Joey McIntyre Interview: September 28, 2001, New York City Memo: Feel free to print any or all of this interview in your school paper or to pull bits for your station. You are also free to use these SHAGG exclusive photos. We simply ask that you give SHAGG copyright credit. Use this: ¬©SHAGG, 2001.
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Joey McIntyre SHAGG talks with Joey McIntyre about acting, his new CD, love, loss, faith and family. SHAGG: (In regards to Joey's lead role in the Off Broadway show, "tick, tick‚?¶Boom!"‚?¶) Did you get this role out of the blue? Joey: I don't know if anything is out of the blue really. They were interested in me for some crazy reason and I had, of course, heard of "Rent" and Jonathan Larsen wrote "Rent". It was a new kind of musical and obviously a big hit. The producers took a one-man show of his and turned it into "tick, tick‚?¶Boom!"I couldn't say I was gung-ho and running down to the theater. My manager said, "Let's take a look at this." So sure enough, I went down to the theater and met some of the people. From the first five minutes, I loved the show. I was, like, 'okay'. I was thinking this is a serious role, it's meaty, it's big, but it's fun and it's deep at the same time. It runs the gamut of emotions and I get to play my age. It's about a guy turning 30. He's a struggling artist in NYC. Although I've never waited tables before, I could identify with just about every other aspect of his life and career. So I was psyched. After the show, I was determined to get the sides, which is the scenes-they call them sides, and get the music. I've done community theater since I was a kid before NKOTB. I've done a movie based on The Fantastics, which is an Off Broadway play. It's a musical‚?¶.I guess I only do musicals. Normally when I go in for things, I'm really not into it. I think because I write my own music and I'm very involved in the production, it's my creation. It's my baby. So, if I can't totally relate to the piece or really feel like it's something innately me, then I kind of take myself out of the game. I might go into auditions and just not be there‚?¶my head's somewhere else. And that's just not a good thing for everybody. But this-I knew I wanted it. And I did the work. I worked with a musical accompanist and had the song down. I worked with my acting coach. And I went in there and did a great audition. Then I did one more audition and they offered it to me like an hour after the second audition. I knew it. I left the audition feeling like if they don't give me the part, they're crazy. SHAGG: You nailed it and you knew it. Joey: Yeah. And you know what? When you do that, it doesn't matter whether you get it or not. I had fun with it and there's so many variables involved in this business. That's the kind of feeling you want. SHAGG: It's like writing a song. You know when you got it. Joey: Definitely. I was excited. I am very, very excited. I felt like I'm finally really growing up. This is my coming out party. I've had a lot of success and I've been happy and I've been able to perform, but to me, this is really legit. To work with good people and to be involved with such a production is great. When I was learning the stuff, I realized this was going to be a lot to learn. Originally, it was a one-man show. There are two other cast members who are great, but he has a lot of monologues and a lot of the songs. So I'm focused, my life is changing, I'm in Tribeca and I'm gonna walk to the theater every night, 8 shows a week and everything's gonna be great and then, of course, September 11th.I was in Seattle at the time. I don't know how everyone handled what happened. I drove back from Seattle. It was a wild experience with Eman and another good friend of ours, George. Thank God, good people. It was bittersweet because it was so beautiful driving through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, the Dakotas‚?¶just seeing America and how beautiful it is and knowing what you were coming back to. It was crushing. We all knew how we felt. You realize how much we all are alike when something happens. We didn't have to describe our feelings. It was just there. So I got back that Saturday. We're all dealing with it in our different ways. You see people at different peaks and valleys with dealing with the mourning and the grief and getting over it and trying to live. So as far as the show, they went from 8 shows to 5 shows a week for the Equity, to save money. The loss of life‚?¶You know I went through a stage where I felt so guilty to feel any emotion because of what was going on. There's such pain and sorrow and loss, so if another Off Broadway show has to pack it in, well that's a small consolation to what's going on. At the same time, I thank God for this challenge, to have something that I can really sink my teeth into. There are some really poignant, beautiful moments in the show about moving on and surviving and asking some really tough questions. So it's exciting and uplifting for me to be involved in something like that. SHAGG: And healing no doubt. Joey: Oh, no question. I hope that people come out and support theater like they always have. I know it's a frightening situation right now, but‚?¶ SHAGG: I don't know if the rest of America realizes that so many shows that have been long standing shows closed last weekend‚?¶.the impact that it's having on the city in that regard. How's attendance coming along with "tick, tick‚?