Way before Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, One Direction, and The Wanted, there was New Kids on the Block. And OMG, did these Hangin' Tough boys start somethin'.
For almost a decade, Donnie, Danny, Jordan, Jonathan, and Joey had the world's teenage female population obsessed with their smooth "Step By Step" moves. Dozens of hits later, even after they begged their screaming teen fans to "Please Don't Go Girl," NKOTB Face[d] the Music and called it quits in 1994.
Almost 15 years later, the not-so-New Kids reunited and released their first studio album in 14 years, The Block, embarked on a series of concert cruises (most of which have set sail from the 305 and have featured special performances from Naughty By Nature), and toured with the Backstreet Boys.
And today, they're still doing their boy band thang. Earlier this year, NKOTB released another album, 10, and broke the news of The Package Tour with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees.
Crossfade spoke with former teenage heartthrob Danny Wood as he and his buds prepare to show off their package at the BB&T Center on June 22. The New Kid fessed up about his dream performing with Boyz II Men, his views on O.P.P., and how the boy bands of today compare with NKOTB.
Crossfade: How has it been touring with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees?
Danny Wood: It's been really really great. We have a really tight bond with Boyz II Men, especially because they go back a little bit further and [we] were already friends with them and have been wanting to do something with them for a couple of years, and we have 98 Degrees getting back together. It's a great show for girls to see.
NKOTB broke up in the early/mid 90s. What made you guys get back together?
In 2008, it was music. Donnie played me "Click Click Click" and that was the start of our 2008 album, The Block. It's kind of like we always did things for the love of music. We weren't gonna get back together for a reunion tour. We wanted to make music and it worked out pretty good.
As one of the original boy bands, I'm sure you've had many things thrown at you on stage by obsessed teenaged fans. Any bras?
[Laughs] A little bit. For me, I don't have a specific story. The first time around, it was a blur. It was more difficult to soak it all in and enjoy it at that age... I mean, these days that doesn't happen that much because the girls are older and not throwing bras on stage or anything. Our fans got together [once] and pitched in for a full-page ad in Billboard when our new album went out. We have a special bond with our fans.
Tell me about Naughty Kids on the Block. How did that happen?
We just reached out to [Naughty by Nature] ... We grew up listening to hip-hop and were fans of it already. Our audience relates to it. It's not a stretch at all. And actually, Naughty By Nature did our cruise with us a few years ago. They're just really great performers and entertainers.
Are you down with O.P.P.?
[Laughs] No. I'm a family man. I'm a single dad. I wouldn't really classify myself.
NKOTB started off really young and practically grew up in the spotlight.
We didn't really keep in touch. We were together for such a long time, we needed that time. I have always kept in touch with Donnie. We've been friends since the first grade, but getting back together now, we have an appreciation for each other and have worked very hard. The bond isn't easy to describe. We really enjoy each other's company. That's what separates us from a lot of groups. We grew up together, and no once can break that bond.
How do boy bands of today, like One Direction, Big Time Rush, and The Wanted compare with NKOTB?
I don't really know. I don't know much about them, my daughters do. We take a lot of pride in our performances. We come from a different generation. We don't pay attention. They're doing a different thing than us. I honestly really don't know. But watching the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync come after us, they were really good groups and carried the torch well.
NKOTB recently released its latest album, 10. Will you mainly be performing new releases?
We [released] it on our own and it entered the charts and we did well. No record company, just us. [But] we don't overload the new songs. We will never be the kind of group that puts on a new record and performs all of the new songs, but the majority of the show is all of the hits.
Did you ever think that 20 years later you would be getting together with NKOTB and touring the world with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees?
I'm living beyond my dream. It's like winning the lottery twice. It doesn't really happen. For it to happen twice, it's pretty incredible. We take a lot of pride and wanna keep on doing it for years to come. Boyz II Men, for me ... They're such an amazing group. They've had many hits. They're nice guys and we can relate to them. This is it. To be working with Boyz II Men is definitely a dream come true.
What are your future plans?
We take a break. And hopefully, next year, we tour overseas maybe with both the same groups or a different package, maybe more European, but definitely take a break... We'll always be open minded. I don't know what it will be, but it's a process. It's all dictated by the fans.
The Package Tour. With New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, and 98 Degrees. Saturday, June 22. BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $25.75 to $89.50 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Call 954-835-8000 or visit thebbtcenter.com.
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