Archive for November, 2010

BSB guide for NKOTB users

Posted by Jessica Jewett 7 Comments »

Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about the Backstreet Boys since Kevin left the group, but in seeing a lot of New Kids on the Block people scratching their heads, I decided I knew enough to help. I’m interested in promoting “communication between adjoining nations” as Laurie from Little Women put it. (Leave it to me to use a nineteenth century literature reference to illustrate my point!)

In general, Backstreet Boys music is more poppy than New Kids, in my opinion. They tends to use more “real” instruments that gives them a bit more of a pop/rock sound as opposed to the R&B base to New Kids music. While they are basically the same type of music, I would wager that you would be more likely to hear Backstreet on a movie soundtrack and New Kids in a club. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other though. It’s really just a matter of your moods and tastes at any given time. I’m told that Backstreet has more edgy music that the record label hasn’t put on any albums though. As for their voices, it is safe to say that even if you aren’t a fan yet, each guy in Backstreet has a strong ability to lead vocally. All of them sing, whereas Jordan, Joe and Donnie tend to monopolize all of the New Kids solo parts. Both groups have a vocal dynamic that work for them. My advice is to not compare one group against the other, but appreciate the talent that both have to offer in their own respects. Just as we expect Backstreet fans to learn and respect New Kids music, we should return the favor.

So now let’s meet each Backstreet Boy.

AJ McLean – 32 years old

I would describe AJ (Alexander James) as Backstreet’s equivalent to Donnie Wahlberg. As far as the “boy band formula” goes, AJ was and is pegged as the bad boy. He’s a native of Florida and I believe he has some Latino blood in him but I might be remembering that wrong. He has a taste for little dogs. I remember reading a magazine once that mentioned him having a new little puppy called Jack Daniels and he had the puppy in a play pen made for human babies. Vocally, AJ has a raspy voice but carries long notes quite well. He plays several instruments including the acoustic guitar, the saxophone, the bass guitar and the piano. He also has some theater background. For a short time, he did a solo stint as his alter-ego, British rocker, Johnny No Name. AJ has had a long battle with drugs and alcohol. He went to rehab years ago after an intervention that was led by Kevin Richardson (we’ll meet him soon). I believe he has a fiance right now but I’m not certain about that.

Brian Littrell – 35 years old

I would describe Brian as being the most like our Jordan with being more about the music and being somewhat standoffish or shy off stage. Brian is a native of Kentucky like his cousin, Kevin Richardson. He began singing in the church choir just like our own New Kids, Jon and Jordan. As a born again Christian since childhood, Brian has had a lot of solo success in the Christian music market aside from his Backstreet run. He has had a bit of scandal though because he served as a grand marshal in a gay pride parade with his bandmates, which caused several Christian stores to remove his products and stop playing his music. In my eyes, Brian is a true man of God for loving everyone. The thing I remember most about him back in the day is his heart defect. There was a hole in his heart and he had open heart surgery in the 90s. He’s very strong, vocally speaking. He sings lead a lot and he plays the acoustic guitar and the keyboards. He is married to Leighanne Wallace of Atlanta and they have a son together.

Nick Carter – 30 years old

I struggle to compare Nick with anyone in New Kids because he is… well… Nick. I suppose his mouth and attitude can be compared to our Joe and he is also a loud, sometimes nasally singer like Joe. He has a loud, crazy family that was once the subject of a reality show. He also dated Paris Hilton but we won’t hold that against him. Nick is considered “the cute one” as far as the boy band formula goes, like Jordan is stereotypically considered our cute one. Nick brings the younger more hip-hop flavor to Backstreet but he released a solo album a few years ago that I considered more pop/rock. Like AJ, Nick has struggled with drugs and alcohol. He plays the drums, bass guitar and guitar. He has also done a little bit of acting.

