Boy band nostalgia still seems to be the in thing in music right now. Take That reformed and were bigger and more successful than they were in their 1990s heyday and now everybody seems to be getting in on the act. Boyzone are back together, Backstreet Boys are still at it and there are even talks that *NSYNC are going to reform (well, Lance Bass did say that there was a good chance of it happening in an interview recently).
I never imagined that New Kids on the Block would ever perform together again or let alone go on tour again and release another album, but they proved that wrong! They're BACK!
Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Jonathan and Joey were all in London last week to promote their British tour dates, which will be January and their new album The Block. Funnily enough, I think that the guys all look even better than they did back in 1991, when I saw them live several times at London's Wembley Arena. That year, they did two UK tours. A load of dates in May of that year (when they played 14 shows at London Wembley Arena!!) and then they returned in December 1991. The May 1991 tour was a massive success, with the band being almost held hostage in five star hotels across Europe by frenzied fans who spent the night outside the hotels in their hundreds. However, this was the first group I properly followed around and I wasn't the only fan who noticed the strain and general exhaustion of the members of the group during that December 1991 tour. They had enough by the time they came back to London in 1994 for a brief promotional visit, they snubbed their fans outside the hotel they stayed at and didn't give a shit anymore. It came as no surprise that they split for good soon afterwards. Still, the guys have gained plenty of other success themselves after having been in New Kids. Donnie Walhberg has gained success as an actor as well as his younger brother Mark Walhberg (who was actually an original member of New Kids on the Block!) Jordan Knight has had success as a solo singer and producer, Danny Wood has produced other artists and owns a record label, Joe McIntyre has been a star of the musical theatre, having had several roles on Broadway productions and Jonathan Knight left the music biz altogether to run his own real estate business. All of them have married and have children, apart from Jonathan who is known to be gay, but has never actually admitted to it openly.
New Kids on the Block changed my life. They were the first ever group I went crazy about, even though I was never actually a big fan of some of their cheesiest tunes! I just loved the excitement and their concerts were always energetic, fun entertainment and great to watch. It was something to talk about at school and I was envied by hundreds of other girls all over the country when I got my picture in now defunct UK teen magazine Just Seventeen. Why? because I was just very lucky to have caught the attention of one of Donnie's brothers, Jimbo, who I met during one of the concerts and he told me what hotel the group were staying at, so I went. I lied about my age, of course, just like we all did back then. I said I was 18, but I was still an innocent and shy 15 year-old who skipped school to go to the posh hotel and make an attempt to find Jim Walhberg and hope that he would take me to meet Donnie and the others. I was one of the few lucky ones whose blagging and patience succeeded. I got right into the hotel in front of the hundreds screaming and shouting behind the barriers and from what I remember, less than an hour later I was sitting in a hotel suite with Jordan, Jonathan and some of the crew in the presidential suite. At the time, the whole scenario was like in a dream, but there were several other meetings that came after that. A couple of Smash Hits awards after parties, more encounters in hotels and even jealous threats from other fans. Without New Kids on the Block, I would not be doing what I do today. My clothing designing first came from when I screenprinted homemade New Kids t-shirts in our school art room! The photographing bands in different countries came from the thrill of trying to snap Joey with a disposible camera coming out of a hotel side entrance, or smuggling your cameras into Wembley. This was long before digital cameras, cellphones and the internet, but all of us managed to find out where the guys were staying and what their itineraries were without the current technology there is around now. It was just all about dedication and word of mouth. I may have been into New Kids, who were either loved or hated, but I was also very into Guns 'n' Roses and Nirvana which is more like what I'm still into these days, but the most important thing about following New Kids was meeting so many friends who I still stay in touch with today. We're all excited about meeting up again in January when the guys are back.
New Kids on the Block, Take That, Boyzone and Backstreet Boys have had the second chance and done it right.
So, Justin, Joey, Lance, JC and Chris listen up!
Bring back *NSYNC!!