“Hey Kendall, who is that on your mask?”
“It’s Joe. Joe Jonas.”
“…What IS your obsession with that band?”
My lovely friend Penny said this to me on Friday but it is not the first time I have heard it. Hence me writing this. I just wanna try and explain the joy and feeling I get from this band, for the last 12 years and hopefully many more, fingers crossed, and I’m not someone who looks to the future normally so roll with it, okay? 🙂
I just find it strange, if someone asks for my five favourite bands, no one questions the other four but as soon as I mention JB, that question comes up again. I mean I will happily talk to you all about it, I just find it strange that I have to, to quote Madonna, justify my love. But hey, let’s do it.
I guess the story begins years before Joe, Nick and Kevin came sauntering into my life, in the magic days when I still had my parents. One of the greatest lessons they taught me was that I was totally free to like/love whatever I believed in. You know, there were never any ‘rebellious teen’ years for me, if I wanted to drink, my dad would go out and get me alcohol and we would drink together, which continued when I was of age, as there was no parent/kid push-pull, I loved going out to the pub with him every time. It’s one of the things I miss the most right now. But he’d also go record shopping with me. He was not a music person, he kinda ended with Buddy Holly and a little ZZ Top in the eighties but he loved coming round with me, listening to me endlessly freaking about new records, nothing changed there then, right? Except the excellent company, obvs.
I learned from all this that I did not have to just love one thing. My musical craziness is not a new thing. When I was finally allowed to go to gigs, two of the first were Aerosmith and New Kids On The Block in Birmingham. Wait what, how can you love Aerosmith and NKOTB? Yep, this has been going on a while. My answer is simply, I love both their records, they are both incredible live and I do not see why I should choose just because I am supposed to fit in a little ‘Metal’, ‘Alt’, ‘Pop’ box. If you know me, you know there is no ‘Kendall’ box and I am proud of that. I’d have missed out on some of my fave bands and moments without that thought.
Once upon a time, I saw Slipknot and S Club 7 on the same day. Literally every single time I tell this story, the reply is always ‘oh did your girlfriend make you go to the second one?’. Absolutely not. We BOTH loved both bands and that was a day for two of my best gigs ever. Slipknot had masks and lasers and fire and S Club had lasers and fire and robots, incredible times.
So, I lost my father in the 2000’s. Even writing that now makes me feel a little odd, but here we are. 2008, I decided to go to Florida to see Wrestlemania. Basically, the greatest times of my youth were holidays to Disney World with my sister and my parents. Days in the parks, nights with pizza, crazy 8 TV CHANNELS, sitting on the balcony with my dad sharing a pack of Michelob, years before I was legal in their glorious country. My other great times were when me and my dad would go to London to watch wrestling, me standing up cheering Vince McMahon and my dad refusing “He’s an asshole!”. Hotel after drinks, great talks, magical moments. This is all a part of this JB story, I promise I will get to that, I just wanted you to know where I was (fragile) and how they become my fave band in the world.
So, I’m in the shower and I hear a song on Radio Disney (yes, that’s a thing) which pretty much knocks me dead. It’s about a girl who drags all her friends along when all you want is time alone with her. It also has a self-harm undertone (“Feels like I’m walking on broken glass…better believe I bled”) that touched me at a time when this alas was a part of my daily life. No one talked about it, save for my favourite British band ever Manic Street Preachers, who also made people wonder what I loved (you think we have forgotten the eggs thrown at us outside the Newport Centre in the early days? Nope) , five years before they all jumped on them and nodded when I said they were my faves.
I jumped out of the shower (sorry for THAT visual) to scrawl whatever the DJ said “That was the Jonas Brothers with SOS”, amazing. I went off to EPCOT Center and thought the next day I will go and get the CD. Next day, I jumped out of the shower again “That was the Jonas Brothers with When You Look Me In The Eyes”. Holy cow, I was pretty much running to the Disney Village and there I found the Bonus Jonas edition of the ‘debut’ album Jonas Brothers and I played it to death. It’s still absolutely perfect pop. One strange thing is that in America the album includes a cover of Busted’s incredible Year 3000, which was removed when the UK finally got the album a while later. It turned out, before the self titled there was another album put out by Sony, which included both Year 3000 and What I Go To School For. It’s ironic that at the same time I remember MTV having a series about Busted trying to make it big in America. No slur, I fucking love Busted. The first album It’s About Time is fantastic too, although it will cost you the best part of two hundred quid to get the CD. I didn’t pay that, obvs, I have Youtube.
So, the self titled record was a 10. Hold On is a brilliant ‘stand tall, keep going’ song without any of the bullshit rah-rah-positivity vibes that 2020 YT’s seem to love. Just Friends is that song about the girl you like but can’t have. Ouch. I mean, I have no idea what you’re talking about Nick J.
I come back to England, I have the album, I have the love, I have the shirt, England shrugs.
The first time I see them live, they are supporting Avril Lavigne. No, really, SUPPORTING. At least it meant I could go through the crowd for the ‘support’ act and get a front row position. The only support band I ever saw with a grand piano.
Being Type One Diabetic has been another slightly isolating thing in my life. You can try to explain it, but Diabetes does not play by the rules. Normally, like the minute I write this it is cool, I have got used to having to inject myself three times a day. But occasionally you want to hear another…oh hello Nick Jonas. ‘A Little Bit Longer’ is an incredible piano beauty about the condition. It blows my mind, still. If you’re not Diabetic, I’m sure it is just a cool love song, which is good enough though isn’t it?
Need a song about an Ex? Just Better is a killer. Of course, in reality it is about Taylor Swift, Joe wrote it after they split up, but it works brilliantly if you are in that mood.
They made a movie! Yes, there is a 3D film which is a gig with in-between scenes, like those from A Hard Day’s Night, it is a great portrait of the concerts of that era, magic.
Then we had the break and then the magical comeback album Happiness Begins. Sucker is one of only three songs ever to debut at number one on the Billboard charts, of course that doesn’t make it great, but it IS great.
February 2020, before all this shit shuts down the world, I go to see them at Wembley. My blood sugar levels were insane for the week before, so my friend Malerie suggested maybe it is excitement and we check and that is a thing. I went from 33 to 3. (Yours is like 4-7). I was fucking excited.
It was one of the best gigs I have ever seen. They were not one of those bands that comes back and decides that they are not going to play any of the old songs. Nope. All the original classics, all of the new classics, Year 3000, songs from Camp Rock, holy cow. I’m kinda breathless thinking about it.
So yes, I love a pop band. But The Beatles are a pop band. The Beach Boys are a pop band. And those are two of the best bands ever. Jonas Brothers makes it three. Oh, and if you don’t think you will ever like any of this, that is totally cool, but I’m guessing you’re a fan of Cake By The Ocean, right? DNCE is Joe Jonas’ band. He wrote that. Yep.