Monday, January 18, 2010

Joey McIntyre Channels Jersey Shore, Talks New EP at New York Show

"I haven't seen MTV's Jersey Shore," New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre tells a sold-out crowd at New York's Highline Ballroom Saturday night. "But I know my Jersey Shore nickname: 'Juicebox'."

The crowd - chock-full of soccer of moms in homemade NKOTB shirts - then erupts into "Juicebox" chants before McIntyre can get in another word.

The youngest New Kid, 37, had a loyal following long before NKOTB reunited in late 2008. Two hours from now - at McIntyre's concert afterparty at Quo nightclub in Chelsea - his fans will form a line around the block (ha) just to catch a glimpse of the singer.

Did we mention it's 30 degrees out?

"You do what you can," McIntyre tells Poison Ivy, when I ask if he can ever satisfy his legions.

Once inside, security is forced to build a gate around McIntyre's VIP section at the club where we're sitting - and it starts to feel bizarrely like 1989 as fans scream for autographs and flash photos. But even the barricade won't stop one girl from breaking through.

"Will you talk to my sister?" she asks McIntyre, handing him a cell phone.

McIntyre takes the call, but he's not doing much talking. "Thank you," he laughs, while the other end is presumably telling their life story. 30 seconds passes. "That means a lot," McIntyre says, before security catches onto what's happening.

"I've always been an independent person," McIntyre says, when I ask why he opted for a solo record less than a year after NKOTB's reunion.

McIntyre's seven-track EP - Here We Go Again - is a more mature sound, according to the singer, and it's unarguably more modern than the tunes NKOTB put out last September.

McIntyre's first single, "Here We Go Again," (of which we've posted a performance video, above) accepts a generous donation from Autotune and etches a more electronic vibe - but never compromises the singer's vocal ability.

Fellow New Kid Jordan Knight - who performed a duet of "Dirty Dancing" with McIntyre at his afterparty and revealed his Jersey Shore nickname to Poison Ivy ("J Train," lolz) - echoed McIntyre's sentiments when I asked about his forthcoming record.

"It's still pop R&B," Knight reassures me. "It's not so different. But it's not New Kids' songs. It's not juvenile."

McIntyre seemed less nervous to play NK songs - his concert included "Twisted," a cover of Michael Jackson's "I'll Come Home To You," solo favorites "Stay the Same" and "I Love You Came Too Late," and a lyrically-amended "Cover Girl."

"Woke up this morning, I was 15 again," McIntyre sang. "We were Hangin' Tough. Don't you remember when?"

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