Joey McIntyre joins WTOP as New Kids on the Block tickets go on sale for August at Merriweather

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews New Kids on the Block at Merriweather (Part 1)

New Kids on the Block fans have been “hangin’ tough” for decades and now they’ll get a “magic summer.”

New Kids on the Block perform at the MuchMusic Video awards in Toronto on June 15, 2008.(REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

Starting Wednesday, the group is offering a special ticket offer for their Magic Summer Tour, which also features Paula Abdul and DJ Jazzy Jeff at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on Aug. 16. The deal includes a four pack of tickets for $89, commemorating the 1989 designation of April 24 as “NKOTB Day” in the group’s home state of Massachusetts.

“The cool thing about this tour is that we haven’t been outside under the stars in a long time,” Founding member Joey McIntyre told WTOP. “We’ve been in arenas, so it feels like a throwback to do these what they call ‘sheds,’ these outdoor arenas. Merriweather Post, that venue is beautiful and we are excited, we have a new album coming out on May 17 and of course you play all the hits from back in the day, so it’s a good mix of then and now.”

Born in Boston in 1972, McIntyre was the youngest member of the group, including brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, who met Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood in elementary school. Former New Edition producer Maurice Starr suggested they add McIntyre as a “little brother” figure similar to Michael Jackson in The Jackson Five.

“Donnie was the first guy in there and met Maurice,” McIntyre said. “He finally said, ‘I gotta get more guys,’ so he just went back to his buddies that he grew up with in school, knowing Jordan and John sang in the choir, Danny was breakdancing and just put it together like any teenage band. I was doing theater a couple neighborhoods over. At the time, I was like 12, which is a big difference between 12 and 16, so they wanted that little, little guy.”

After their first album “New Kids on the Block” (1986), their second album “Hangin’ Tough” (1988) was their big breakthrough, going multi-platinum with a title track that became a smash hit and pop-culture staple.

“Timing is everything,” McIntyre said. “It was our fourth single off that album. ‘Please Don’t Go, Girl’ was Top 10, ‘Right Stuff’ was No. 3, ‘I’ll Be Loving You Forever’ was No. 1, then ‘Hangin’ Tough’ came, so it was good timing to have that party record and it had that sports theme to it because originally Donnie, Jordan and Danny wrote that with Maurice and they wanted an anthem for the Boston Celtics and it ended up being an anthem for us.”

Their next album “Step by Step” (1990) featured another hit title track where each of the guys memorably sang a different portion of the song: Danny Wood sang “Step 1,” Donnie Wahlberg sang “Step 2,” Jordan Knight sang “Step 3,” Joey McIntyre sang “Step 4,” and Jonathan Knight closed it out by singing “Step 5.”

“That was a song from a Boston group that Maurice wrote it for [called] The Superiors,” McIntyre said. “When we blew up, it was basically a cover song and we grabbed it. One of the things that was different though was the steps: Step 1, Step 2. … Donnie pitched the idea of going through the steps the way that we did.”

Fans were dismayed when the group disbanded in 1994, but they eventually reunited in 2008.

“We certainly didn’t break up thinking we were gonna get back together in 15 years,” McIntyre said. “We were ready to do things as individuals, we were super young, we wanted to have some freedom after four or five years of nonstop hysteria. It was a lot of fun, but we just wanted some space. … By the time 2008 came around … we finally were ready as a group. … You gotta be at a certain part in your life to look at nostalgia with an open heart.”

Likewise, their doll-collecting, poster-hanging fans have also grown up — now with their own kids.

“It’s the first generation of parents that did anything for their kids, they would drive all over the place, they would buy the tickets, they would wait outside — their parents didn’t do that for them, but our fans’ parents were unbelievable,” McIntyre said. “Now we have three generations in the audience: you’ve got the older mothers who are grandmothers, then you’ve got the moms, then you’ve got the kids. … The idea is to make music that lasts.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews New Kids on the Block at Merriweather (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation on the podcast below:

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up