Thursday, February 18, 2016

Watch Jordan Knight's interview with Dining Playbook

Billy Costa from Dining Playbook interviewed Jordan and head chef/owner Tony DeRienzo about their new restaurant Novara in Milton, MA. Here is the clip:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Danny Wood's interview with Pollstar

Danny talked with Pollstar about his new album, “Look At Me,” his days in the biggest boy band on earth and the foundation that rose from his mother’s battle against breast cancer.

Wood’s solo career and the Remember Betty foundation makes up a large portion of his life these days when he’s not regrouping with his NKOTB friends.  The non-profit’s goal is to reduce the expenses associated with breast cancer so that patients and survivors can concentrate on recovery and quality of life.

Wood’s new album has already resulted in three singles.  The latest is “Hold On,” in which he honors his Boston hometown and expresses his feelings about his mother’s passing.

“This record is definitely a big reflection of the past 10 years, The good and the bad,” Wood said while doing promo for the album.  “My mother’s foundation is a big inspiration in my writing. All the breast cancer patients that have passed away, survived, and the ones that are living with the disease. They all have inspired this record.”

Wood has lined up a brief tour to support Look At Me that includes stops in Philadelphia, New York and, of course, his Beantown home stomping grounds.  Check out the itinerary following the interview.

What can you tell us about the Remember Betty foundation?
That’s my mother’s name.  She passed away from breast cancer in 1999.  Since 2008 I’ve been raising money for breast cancer patients and I’m now doing it directly for patients going through chemotherapy and radiation, and trying to make their lives better on a daily basis.

Are you spending a large portion of your time with the foundation?
Yeah.  It’s grown a lot. Planning … stuff we’re going to do surrounding some of [my] shows definitely takes up a lot of [time].  I do a cruise raffle every year where we raffle off a couple of cabins.  It definitely takes up a lot of time but family is always first for me.  That’s why I’m home.  I’ll be rehearsing here at home and take it on the road on weekends starting in February.

Your 2009 album is titled Stronger: Remember Betty and you have a song about your mother on Look At Me.  It sounds as your mother and the foundation lives through your music.
It’s nice to be in a group like the New Kids and have the success we’ve had in the past eight years and then I can just go off and be creative and make a record like this with no pressure.  It’s not about how much it sells or anything.  It’s just about raising money for the foundation. I don’t have to worry about sales or whatever.  Anything is a bonus.  I produced and wrote it myself so it feels really good.

When New Kids were at the peak of success, how involved were you and the rest of the guys in the business of the act?
The first time around?  I would say as things grew we started learning things.  But we were really young.  It’s kind of hard to know a business completely that involves so many different things.  From record sales to live shows to merchandise – there’s a lot to learn. I think, by the end, we started learning a lot and started realizing certain things weren’t right and we wanted to get more involved.  By the time that happened the group ended up breaking up and we took … 15 years apart from each other.

During that first time around when New Kids were all over radio and selling out arenas, was anyone even thinking of a future solo career?
I still don’t really view this as a solo career.  I view this as … I’m a singer/songwriter.  It’s just kind of like a bonus for me being in the group and it’s also a way I can continue to raise money for the foundation.

I think a couple of the guys, during New Kids, were thinking of going solo.  The record company guys actually approached the group before we did our last record, Face The Music.  They wanted a couple of the guys to go solo, to branch off.  But the guys still wanted to do one more New Kids record so we ended up doing that one and then the group broke up.

Having spent your teenage years together at the top of the music biz, does it seem kind of surreal when, after an extended period of time apart, the members of New Kids gather in one place, begin to talk, perhaps show photos of the families?
I think in 2008, yes, it was a bit shocking getting back together and it was a bit awkward.  But that was eight years ago.  I was just in New York and saw Donnie and did his wife’s radio show.  We’re like brothers. Nothing’s changed.  He asked me how my kids were doing, and I asked him how his kids were doing. We’re all still the same in a lot of ways.  The same personalities … when we get up on stage, in a lot of ways, nothing’s changed.

What is your songwriting process like?  Do you come up with a lyric, a melody, riff or chord structure first?
It happens a bunch of different ways.  Each song can [start with] some lyrics that I came up with.  I write down a bunch of lyrics and then go home and see if I can come up with a melody and a chord structure to it.  Or it could be the other way [and] I have some chords, then I start humming something and then I write some lyrics down.

For me, the key is if I’m writing something and it becomes frustrating and difficult, you scrap it.  Because then it takes all the creativity out of it; it becomes like work.  “Nope.  Trash that.  That’s gone.” I leave it alone.  There are points on a few songs on the record where I got a little frustrated and I just let it be for a minute.  Maybe I had a portion of the song done and then I just let it rest.  I came back to it and I was like, “This is all right.  I’m gonna keep going with this,” and it ends up working out.