Howie Dorough – 37 years old

We call him Howie D or just D. Howie is the flirt, the “Latin lover”, etc. I think I would describe him as somewhat like Danny but he has some of Jon’s pickiness and some of Donnie’s charisma too. Howie is a native of Florida and he’s half-Puerto Rican and half-Irish American. He speaks fluent Spanish. Personally, I think Howie is the weakest vocally in the group, but he’s still a great singer. His start was in theater and he’s an all-around entertainer, meaning he’s a singer, dancer, songwriter and an actor. The thing I remember about him was when we met, he was sipping on hot tea with lemon. That’s his thing. He drinks a lot of hot tea to protect his vocal cords or something to that effect. I can’t remember the exact reason.

Kevin Richardson – 39 years old

While Kevin is no longer in the Backstreet Boys, I still included him in this guide because you will certainly hear talk about the glory days when the five of them were together. Kevin is universally known as the equivalent of Jon in New Kids, although they are very different men straight up and down. Kevin has done a lot of acting and modeling since he left the Backstreet Boys. He was a Versace model with Ashton Kutcher and he had several different runs in the musical Chicago among other Broadway work. He’s also a composer and very gifted on the piano. He’s Brian’s maternal first cousin and he has a wife and son. Vocally, he’s smooth and a bit on the R&B side, sort of like the way Jon sings (if you’re lucky enough to catch him singing). The thing I remember about Kevin is how tall he is (I think he’s over 6 feet) and he smelled like Mexican food when we met. I adore him. Jon was my first love and Kevin was my rebound guy.

Now that you know the basics about the Backstreet Boys, learn some of their music. Follow these links.

I Want It That Way
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
Incomplete (live)
The Call
I’ll Never Break Your Heart (winter version)
Shape of My Heart (acapella)

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>NKOTB lessons for BSB fans

Posted by Jessica Jewett 4 Comments »


Yesterday I had a bad day, so I started tweeting funny things to make myself laugh. I didn’t really think other people were going to care but it caught on and I acquired several new followers. They all told me to put the tweets in one place because they were so funny.

With the news that New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys are teaming up for a tour next year, it occurred to me that my side of things, the New Kids side, is its own culture. Outsiders couldn’t possibly understand why we yell, “Wooooo!” in Target or why we smile when we see Snuggies or ShamWows. For that reason, I started tweeting about all of the inside facets to New Kids culture as a joke to help Backstreet fans navigate our world. Here they are in no particular order, copied from my Twitter page.

About 2/3 of anything from Jon is a steaming load of bullshit.

Jordan tinks and Donnie twugs.

Do not disrespect the wind machine. Ever. Jordan girls will cut a bitch.

Donnie + umbrellas = pure awesome action comedy.

Kiss and coddle Donnie’s booboos. Giggle at Jon’s booboos and let the snark fly.

Don’t worry if Donnie starts humping you. It’s best to just be still and let him finish.

Jordan thinks of people. A lot. Trying to figure out who is like taking a stroll through his brain.

Jon and Joe are fluent in #randombutfunnyhashtags

Our stalkers are called BSCs aka bat shit crazies. Don’t make any sudden movements. Just back away slowly.

Jon hates plastic commie Christmas trees. Don’t ask. Just nod your head and give him more coffee.

Here is your copy of Band of Brothers. You are required to watch all of it. Now.

No, Jon doesn’t sing solos. It’s useless to beg. He is pretty so that makes up for it.

Donnie can’t remember names so expect to get a nickname if you see him enough. Jon just remembers faces.

Donnie is our spiritual guru. Don’t fight it. Listen to Father Cheesus and all will be well.

One of Jon’s nicknames was Jizz. I know what you’re thinking. We all did.

Don’t try to hit Jordan’s falsetto even if you are a female. It ruins our videos of him singing live.

Perez Hilton is a rat bastard. Don’t expect love from Jon if you dig that pig.

Here is your Boston to English dictionary. You’ll need it to communicate with Jon and Joe.

You better develop a taste for marshmallows. Donnie’s quite in love with his.

Jon LOVES a good chat about poop. And rats. And being unemployed.

Jon knows more about you than you think. Don’t gossip. He already spied on you.

Joe is most likely to tell you to fuck off. Then again so is Danny. It’s part of their charm.

Make fun of Jon’s freaky hobbit feet. We like to think it strokes his ego.

