Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Calgary Sun: Still Kids at Heart

The Calgary Sun: 

Still Kids at Heart

It's their second trip around the Block, but the boys are ready to put on a show


The group unsure of what the future holds

Can you really be a new kid on the block 22 years after being a New Kid On The Block?

Most in their right mind would say no, but just don't tell that to Jordan Knight and his four band mates making up the Boston-based boy band.

Make that man band.

And going by the fact the group have three shows coming up at the Air Canada Centre -- their reunion tour launch tonight, one tomorrow and the third Sunday -- fans are still madly in love with the group 14 years after they released their last studio album.

Knight says it just felt like it was time for the band --Knight, his brother Jon Knight, Donnie Wahlberg, Joe McIntyre and Danny Wood -- to reunite.

"It's been up in the air and it's been talked about for a long time between us five," Knight says from London during a British promotional tour. "There's always been times when it just didn't feel right to other members and sometimes it didn't feel right to me. This time it felt right to everybody.

"I think for me, enough time has passed since the New Kids went away and I think curiosity and enough longing for it has built up."

The group, who were the forerunner of bands such as NSYNC, 98 Degrees and (who can forget) O-Town, basically ended as an entity following 1994's Face the Music while some members went on to rather forgettable solo careers.

But earlier this year, the group began working on new material, resulting in the recently released studio effort The Block.

"When we first went into the studio, we didn't know for sure if we could do a reunion tour, if it would be successful, if we could sell tickets, if we could sell enough tickets to sell out," Knight says. "First and foremost, we wanted to lead this whole thing by doing music. And in order to do music, we had to make sure that we gelled in the studio. So the first thing that we did was go into the studio.

"We didn't want to look too far ahead, we just wanted to take it one step at a time. So we went into the studio and we gelled right away. Me, Donnie and Joe were in the studio and we just smashed it, we saw eye to eye and it was obvious that we could definitely do a whole album."

That album, The Block, features guest appearances by Ne-Yo, Lady GaGa and Akon, and also includes two songs co-written with Canadian singer-producer Nasri Atweh.

The album also was preceded by the single Summertime, which the group debuted at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto in June.

"It was cool because we know how big MuchMusic is in Canada," Knight says of the performance. "It was like going on the MTV Music Awards pretty much and it was the first time we performed on that kind of TV show in maybe 15 or 16 years. So it was special to do it for Canada and to share the same stage with all the other artists on there, Rihanna included."

Knight says New Kids On The Block have been rehearsing a lot for the tour and are trying to ensure "that people are going to get their money's worth." He also says the set list will be approximately split between songs off The Block and older favourites.

Yet when asked if the tour could be seen by some as nothing more than a cash grab, Knight is quick to reply.

"If we were doing it just for the money, we would cut out all the extra work that we needed to do and we'd go straight for the cash which is not the case," he says. "The case is that we're talented guys and we take pride in what we do and we have great fans that have followed us since we were younger and we would never take advantage of them like that.

"We hold precious what we've done in the past and what we're going to do in the future and we want to keep the New Kids legacy going. We wouldn't sell it out for a quick dollar."

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