Joey McIntyre on Dadbods, Touring, and Being Super Charming
Remember in 1999 when long lost boy band LFO once said in the most poetic lyricism, “New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits”? Of course you do. Here we are now, 16 years later, and New Kids on the Block is still turning out tunes—and also selling out arenas, appearing on TV shows, and stealing hearts all over.
The Boston lads put out their first album, New Kids on the Block, with producer Maurice Starr nearly 30 years ago, sending out their singles to local stations and touring in the New England area. Now, the band is making their rounds around North America on their Main Event tour with Nelly and TLC, and they’re planning to make their homecoming shows at the TD Garden this week an epic two-night extravaganza.
To honor the bright occasion, essential NKOTB boy bander Joey McIntyre sat down with Boston to talk about a few crucial topics, including boy band labels, touring, and—of course—the Dadbod.
Well, first, welcome back to Boston. Do you guys have anything special planned for your homecoming shows?
It’s special any time we get to play Boston’s [TD] Garden. We obviously have a special bond with the city. We feel so loved and supported, especially since we came back after a year. We’re excited to be there. But you never know what’s going to happen. We put on a great show.
This isn’t your first time at the rodeo in terms of touring, but what’s changed since touring in the ’90s?
How you use your energy. Being 16, 17, running around, you conserve your energy. [We] take care of ourselves—working out, eating right, resting. We just want to be in the best shape possible to put on the show we want to put on. It’s definitely a lot more subdued.
It’s funny you say that—it’s so apparent that you guys are always in the gym. A few weeks ago we said you guys were like the anti-Dadbod. We called it the ‘Kidbod.’
The Dadbod [laughs]. My perspective on the Dadbod. … To be that guy that’s not necessarily in-shape. I’ve been there. We’re performing for 10,000 people, so that kind of gives you the [motivation]. And [working out is] fun, it’s something for me to do, and to take it to the next level. I don’t always look this way. It’s kind of like a challenge. It’s fun to see how far you can push yourself.
Everybody remembers that one part of the show when you bring a lucky girl on stage.
“Cover Girl,” that’s right.
Do you guys still do that?
You know, Donnie’s been doing that a lot because our fans bring their girls, their daughters, their kids to the show now. So those little six- and seven- and eight-year-old girls that Donnie’s kind of finding in the audience and bringing up…yeah, he’s been bringing that back a little bit. … He might see them before the show at a meet-and-greet, and he might set it up. Or they’re just right in the front, and he’s able to spot them and have someone grab them.
Is Donnie the natural charmer of the group?
He’s certainly charming, I would say so. I think we’re all charming in our own ways. The rest of the guys are charming, too.
Who would you say is the “Bad Boy” or the “Sensitive One” or the “Attractive One”?
When we came along, I don’t think we were trying to be this one or that one. I think some people say that we’re the first boy band, and we’re the prototype. But it didn’t come from assigned personality traits to keep up, it just happened that way. You know, Jon is naturally shy, Donnie’s the leader or the tough guy, I was the little brother, Danny’s the buff one. It just kind of happened that way.
Do you guys ever look back on your time as teenagers and think, Oh man, I can’t believe we wore that or said that or did that?
Yeah, but the thing is, we’ve done it for so long that it’s not even effective anymore. We embrace the past, but we don’t go looking for it. It is what it is, do you know what I mean? We’ve had that experience like, “Oh my God,” a million times, but we don’t really take a look back that much in that way.
Your style certainly comes back around. Donnie used to wear the bandana headband, and now Harry Styles is doing it.
Yeah. [Laughs.] We led a little bit of that. But we certainly carried the torch. We might have been the first, but there was also the Jackson 5, and New Edition, and the Osmonds, and the Temptations. You know, you put your stamp on it, and we certainly did. It’s really good to be a part of that history.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.