It’s about two hours before New Kids on the Block will electrify a swelling throng of fans at Philips Arena with their new buddies in the Backstreet Boys and what is Jordan Knight doing?
Eating a piece of chocolate cake.
The slender, handsome Knight is wearing jeans and a blue and white checkered shirt over a white T – his normal attire before transforming into a black-clad heartthrob who, at 41, possesses impressive abs that he’ll occasionally flash to the receptive crowd.
In the bowels of Philips Arena, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg walk down a hallway, Wahlberg’s sturdy boxer dog Lumpy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bedGtRS_uvg) pulling him along.
BSB’s Brian Littrell, a Georgia resident with family at tonight’s show, also breezes by, sporting long shorts and a grin.
But Knight’s pre-show ritual in Atlanta involves nothing exciting, just dinner in a backstage catering room peppered with roadies and a few banquet tables of food.
We head toward a quieter table in the back, where Knight is eager to chat about his solo album, “Unfinished,” released at the end of May, as well as the current boy band mega-tour selling out arenas nationwide.
In a half-hour interview, Knight, his Boston accent and dimples still prominent, talks candidly about missing his kids (they don’t travel with the show because, “This is more like sailor life, like pirates. It’s just crazy.”), how he stays in shape and his inspiration for the melodic, hook-filled “Unfinished.”
On touring with BSB
“It’s been so great. When you see another group come up and they’re kinda like you, when you’re younger there might be, like a rivalry. But they don’t have a name for nothin’. They’re really good. I’m a big fan.”
On staying in shape
“We do a two-hour show, so that’s a workout. We have time underneath the stage to check email, we have a screen down there where we might watch sports. But we work out during the show. We have resistance bands and are doing pushups. The show is a serious workout because we’re working out while it’s going on so we’re freshly pumped.”
On the timing of “Unfinished”
“I didn’t plan the release because of the visibility [of this tour], but that’s amazing. I finished it not too long ago, and I thought, this is perfect timing. But I’m selling CDs at the venue, I get to do interviews about it on the road, so that’s cool. We have a day off tomorrow [June 23], but I’m filming a video with Donnie for ‘Stingy’ [at the W Hotel in midtown Atlanta]. It was the last song I recorded for the album and the day I sang it, I had to hand it in for mastering. When I was singing it I thought, this would be a great song for Donnie to be on, but there wasn’t time for him to record it. He heard it and was like, ‘Dude! This would have been perfect for me!’ so we’re remixing it and he’s going to be featured on it in the video and we’ll release it online.”
On whether “Unfinished” will be released overseas
“We have to figure out a time since we’ll try to release it in conjunction with being on the [NKOTBSB] tour. This tour will go overseas, probably not until this time next year. I’ll probably go over myself to release the CD and come back with the group(s). New Kids will take a break, but I probably won’t. I’ll roll right into performances in select cities like here in Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Dallas.”
His thoughts on the finished product
“The album stands up to any album out there if you ask me, any hip Top 40 album out there. The songs are great. I think it’s probably even a better album than most newer artists because I took a lot of time to make sure each song was really, really great. I worked on it about a year on and off.
I did it for the fans so I did it with great intentions. I envisioned fans listening to it in the car, in the gym, in the kitchen, The beautiful thing about us is we have a fan base that, as long as we don’t sell them short, they’ll come back. The moment you take them for granted and sell them short, they see through that. We don’t want that.”
On a future NKOTB album
“There hasn’t been any talk of an album, but I’m sure we will [do one].”
On being back with Donnie, Danny, brother Jonathan and Joey McIntyre
“We’re like brothers, man, now more so than ever we get along better. We’re older, wiser, more humble — and being humble is the best way to get along with other people.
Sometimes we didn’t keep our heads about us, but the thing that really did keep us together was the fact that there was five us and we didn’t have to go through it alone. I think it happens to a lot of big stars that they go through it alone and don’t have anybody to talk to and they kinda lose perspective. If we’re having a bad day we can just talk about it. I think that’s what kept us together.”
On the group’s rabid fan base
“It’s really amazing and sometimes, a lot of times, I’m like, what is it? We must have something. I don’t know what the hell it is. It seems we’re a ragtag bunch of guys, but when we come together, we make it happen. It’s the power of the team. We all have strengths and weakness, but when we work together it is magic.”
On what he’s currently listening to
“I’m not listening to anyone these days! I don’t have time. I’ve got no time to listen to my iPod. If I’m listening to music it’s either what I’m working on or it’s in the background on the radio of if I’m driving. I do listen to the radio a lot, so it’s not like I’m out of touch. Actually, it’s probably better since before I would listen to obscure stuff and now it’s all radio so I know exactly what’s going on with the sounds on radio.”
Knight said he and his live band – whom he’ll take on tour – will perform on George Lopez’s late night talk show, “Lopez Tonight,” July 18 on TBS.
“Unfinished” is available now at retail on online outlets. Listen to first single “Let’s Go Higher” here: http://www.jordanknight.com/
To read about the NKOTBSB show at Philips Arena, click: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-music-scene/2011/06/23/nkotbsb-bring-spirited-nostalgia-to-philips-arena/
Follow me on Twitter: @ajclifestyle