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New Kids on the Block: They're back!
Joey McIntyre is still a Kid, but he's been around this block

By Jim Abbott |Sentinel Music Critic
March 10, 2009

Joe McIntyre is on the road again, but not with Dancing with the Stars.

"I'd like to get that a little lower down" on the resume," McIntyre says, laughing, in a phone interview from his Los Angeles home. "Not that I'm not proud of it. I have a great sense of humor about it. I learned a lot from that show."

Yet in a career that includes a leading-man stint on Broadway and a role on TV's Boston Public, it's not the thingfor which he most wants to be remembered.

No worries. That undoubtedly will be New Kids on the Block, the boy-band-that- begat-all- boy-bands that is once again inspiring screams on a well-received reunion tour that stops tonight at Amway Arena. Without Dancing with the Stars, it might not have happened, McIntyre says."The manager for that tour, Jared Paul, is our manager now," he says. "It's how we started working together. I saw how he worked and how he put that tour together. I thought he was capable and knew the animal enough that if we wanted to make it happen, he could facilitate it. That was definitely part of turning the ignition."

Now that the engine is running, McIntyre says that the experience is fun, if occasionally weird. At 36, McIntyre is about 10 years older than many of the original fans who are returning to see him and other no-longer-kids Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood. Teenagers learning about the group from "Click Click Click" and the Ne-Yo collaboration "Single" off the 2008 reunion The Block are also in the mix. "We've had a hit video with a lot of airplay, so there are these young teenage fans," McIntyre says. "I see these teenage girls looking up, screaming, and it's trippy. It's a range of emotions.

"It can feel rock 'n roll and it can feel weird at the same time. It depends on the moment. I don't know if our fans are brainwashing the next generation or they really like us, but they seem to be having a good time."

That goes for the Kids on stage, too."Yeah, it is fun," McIntyre says. "I think our fans our happy and even the critics had to give it up a bit, too."

Whether it's rehearsing for a tour or putting together an album, being in the New Kids has always involved diplomatic compromise, McIntyre says. On stage, "we didn't want to run around like banshees, like we did in the day. But we didn't want to sit on stools and sing the songs. So there's more choreography now than back in the day. There were arguments and stuff, but we really hit the right vibe.

"There were plenty of days when it was like, 'Oh man, how's this gonna come together?' Because we're all the bosses, you can't really bark at the boss."

That relationship goes back to the group's formation, which was organic compared with the boy-band formulas atwork from the 1990s to the new era of Disney-spawned pop stars.

"We're special in the sense that it wasn't this big cattle call," McIntyre says. "It wasn't American Idol; it wasn't Making the Band.

"We all have a lot of character but as performers, to come together and be on the same page is the biggest challenge. The more you do that, the more you're going for the same goal, the bigger the payoff. We were able to do that in a big way."

So does McIntyre feel a sense of deja vu when he watches the screaming fans of Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus? "My son is only 15 months, so I don't have any kids that would be following it. As far as the hysteria is concerned, I can identify with that. I don't know any of their songs."

On the business side, however, Jonas Brothers' reality is vastly different, he says. "We had 10 Top-10 records, but a lot of people said it flew under their radar because our audience was so young. Now, it's like the media has changed the way it's marketed. People respond much differently now than they did in 1989."

Will there be another New Kids album and tour?

"This could very well be the last hurrah, which would be great," McIntyre says. "But we enjoy the process and I think we love to do what we do. Personally, I would never close the door."