¶Boom!" Joey: It's hanging in there. I'm sure they wanted me to hopefully draw, to sell some tickets. But I'm never one to live up to other people's expectations. I know I'm good enough and I believe I'm going to be entertaining, but I think the story is after the fact, when there's a buzz. I've got great fans and hopefully they'll come. I've always throughout my career just gone, "Okay, I'm just going to do my thing. If you think that's gonna happen, maybe it will, maybe it won't. But, it's not gonna change how I do my thing."Right now, Molly Ringwald is in for a month. It's a great show, a lot of fun. I just hope and pray that it hangs in there and I can get a chance to do my interpretation of Jonathan Larsen. SHAGG: Well congratulations on this. It's a great thing. Joey: Yeah thanks. SHAGG: Listening to you speak, I have this feeling that you're a bit of a perfectionist‚?¶ Joey: (laughing) SHAGG: I'm wondering if you have reached the point yet of being able to live with the progress as opposed to judge how far short of perfection you fall. Joey: Actually I think I'm pretty good with that. I do my best. I believe we all have talents and gifts. It would be nice to sing like Celine Dion, but I sing and interpret songs the way I do. I try to write songs that are honest to me and that people can identify with, whether it's (sells) 200 or 2 million. So I try to be my best. I don't think I beat myself up too much. I realize that you never stop learning. When you realize that, for me, it's a freeing situation where you don't judge everything, you just go. It's a process. Life is a process. There's no 'if I do this, then it's going to be perfect' or 'if I do this, then I'll be happy.' Luckily, I think that just comes from experiences and having so many different kinds of experiences at a young age. SHAGG: Let's talk about some of that for a second. I don't want to spend too much time on the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, but how did you become a NKOTB? Joey: I did community theater since I was 6 years old. I liked sports, but I spent my time after school doing plays and musicals and children's theater. My family's been involved in community theater my whole life. There were already 5 New Kids. They lived in Dorchester. It was started by Maurice Starr. He met Donnie Wahlberg and Donnie got his friends together: A couple of kids, Jordan and John, sang in a choir. Danny used to break dance at parties. They were kind of hams together along with this one other kid, Jamie Kelly, who was probably the least interested in the whole band thing. So, when Jamie wanted to drop out, they were looking for another kid. They were calling schools up and asking if they knew any kids who could sing and were into performing. They were calling public schools so they called Jamaica Plain. I used to play basketball at this school across the street from where I used to do the theater group. At first, I was like "Nah" because I was in Jamaica Plain, a town in Boston, and they were in Dorchester, another town in Boston. But Dorchester might as well have been Africa as far as I was concerned. It was a long way away. I had my nice little middle class neighborhood, no craziness, it wasn't the streets. I had my place.But for some reason, they got ahold of me and I auditioned. It was very, very ordinary, nothing crazy. I went up and sang for Maurice. I sang a Frank Sinatra song and a Nat King Cole song. I was 12 at the time. Everybody else was 16, so there was a big difference in age. I ended up being in the group. For awhile it was just another after-school project for me. It wasn't like you got in the group and tomorrow we'll sell millions of records. It was not like that at all. We got some gigs. We performed. We loved to perform together. We had fun times. They bullied the hell out of me. It was tough. I never had that experience before. I was literally the new kid on the block, so they were giving me a hard time. But somehow, I made it through. (joking) And they're lucky I did, because they'd be nothing without me. And I remind them of that all the time. (We both laugh.)First album came out, nothing happened. Second album comes out and we start getting some play (radio) around the country. And then we get our big chance to go on the road with Tiffany. We went from being this little group in Boston to performing for 3,000 to 15,000 girls a night! Here's these five kids, decent looking guys, performing for these young girls ‚?¶it was as if it had never happened before in the world. It was as if the notion had never occurred to anybody for that to happen. And when it happened, it just exploded. The rest is history. Two years later, we're performing in stadiums. SHAGG: Other than Menudo, this was THE original American boy band, right? Joey: That's what they say, but we came from Boston where it was New Edition. We loved New Edition. We idolized them, but they were black and we were white and that's a whole other issue. Obviously there's some racial undertones involved. SHAGG: You think they had opportunities thwarted because they were black? Joey: No, that's what I mean. That's the thing. They were just as talented, but their audience was black and our audience was white. And there's 200 million white people and 100 million black people. I think it's for every 10 white people, there are 2 black. SHAGG: And perhaps at that point, media coverage was so white? Joey: Right. That's a whole other issue. SHAGG: Did you guys ever play together? Joey: No, but we met them. We idolized them. We grew up