Friday, July 24, 2009

Jonas Brothers Post Gazette

The Jonas Brothers are on the phone and getting a little testy about a line of questioning regarding the jump in ticket prices for the current tour from $47.50 to $89.50.
Kevin, the oldest JoBro at 21, is explaining a theater-in-the-round stage concept he helped design that makes the front rows stretch the whole length of the arena.
“OK,” the reporter in the teleconference says. “But how do you explain the ticket price in this economy?”
“I think essentially,” Nick, 16, jumps in, “we wanted to find a way to provide a bigger and better show for our fans, and this was one of the ways we had to do so.”
“OK,” the reporter persists. “So you don’t have any concern about the ticket price?”
Jonas BrothersWith: Jordin Sparks, The Honor Society.Where: Mellon Arena.When: 7 p.m. Saturday.Tickets: Sold out.“Sir,” Nick says sternly. “I think you’ve asked your follow-up question. We’d like to move on. Thank you very much.”
Maybe this will help clear it up. It takes a team of 180 people — 80 traveling with the tour and 100 locally — up to 10 hours to construct the 140-foot-long stage, which travels in 19 trucks. There are 13 buses for the backing band and crew, and the Jonases are traveling with their parents on a leased 767.
There’s your $89.50.
Brothers Breakin’ out
Two years ago, the Jonas Brothers — a nearly self-contained group more akin to Hanson than ‘N Sync — were playing the Palace Theatre and a year before that, the Rex Theatre on the South Side.
Things weren’t looking so good then. The three musical brothers from New Jersey, originally a solo project for Nick, were signed to Columbia Records in 2005, released a delayed debut album in 2006 and were summarily dropped by the label in 2007.
Bad move, Columbia.
Hollywood Records picked up the JoBros and hitched them to Hannah Montana’s rising star, with an appearance on her TV show and an opening slot on her tour.
“I think the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus tour being our first arena tour was a big learning experience for us,” says Nick, who doubles as Cyrus’ boyfriend. “It kind of showed us that you really have to play to the last person in the arena and make them feel just as much as part of a show as the person in the front row.”
It won them a legion of screaming teen and tween fans, contributing to the breakout success of a self-titled second album, which is close to double platinum, and last year’s follow-up, “A Little Bit Longer,” which moved 1.5 million and actually won the group critical acclaim, including four-star reviews from Rolling Stone and Blender.
The past year has been huge for the Jonas Brothers, starting with the “Camp Rock” movie, the sold-out “Burning Up” tour, an American Music Award, two MTV Video Music Awards and a Best New Artist nomination. They lost that to Adele but won the night by getting to share the stage with Stevie Wonder.
“I think for us, the win was in performance,” Nick says. “Performing with Stevie Wonder was an experience that we’ll never forget, and we’re very thankful. We know that we’re young guys and that that was really, truly an honor and we’re so thankful to him and his team for making it happen.”
The past year has also brought a performance at the White House, a 3-D concert film that grossed a so-so $19 million and a Monkees-like Disney sitcom “JONAS,” which drew 4 million viewers for its premiere in May.
Getting parodied on “South Park” for the purity rings was another sign that the boys had arrived.
“I think we always like to, you know, be open to make fun of ourselves you know we’ll be the first to,” Nick says, in response to that. “We did it on ‘SNL’ and it was kind of fun.”
Brothers branching out
The tour that brings the Jonas trio to the Mellon Arena Saturday coincides with the release of a “Lines, Vines and Trying Times,” a fourth album that takes a few more chances, as bands have to do at this stage.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a big jump, but it definitely is a progression in our music and a growth for us,” says 19-year-old frontman Joe. “It has a lot of more kind of horns and a lot more strings. Also there’s more to the music rather than just a typical kind of relationship song.”
Partial inspiration came from an unlikely 68-year-old source.
“During the Grammy season,” Nick says, “we had the honor of being able to perform one of Neil Diamond’s songs, ‘Forever in Blue Jeans.’ And we were sitting in the audience watching people play all of his songs and really realizing how amazing his career has been and being inspired by his band and all that he’s done. So we tried to infuse that in some of our sounds as well and there’s some bands out of the U.K., the Zutons, who are really excellent and also I think we can all agree that the new Kings of Leon record is fantastic. So you know we’re just trying to grow and continue to learn and have fun.
“The songs that are on the new album are all things that we’ve really gone through, you know, personal experiences, that’s where we get all our inspiration from,” Nick adds. “But also we’ve been working on trying to use metaphors, in a way, to kind of mask a literal thing that happened to us. I think that, personally, Elvis Costello is excellent at doing that. And listening to his music and trying to do our best to imitate that gift that he has of being able to tell a story with using metaphors, I think is so, so cool, and we’re working on that.”
Interviews with Nick Jonas repeatedly come around to Elvis Costello, a name that Justin Timberlake, Nick Carter and Taylor Hanson never would have dropped. Nick and Costello even did an interview together for Rolling Stone.
That’s not to say that Elvis fans should run out and buy “Lines, Vines and Trying Times” or even expect any morsel of it to sound like him. (He might be saving that for later.) As the recent Rolling Stone cover story noted, the Jonases occupy “an enormous gray area” between teen-pop like ‘N Sync and contemporary rock bands like The Fray.
“Don’t Speak” is a stab at a song in the U2/Coldplay vein. “World War III” has more of Prince’s stamp. “Poison Ivy” has been rightly described as kind of “Weezer-ish” and “Don’t Charge Me for the Crime” is an urban foray with rapper Common that isn’t going to convince anyone that the Jonases are ghetto.
“We know we’re young guys and we’re on a musical journey, so it’s much in the process,” Joe says. “You know people’s perception of who we are as musicians and songwriting and things is not so much the issue, it’s just about us being able to learn so that you know our work can show who we are.”
How long that lasts is anyone’s guess. The Backstreet Boys had about six years at the top, ‘N Sync more like five and Hanson just three.
“We’re doing what we love and we know that our fans will grow up with us,” Nick says. “And although this has been said before, we believe in our fans and believe in their commitment and their, you know, loyalty to us, and we appreciate that. And we’re just so thankful that we’ve been given these opportunities and we’re going to enjoy every moment of it.”
While the three brothers progress, trying to avoid the mistakes and internal conflicts of other teen bands, they have a tight bond between them.
“For us it’s also about the family base,” Nick says. “We’ve made that rule No. 1 from day one, that making sure that the family comes first and that we focus on that. That’s the priority, and also we live by the rule: We live life if it’s at the top like we’re at the bottom, which basically means stay humble and keep the right attitude.
“A lot of people are surprised that we do get along and we are each other’s best friends. It kind of makes us laugh because you know a brothers do fight and things, but we just really don’t have the time.”
Source:Post Gazette