HERE IT IS JONAS FANS “THE NEWEST INTERVIEW”

November 30, 2008 by marna  
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Joe says his straight hair is beginning to curl and he wonders what that means. “My dad has the straight hair, my mum has the curly, and as I get older mine starts to curl more and more, and me and my mum are getting closer and closer. My mum is such an incredible person, she knows about things right away before anything happens. She’s so smart in that department.”

The boys (are forced to) talk about purity rings, girls, themselves, and their futures.

Already a small number of teenage girls are stalking the Soho Hotel. The Jonas Brothers have only been here a few hours. They arrived last night on a private jet to Luton from Germany, where, according to one publicist — and there are several — a CD signing caused mayhem, fans hysterical with hormonal overload desperate to breathe the same air as the objects of their love, lust and fantasy.

The Jonai, as their fans call them, are what happens when teenage girls rule. They are three almost perfect, pretty pop stars, untouched and untouchable, working pretty much the same dynamic as the Osmonds several decades ago. Cosy and real, they sing nicely crafted pop-rock songs. Last year they toured with Miley Cyrus and earlier on this year they did their own multimillion-dollar tour.

Their movie, Camp Rock, was Disney Channel’s most-watched non-sequel film when it premiered this year. They have entered the Forbes Top 100 most powerful celebrities at 89, earning £6m over the last year — and that figure is rising fast.

Their music has edge, nuance, whether rock or rappy. They cite their influences as Prince, Elvis Costello and Johnny Cash. The songs are written mostly by Nick, the youngest of the band at 16. Joe is 19. He has straight hair, while the others are curly. He’s flirty and wants to be Mick Jagger. Kevin, 21, is thin-lipped, serious. It’s hard to believe their songs of love and life and all its complications were written by a 16-year-old who has never had a serious relationship — and seems unlikely to any time soon, given that they’re either touring the world promoting albums, or locked into another TV studio for JONAS, the TV show, which seems to be a reality show in the mode of The Monkees. (They say it’s more like the cult sitcom Flight of the Conchords.)

What makes things really weird is exactly what Russell Brand pointed out at the MTV Video Music Awards: “Each wears a ring to say they are not going to have sex before marriage… They can have sex with any woman they want but they choose not to. That’s like Superman deciding to use the bus instead of his superpowers.” Americans find this hard to take. The American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who also wears a ring, retorted: “Not everybody wants to be a slut.” Miley Cyrus also has a purity ring. She was rumoured to have been dating the also-ringed Nick Jonas. You can’t help wondering what they did and what they didn’t do. But he tells me later that they didn’t have any kind of romance.

Anyway, last night loads of German fans went crazy for what they couldn’t have. Kevin, beautifully groomed, immaculately pressed trousers, jacket buttoned up indoors, tight curly hair, comes down to talk to me first. “Yeah, it was crazy,” he says in a sleepy monotone. “Over the top. But it was the same in either Spain or Italy,” he adds, as if one place merged into the other.

He talks quickly and doesn’t seem to register much emotion, either pleasure or fear. I commend him on his calmness and wonder how he got that way. What’s his star sign? “I have no idea.” I wonder, is it against his religion? Born on November 5, he’s a Scorpio: secretive and stubborn. “I have no idea,” he says again, nonplussed. So, did he ever envisage the kind of crazy success he now has? “You always hope for it but you never fully grasp what could happen.”

Before the band were signed to Hollywood Records, a subsidiary of Disney, they had another record label that dropped them after a few months. So it must have been a rollercoaster. “Yes, it was an amazing journey. Not being signed. Signed. Not having a label. Then being with Hollywood. I don’t think the success has changed us. It has changed our lifestyle, how busy we are. But we try to stay very grounded and we have our amazing family around us.” Amazing seems to be his favourite word, usually coupled with “journey” or “family”. “Our parents taught us that when you are at the top, work like you are at the bottom, and we try to live like that.” Certainly the machine that is Jonai is relentless. I tell him that when I stress out with lots of work I like to spend money immediately as a reward. “No, we try to be frugal and wise. It’s nice to know you have security,” he smiles. What is the most expensive item that you ever bought? “We bought a house for our family. It’s in Texas, so it’s in the middle between the two coasts, so we can get either way in two hours.”