loving them. I think it was hard for them to see our success and they got mad at a lot of things. But those are their feelings and I don't want to get into describing them. We were able to remain friendly and we were always respectful to what they were for us. SHAGG: How long were you in New Kids? Joey: We broke up in '94, started doing some of our own stuff. I ended up doing The Fantastics which was great. SHAGG: How did you go to school through this? Joey: I had a tutor. Everybody else was out of school already. We went on the road after my freshman year. My freshman year I went to Catholic Memorial in Boston. We got all the curriculum from that school, so I got my diploma from Catholic Memorial. SHAGG: Did you graduate with your senior class? Joey: I didn't actually. I was over in London at the time. SHAGG: No proms‚?¶ nothing like that? Joey: No, it would've been fun. I think the normal life is‚?¶there's a reason why people do those things. It's a part of society, it's a part of growing up. You learn who you are and who you want to be. And going to college. I think that's the right way. There are definitely drawbacks to being on the road at that age. But there were a lot of highlights, too. There's so much I learned. It took me awhile to unwind. Honestly, just this last year I feel like almost a whole person-a little bit grounded. For instance, I went through my growing pains after the New Kids. New Kids broke up in '94. I was 21. I probably stayed out too late sometimes. It was all about, "Where we going out?" six nights a week. I was partying. I wanted to do that adolescent thing, those simple pleasures and mistakes that I made were probably a little delayed. I think I had to make them. I think everybody has to do that. I mean, I think it's a blessing if you don't have to do that, but my blessing was that I had a family. I'm the youngest of nine kids. That's a huge safety net. I hit my "bottom", but they wouldn't let me fall too low. But they let me do my own thing and make my own mistakes. Life is a series of ups and downs. I think really, it's just how you cope with it and how you deal with it. It's never going to be all high or all low. I think it's just breathing and being in the moment and dealing with that stuff. It's just that I wasn't doing much breathing back then. And I wasn't doing much dealing, so the lows seemed a little bit lower.Music was what got me out of that. Writing my own music, moving to New York, and meeting great people, people like Emmanuel who is incredibly talented and he's awesome. We get along. We like the same things, but we still challenge each other. SHAGG: So you're surrounding yourself with good people? Joey: Yeah, my manager's great He's awesome. He's the salt of the earth and so solid. He really cares about me. He's not Freddy DeMann. (Madonna's manager). Even my lawyer. I think it's natural thing from having good people around me that care about me in my family. SHAGG: Do you party these days? Joey: No. I look forward to that perfect day, that clean living day. You eat the right things. You don't drink. You go to bed at the right time. You wake up refreshed. You take yoga. You're breathing. It's out there. Sometimes I'm real close to it, sometimes I'm real far away. But that's my ideal. I like a good bottle of wine or scotch every now and again. But you're not gonna catch me out 'til 6 in the morning 'cause I want to be around cool people. I did that already. SHAGG: Tell me about this record‚?¶One of the things you say in your bio is that most of it was born from personal experience. Does that mean you experienced the loss of a great love? Joey: Well, on my first album, I was pretty over the top, pretty melodramatic. It's like anything else, the more confident you are, the more you know what you want, the less you have to yell about it. In my first album, I was kind of yelling. In this album, I'm raising my voice a little bit, but I'm getting quieter.There are some love songs on this album‚?¶definitely. SHAGG: "Easier"? Joey: Yeah, "Easier". I always like a song that, instead of, "What do you want? What are you looking for? What do you see when you don't open up the door into your heart?"‚?¶I like to say, 'what do I want, what am I looking for, what do I see if I don't open up the door to my heart?" Lots of songs might seem like you're talking about someone else, but I think it's talking to that feeling, that universal feeling, that we all need somebody to make it easier. I don't know how open I am to that. I guess it's part of my controlling nature. It's hard to let my guard down and say, "Yeah, I need something. I need you." SHAGG: Do you fluctuate between feeling like you either are in a place of where you don't need or are needy? Do you translate need as being needy? Joey: I think I pretty much‚?¶chuckles‚?¶held the needy person at bay. You know, it's like "You don't need." SHAGG: But then you have your family and you learn how to need people from them‚?