Before New Kids formed, did you have a rep among your friends and family for being musical?
No.  I mean, I sang in the choir at elementary school, and I would breakdance.  That’s about as creative as I was coming into the group.

Was being in New Kids an education in itself?
I learned from day one.  I started learning how to engineer.  I asked every question you could possibly ask about the mixing board.  I ended up engineering a lot of the stuff on our early records.  I ended up recording vocals for a lot of the guys, just from … being in the studio.  Definitely, the New Kids was a big education.  Me and Jordan ended up writing for an artist named Tommy Page and he had a No. 1 record for one of the songs we wrote [“I’ll Be Your Everything”]. Songwriting started early for me but then I taught myself to play guitar.  I moved down to Miami and started doing my own thing, writing my own songs.

After years in New Kids, what did it feel like when you first walked out on stage as a solo performer?
I think, on my own it’s easier for me to sing my own songs.  There’s a different kind of satisfaction when you get out there and you’re singing songs you created, and created them for a reason. It’s satisfying that way, but sharing a stage with four other guys you have so much history with is another kind of satisfaction.  So it’s all just positive and it all feels good either way I’m doing it.

Do you believe in destiny?
I never really thought of that but I guess there were certain points in our career as a group that were [destined].  Like this second time around it was just a phone call from Donnie … saying, “I want you to hear this song.  I think we maybe should get back into the studio and start recording.”  It was a song called “Click Click Click” that came from a young writer named Nasri Atweh, that came from our lawyer who has been the group’s lawyer for years.  To me, that’s probably destiny.
Is this how things may play out in the coming years in that one phone call may result in a tour, another album, or even joining forces with another act like New Kids did with Backstreet Boys?

Those things all come from conversations we have together. … It’s also a business.  We kind of have moved this forward to a point where, when we’re ready to walk away, we can walk away.  It’s not going to be because a record didn’t sell or anything like that.  It’s going to be because … we’ve done it enough.  We’ve also taken enough time off because other guys have TV shows and other things, that when it’s time to tour or do something with the New Kids, that it’s kind of refreshing for everybody.

I don’t know if it’s now destiny.  I think it’s more that we carefully plan things and do things that will create more longevity for the group.

And that door is always open for what may come?  A new project, TV appearances or a movie?
Yes.  You never know.

Have you and the rest of the New Kids ever discussed what a movie about the group might be like?
We’ve been approached about that.  It’s kind of like when we got back together, we got back together under the right conditions.  Everybody was ready.  We had some music we wanted to record and we had a great manager in Jared Paul, who at the time was Irving Azoff’s right-hand man.  Everything fell into place.  Doing a movie, or having a movie done about our story would have to have the right director, the right script, the right everything.

Our story isn’t the typical boy band story you get now where maybe guys were on a TV show and then Simon Cowell puts them together.  Or when Lou Pearlman was in Orlando throwing all these boy bands together.  Our story’s different.

New Kids pretty much wrote the book on boy bands.  Almost every boy band leads back to New Kids On The Block.
I agree with that. It’s also that their stories are more of a PG13 and ours is more of a rated R.  Coming from Boston, the first few years of being together mostly performing in all urban areas and then going to New York and performing at the Apollo and doing stuff like that, it was all training for us for the future.

What can fans expect from your upcoming solo shows?
They can expect to see singer/songwriter-based shows.  I wanted to make sure I did smaller, more intimate places because I wanted to be able to talk to people and have people feel the record live, just me and the guitar.  I think that’s what people will be expecting. … People will be able to ask questions.

How involved are you with the fans?  Will you have meet-&-greets and/or VIP packages?
I will be doing all of that.  It’s not often they get … to spend some time with one of us.  When [New Kids] plays big arenas everything is kind of set.  The way we do our meet & greets … they know what to expect with that. I think this is going to be a little more intimate.  They get a little more time with me and I’m not going to be in a rush to go off and do the next meet & greet.

After years of meeting fans, do they still surprise you at times?
Putting this record out, yeah, I’ve been very surprised with a lot of things.  We get a lot of emails through my mother’s foundation.  Emails are forwarded to me.  There’s a girl right now going through chemotherapy and she’s like, “Your record came out at the perfect time.  It’s my listening music when I’m getting treatment.”

There’s another girl, [she’s] getting a divorce and she said, “Your record is definitely inspiring me to be strong, to see you’re a single dad doing what you do.” I always get surprised on the road by girls.  The connection with my mother’s foundation … there’s always a surprise with something they say.