They grew up in New Jersey. Their father is a minister and their mother taught sign language. But right now they’re based in Los Angeles because of the TV show. “We are really excited about it.” Don’t you feel like you’re on this fast ride and you can’t get off? “No, we feel we are driving the ride. Everything that’s booked comes through us and we approve it. Our team is large, but we trust our management team more than anything else in the world and we listen to what they have to say.”

I’m wondering if that is always the case. For instance, our photographer had asked if the boys would do a shoot outside with toy water pistols, a mock-up of a Reservoir Dogs shoot-out. But the band weren’t even asked. The answer was no. Maybe the management team just knew that the boys wouldn’t be comfortable with it.

Do you ever get tired? “Yes. That’s when you know you’re doing something right; you’re doing something you love for a reason.” There is not a chink in his smile or his armour. Everything is Disneyland fabulous. Nothing is questioned.

Kevin is perhaps the most tenacious and business-oriented of the boys. “There’s a lot of attention to detail,” he says, “as these lovely ladies know.” Suddenly I look around and a cast of many is listening in. He tells me how he met Barry Gibb, because his daughter was a fan who came to a show in Florida. “He said things like ‘Enjoy your time’, ‘Take it easy’ and ‘Take vacations’. He said that they moved so fast that they didn’t enjoy it.” Do you think you’re not moving quite as fast? “I think we’re moving very fast and I think we are enjoying it.”

I don’t want to give the impression that this is a conversation that is flowing, because it isn’t.

I ask a question. He gives an answer, then there’s a pause for the next question. The answers have all been answered before. Until I ask which of his parents is he most like? He stumbles. “I’ve never been asked that.” Pause. “My dad is very poised and business-savvy, so I try to learn from him; my mum is passionate and insightful, so I try and pull those things from her.”

How does he relax? “We love to play golf.” Even though he is on his own, he always answers as a “we”. He comes alive talking about music.

“If you listen to the storytelling of Johnny Cash, the funkiness of Prince and the rock-soul of Elvis Costello, and put them all together, you can make a map of who we are, especially on the last record.” A Little Bit Longer, their third album, is indeed all of these things, and incredibly mature. (A new single, Lovebug, is out on December 1). He says it’s not true that they’d never date a fan. “In fact, we’d hope who we date would be our biggest fan. I think when someone wrote that, they had it in for us. It caused a little upset. Things can be very polar with us. But that’s okay.”

Indeed. Russell Brand was definitely polarised when he made his comments at the MTV awards. I tell him it brought Jonai attention and sympathy. Kevin looks mildly irritated. “I think he ran out of material. We were just paying attention to our performance. We weren’t even in the room when the comments were made.”

So now your purity rings have had a lot of attention. I’ve read that as a general rule you can acquire one any time after the age of 11. At what age did you first put yours on? “I prefer not to talk about the purity rings if that’s all right. If we could just focus on the music...” Ouch. Straight from media training. I tell him, I really have to talk about it, and I want him to talk about it because I’m interested in the conflict it causes, what it means and what it doesn’t mean. Can we just talk about it for a little bit?

“It was a personal decision each of us made a long time ago.” Pause. But what does it actually mean to you? “It means to try and live a life of values, whether that means yourself or others.” So it’s not to do with monogamy, virginity?

“It can mean anything. It’s like tying something round your finger so you remember to buy milk. It’s a goal.” But a goal to do what? Banish bad thoughts? “No, but it’s a personal decision and we would prefer not to talk about it. It was a personal decision that was made public.” I’m thinking that surely the fact they wear shiny silver rings means it’s public. But I don’t want to ask any more questions because they are not going to be answered and I feel that I’m bludgeoning Bambi to death. Of course it’s personal if you decide not to have sex or, if you do, that it will be with one person for the rest of your life. It’s a fairy tale. Perhaps that’s what drives the fans to tears. They want to be that one, that very special one, and it will last for ever.

