Page last updated at 07:50 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 08:50 UK

Jonas Brothers: 'Fans can be frightening'

The Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers: (L-R) Kevin, Nick and Joe Jonas

By Mark Savage
BBC News entertainment reporter

Imagine the most high-pitch sound you have ever heard in your life. A jet engine, whistling kettle, or screeching tyre would do.

Now multiply that noise by a factor of 20,000, purchase a job lot of glow sticks, and douse yourself with a dozen buckets of oestrogen.

Congratulations, you have just recreated the atmosphere at a Jonas Brothers concert.

The clean-cut, Disney-sponsored boy band have generated a passionate female following that some commentators have compared to Beatlemania.

In truth, they don't have the same cross-generational appeal as the Fab Four. Their singles, an inoffensive blend of major key power chords and pop harmonies, have so far failed to make the UK top 10.

But to the devoted, chart positions mean nothing. When the group's pre-show MC asks "Who wants to be the next Mrs Jonas?" a thousand pre-teen hearts explode in a shower of barely comprehending love.

Jonas Brothers
The group's gigs are full of energy - both on and off-stage

Gestures like this could be interpreted as exploitative - but Nick Jonas who, at 16, is the closest in age to his band's tear-soaked admirers, says that isn't the case.

"I think that any way we can make the fans feel involved in the show is always fun," he says.

"We love playing on their reaction a little bit... I think we even sell t-shirts that say 'the future Mrs Jonas!'"

While Nick explains the hysteria away as simply being part of the act, his older brother Joe is more cautious.

"Sometimes you get frightened because there are so many people," he admits.

If details of where the band are staying leak out, he adds, things can get even trickier.

"While we were over on tour in Brazil, there was a wedding going on in the hotel we were staying at and there were fans everywhere, packing the place out," Joe recalls with a hint of embarrassment.

"I think the bride and the groom were a little unhappy with the fact there were so many screaming girls.

"But we made sure to go and say congratulations and give them a little gift for the wedding, and apologise for all the craziness that was happening."

Brand banned?

Russell Brand at the MTV Awards
He seemed to run out of material - but if we're the butt of his jokes, it's kind of a compliment in a bizarre way
Nick Jonas, on Russell Brand's controversial Jonas jokes at the 2008 MTV awards

Wedding bells are currently on the horizon for the band's eldest member, Kevin (absent from our interview), who announced his engagement to hairdresser Danielle Deleasa in July.

Whether he can fit the ceremony around his exhausting schedule is unsure, although Joe says his brother is "working on it".

The band's tour is now into its third month, but it isn't the last commitment on the brothers' diaries this year, with a sequel to their hit movie Camp Rock due to start filming in Canada in a few weeks' time.

That means they'll miss the MTV Awards in New York - but they seem happier about the scheduling conflict than you might think.

British comedian Russell Brand is hosting the ceremony again this year, just 12 months after he upset many Jonas fans by making repeated jokes about the band's purity rings, which they wear to signal they plan to abstain from sex before marriage.

As ever, though, the brothers are polite and diplomatic when Brand's return comes up in conversation.

"It's great for him. He has form and ultimately he does a great job," says Nick.

"As far as his comments were concerned, what we said from the beginning was that he seemed to run out of material - but if we're the butt of his jokes, it's kind of a compliment in a bizarre way.

"We hope he has a good time this year."

Meeting Obama

The MTV furore was presumably nothing more than a blip in the band's carefully-managed rise to fame.

Their world tour, which hits Britain in November, sold more than 1 million tickets in a week, they are the most-watched musical act on YouTube and, according to their record label (terrifying marketing speak ahoy) the Jonas Brothers are "the biggest youth brand in the world".

Jonas Brothers
The group received a Grammy nomination for best new band in 2008

In the last year, they have played at the White House twice, while Nick met President Obama - "really nice, very tall" - as part of his campaign to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 13.

The multi-instrumentalist, who has to wear an insulin pump around the clock, wrote a song on the group's new album about his struggle to come to terms with the condition.

"I actually wrote A Little Bit Longer when I was up in Toronto shooting Camp Rock," he explains.

"There was a day when my blood sugar was a little out of range, a little crazy. I walked into a room with a piano and sat down and it all came out in a few minutes."

He plays the song every night on the group's tour, sat by himself in a solitary spotlight. It is one of the few times the crowd stops screaming and pays attention.

"People have said to me that the song has inspired them and encouraged them," he divulges. "That means a lot.

"I wrote it in a moment of my own personal frustration, as a kind of therapy for myself. To think that it could help someone who is dealing with the same emotions is an amazing thing."

The Jonas Brothers start their first UK headline tour in November, kicking off at Birmingham's LG Arena.

Their latest album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, is out now.



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