There are things that strike fear in the hearts of Jonas Brothers fans around the world — a legion of millions, many of whom are of the young and female and shrieking variety.
One is news that the oldest brother, Kevin Jonas II, is engaged to girlfriend Danielle Deleasa, who he’s been dating since 2007. Then, there’s younger brother Nick Jonas, who finished high school in June — early at 16 — and has voiced a desire to go to college, even visiting Northwestern University recently.
But stifle any concerns that love and learning might break up that old gang o’ theirs, a multi-media Walt Disney empire concern that’s sold more than 8 million albums worldwide and has hit it big on screens both big (“Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert,” “Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience”) and small (“Camp Rock,” “J.O.N.A.S.”). Rest assured that the trio intends to keep going more than just “A Little Bit Longer.”
“We hope to still keep doing this — touring, playing music,” says Kevin, 21. “At the same time, we hope to be making music for other people and doing lots of different things like that. We’ve released an album a year for four years now ... I think just always continually making new music and continuing to put out music is very key in a world that moves so quickly.”
Adds middle brother Joe Jonas, 19, “We know we’re young guys, and we’re on a musical journey ... It’s just about us being able to learn so that our work can show who we are.”
There’s been plenty of that work for fans to absorb, too. Since emerging as a band in 2005, the three Jonases — who, separately, had worked on stage and TV while Nick even made a solo album — have released four studio albums and a pair of soundtracks. Both 2008’s “A Little Bit Longer” and this year’s “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. And besides “Camp Rock” and “J.O.N.A.S.,” their acting résumé includes an upcoming “Camp Rock” sequel and voice work in “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” and they’ll be joined by younger brother Frankie Jonas (often referred to as “the bonus Jonas”) in the film adaptation of the family book series “Walter the Farting Dog.”
The Texas-based Jonases also have worked with developing artists such as “Camp Rock” co-star Demi Lovato and Honor Society, the first signing to their own record label. And its current tour is an in-the-round affair featuring a massive, 144-foot wide stage and an array of visual effects including a circular water screen bringing different images to fans.
About the only thing that hasn’t gone the Jonases way was losing the Grammy Award for Best New Artist earlier this year — but performing with Stevie Wonder at the ceremony was not a bad consolation prize.
“That was really, truly an honor,” recalls Nick. “Just to be able to be at the Grammys for the first time and to be nominated was an honor. And, you know, who knows what the future will hold? Maybe we’ll go back next year.”
The group certainly hopes “Lines, Vines, and Trying Times” has the goods to do that. Kevin says the creative goal for the 12-song set — which features guest appearances by Miley Cyrus, guitarist Johnny Lang and rapper Common — was to “add and build to the sound we already have. I think the overall message is that we’re the same old Jonas Brothers, in a sense, but we’re adding more and more music that has influenced us from the beginning.” Nick, who had a brief romance with Cyrus (Joe more famously dated Taylor Swift), calls the album “our journal in songs ... all things we’ve gone through, personal experiences we get inspiration from.” But acknowledging the continuing influence of Elvis Costello, he added that “we’ve also been working on trying to use metaphors ... to kind of mask a literal thing that happens to us.”
Other inspirations the trio cites for “Lines, Vines” include the Zutons, Prince, Johnny Cash and Kings of Leon, as well as Neil Diamond, who the Jonases saw perform when they took part in the MusicCares Person of the Year tribute during Grammy Awards week in Los Angeles. “We are always trying to grow our musical libraries and learn as much as we can on this musical journey that we’re on,” Nick says.
Growth can be challenging, however, especially for groups staked in particularly young fan bases — as Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block can attest. “Lines, Vines,” in fact, is sitting at a comparatively disappointing 400,00 copies or so sold in the five weeks since its release, while neither of its singles, “Paranoid” or “Fly With Me,” have made the Top 30.
But nobody in the Jonas camp is panicking yet.
“We’re doing what we love and ... we’re always trying to grow and I think our audience is growing as well,” says Nick. “We believe in our fans and believe in their commitment ad their loyalty to us, and we appreciate that.
“We are not limiting ourselves to anything. We are just trying to expand our horizons and make music that we love ... and that our fans can relate to. And we’re going to enjoy every minute of it.”
The Jonas Brothers, Jordin Sparks, Honor Society and Wonder Girls perform at 7 p.m. Sunday (July 26) at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Some tickets remain at $29.50-$89.50. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com. Honor Society and Care Bears on Fire also perform at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Clutch Cargos, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac. Tickets are $19.50, with a $60 four-pack. Call (248) 333-2362 or visit www.clutchcargos.com.
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