Preserving virginity is a growing movement in the US among fundamentalist Christians. The ring signifies a commitment to a promise. What the promise is, is open to interpretation. It can be a promise to be a good person, to mean what you say and say what you mean. There are purity balls, where young girls go accompanied by their fathers. They will only date with a chaperone. I have read that one in six girls in America aged between 12 and 18 is estimated to have taken a “purity pledge”. You can’t help thinking that wearing a ring every day that’s meant to signal your intention to remain chaste surely means you think about sex every time you look at it.

I ask him, does he have a girlfriend? “No, we are all single. We travel a lot. We try to date as much as we can but you know it’s a little difficult when we’re travelling.” Do you feel lonely not having a girlfriend? “No, we have great friends. We just try to be as good guys as we can be.”

Do you believe in monogamy? “What do you mean, monogamy?” I fear this is a question he hasn’t been asked before because he doesn’t have a ready answer. Then he rallies: “I think you need to be faithful to who you are with, absolutely. But if that relationship is no longer intact, I’d say you can go and date somebody else. Cheating is not good, you know.” He tells me the brothers rarely argue. There is another brother, Frankie, 8, often referred to as Bonus Jonas, who will be on the TV show. “We miss him right now.”

I had insisted that I spoke to each Jonas alone, but I’m wondering if there was any point, as Kevin always speaks in the we, his own identity almost impenetrable. “We have a great relationship with our parents, open communication,” he says, as if there’d never been a moment’s tension. I tell him it’s unusual for three teenage boys to get on so well with their parents. “Yes, I think we have gotten very lucky.” But how does it work? “You have respect for everyone and know that there’s a job to be done. We’re similar as people. We have the same taste in humour, people, friends, everything.”

Kevin is ushered off and I am waiting in the library of the Soho Hotel for Nick or Joe. But they don’t arrive. Instead, one publicist tells another publicist to tell me that questions about purity rings and monogamy are banned. Will I agree to this? At first I’m noncommittal. But the boys don’t show up. I wait and wait. For 40 minutes I have time to think. Was Kevin frightened of me? He didn’t show it. He stood his ground. I’m sure he didn’t like me but I could live with that. Was I too harsh? Could I not learn to be a little more innocent? Am I being punished? These lovely, polite, beautiful boys have now been denied me.

Eventually they arrive. Joe with the straight nicely cut black hair. He has sparkling eyes, nice shoes, dark shirt, dark jeans. Such a handsome face. Nick looks studious. His skin looks like a child’s. His lips are full and pouty. His hair is looser-curled and lighter brown. Both are very sweet. Joe used to want to be a comedian. “It’s nice to be assured now that when I get on stage the audience will laugh at any joke, because they scream and laugh at everything I do. Even if it’s a bad joke,” says Joe, part mystified and part loving it that he is loved unconditionally.

Nick was discovered singing in a hair salon. He was there with his mum and “Somebody said I should audition for Broadway shows, so I did”. When he was 11 he wrote his first song, which they all sang. That’s when they became a group. “About five years ago now,” says Nick wistfully. Joe says his straight hair is beginning to curl and he wonders what that means. “My dad has the straight hair, my mum has the curly, and as I get older mine starts to curl more and more, and me and my mum are getting closer and closer. My mum is such an incredible person, she knows about things right away before anything happens. She’s so smart in that department.”

Then Joe tells me how she taught them all sign language. Now they can sign “I love you” to deaf fans. Before I get a chance to wonder what deaf people are doing at Jonas concerts, he tells me that he loves my shoes. Where did I get them? He loves all shoes. “Nick, where is that shop you like here for shoes?” “John Lobb.”

John Lobb, bespoke shoemaker of St James’s, probably makes shoes for Prince Charles, but not for many people younger. Joe thinks Burberry is good. They like mature, conservative. They like their jackets buttoned up. I ask them if they are less frugal than Kevin. Joe laughs: “Well, I love shoes. I was wearing these really great pink shoes when we played at the White House the first time. We met the president. We were ready to shake his hand. Instead he gives us a high-five and said he liked my shoes, the pink shoes, so I sent him a pair. I haven’t seen him out with them yet, you know. But they’re really cool shoes.”