Ask Jon if you can see his tractah. No really. He has a big one!

Danny will shank you if you eat a cupcake in front of him.

Emergency kit: coffee, cigarettes, cupcakes, Twix, Aquahydrate and Frankenberry. You’ll be safe as a kitten with the wolves.

Jon’s lil Buddha belly has magical powers.

A lesson in Knights: Jon got all the booty and Jordan got all the chest hair. It’s a fair trade.

Have you ever fallen from a horse? No? Jon didn’t either.

Joe, Jordan and Jon look better in guyliner and manscara than you ever will.

Late night twitter fun: braiding Jon’s toe hair, slipping Donnie sleeping pills, telling Jordan what’s on tv.

1 emu, 2 emu, 3 emu… Oh no, they all died. *playing taps*

Don’t tweet Jon during Brothers & Sisters and Glee. We’re all dead to him when those shows are on.

Even tho Jordan designs shirts, fusses over shoes & watches tv with us like a sleepover, he is straight. Promise 🙂

Donnie has audio sex with us most Friday nights. We’re marketing shamwow panties.

Pretty sure Donnie didn’t bathe from 1989 thru 1992. Picasso had his blue period. Donnie had his homeless period.

God will strike you dead if you correct Jon’s spelling. You don’t want a lightening bolt up your ass.

For the millionth time, JON DOESN’T HAVE A FACEBOOK! Geez! 🙂

You may encounter the ghosts of 30 emus in Mass. Don’t panic! Just act like you don’t know Farmer Jon.

There will be a test on the lyrics to Are You Down? Embrace the cheese. Jon raps. You don’t want to miss that.

Donnie’s ass is the 6th New Kid. You either love it or you don’t. Me? *whispers* Jon’s ass is better.

If you see more than one show, expect to find green and white confetti in your purse for months. It’s a gift.

Celtics, Red Socks, Patriots, etc. No other teams are acceptable. Just pretend like you get it.

Joe will singlehandedly teach your children 400 meanings to the word fuck.

Every time someone mentions Nikko, a moment of silent reverence is mandatory.

*whispers* BSC Jon girls *still* loathe Tiffany. It’s like poking little yappy bears with sticks.

Vocabulary lesson: moobs. Man boobs. Commonly used in reference to Jordans fabulous moobs.

You’re going to want to feed Joe a sammich when you see how little he is.

A few tweets from one of them might feel like friendship but don’t confuse yourself.

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>NKOTB, BSB, virginity, stalkers, artists and me

Posted by Jessica Jewett No Comments »


This is certainly something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. After New Kids on the Block split in 1994, I drifted into Backstreet Boys when I was in high school. They were, for a time, “bigger than Jesus” as John Lennon once said about the Beatles. I often describe it now as Jonathan Knight was my first love and then Kevin Richardson was my first rebound guy. Now that these groups are touring together minus my rebound guy, a lot of memories from high school have been coming back to me. Looking back on it now, I think my ride with the Backstreet Boys was crazier than my ride with New Kids on the Block has been, complete with infiltrating a fancy hotel, a busty blonde, security, identity theft and my very own stalker that broke into my house.

Gather ’round, children! It’s story time!

Once upon a time, there was a young girl in high school in a small town in northwest Georgia….

Wasn’t I cute with my short hair? Not. Anyway, in high school, I had an art teacher who was ironically named Mr. Knight. He recognized my gift for doing portrait work and encouraged me to focus on developing those skills. He was my mentor. He was largely responsible for my training as an artist and he bought my first portfolio as a gift. We were even planning for me to go to the Art Institute of Chicago (the Savannah College of Art and Design was our second choice for me) to further my education. I did a lot of portraits in that class and I grew so much as an artist at that time that I was basically allowed to choose my own projects so long as they were appropriate. I did a large project of a man and woman in an embrace based on a perfume ad that I had seen, I did a portrait of Native Americans, and so forth. By the time the Backstreet Boys released their album Millennium, I had a new portrait in mind.

