|ABOVE: OK.co.uk had an exclusive chat with Joey and Howie...|
THEY'VE done it all before and they're doing it all over again - but this time they're a little bit wiser.
Having experienced levels of fame with New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys in the 80s and 90s that the 1D boys are only just approaching, Joey and Howie are more than aware of the pitfalls of fame.
When we asked them to offer some advice to the boys, they told us: "It's every 15 year old's dream to be rich and famous and tour the world and be in a band - and it is cool.
"But you're not going to have a girlfriend, you're not going to finish school, you're not going to your prom... you're going to miss all of those experiences in life."
New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys joined forces in 2010 for a special one-off show in New York - but the reaction from their fans was so incredible that they decided to join forces and start a new supergroup, forming NKOTBSB.
We sat down for an EXCLUSIVE chat with Joey and Howie to find out what it's really like once you've 'made it', had a chance to look back at the journey and then to stat it all over again.
So guys, be honest, is it different being back on stage now that you're older and wiser?
Joey: It's nostalgic, you're reliving so much. Having the support of your fans there is important, but going out to a whole new set of fans who haven't seen you before is really cool. When you get to a certain point of success, you don't always have new people coming to your shows. It's a very unique situation, to be able to have a new audience - and both groups have got new fans because of it.
Howie: There's still the same feeling of getting up on stage and getting that rush - it's something that can't really be described. It's different now that we're older, for us it's now about bringing family out and seeing the cities and I get excited seeing the show through their eyes for the first time. Now we have wives and kids and lovers, we go on tour with them.
And there's a pace factor now that we're older, it's all about pacing yourself a little bit more. I still go out for afterparties but I need two days to recover afterwards!
Joey: I pick up the slack for him.
Is it hard sharing a stage with another group?
Howie: Not at all, it's been fun actually - maybe too much fun! To think about the success both of our groups have been blessed with, and the hits over the years - to be able to put all that together and co-exist on the same stage for two hours and really just entertain people, it's great. We took our time and pride into making a good show and we're really proud. We want people to go home and to have had two hours away from what ever's going on and to re-live some of the old stuff and some new stuff too. For me personally, my group, I've seen my dudes on stage for almost 20 years now and it's good to see some fresh faces and crack some new jokes.
Joey: We feed off each other's performances, artistically. We have a dressing room below the stage, so we see these guys [BSB] going out there doing their thing and then we'll go on for three songs. We trade off, we feed off the energy. That's an incredible tool to have within the show every night.
How has the industry changed for you guys?
Howie: From starting off, the music industry has just changed in general. Back in the days when we were at the height of our fame, records were still being sold. Nowadays, it's a luxury to buy an album, people have the choice to buy a single if they want to. Fans expect to hear about everything that's going on in your lives, that's how they get to know us, we become a part of our fans' lives. It's the new marketing tool. You have to be on your game - nowadays with cameras every where - it's a different ballgame.
What do you guys think of groups who are made through reality singing shows, like X Factor?
Joey: It's all perspective, when we got together they said we were manufactured too. It's a little bit more obvious because everybody knows - the shows are their press release. But you either have it or you don't, those bands have to last on their own. So, in some ways, who cares who put you together, if you've got it then you've got it. If the personalities are there then great.
Do you guys personally watch X Factor in the US?
Joey: I don't watch it. I was a little dismayed that it was so young. In the states there was that 13-year-old girl [Rachel Crow] that collapsed on stage because she lost, and to me…it's just not fair, it's not right. That being said, when i saw her sing earlier on, for some reason I got chills. I paused it, my wife had to come downstairs and watch it. She was incredible, huge talent - but the flip side to that is that there's $5 million on the line, and that's - in my opinion - way too young.
Howie: I've gone through different stages and different motions about the reality singing competition shows. When they first came out I wasn't a big fan of it. At first i thought it was a quick way to get overnight success and I know that, from seeing my group and NKOTB, we really had to do the grassroots approach, you had to go to countries and tour and do promotion...
Joey: [interrupting] Sing in offices.
Howie: Pet stores! ...Just to get yourselves heard.
Joey: We never did pet stores...
Howie: We did.
Howie: So at first it was hard for me to accept them but as time went on I can say I succumbed to it. You become a victim of what's around you - especially when you're wife gets into the shows.
Joey: Did you really do a pet store?
Howie: Yeah we did, let's get past that!
Joey: I can see the dogs in the cages howling [both start howling] at AJ's notes.
Howie: I didn't think it would work in the States but Simon Cowell did a great job. I got into it. I can definitely see what J is talking about with the age factor. It's hard to put a child competing with an adult with all that emotional and mental stuff. But now I'm starting to think that there's too many, X Factor, The Voice, American Idol, DYTYCD... It's getting a little played out now.
What about becoming an X Factor judge? We love Gary Barlow on our UK panel!
Joey: Make me an offer!
Joey: It's a balance between whether it's in your integrity and if it's good for your career. They have to produce a show, you could be really working hard but they could cut it and produce it in a way that isn't true to who you are. And that's frustrating, you really have to let that go. It's tough.
Howie: I'm definitely not one of those kinds of people that are out there to do it like Simon. He's got a personality that is definitely made for that. I really respect it, I wish I could be a little bit more blunt and honest like he is. But it's hard for me to go out there and say 'who's your vocal coach? you should kill her', you know?
Joey: A lot of people do that for the perks, they think, 'My Q rating is up, my name is everywhere, I'm getting paid a lot of money, my face is every where.' Christina Aguilera [who's a jugde on The Voice in the US] has now become this personality, everyone knows her as a personality. All of a sudden you're a person, not a singer.
Howie: Like Jessica Simpson, I don't even think of her as a singer any more.
Joey: No, I don't think she does either.
Do you guys have any advice for new groups thrown into the limelight through these shows, like One Direction?
Howie: Get a good lawyer! Get your contracts checked!
Joey: First of all, they wouldn't take my advice because they can't, they never have before. How do you tell a 15 year old to 'hey, take it easy'? When I look back, my father used to say 'just take five minutes for yourself' and I'd be like 'yeah dad, OK. Thanks buddy'.
It's every 15 year old's dream to be rich and famous and tour the world and be in a band - and it is cool. But you're not going to have a girlfriend, you're not going to finish school, you're not going to your prom... you're going to miss all of those experiences in life.
There's a reason we go through all that stuff and when you miss out on that, it's going to cost and later in life you're going to have to make up for that stuff, slowly over a long period of time, or you shut down for a few years. It's going to show up.
But we were so lucky because we made money. We made money so we didn't have to go 'WTF am i going to do now?' or 'I'm supposed to be this guy'. But again, that's their experience and hopefully they have faith - what ever that faith is - and family to get them through those times. Or else you can really end up in a rough spot.
Do you have any regrets?
Howie: I wish... actually joking about having a lawyer, but to have had a lawyer to look back on certain contracts. But i do believe that everything happens for a reason and that you become the person you are supposed to be. Everything builds character and new knowledge that you can tell yourself or somebody else.The NKOTBSB tour comes to the UK in April, tickets are on sale now.
Joey: I was on the first season on Dancing With The Stars in America. But I honestly didn't want to do it. I really wanted to do something more meaningful, I had just come off six months in Broadway in Wicked, a huge show. I shouldn't have [gone on the DWTS] but I was reaching outside of my integrity. That being said, I learned from the experience. And that's when I met the New Kids manager who was definitely a big part of the NKOTBSB coming together. There's lots of different things that I can say I wish didn't happen, but that's not having faith. That makes you who you are.