Not only did Bush like his shoes, he knew the lyrics. “One of the songs is called That’s Just the Way We Roll, and he said, ‘All right, I really like that song.’ I was trying to imagine, is this really happening? First of all the president is sitting next to you and you are trying to act proper, then he gave me a wink and said that. And there he was on stage, leaning over to me saying, ‘Hey, Joe, I like them shoes, you gotta get me a pair.’ ”

Joe and Nick giggle a lot together. They are light and funny. Joe says: “We don’t just sit in our hotel room and imagine what something is like. We are teenagers. We love to explore the city. We love to have fun. And we do get along well. The Kings of Leon said recently — they are brothers too — it’s hard to be a rock star when your band mates know everything about you. And that’s what it’s like. But it’s nothing to complain about.”

The complaining gene seems to have been erased from all of them. Even when I upset Kevin he didn’t complain. Joe tells me he’d love to meet Prince, and has met Elvis Costello. “And I would love to meet Mick Jagger. A lot of what I do on stage is Mick Jagger-inspired. I love the way he performs and how he dances.” You wonder about this. Joe Jonas, purity-ring wearer, wanting to know what put the Jaggerness in Jagger. Should I tell him it was lots of sex? It seems I don’t have to. “Can I come with you to meet Leona Lewis? Will you tell her I love her? I’ve been watching her video. She’s gorgeous.” Nick rolls his eyes: “She’s one of many for him. He’s got quite a few.” Joe says: “Natalie Portman.” I can almost feel him licking his lips. “Emma Watson,” he says louder. “Cheryl Cole. I like a lot of people.”

We’re getting on well but I have to go. Despite the earlier discomfort, they invite me to breakfast the next day. There’s no rivalry or grabbing attention. They all speak politely, in turn. When they go back to LA they will start to record their TV show. Originally they trained in martial arts and were meant to be special agents. “But that’s changed. It’s now the concept of us being in this band. It’s an exaggerated version of who we are as people,” says Nick. “Kevin’s character is kind of more air-heady than he is in real life.” Joe adds: “And Nick’s character is over-the-top serious.” Joe seems to be Joe but allowed to be funny. Kevin says: “I think we balance each other out. But because we are brothers we just flow together.”

I tell them most great bands flow together, but they insist it’s heightened with them because they’re brothers. It turns out that the boys often stay up late, talking about girls and business in equal amounts. Nick and Joe share a room. So, do they have an ideal girl in mind? Nick says: “Obviously, understanding the schedule is really important, and being good to the rest of the family and to my mum, because she is the first woman in all of our lives.” Joe says: “I think also somebody that understands you won’t be around a lot and somebody that makes you happy when you talk on the phone. You want to be happy.”

Kevin adds: “For me it’s someone who wears nice clothes and can put themselves together. Even if she is going to the beach she might put a flower in her hair. She puts herself together before she gets out the door.”

Do you ever think there’s going to be a time when you stop this to marry? Nick says: “We talk about this a lot, even though I’m only 16. Marriage is something that’s going to happen, but not in the near future. Music is important, but family has to be the most important. I think we would take a little while off if we would start a family. When Joe and I lie in our bed and we can’t fall asleep because of all the time changes, that’s exactly the kind of thing we talk about.”

Not that they have any answers yet. What do they fear? Nick says: “Helicopters freak me out, and we’ve had to ride in them a bunch of times.” Joe says: “Being in an elevator with 16 people, and you think the air is being sucked out.” Kevin says: “I fear the record label saying we have another artist we are going to work with and everyone will just move on to the next band.” Maybe it is that fear in itself that drives them: the fear of failure. That seems a long way off. They tell me how they cried when they saw their new music video. Was that because it was so bad? “No. It was touching,” says Joe. They laugh at me.

You can’t help feeling their closeness isolates them from the rest of the world. Earlier on I met a woman who introduced herself as Pam; she’s the schoolteacher who travels with Nick, who has to pass his high-school proficiency test. She tutored Joe until he passed his test last summer. Kevin says: “I went until the 10th grade and then we were home-schooled.” Nick says: “It’s hilarious how many people have said they’ve kept in touch with us from school.” Joe adds: “Those same people that were your worst enemies are the ones that come for backstage passes.” They refuse to say whether they give them any.

