I fully admit that, when I was of a certain age, I had it bad for the New Kids on the Block. I had a room plastered in NKOTB trading cards, and, though I never had a Ken doll to go with my Barbie, I had a little plastic Joey McIntyre (complete with hat). While those days are still fresh in my mind, I still don’t get the Jonas Brothers. I think it’s the way they dress. The New Kids looked like they scrubbed up a bunch of toughs from South Boston. The Jonas Brothers look like they dressed up a bunch of preps from New Jersey. There’s a difference there—or so I’d like to think. (Okay, maybe not. Maybe it’s time to put my Joey doll on eBay.) Still, the Jonas Brothers wear ascot ties and pocket squares. I spent most of my adolescence trying to figure out if there was a career I’d like where I wouldn’t have to dress formally for work. (And hey! I found one.) “Rock Star” is certainly one of those careers, and yet the Jonas Brothers are making one huge step back for the business casual movement.
I am certainly the minority opinion. If you have a kid of a certain age, you already know there’s no point in debating the finer points of the New Kids on the Block versus the Jonas Brothers—those home-schooled scamps automatically win. At least that’s the case presented by the numbers for the band’s direct-to-cable movie, Camp Rock, which stars the Brothers (mostly Joe) as—what else—rock stars who return to their beloved summer camp, only to discover the next big Disney talent, Demi Lovato, among one of the campers. The movie premiered on Friday to 8.9 million eager viewers. That’s more viewers than the premiere of Disney’s other money factory, High School Musical, but less than the premiere of High School Musical 2.
Listen up: I have a plan to save you from a horrible summer of the Camp Rock soundtrack played on an endless loop. No doubt, if your offspring is afflicted with Jonasitis, use their powers against them. Sign them up for a real Camp Rock. My theory is that if you use their newfound interest in rock instruction to expose your children to musicians who know about real rock ‘n’ roll, they’ll be able to wean them off of Mickey Mouse music.
Rocker Paul Green opened up one such school in Philadelphia, and it became the inspiration for the Jack Black movie School of Rock. Green’s gone franchise, and a branches have sprouted up all over. At the Paul Green School of Rock, students receive 45 minutes of private instruction, and then get to perform on stage in a big end-of-season show. (They also have classes/seminars in Songwriting, Music Business 101, etc.) The concerts so far have been centered around the music of Pink Floyd and Queen, so there’s blissfully no Jonases in sight.