Friday night, the New Kids on the Block step into the ring as the Main Event tour stops at the Amway Center in Orlando. The tour, which also features special guests TLC and Nelly, kicked off in May and features a 360-degree stage allowing for optimal viewing without obstructions.
Consisting of Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood, NKOTB started in the mid-1980s, and by the end of the decade the guys became international superstars. Considered one of the original "boy bands," the guys disbanded in 1994, yet the group is among the world's best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 80 million records worldwide. Reformed in 2008, the band continues to record and tour in front of sellout crowds around the globe.
QUESTION: How different is your approach to touring now than it was when you first started as a child back in the '80s?
ANSWER: In some ways, it hasn't changed at all, and in other ways it has changed a lot. The spirit, excitement, drive and passion for what we do, and for what I do, is still the same. We still look forward to the next show and with experience we try to figure out what we are going to do different and how are we going to surprise our audiences. We all have a fever for what we do and have been doing for over 27 years. We have the foresight and awareness now to bring our show to a different level every time.
Q: With the dynamics of the family always changing, do you think it'll hold you back from going to a national level?
A: Wow, there are too many. I think my fondest memory for right now has been the last few weeks. We all get along so well, and I don't have to knock on wood after saying that either. To be able to do a show with four other guys that you have known your whole life and who mean so much to you is a privilege. Because we are such close friends and we have the best fans in the world, it is an honor to take the stage with these guys.
Q: What was your most embarrassing onstage moment?
A: I could say that I don't believe anything is embarrassing and you learn from it, but there have been some. My most embarrassing was probably before I even joined the band. I was like 6 or 7 years old and I was performing with the Neighborhood Children's Theater of Boston. We were doing a patriotic show and in the beginning we were wearing red shirts and blue jeans, and over it I had on this soldier type outfit. We were doing a platoon song and as I was marching I began to march right out of my pants and I didn't realize it because I had been wearing jeans underneath. I finally got what people were pointing at. You know, in this business you have to be willing to make mistakes, though, and you can't be afraid of them. Sometimes I try to hit a note I might not be able to hit and sometimes it doesn't come out the way I want it to, but you have to challenge yourself, and see where it takes you.
Q: Does the band intend to record a new studio album once the tour ends?
A: We have talked about it. It is a big endeavor, and these days it takes quite a commitment. We were blessed that our first album after getting back together was so successful and the album we released in 2013 still feels fresh to us. I wouldn't doubt if we do another, but right now we have only talked about it.
Q: NKOTB started the boy band craze and the merchandising that went along with it. What was the craziest thing that used your image?
A: I would have to say a marble with my face on it. To see your head go rolling down the hallway is a little surreal and doesn't do you justice. There was a lot of crazy stuff and it kind of got away from us where we couldn't put a cap on it.
Q: What are your personal plans once the tour ends?
A: I have a TV project in the works that I hope we can move on, but not sure yet. I have been lucky to have been on "The McCarthys" (on CBS), which, although it got canceled, averaged nearly 7 million viewers a night. I am open to new projects and I have a few things in the works.
Q: Why do you think the band still captivates audiences more than 30 years after its debut?
A: I think it is the gratitude we have for the fans. We really love what we do and the shows would not be possible without the fans. The legacy of our fans keeps us going. We are lucky to have stuck around this long and with that much time behind you it feeds itself. We still go out there and give 150 percent of ourselves in each and every show we perform.
Q: What is your biggest motivation to perform these days?
A: I think just the motivation to see what I can do next. I want to see how far I can push myself, grow and be in the moment. It is a privilege to do this and to be in front of an audience. I feel blessed for what I have.