With almost three decades in the boy band spotlight, Jordan Knight has surfed the highs and weathered the lows that come with being a global pop icon. But while his greatest piece of advice for the latest wave of boy bands is “just have fun” the singer knows all too well how fun can spin out of control. Having been in the shoes of hysteria-inducing, young pin-ups like The Wanted and One Direction, at an age where alcohol and drug temptations are at their heights, the New Kids on the Block singer believes it’s up to band members to look out for each other.
“That’s one of the great things about being in a band as opposed to a solo artist,” he tells AOL Music Blog ahead of his upcoming solo tour. “For us it was good at that age because we had each other’s backs. If one person started going crazy we’d pull them back. So what I would say to these new bands is watch out for your friends — if they’re getting too crazy be a good friend and pull them back to reality.”
The 42-year-old singer/songwriter recently spent time with The Wanted at Hershey’s MixTape Festival, where the young Brits joined NKOTB on-stage to perform “Glad You Came.” The experience brought back memories of Jordan’s days bursting onto the scene as a teen heartthrob.
“It’s cool to see the new generation at it,” he said. “It brings back the feelings I had when I started. Everything was fresh and new. You have the world at the palm of your hands. I get to relive that feeling through them.
“And it’s great to see a British band come here and the girls love them because they have accents and they’re British!”
While he believes it’s just as difficult for today’s “young whippersnappers” to navigate the music industry as it was for NKOTB, he says avenues like YouTube mean a lucky break can come cheaply and “at any moment.”
Of course, with that moment comes a whole new world of fame and fortune. For NKOTB, their late ’80 explosion saw them topping the charts, plastering bedroom walls around the world and spawning cartoons, merchandise and record sales earning $850 million in 1990 alone.
While the band weren’t extravagant spenders, Jordan urges stars like Justin Bieber and One Direction — who have come under fire for splashing out five-digit figures on cars for friends and girlfriends — not to feel bad about wealth.
“A lot of people feel guilty and want to give money away to friends, family and everybody. It’s a sudden surge of power and everyone wants a piece, but don’t let it define you — and don’t feel guilty about having it. Just be responsible.
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