New Kid Jordan Knight brings solo show to Lincolnshire
Jordan Knight will always be a New Kid. But he's also a married father of two, a solo artist and an occasional TV star.
On Saturday, the New Kids on the Block lead singer brings his "Live and Unfinished" solo tour to Lincolnshire's Viper Alley for an intimate, 500-capacity show.
Taking a break from rehearsals in the Boston area, Knight, 41, spoke to the Daily Herald by phone recently about why he loves touring on his own, and how it's different from what he does with the New Kids.
Q. Your latest solo effort, "Unfinished," came out in May. What are you looking forward to about finally touring on it?
A. It came out, like, right before the New Kids went on tour with the Backstreet Boys. So when you go on an arena tour with two mega-groups like that, you bring a whole bunch of people out and it's more than just the real die-hard dedicated fans. It's kind of the general public. You have to sing the hits. You have to sing the songs on the radio, and all the songs that were extremely popular. So I wasn't able to sing the songs on "Unfinished" because it's more of a fan-driven album.
Q. How do the performance and choreography differ from New Kids?
A. The choreography is a little more intricate. I sit down at the keyboard and sing a few songs from my past albums and that's really cool. You can't really sit down and settle into the crowd and relax and tell little jokes and stuff like that when you're in an arena. With this, I've kind of hand-picked all the places I'm doing in a way where I can be really up-close and personal. It's almost like just kind of hanging out with the fans.
Q. Do you mix in New Kids material?
A. It's pretty much all my own. I'm not trying to break out of the New Kids whatsoever. This is like a spinoff, and I'll always be a New Kid for the rest of my life. New Kids comes first, and I want to save that material for the New Kids. That being said -- every once in a while, just to throw people off -- I hit them with a New Kids song.
Q. How do you manage life on the road with two young sons and a wife at home?
A. When I'm on tour, I'm on tour. But when I'm home, I'm really home. My friends are my family. I don't hang out. I don't go to clubs. Having a Boston-based team really helps out because I can go to rehearsal and come back by dinnertime, instead of, "Oh baby, I've got to go to L.A. for two weeks to rehearse for my upcoming tour." I kind of just want to make sure that I don't push myself too much and go off balance. I don't want to put too much stress on them.
Q. Has having children changed your approach to making music? You were a kid yourself when you started.
A. I think it probably keeps me fresh. I listen to what they listen to, and they listen to what I listen to. When I was in my 20s, I wanted to prove myself too much. But I'm an entertainer. That's my job. I should entertain other people -- not try to have them think I'm cool or approve of me. When I was in my 20s, I really wanted to impress people. But now it's like my main goal is to entertain people and try to make them feel good when they come to one of our shows. It's really just to help them get away from everyday life.
Q. Your shows are physically demanding. How have you managed to keep up?
A. I don't live a hard life. I don't drink or smoke. I eat pretty healthy. And I try to exercise every day. A lot of people ask me, "How do you stay slim?" If you had a job where you needed to get onstage in front of millions of people, it would give you so much motivation. It's not like I'm some fitness guru or I'm naturally slim and healthy.
Q. Every year, you and the New Kids offer cruise packages to fans who essentially spend their vacations with you. What's that like? Got any crazy stories?
A. It's madness. We had a toga party last year, and it was pretty wild. We dressed in togas and all the girls dressed in togas and it was a very windy night, so I'll just let your imagination fly with that one. The girls, they come and they're like, "We want to get away from our kids, our bills, our husbands, our jobs and we want to hang out with the guys we fell in love with when we were 12 or 13 years old." So it's like, let's have fun. We do the cruise. We do a show on the beach. All the girls will be drinking and wading in the water, and we'll be performing. We do theme events every night. We'll play games like "Family Feud." It will be like the New Kids against five fans. We just do fun stuff, you know?
Q. What should fans expect coming up?
A. Besides the "Live and Unfinished" tour, which is going across the country really, the New Kids are going to get back in the studio. It's been about four years since we recorded. We're really due for some new songs and we want to put a new show together for North America in 2013.
Jordan Knight's "Live and Unfinished" solo tourWhen: 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Where: Viper Alley, 275 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire
Info: (847) 499-5000 or viper-alley.com