On Saturday, with less than a day of preparation, Hanson somehow managed to pull off a 12-hour live-stream benefit for the earthquake and tsunami recovery efforts in Japan . They followed that up with an early (like, 12:20 a.m. early) morning performance on Sunday at South by Southwest. And on Monday, they finally took a minute to reflect on what turned out to be a very eventful weekend.
“The whole thing was a labor of love … in the sense of nobody’s really getting anything out of it, other than our desire to give and give of ourselves. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it,” Zac Hanson told MTV News. “The people that put themselves out for this — and most of them will not really get the credit — the work that was done by the people that work for us, the friends and the colleagues that threw down and just started calling musicians they knew … we’re still having people saying they want to help out. It still continues, even though the first live broadcast is over.”
The SXSW 4 Japan benefit started with the goal of raising $100,000 for the Red Cross’ disaster recovery efforts, and Zac Hanson was happy to report that not only did he and his brothers achieve that goal, they blew right past it. Though, after having some time to think back on the event, he’s more amazed by the sheer effort everyone put out to help make the broadcast a reality.
“For me, I feel like we really gave as much as we could. Nobody held anything back. I think we really accomplished something. The money that was raised, the $100,000-plus and all the text donations … at the end, that is a meaningful amount of money, but … it’s more about that we did something,” he said. “And I think the feeling of saying to the people of Japan, ’Look, we’ve got your backs, we’re here, we’re looking out for you, we’re here when you need us,’ I feel proud of everyone who was involved.”
Hanson said the next step is compiling all the musical performances — and, as he put it, there is “an insane amount of music” — into a digital album that can be downloaded by fans, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. And he added that, though he’s proud of every single person who helped out in some way, there’s still plenty more to be done. In fact, he and his brothers would’ve kept going, if not for that pesky need for sleep.
“We all finally crashed at around 2 or 3 in the morning,” he laughed. “And then we slept for 12 straight hours.”
Donations for the Red Cross can still be made through the SXSW 4 Japan site or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.