Wednesday, July 3, 2024

New article from Palm Springs Desert Sun

Jordan was interviewed for an article from the Palm Springs Desert Sun!

New Kids on the Block member says 'we feel like kids' ahead of Saturday local show
Brian Blueskye
Palm Springs Desert Sun

After 40 years together, the members of New Kids on the Block are no longer the "kids" they were when they signed their first recording contract. But the beloved boy band is still going strong and having a great time.

During a recent interview with The Desert Sun ahead of the group's July 6 concert at Acrisure Arena, Jordan Knight said even though he and his fellow members are all in their 50s now, they still maintain a youthful spirit.

“When we’re on stage, we feel like kids, and we want the audience to feel that way too. We want people to feel free and have a child-like kind of mind, to forget about everyday life and let it all go, have fun, dance and act like you’re singing in the shower. Just be yourself and let go," Knight said.

New Kids on the Block returned this spring

This youthful spirit is evident in the title track of the group's eighth album, "Still Kids," which was released in May.

"Still Kids" is the band's first album in 11 years, and includes 14 new tracks of pop anthems, dance tracks, love songs and more. Donnie Wahlberg co-wrote seven songs and was the album's creative director, and Joey McIntyre co-wrote six songs. According to a press statement promoting the album, Wahlberg described it as "the most mature album we've ever made, yet it's (also) the most fun and comfortable album we've ever made."

New Kids on the Block is also celebrating and reimagining its "Magic Summer 1990" tour at the height of its fame, and is currently on the road for "Magic Summer 2024." The tour includes a mix of new songs, greatest hits, fan favorites and surprises, and features all five of the most recent band members: Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight and Danny Wood.

Creative freedom was an advantage for New Kids on the Block

During the '80s and '90s, New Kids on the Block sold millions of albums. The self-titled 1986 debut sold three million copies in the U.S. and the 1990 album "Hangin' Tough" sold 15 million internationally. But the band made these albums under enormous pressure from Columbia Records and producer Maurice Starr to produce radio hits for commercial success.

Knight said having creative freedom while working on "Still Kids" was incredibly advantageous, and that the amicable work environment led to the creation of a more intimate album and songs with a broad commercial appeal.

"The best thing you can do is try to do both at the time time, that's the sweet spot. I think that's what we did with the song "Still Kids," because it's got an '80s vibe that goes back to synthesizers, but music from the '80s and that synthesizer sound are in vogue right now," Knight said.

Most 'blockheads' are women between 40 and 55

According to a June live review by Jon Bream of the Star Tribune, most New Kids on the Block fans — known as "blockheads" — are mostly women between ages 40 and 55. But Knight said he noticed a growing intergenerational fanbase coming to concerts during the band's 2017 tour and assumes that's because of their parents or the internet.

“It’s really cool that even a younger crowd gets into us. Sometimes we ask ourselves what the hoopla is all about, but it’s a blessing and goes to show that when you have fun and put your heart into it, it’s infectious. I hope that’s why and I believe that is why the younger generation is into an old ladies band like us," Knight said.

Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block perform at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2019 in New York City.

Too much merchandise over commercialized New Kids on the Block

In 1994, New Kids on the Block went on a 14-year hiatus after declining record sales and the dismal reception of the album "Face the Music." The musical landscape was changing, fans were getting older and there was an exorbitant amount of merchandise such as dolls, buttons, posters and bed sheets that over commercialized the band. Wood told People in May that “Things just got too big."

According to Knight, most of the merchandise in department stores and malls was there because the band's manager approved all merchandising while New Kids on the Block were busy touring.

“It really got on our nerves. They wouldn’t make sure a picture looked good, or that a piece of merchandise was something we would want to reflect on us, and everything was pink. When we sell t-shirts at our concerts, that’s great. Everybody wants to take a piece of the experience home with them and we had no problem with that, but it was just everywhere we looked. It was some goofy doll, a lunchbox or whatever. The fans ate it up but to me it was too much," Knight said.

'We're not spring chickens anymore'

While discussing how the band prepared for "Magic Summer 2024," Knight said rehearsals and physical conditioning to perform the two-hour shows featuring lots of singing and choreography took place in May a month before the tour began.

"We're not spring chickens anymore" Knight said. "We can't be out there partying, drinking and burning the candle at both ends after a show. We pace ourselves, take care of ourselves, watch what we eat, keep our bodies in shape and make sure we enjoy the show that we put together. That gives us vitality."

There's an added bonus of touring behind a new album: New choreography, routines and moments in the show.

“That’s always fun creatively, the diehard fans always want new stuff. Everybody wants to see us do the hits, that’s the meat and potatoes of the show, but people also want to see the other songs, new songs, and new looks. That’s a great thing for us and breathes new life into the show.”

If you go

What: New Kids on the Block in concert

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 6

Where: Acrisure Arena, 75-702 Varner Road, Palm Desert

Cost: Tickets start at $51.50


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