Kids 2 Men

16 May 2012 | 6:30 am | Bryget Chrisfield

Ever wondered what happened to that teddy bear you threw on stage at a New Kids On The Block concert? Jordan Knight reveals to Bryget Chrisfield, “I used to save ‘em and send a whole box to, like, a girl that I was trying to woo.”


New Kids On The Block + Back Street Boys = NKOTBSB. So that's New Kids On The Back Street Boys. What? I guess it's too late to rethink merging two 'B's. When asked how long ago it was that his band touched down on Australian soil, NKTOB's lead singer Jordan Knight ponders, “Ah, 1992. It was 20 years ago.” His memory serves him well: “We were living the life, man. It was fun, fun, fun. I just remember all the models. I remember beautiful scenery in the city. I remember going to Perth and I remember jet skiing in Sydney Harbour, seeing our pictures in the paper the next day.”

There's been a shortage of internationally successful boy bands this century – that is, until One Direction. Knight agrees, “True, very true. Um, the last phase it seems was, like, the Back Street Boys and 'N Sync phase.” On the extremely young average age of One Directioners, Knight acknowledges, “they sure do” start young, adding cheekily, “Those damn boy bands. They steal hearts.” And pocket money for merch purchases! “That's right!” he laughs.

The view from the stage at a NKOTBSB show must be vastly different these days. “Oh, it's a beautiful view of our fans that are all grown up,” Knight claims. “No more pigtails and braces. There are mothers and daughters, but I'll tell you this: most of our fans wanna get away from their daughters, they want a night out. That's what our concert is: it's a girl's night out. They're like, 'You have One Direction, we have the New Kids. I'm gettin' away from you and your father [laughs] and going with my girls to see New Kids On The Block.”

Some of the meet'n'greets are bound to get pretty wild. “It gets crazy,” Knight admits. “When they see us it's like they relive their memories of when their life was simple and fun, and they're just discovering boys. And, you know, there's a lot of positive energy flying around.” Nothing like getting a new profile pic posing next to your idol, huh? “True that! Yeah, each time I take a picture with someone, instead of saying cheese I say, 'Say Facebook!'” Do long-term fans bring photos from back in the day? “Yeah, they do and actually 'touching' is a good word, because you see those photos and it's kind of – we grew up together with our fans and there's a lotta history.”

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Putting the setlist together for these combined shows must have taken some serious man-hours. “It did,” Knight confirms. “You put all the songs up on the board and you go back and forth with the other band, and you go back and forth with your own band, and you figure out the pace of the show and what songs that the fans are gonna wanna see. You take into account that the other group's fans are gonna be in the crowd, so you have to do either something that's really catchy or something that was a hit.” Also, thanks to choreographer Kevin Maher, Knight promises, “There'll be some fun, nifty choreography in this show”.

Recalling the audition process for NKTOB, Knight shares, “I sang about two lines and I was in the group. My brother [Jonathan] showed up, he was in the group [laughs]. The producer of the group [Maurice Starr], he knew that Donnie [Wahlberg] was my friend and then [Starr] had me sing a couple of lines and answer a couple of questions and then we were on our way.” Knight joined NKTOB at the “tender age” of 13, but Knight recalls, “By the time we got really famous I was 18 so we didn't really need chaperones. I was free to go. I mean, our manager didn't want us acting crazy or anything like that, but we were tame. Well, we weren't tame, but we weren't bad. We were mischievous, but we weren't destructive.” 

At the height of their fame, NKOTB probably received many bizarre offerings. “Nah, I never got bizarre things,” Knight counters. “I think it was just bizarre that everybody sent me teddy bears. I was an 18-year-old guy, you know? We're not interested in teddy bears!” So what was the fate of these countless soft toys, lovingly flung onstage by diehard fans? “I used to save 'em and send a whole box to, like, a girl that I was trying to woo,” Knight confesses. Wouldn't the recipients have realised these were re-gifts? “Even if they did know, I think they didn't really care,” he assures. “I think it was the thought that counted.”