There’s a moment at the beginning of the NKOTB’s reunion single “Summertime” where Joe McIntyre utters the words “Jones Beach, 1988.” Weird. That is almost exactly the time and place that I first met New Kids on the Block. They were one of the earliest interviews I ever did for MTV News, and there were plenty of interviews, news pieces, and even a half-hour show after that. But now, 15 years after they went their separate ways — branching off into acting (Donnie), solo careers (Jordan, Joe, Danny), real estate (Jon), and families with “new kids” of their own (several of them) — I think the last thing I ever expected was to be talking to them again, as a group.
But never say never. Saturday evening, in a backstage dressing room at New Jersey’s Izod Center, there they were, the New 30-Something Men on the Block, getting ready to take the stage as part of radio station Z-100’s annual teen scream extravaganza, Zootopia. We were all a good bit older than the last time I sat down with them, and it was a surreal moment — but good surreal.
The New Kids on their upcoming tour, the reason for reuniting now, and latest teen phenom the Jonas Brothers, after the jump.
Their abbreviated set at Zootopia was the same one they had done the day before on the “Today” show, and would repeat on Sunday at another radio station show in Boston: most of the old hits crammed into a medley, plus “Summertime” and their rather self-congratulatory 1990 hit “Tonight.” A truncated offering for those old Blockheads from back in the day. But the guys promise that when they do their full tour in the fall they’ll do the old songs in their entirety, though Jordan said some may be “changed up a bit.”
Among the things we discussed in a half-hour was the big question, Why do this now? After so many others had tried to get NKOTB to reunite over the years, including VH1 (to no avail), what was different this time? Donnie said that was the point: that they decided to do it themselves, and that it wasn’t some outside entity trying to make a quick buck on a fleeting “comeback.” He said this time it just felt “real.” Plus, there’s a nearly completed new album — that was important too, he said, so as not to make this solely about reviving the oldies.
The music business has, of course, changed monumentally since the New Kids’ heyday, and we talked about that — plus the fact that they still have fans who even at 30 or 35 will camp out overnight for days on end just to see them, and what the New Kids make of the current princes of teen scream, the Jonas Brothers.
“I wouldn’t give them any advice, Donnie said, “except have a good show.”
Check back with MTVNews.com in the coming days for all that and more.
And never say never.