The Hanson Brothers are a Canadian punk rock band formed in 1984 in Victoria and currently based in Vancouver. The group is led by John and Rob Wright and Tom Holliston, all members of the punk rock band Nomeansno.
The Hanson Brothers' band name references characters in the cult ice hockey film Slap Shot. Heavily influenced by the music of the Ramones and the sport of ice hockey, the band appears to be a self-conscious attempt to construct a set of simplistic Canadian male personas and accordingly simple music that alludes to the sorts of deeper philosophical issues NoMeansNo is prone to tackling. The band's music is frequently referred to as "puck rock."
From 1984–1989, the Wright brothers and original NoMeansNo guitarist Andy Kerr performed live shows sporadically under the Hanson Brothers moniker, constructing their sets with Ramones covers. The band later began to dabble with writing "their own Ramones songs". At this time John Wright played drums and the three members shared lead vocal duties. Examples of songs from this era are "Ya Little Creep" and "Bad," two Kerr-era NoMeansNo songs with songwriting credited to the Hanson Brothers (the former appears on the 1991 compilation Clam Chowder and Ice Vs. Big Macs and Bombers, while the latter appears on The Sky Is Falling and I Want My Mommy, a collaborative LP with Jello Biafra.) While the band was actively creating music under this name for some time, it was treated as a strictly casual and only occasionally evoked side project until the early-mid '90s.
The Wrights began working with Holliston (and without Kerr) as the Hanson Brothers around 1989. The earliest sessions from this time still featured John Wright on drums; however, Ken Jensen of D.O.A. soon joined and, after releasing a debut 7", the band recorded their first album, Gross Misconduct, in 1992. The record featured art spoofing the cover to the Ramones' Road to Ruin. Kerr emigrated to the Netherlands in 1992, leading the Wright brothers to, at least for a time, focus on the Hanson Brothers. (Holliston would join NoMeansNo, replacing Kerr, shortly thereafter.)
Jensen died in a house fire in 1995. Ken Kempster (member of, among many other groups, the Showbusiness Giants) became the group's next drummer, referred to as "Kenny Jr" Hanson. This lineup released the group's second record, Sudden Death, through a subsidiary of Virgin Records. The cover spoofed D.O.A.'s The Prisoner single cover.
Kempster left the group in 2001, and Ernie Hawkins joined for touring behind the group's third record, My Game. The cover parodies that of Black Flag's My War. Hawkins appears on the group's 2008 live album It's a Living (whose cover parodies the Ramones' It's Alive). Mike Branum, from The Freak Accident, debuted as the group's drummer for their 2008 tour.
In 2000, the songs "Rink Rat", "Third Man In", "Stick Boy", and "Danielle", were featured in the NHL Rock The Rink game for the Sony PlayStation. Also in 2000, John Wright, in his Johnny Hanson "character," recorded an instructional video regarding homebrewing beer. Originally released in small batches on VHS, the film has been reissued on DVD along with the It's a Living CD. Wright has compiled and released two compilations of hockey-themed songs called Puck Rock Volumes I and II.
- Gross Misconduct – 1992
- Sudden Death – 1996
- My Game – 2002
- It's a Living (live) – 2008
EPs and singles
- Brad (7" single) – 1992
- The Hockey Song (split 7" single with D.O.A.) – 1996
- Brad (EP re-release of Brad single with bonus tracks) – 2003
Additionally, there are numerous compilation albums featuring Hanson Brothers tracks.