When I began this portrait, I had chosen to do it because Kevin had beautiful facial structure and his eyes were clear enough that I could really practice capturing the soul. That sounds very hippie and New Age, I suppose, but any good portrait artist becomes great when they have the ability to capture life in the eyes. Mr. Knight didn’t really know who Kevin was but the other girls in my class knew and they all thought I should send it to him. I thought they were crazy. I put months of work into it to develop my skill on something I enjoyed looking at and I wasn’t willing to part with it just to have Kevin say, “Oh that’s nice,” and throw it away. I wanted to add it to my portfolio for getting into the art institute. All I cared about in those days was getting the hell out of Georgia and making something of myself.

At some point that year, I went to visit my uncle in Atlanta because my portraits were in an exhibition in the city and I was expected to be there. He was living with an actress at that time. I think her name was Michelle or Melanie or Melissa Winters. I can’t remember now. At any rate, I was talking to her about how I was going to see the Backstreet Boys in concert that November and she told us that she had the same agent as Leighanne Wallace and she knew her. Leighanne was Brian Littrell’s girlfriend at that time. M had seen my portrait of Kevin (it was part of my art exhibition) and she and my uncle began conspiring together about getting Kevin to see it. To a girl in high school, that was a huge deal. I agreed to it under the terms that Kevin was not allowed to keep it and I needed it back for my portfolio to get into the art institute. I laugh at myself now, thinking it took balls for a seventeen-year-old girl to make demands on her work like she was already somebody. Somebody I was not but I was thinking beyond Kevin toward my future.

Months passed by and when the Backstreet Boys’ tour buses rolled into Atlanta, my uncle took the portrait to their hotel with a manila envelope filled with information about me and my photograph. He used to work in the high-end hotel industry so he knew everyone and it was no big deal for him to get on their floor. I think they were at the Four Seasons, which is ironic, because I was just there a week ago for a Halloween charity function. I found out that day (the day of the show) that Leighanne had flown into Atlanta. My uncle and M said she flew in for me to make sure I got to meet the guys but I’m not sure if that was true. It was the day before Thanksgiving and Leighanne is from Atlanta, so it was just as likely that she came home for the holiday.

When I got to Phillips Arena, it took no time at all for Leighanne to find me. I was up on the first tier and I saw her come out from backstage on the floor. She spoke to an usher who pointed up at me and I watched her climb a zillion stairs all the way up to my seat. We talked a little bit and a crowd was gathering behind us because everybody knew who she was and Brian’s security was with her. She gave me a backstage pass and that was my first taste of crazy fans. As I went around the arena to get drinks or merchandise, some called me a slut, others glared at me, and one tried to rip the pass off my body. I had to be escorted down to the bottom to get backstage because I had been seen with Leighanne and, I suppose, people assumed I was “with” them. I didn’t understand fan mentality back then. I was young and naive.

As soon as I got backstage, I saw AJ walk by in his stage costume. There weren’t other fans around, so I tried not to stare. I remember how skinny he looked and I wondered if he was sick. I was wandering around backstage for a long time before I saw any of them again. At one point, I had to get out of the way because AJ was laughing and piggyback riding his security guard down a narrow hallway. When I finally got to a room where I could see all of them together, they filed in wearing their stage costumes. Howie came first with his cup of tea and he grasped my hand and talked to me for a minute. Brian was a little standoffish but I think that was just his way. Kevin strolled in with my portrait in his hands and he monopolized me from that point. Nick tried to get in and say hello but I wasn’t really paying attention to him because I was all about my rebound guy. AJ sneaked in next to me and leaned against the wall in silence for a long time. Finally, he said quietly, “I really like your glasses,” and in turning to him, I was struck by how melancholic and lonely he looked. I felt something was wrong with him but I didn’t know what.

Kevin was wonderful and everything I imagined. Sometimes I heard that he was “the bitchy Backstreet Boy” but my experience with him was nothing but positive. We talked about art and his feelings about fans and he asked me some questions about my portrait work. I remember talking about charcoal vs color at some point and he smiled, grasped my shoulders and kissed my cheek with a “mmmmmm” hum in his voice. As young as I was, all I could do was blush like a fool. In those days, I was very religious and I was a strict no sex before marriage girl, so I wasn’t accustomed to the opposite sex being close to me, on friendly terms or not.