How do you balance a career with being a single parent?
Always family first, no matter what.  As much as I can share with my family – touring, these shows coming up, whatever I can do makes it feel more complete. On the last tour we did, “The Main Event” with TLC and Nelly, my daughters and my dad traveled with me, basically the whole tour.  And my son popped in and out, so it’s a family event. Then we had the cruise in the fall and they were all on it.  My son and his girlfriend came on the cruise.  My daughters were there.  My dad has been on every cruise. … I’m lucky that way, that I get to do that.  I just keep family first and try to navigate and share as much as I can because who knows how long this will last.

Throughout the years as a New Kid as well as regarding your own career, what was the best bit of advice anyone has given you?
Probably my mother gave me the best piece of advice.  She always said, “Stay close to home.”  For me, Boston is home.  I live in Miami but I think what she meant was, especially when I had children, keep your children close to you, keep family close.  Every week I’m calling my dad, calling my brother and my sisters and keeping family close.

New seasons of Wahlburgers and Donnie Loves Jenny start in March

The new season of "Wahlburgers" starts March 9 and "Donnie Loves Jenny" starts on March 16 on A&E. The Boston Herald published an article about what to expect in the new seasons.

It’ll be wall-to-wall Wahlbergs on A&E next month as the new seasons of “Wahlburgers” and “Donnie Loves Jenny” kick off.

The Wahlberg chronicles kick off March 9 with “Wahlburgers,” the reality show about Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg’s attempts to achieve global hamburger domination with their Hingham-based franchise and to become the favorite son of mom Alma.

According to A&E, this season will feature special guest appearances by music mogul P. Diddy, NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. and even Pope Francis. And Mark will make his directorial debut shooting a “Wahlburgers” rap video starring “Wahlburgers” regular Johnny Drama, aka Johnny Alves. The video will be shot in New Orleans, and Mark will get an assist from Diddy and Mark’s longtime collaborator Peter Berg, the director of the upcoming Boston Marathon movie “Patriot’s Day.”

Mark will also star in an episode chronicling his hosting gig at the Festival of Families honoring Pope Francis in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Donnie and the New Kids on the Block will put on a special show for mom Alma. Paul, apparently, will be plotzing in the kitchen.

Speaking of Donnie, he and wife Jenny McCarthy will try to transition to suburban life on “Donnie Loves Jenny,” which premieres on March 16. The lovebirds have settled in St. Charles, Ill., near Jenny’s hometown, but fans have found their home. The cameras will also follow the newlyweds as Donnie struggles to pass his motorcycle test and Jenny works with her autism charity.

File Under: Burger Tyme.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Watch Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy's interview with NESN

Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy talked to NESN.com's Michaela Vernava on Radio Row prior to Super Bowl 50. The talk about football, Wahlburgers, the Red Sox and more.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Donnie Wahlberg's article about the NKOTB Super Bowl Halftime show

Donnie recently wrote an article for Playboy about the New Kids on the Block's appearance at the 1991 Super Bowl. He shares what happened behind the scenes, his feelings about the performance and more: 

For millions, the 1991 Bills v. Giants Super Bowl, which aired 10 days into the first Gulf War, will be remembered for Whitney Houston’s ground-shaking performance of the National Anthem. Few people recall that New Kids on the Block headlined the halftime show — the first contemporary pop act to do so. But as Donnie Wahlberg relates here, this had less to do with the performance itself and more to do with an interruption from the President.

Read on for Wahlberg’s account of that very surreal day, what it meant for the band and how it changed pop music.

THE STORY BEHIND NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK’S INSANE (AND PREEMPTED) 1991 HALFTIME SHOW
By Donnie Wahlberg

I was online somewhere a couple years ago and someone had posted something about “The Forgotten Halftime Show.” I was like, “Holy crap!” I had forgotten about it completely. Maybe I blocked it out.

I had gone to my manager’s office in New York. Someone from Disney was there, and someone from the NFL was there. And they asked if we would be interested in performing at halftime. Until that point it was mostly marching bands and floats and stuff like that. And in the meeting they talked about this being an experiment, the first of its kind.

But we weren’t terrifically excited about it — mostly because of the Disney aspect. We were at a point where we’d seen enough dolls and cartoons and toys and merchandise and lunch boxes. We were trying to grow out of the kids stuff and become young men. So here is this amazing Super Bowl halftime situation. But it’s gonna be based all around Disney’s “It’s a Small World.”

It was a conundrum for us — even more so because the night after the Super Bowl we were performing at the American Music Awards. Flavor Flav from Public Enemy was gonna come out. We had 20 dancers on stage, including Jennifer Lopez, which was sort of her big break. It was during the Gulf War and I wore a T-shirt that said “War Sucks.” That performance was going to be the changing of the guard for us. So it was like, “Okay, we’re gonna do this one last performance for everyone else at the Super Bowl. And then tomorrow night at the AMAs we’re gonna do what we want to do.”