When Nick was 13 it was discovered that he had diabetes. “In the beginning it seemed negative. But I think it’s an opportunity to give inspiration.” He wrote the song A Little Bit Longer, about his struggle with diabetes, in 20 minutes. “We’ve got a foundation as well, Change for the Children, that helps kids with diabetes.

So whatever we can do financially, and also morally, we do. Who would have thought that diabetes could have a good side to it? But there it is.” You wonder about this unblinking ability to turn the negative to positive. It seems unreal. It seems a fairy tale. But that’s Jonai for you.

You believe in it or you don’t understand it. As Kevin said, they polarise. That’s their charm.

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High School BFFS out shopping on BLACK FRIDAY!!!!!

November 29, 2008 by marna  
Filed under Celebrities

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It became obvious that even some celebrities love a good deal as Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens decided to brave the crowds and do some shopping on the appropriately nicknamed “Black Friday.”

Vanessa picked her BFF up at her Toluca Lake home before they drove to a Studio City area mall that was certainly a mad house. Of course, things were made a bit easier for these well known ladies as they were allowed to park in a no parking zone and were lead in and out by mall security.

The High School Musical cuties not only proved they shared the love for a good sale, but also a fondness for thigh high boots and aviator sunglasses!

No wonder they’re such good friends. Obviously they can agree on a lot!

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Twilight is the new breed of Chick Flick

November 27, 2008 by marna  
Filed under Gossip

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Twilight isn't over just yet.

With its muscular $70 million opening weekend despite scant appeal for guys, "Twilight" has redefined expectations for the chick flick .

While offering some high-flying vampire battles, its main action centers on the developing romance between two teens played by relative unknowns Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson . Women and girls made up more than 75 percent of the film's opening-weekend audience, according to Fandango.com , which sells tickets and conducts surveys about recent releases.

With the movie's stellar opening weekend — it trounced the celebrated $55.7 million opening of "Sex and the City" — studios ought to take notice of women's continued ticket-buying power, said Paul Dergarabedian of box-office tracking firm Media By Numbers.

"The word 'chick flick' is going to have to be replaced by big box-office girl-power flick," he said. "The box-office clout of the female audience is just astounding, and it's been an underserved audience for way too long. ... They have no trouble finding money for the things they're passionate about."

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines chick flick as "a motion picture intended to appeal especially to women." But "Twilight" is no lightweight date movie — instead, it's a real-girl's chick flick, where a normal-looking teenager finds romance with a modern (if undead) Prince Charming .

"It's the most insanely romantic film since ' The Notebook ,'" said Harry Medved, a spokesman for Fandango.com, who described Pattinson's Edward Cullen as "the ideal boyfriend. ... He's incredibly strong, superfast, impossibly handsome, he plays the piano and all he cares about is what's on her mind."

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Here's a look at some of the top-grossing chick flicks in recent years:

"Sex and the City" (2008) earned $55.7 million its opening weekend and more than $150 million to date. Easily the biggest chick flick until now, it had something going for it that "Twilight" did not: at least some crossover appeal with men who were fans of the long-running TV series.

• " High School Musical 3" (2008) had a $42 million opening weekend and has already earned $84 million just one month after its release. This successful Disney franchise has more tween appeal than a standard chick flick.

• "Enchanted" (2007) opened with $34.4 million and went on to earn more than $127 million. Disney mixed music, princesses and Dr. McDreamy for big box-office success.

• "Titanic" (1997) opened to $28.6 million in ticket sales and $600.8 million to date, making it the highest-grossing film of all time. Women got steamy romance, men got spectacular disaster action. Both saw it several times and probably bought it on DVD.

• "Mamma Mia!" (2008) opened with $27.6 million and has topped $142 million. Based on the popular musical inspired by Abba 's hits, it had a built-in audience with fans of both live theater and the Swedish supergroup.

• " The Devil Wears Prada" (2006) collected $27.5 million its opening weekend and more than $124 million to date. Great performances and Oscar nominations (for costume design and star Meryl Streep) likely boosted this film, which also appealed to men with its sendup of the fashion and publishing industries.

• " The Princess Diaries" (2001) earned $22.8 million its opening weekend and eventually grossed over $108 million. Disney plus princesses equals success (see "Enchanted").

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