The New Kids on the Block aren't so new anymore. They aren't kids either. But their new album is called The Block. Yes, the former pinups from Boston are back after a 15-year hiatus. Reportedly, fans are flocking to arenas throughout the country to see if the New Kids, who are creeping toward middle-age, still have the right stuff. Singer Danny Wood recently spoke about the tour via phone from a stop in Long Island. Why come back?
I didn't expect this to happen. I just wanted to make a good record. It's all just a blessing.
Why are you still called New Kids on the Block?
It's just the name we're associated with. It would be really foolish to call ourselves something else. The Beach Boys didn't change their name, and they're hardly boys.
All right, Sonic Youth didn't change their names either, but who cares about a name? It's all about the girls. Are the girls still as crazy and desperate as they were for you guys 20 years ago?
I would say it's not the same. The girls are older, just like we're older. They're responding to the performance, as opposed to just screaming at anything like they used to.
What's the craziest thing a girl did to get close to you guys during your heyday?
I remember in South America, there were girls who were climbing on top of our van, trying to get in. We were in some crazy situations. But when we started this thing again, I said, "Do you think any of these girls will be chasing our bus?" And yes, we're in Montreal, and girls are chasing our bus.
You're pretty tough. You guys are the toughest boy band, right?
Is that saying much? "We're the toughest boy band." That's ridiculous. We are from Dorchester [a gritty Boston suburb]. We got bussed to schools in which we were the only white kids.
When you say we….
I mean NKOTB Donnie [Wahlberg], who has been my friend since the first grade. We didn't grow up rich.
But now you are, and why are you back? That goes double for Donnie, who has done well in films.
Donnie played us a copy of "Click Click Click." He had just finished the movie [Righteous Kill] with [Al] Pacino and [Robert] De Niro, and he was excited about what was going on with our band. Me and Donnie have been friends for so long that I usually follow his lead, and we all got excited about the project.
There were boy bands before you guys, but it felt like you guys were the prototype.
Before us, there was the New Edition, who we idolized. Then there were the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds, but the thing is that so many boy bands came out after us. They all seem to follow a formula. They had to have the heartthrob, the young, cute one, the tough guy. You had all these auditions to fill slots for boy bands after us. There were only about eight guys that auditioned for New Kids. It wasn't like there was a plethora of white boys who wanted to sing and dance in a boy band. Back then, that wasn't too cool in 1986.
What are you doing when you're not a New Kid?
I invested in a private-jet company, Halcyon Jets. We did $40 million worth of business last year. I'm vice president of sales. It's great for me, because I run into a lot of people that fly private.
How are your beloved Red Sox going to do in the playoffs?
They're going to win the World Series. It'll be the Red Sox versus the Cubs. A lot of people want the Tampa Bay Rays to get to the Series, because they're the new kids.
Just like you guys.