June 16, 2009
Posted: 12:29 PM ET
In advance of their appearance on LKL Thursday, the Jonas Brothers have given LKL exclusive, unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to one of the hottest bands in the world, on their world tour. LKL producer Quinn Brown is embedded with the band and filed this report from the third stop on their tour, London.
The Finale: I Just Want to Play My Music
“Go! Go! Now! GO!”
Abdiel, the band’s security ace,l is giving our driver an earful. He knows that if we linger at London’s Wembley Arena, the site of the last Jonas Brothers 3 city/3 date “kamikaze” tour of Europe, we will not make it through the oncoming flood of teenage hormones.
And suddenly I was looking around for a young John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I didn’t personally experience Beatlemania, but I have seen the videos. The brothers Jonas have a long way to go to reach the Fab Four’s musical heights (remember, their average age is 19), but in three years they’ve already learned how to retain their balance while riding rollercoaster of success.
Like the Beatles, they’ve mastered the delicate art of escaping a crowd crush without offending people. The UK is an especially tough place for the boys to get around. We arrived at our hotel in the Soho district at the unfriendly 5am hour, yet there already was a sizable pack of young ladies waiting for a glimpse of the Jonai.
That was only the beginning.
We went to BBC for a radio interview and performance, barely squeezing through the crowd to get in the studio. But despite a much larger crowd waiting for their exit, the brothers decided not only to wade into the madness but to play an impromptu sidewalk acoustic show (see it on Larry King Live Thursday and CNN.Com/larryking in the coming days) as well! I’m still not sure how the guys made it into the van. Even with Big Rob clearing a path, the Jonases just kind of popped into the car as though the crowd had given birth to them.
And it didn’t stop there. At one point, we began conducting an interview in the back of the car. I sat facing to the back of the van as we navigated the streets of London. Gradually, we became aware that what I can only describe as a mob was moving toward us on foot.. Traffic was congested. The throng of fans kept getting closer. And closer. I’ll be honest–I was a little frightened. Joe, Nick, and Kevin? Not the least bit concerned. Instead, they were pointing out an abnormally tall guy walking on the opposite sidewalk and laughing!
I should note, this hysteria wasn’t limited to London. At the Paris show, I was shooting video in the photo pit (the 4 foot gap between the stage and the crowd) and was continually swatted at by angry teenage ladies. Forget that I’m a good guy who was just trying to do his job. To them, I was nothing more than an annoying obstacle to the musical heartthrobs they idolize.
The reason the Jonas Brothers have achieved massive success is not only due to their maddeningly catchy music, but also to their ability to take the trappings and distractions of celebrity in stride. Crazed fans are dealt with respectfully. Rather than running away or ducking every autograph request, they will allow their first-rate security team to get a hold on the situation, then join the fans in something that turns out to be a genuinely communal experience. These guys get a lot from their admirers. But they give back, too.
At the end of the day, the reason these young men are able to remain grounded in the midst of international craziness is that, for them, this really is about the music. I will admit– I was not sure what to expect when I was given this assignment. To say that I am picky about my music is an understatement—and then some. So I could understand why some older people (read: post-20) might look at these guys and think “boy band” or “prepackaged.” They are neither. Craft is important to them. Nick, the youngest, wrote an album in 8 days on vacation. Joe has clearly studied his frontman idols, and he connects with his young audience in a genuine way. Kevin is always fiddling with a guitar or humming or plotting the band’s next surprise appearance or business move.
Though still young, the Jonas Brothers are mature in their artistic acumen. I have to admit, they startled me with their musical sophistication more than a few times. After telling the guys they should add “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer to their set (they have practiced it, turns out), Nick mentioned that his song “Poison Ivy” was influenced by that band. Exactly right. You can hear that plainly in the hooks and the bursting chorus, even the phrasing. Later, we were all talking about our Top Five band lists, and I was surprised to share a couple with the guys (Rolling Stones, The Band). There were a couple of “musician’s musician” types - like Elvis Costello and Johnny Cash – we had in common, too.. Kings of Leon was discussed (who were also playing London last night) and Kevin relayed a hilarious story about meeting them and the Followill gang (KOL is made up of brothers and a cousin). He said they should all form a family band supergroup.
As with every night of what one member of the Jonas tour team called “The Gitmo Tour” (sleep deprivation has been a constant problem for everybody), the day ended with the concert. The brothers saved their best for last. Chants of “Jonas! Jonas!” started at least 30 minutes before the band walked out, and the crowd devoured everything the boys gave them. Opening act Demi Lovado joined for a song. The Jonas’ friends in the band McFly came out for a big superjam. The production was big. The performance was mistake-free and relentless. Conquest of Europe complete.
We did interview after interview with the guys, and I have to say, simply, that they are gentlemen. I could tell you everything about those interviews here on the LKL blog, but then I would be stealing Larry’s thunder. Want to hear about Kevin’s other artistic muse? Want to know about Nick’s presidential aspirations? Want to know what Joe really wants to be doing in five years? Tune in to LARRY KING LIVE Thursday, and find out!
From around the web
Go Behind The Scenes
LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.
With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.