Most rock starts you see on stage probably don’t work closely with organizations feeding starving children. Most rock stars aren’t published writers in humanitarian magazines. And, most rock stars probably won’t literally give you the shoes off their feet. In the case of Adam Hanson, dedicated humanitarian by day and rock and roller by night, all those attributes belong to him. Minnesota is a state proud to be one of the leading providers of volunteers helping the world become a better place and Hanson is one of many. His passion for music and strong belief in helping others is fused into the lyrics and soulful music him and his band create. Hanson lent me some of his time to explain why his music and love of giving back is so important in our community.
Emily: Explain to me who you are and what you do.
Adam: I, Adam Hanson, am the lead singer for Semeron. What do I do? Whatever each day calls upon me to do. Today, I loaned my footwear to a shoeless kid who wanted to go pack up food to send to starving kids in Madagascar. I work for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) and play the rock and roller at night. I was born just north of Minneapolis and went off to sail aboard a Mercy Ship in the Caribbean and then to school in Texas. I came back to Minneapolis to write for NEED magazine, a publication that profiled humanitarian work. I started playing guitar in a rock band called Archaica, a group with the unique distinction of nearly destroying The 400 Bar with ruckus booming sound: pieces of the wall literally came crumbling off. I decided I wanted to give singing a shot and starting something new. I sent word to some amazingly talented musicians who couldn’t help but join the epic rock project of Semeron but more on that later.
Emily: How did you get your start here in Minneapolis?
Adam: Playing music in the Twin Cities is a challenge and adventure unlike anywhere else. Every block of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and every avenue and boulevard of the surrounding suburbs is filled with people who demand more substance out of both work and play. The Twin Cities teems with people trying to “give back”, “change the world”, and find meaning in what they do. I traveled all over and everywhere I went I found Minnesotans helping their neighbors. I wrote stories about aid in far off lands by walking down the block and discovering that Minnesotans were there helping people hear for the first time ever (Starkey Hearing Foundation), fixing the hearts of infants (Children’s HeartLink) and saving women from the sex trade (Peace Rehabilitation Center). Every time I go to work at Feed My Starving Children, I see corporations there helping people they will never meet, and every night that I go out to sing, I see people out looking for fun and, what’s more, demanding a dream, a vision of something better. This is what makes playing this town such an amazing challenge: people order excellence and expect you to top it with something beautiful for the soul.
Emily: Why is what you are doing in the Twin Cities important?
Adam: At Feed My Starving Children we send food all over the world because kids are starving. 18,000 of them die every day because they don’t have anything to eat. Just yesterday I got to help send a shipment of food to Somalia where families are starving to death, the families of my Somali neighbors here in Minneapolis. It’s mind-blowing the things that God makes happen when people endeavor to save their neighbors. At FMSC, I get to see improbable things come together. The stories that I hear from the people distributing the food are nothing short of impossible. A nurse told me the story of a woman in Haiti whose amputated limb had come back after a simple prayer. That’s right; that’s what she said. A woman, who had lost her leg, crushed in the rubble after the earthquake and amputated on a U.S. military hospital ship, now walks around on two legs! This is not the first miraculous story I have heard from people working with starving people in desperate situations. I don’t always know what to say or how to believe, but I do know, no one almost sees miracles. It takes people brave enough to get to the heart, even if that is dangerous dirty place. People here in Minnesota are looking to get there, to the heart. Whether it’s MAD DADS being there for kids in North Minneapolis or Mary Jo Copeland giving families a place to sleep at Sharing and Caring Hands, people here go to the heart. This is what I try to do with Semeron songs, get to that dangerous, dirty, real place at the heart of each one of us because this is what Minnesotans need.
Emily: What is your favorite thing about working in the Twin Cities music scene?
Adam: Semeron means “This Day” in Greek. It speaks to asking God this day for the things that we need, our daily bread. When we pile worries on our shoulders, we try to brace for tomorrow. When we play, we play for today. When we love, we love for today. Going out with friends, having a drink, having a blast, hearing great music with something real at the core is what we need this day. If you’ve ever been out to a concert and it just wasn’t there, you needed something more, it’s because you needed to be at a Semeron concert. The Twin Cities won’t settle for less. This is a great city. Semeron is really something special as a band. I feel lucky to get to be a part of the music that so many people like.
Emily: Five-second shameless plug… GO!
Adam: Come out and see a Semeron concert. It’s the finest rock music you’ve ever needed to hear. Was that shameless enough? Catch us on Facebook or go to www.semeronmusic.com
–Emily Buss is a music journalist from Minneapolis and author of On the Rechord blog. On the Rechord is a music site dedicated to the local music scene in the Twin Cities. Emily writes concert and album reviews, band and artist profiles, and provides information about local shows. A college graduate with a degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Journalism, Emily has been professionally writing for newspapers and online outlets for six years. You can find Emily at www.ontherechord.com , on Facebook at On the Rechord and on Twitter @TheEmilyB.