come on down
So you can feel what I feel

Sitting all alone in this place
Even though we’re here face to face
There is nothing gone
But there’s something wrong

Can’t you see that I’m stuck here underneath
And you’re making it hard to breathe
So take a look around and tell me what you see
You’ll find me underneath

I know what to say but don’t know where to begin
The fear of losing you beneath my skin
Is there resolution for this pain that I’m in

Sitting all alone in this place
Even though we’re here face to face
There is nothing gone
But there’s something wrong

Can’t you see that I’m stuck here underneath
And you’re making it hard to breathe
So take a look around and tell me what you see
You’ll find me underneath

If only you could feel what I dream
Maybe you could hear what I mean
There is nothing gone
But there’s something missing

Can’t you see that I’m stuck here underneath
And you’re making it hard to breathe
So take a look around and tell me what you see
You’ll find me underneath

Cause I’m stuck here underneath
And you’re making it hard to breathe
So take a look around and tell me what you see
You’ll find me underneath