Plus the fact that it was the Super Bowl was a big deal. Because most of us were football fans. You mean these people are letting us, these five goofy kids, onto the field at the Super Bowl? Okay.

The whole experience was very surreal because A) it was the Super Bowl, B) it was this massive Walt Disney production and C) there was a war going on. There was a lot of heightened security. A lot of extra focus on that. And here are the five of us standing in the middle of it all.

But that’s how the band is. We get in the most absurd situations. We could be in the middle of 10,000 screaming teenage girls ripping our clothes off and we would be laughing and sharing the joke. I always had fun at events like that. The bigger the spectacle, the more fun I usually had. You know, we saw Whitney there. We said hi to her. But we did a good job of staying calm in big situations.

We were in a green room and right before halftime we walked out to the field. I never rehearsed for the Super Bowl. I was in New York with the dancers and editing the music for our AMAs performance. I flew down the day of, and I missed all the rehearsals. So right before we go onto the field the guys are telling me, “You’re gonna go here and then go there.” I knew what the music was, but I had never walked through the show with all the dancers and all the kids and all the props. Maybe that’s why none of the kids ran up to me and sat in my lap. Or it could’ve been the cutoff T-shirt and the tattoo and the nose ring. I might’ve just given the kids a dirty look.

We were a boy band at a time when boy bands were looked at a little different. We were the only one of our kind at that time. So in 1991, it didn’t add up. “Okay, we’re gonna put a band in the middle of 80,000 screaming guys and they’re gonna stand there watching five boys sing.” I got a sense that most of the people in the building were like, “Get this shit off the field and let us get back to this incredible football game.”

Afterward, we found out it didn’t air during the game. It had been preempted. George Bush made a speech. I’m sure my mom was pissed off that she sat watching this Super Bowl game that our team wasn’t playing in. I’m sure a lot of our fans were upset. But it made me very happy. We all breathed a sigh of relief. And it felt appropriate. I remember when U2 performed at the Super Bowl right after 9/11. When those names were going by and they were singing “Beautiful Day.” I was just in tears watching that. It felt more fitting that George Bush made a speech during halftime than this “Small World” Disney thing.

Some of us stayed on the field after and goofed around. I was seeing old players and retired players walking around and getting to say hi to them. It was a lot of fun. I think we just got back to our tour bus right as the final field goal was being missed by Scott Norwood. I was pulling for the Bills that day. That might be my karma — why the Giants always beat the Patriots nowadays, since I definitely was never a Giants fan.

But that’s why most people don’t know of or acknowledge it as the first of its kind — you know, the grandfather of all these halftime performances: because they didn’t see it.

Michael Jackson gets credit for doing the first one. But I’m sure he was influenced by us doing it before. I’m sure. I don’t think any of these halftime shows would be happening the way they have — I don’t think we would have Nipplegate or any of this stuff — if the New Kids didn’t do it first. There’s always someone, especially in music, who has to go first and take all the hits so someone else can do it later. MC Hammer came out and danced around in flashy clothes, and the spectacle of the show was more important than his rap skills. And he paid the price for that. Ten years later Diddy did the same thing, and it was okay. New Kids on the Block came out and MTV didn’t want to play our videos and Rolling Stone voted us the worst of everything and didn’t want to put us in the magazine. And 10 years later they put NSYNC and Backstreet Boys on the cover. And MTV built a video countdown show for boy bands.

It was the same for the Super Bowl. I don’t know how much pride I take in the actual performance. But I take pride in the fact that we were the first ones to do it.

Donnie Wahlberg's interview with Examiner

The Examiner interviewed Donnie Amy Carlson, and Marisa Ramirez about Blue Bloods and more. Here is Donnie's answers. For the full interview, click here.

Why do you think that Blue Bloods has been so successful?

Wahlberg: I think it's a combination of things, it's has a throwback feel, what i mean by "throwback", two ways, throwback to classic television and classic family. A lot of people can relate to the family dinner scene, if they don't, they can live through it vicariously through the Reagans. If you grew up in a big family like I did, it brings you back to that time in your life. There's definitely an appeal to that.

Where you cast for your role or did you pursue it?

Wahlberg: Cast. I always hoped to play a role like a hotheaded fly by the seat of his pants detective. I’ve done 50 acting roles, maybe 40 of them were cops.

What is it like working with Tom Selleck?

Wahlberg: I feel good about myself in his presence, we work two different ways, but we want the same thing. It’s a great acting situation, off screen mirrors on screen. Tom is a dedicated professional to this show and I’m the same way, wing it, He’s by the book, same intentions.

What is coming up for you in 2016?

Wahlberg: Donnie loves Jenny, Wahlburgers, NKOTB still touring, Rock This Boat, plus Jenny and I have 5 other shows in development, and one with Joe McIntyre for POP TV.