I know. It’s hard to imagine me as being ultra-conservative, religious and committed to virginity until marriage. Don’t hurt your heads trying to picture that oddity. Those days are long over for me.

Perhaps it was my ultra-conservative view on life at that time that made me really offended by Nick Carter. He didn’t seem to be very happy about being ignored by a fan and finally ended up standing directly behind me waiting for the pictures to be taken while Kevin talked to me. There was a break in the conversation and Kevin began talking to my mother. At that point, I felt like I was being watched. I looked up and behind me and discovered that Nick was blatantly peering down my blouse, which was a V-neck, so I suppose boys were going to look. He looked away immediately and I looked away from him. I was only seventeen and my experiences with the opposite sex at that point were very limited, so finding Nick looking down my blouse made me extremely uncomfortable. Of course, now that I’m an adult with several relationships and rotten experiences with men under my belt, it’s not that big of a deal, but at the time, I hated Nick for it and I thought he was a pervert.

In going home from the concert that night, I thought that was the end of it. Kevin graciously returned the portrait and I intended to continue looking for new inspiration for my artistic development. I lived in Calhoun, Georgia, however, which was a small town and everybody knew that I “hung out with the Backstreet Boys” by the time I got home. I worked for the high school newspaper and created an entertainment section before that concert and my journalism teacher wanted me to do a piece about my experiences. Another girl in the class volunteered to work with me on it. I didn’t know her but I thought she looked nice enough. That week, I called Backstreet Boys management to seek permission to print their photograph in the paper and when they returned my call, I suppose something clicked in that girl’s mind that I was on personal terms with the group.

Things got scary and weird really fast.

The girl started following me around school all day long. I thought it was annoying but I was nice about it. In a few days, she apparently figured out where I lived. One afternoon, I was at home by myself watching television in the bedroom when I heard somebody come into the house. I thought it was my ex-stepfather coming home early from work. Suddenly there was stalker girl in my bedroom doorway and I freaked out inside but something in my head told me to act casual. She took my Backstreet Boys pictures with me. She took my autographed items. She took everything and left my house. A few days after that, her father called my mother and demanded to know why I was making long distance calls to Los Angeles from his phone. I explained that I had never been to his house, nor had I ever made any long distance calls to Los Angeles. He said that his daughter said I did it and that Backstreet Boys management had called his house and asked for me. We eventually figured out that night that the girl had been making phone calls to Backstreet Boys management and posed as me.

Seventeen-years-old and I already had a bat shit crazy stalker. Long story short, because this girl invented it in her mind that I had some sort of relationship with the Backstreet Boys, I had to drop the journalism class I shared with her and I had to stop going inside to eat at Chick-fil-a where she worked. I spent the rest of my time in Calhoun locking my doors and windows and avoiding her as much as I could until I moved away.

After Kevin left the group, they faded away from my life. My rebound guy gave me an interesting adventure when I was in high school and I continued doing portraits on commission for many years until my vision got too bad. I had corrective eye surgery a few years ago and the first portrait I did to get back on the horse, so to speak, was my first love, Jonathan Knight.

Unlike Kevin, Jon got to keep his portrait. I’m not the artist I thought I was back then and life took a few turns that pulled me away from the art institute. My portfolio is buried in my closet and filled with half-finished projects. Portrait artists haven’t had careers since portraits were in fashion a hundred years ago or more. Jon was, after all, my first love, so it was only right that he kept it instead of me putting it in a portfolio that is just collecting dust in my closet. My perspective on life has changed since I was seventeen just like my artistic perspective has changed since my eye surgery. It’ll be interesting to see what new experiences come with New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys joining together for next year’s tour. I still have Kevin’s portrait. My uncle hung it in the stairwell with my other pieces of art many years ago. It’s too bad I won’t get to see Kevin again since he left the group a long time ago. I look at it sometimes though and remember how innocent and naive I was back then.

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