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Interview:
Boys will be boy bands on New Kids on the Block's Package Tour
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Its members may not exactly be kids anymore, but New Kids on the Block are happy to keep company with their boy band brethren.

After successful tours with the Backstreet Boys during 2011-12, the Boston quintet is promoting "10" -- its first new album in five years -- with the appropriately titled Package Tour that includes Boyz II Men (who joined NKOTB onstage at the recent Boston Strong benefit show) and 98 Degrees. Between them the groups account for 22 Top 10 hits and 10 platinum or better albums.

"It's just an action-packed tour -- the hits, everything," says NKOTB's Jordan Knight. "We're really excited about the lineup, and so is the rest of the country; they've shown it through buying tickets. Sales are great. It's a really big tour."

It certainly means a lot to 98 Degrees, the youngest of the three bands. "Boyz II Men were literally our idols and one of the real motivating groups behind our sound and our career," says Nick Lachey, 39. "And New Kids, it goes without saying, were basically the pioneers of the modern-day boy band movement. Between the three groups there's so many hits, so many great songs and so many great performances throughout the night it's a lot of fun, and I know the fans are gonna eat it up."

NKOTB's "10" debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart during April, while 98 Degrees' "2.0" -- the quartet's first new album in 13 years -- bowed at No. 65. The challenge for both groups was straddling a line between sounds that worked for them in the past and approaches they think will score with a more contemporary (and, of course, younger) audience.

"We want to stay current -- all of us do," says NKOTB's Knight, 43. "We want to have a current sound just like any other group out there that's doing music or touring. Whether you've been around 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, you want to sound like you still belong today.

"But you don't want to stray too far from what you're known for or what you do best. You just have to go out and find the right people to collaborate with and write with and can produce you. It's not easy, but it wasn't easy back in the mid-80s, either. It's not supposed to be easy."

New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $29.50-$92.50. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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