Saturday, July 11, 2009


When it comes to their albums and tours, the Jonas Brothers say they want to be on the cutting edge.

That’s why the group’s world tour, which plays Tuesday and Wednesday at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and July 23 and 24 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, has a 140-feet-long, 30-feet-wide in-the round stage, a giant crane levitating over the audience and a one-of-a-kind circular water screen that not only makes it rain indoors, but projects lyrics and band silhouettes onto the cascading water.

But when it comes to music, the Jonases say they found inspiration for their chart-topping new disc, ”Lines, Vines & Trying Times,” in Neil Diamond’s music from the 1960s and ’70s. The disc, which this week dropped to No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart after debuting at the top two weeks ago, features heavy horns and strings on several of the tracks.

The Jonases — Nick, 16, Joe, 19, and Kevin, 21 — even cover Diamond’s ”Sweet Caroline” in concert.

Nick says they were ”inspired” by Diamond after performing his song ”Forever in Blue Jeans” in a pre- Grammy Awards MusiCares Foundation tribute to him in February.

”It really got us pumped about all that he’s done in his career and how amazing he is,” Nick says. ”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. So we tried to infuse that in some of our sounds.”

Kevin adds, ”I think we hope to bring music that hasn’t been heard in pop music in a while. There are a lot of horns in this new record. There are a lot of new strings and there are a lot of different musical instruments that are going to add and build to the sound that we already have.”

Diamond wasn’t the only inspiration. Nick also cites Stevie Wonder — with whom the group performed at the Grammys — Prince, Kings of Leon, English indie rockers The Zutons and his favorite, Elvis Costello.

”We are always trying to grow our music libraries and learn as much as we can on this musical journey that we’re on,” Nick says. ”Our musical evolution continues to be about discovering new music … This album is taking steps and just trying to learn as much as we can and continue to grow.”

Growth may be a necessity for the Jonas Brothers. While they’ve sold more than 8 million records worldwide and nearly a million tickets to this tour, starred in their own concert movie and have a hit Disney Channel TV show, they also are pushing the typical shelf life of boy bands. ”Lines, Vines & Trying Times” is the fourth CD for the Jonas Brothers; the popularity of boy bands ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys lasted three albums each.

The brothers are also at the age when teen idol status soon no longer fits. Kevin last week, for example, became engaged to Danielle Deleasa, 22.

”I think we’re always trying to grow and I think our audience is growing as well and I think that it would be good to grow with the audience,” Nick says. ”As far as a limited shelf life, we’re doing what we love and we know that our fans will grow up with us. And although this has been said before, we believe in our fans and believe in their commitment and their loyalty to us and we appreciate that.”

An added concern is that the Jonases are in an age when the traditional record industry is faltering.

”You think about that every day as an artist in this generation,” Kevin says. ”Just 10 years to 15 years ago, the Britney Spearses and the ‘N Syncs of the world were selling a million records in the first day of their album release and they were selling arenas out. … But no one’s selling 10 million records anymore. I think everyone wants to take new steps toward new ideas and new technologies that will allow music to get out there.”

And this tour gives fans a spectacle to remember. With a stage that’s surrounded by seats and slowly rotates, ”there’s not just one row of 20 seats that are in the front row — they are over the entire bottom half of the arena plus the upper deck is essentially a front row ticket,” Kevin says.

The circular water curtain, Kevin says, ”is a production element that we are very excited about. It’s only been done a certain way where it’s been completely just a straight line. We’ve developed a new way to do this and I don’t want to give too much away about it, but it will add a very interesting effect. Especially in the round, it will feel like you’re in a whole other world once you enter into the arena that night.”

Now coming up on five years in the business, the brothers are asked where they see themselves five years from now.

”We hope to be still you know doing this, of course — touring, playing music,” Kevin says. ”At the same time we hope to be making music for other people and doing lots of different things like that.”

They already are. This week they announced they’ve started their own record label, and have signed the tour’s opening act, Honor Society, with whom they’ve also written. They also have written for Disney star Demi Lovato, who’s signed to their management group.

Says Nick Jonas: ”We’re continuing to learn as much as we can and really enjoying every moment. This has been an amazing ride we’re on and we’re learning a lot every day and we’re so thankful to have the opportunities that we do have.”

source: The Morning Call