¶ Joey: See that's the thing. I'm so lucky. I have this incredible family. We're not perfect by any means, but I'm just so lucky because I'm the youngest so I have different relationships with everybody. I really don't argue with them like they might argue with each other because they're closer siblings and it's different dynamics. For me, I'm lucky. To have that connection with one person, like a loved one, I think it's not there for me. It's not that stereotypical, quintessential loved one that I see. I don't see that connection.I was in a relationship for a long time and it just didn't work out for whatever reason. I don't know whether I didn't love her the way I wanted to. Freud says "We do not desire the ones we love and we love the ones we do not desire," so if that's true, I'm really you-know-what. I'm done. I think we all have to have our own picture of love. That's part of growing up, too, is saying I don't have to live that dream. I don't have to live someone else's dream. I can just be me and love the person as much as I can, but love her for my own reasons. Hopefully you can meet somewhere in between. Of course, the other thing is that relationships are the hardest thing in the world. Everybody knows that. Life would be easy, we'd all be the life of the party because it's easy. You can go home and people don't have to go home with you. SHAGG: Don't you think also that water seeks it's own level? Joey: That's one of my favorite lines. My sister says that. I say it all the time. So, are you saying‚?¶what do you mean? SHAGG: I mean that, putting this into context, you are just now coming into your own as a human being it sounds like to me from what we've been sitting here discussing. So that means that someone else will find you who is in a similar place. That's what your going to attract. Joey: Yeah, exactly. Right. So I think I believe that. I still have a little bit of guilt about my last relationship because she's really beautiful, she's a great person, but I just don't know. It's just natural to seek out something else. That water, my water‚?¶seeking out my own level. SHAGG: You hate hurting people? Joey: Do I hate hurting people? I guess so. SHAGG: But sometimes, it's not the intention to hurt. It's just that what your truth is hurts others? Joey: Yeah, right. Yes thank you. SHAGG: So what is "Easier" about? We never quite finished that. Joey: It's a caretaker song. It's a "I'll be your knight in shining armor" song. For those that are ironically strong enough to show how vulnerable they are, it's a great song‚?¶strong enough to let your guard down. It's a really beautiful song. It could be a friendship song. One of my greatest friendships of all time is with Emmanuel. You know what I mean? The last couple of nights, (after September 11th) I've slept over at his and his girlfriend's house. I feel bad. I'm like, "Do you mind Heather?" She was like, "No, we love it. You can sleep over tomorrow night, too." It's that friend. You know? You can tell me anything and I'm not going to judge it. I'm not going to even tell anybody. I'm not going to get any gain from what you tell me. I will not profit from what you are telling me now. I won't go tell someone else so that they love me and they tell‚?¶That happens a lot. It's human nature. I try to be understanding and realize how delicate we all are and how things can just fly out when people don't understand what they're saying or what that might mean to people, but friendship is good like that.I've been writing to my friend in jail. He was my first best friend. He got into a lot of trouble, got into drugs. I wrote him a letter because I wrote a song about him. It's called, "Mrs. Callahan." It's really written from a child's point of view, like an eight year-old's point of view saying, "Mrs. Callahan, can he come out to play? He didn't make school today. And I wonder why he never wants to do the things you say? Did he blame you today? He said you made him that way. If only he could see, he's just like you."It's the best song I've ever written. It talks about inner feelings. It took a lot of courage for me, an Irish Catholic kid who's supposed to have the code of silence and not talk about your dirty laundry and certainly not about your neighbors and certainly not about your best friend's. I didn't want to drag out all the pain they went through, but I knew the song was coming out and I had to go to his family and play it for them. I had to go to his sister's. I had to go, too, you know? It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I wrote him a long letter and told him what was going on.I had visited him a couple of times in jail. He usually calls my other friends. He's doing great. I mean this guy was robbing banks because he was on heroin. And now he's reading all kinds of books. He's reading the thousand-page Truman book. He's reading books and he quotes Shakespeare now in his letters. Some of his letters are very dark. Sometimes he kind of flies off the handle and then he'll say, "I hope I'm not scaring you away. I hope this isn't making you feel funny." I wrote back to him and said, "No. Bring it on. Bring it on bro'." Because that's what a real friend is. A real friend doesn't judge you. A real friend is not going to take what you said and use it against you. That's really, so, so, so valuable. It's really cool. We've been writing back and forth for the last six months and I owe him a letter. It's pretty cool. SHAGG: Do you have any statement you want to specifically send out to teenagers? Joey: I try to go back to being a teenager and figuring out what I needed or might have wanted. How do you tell a teenager, "Relax" ? You know what I mean? (chuckles) When I was a teenager, I was going so fast and I wish someone had sat me down and said, "It's okay." My father would do that. He tried, but it really wasn't working. I see him now, sitting me down. (We're interrupted by a phone call on the answering machine.) SHAGG: What does your dad do? Does your mom work? Joey: He's a bricklayer. He was in the union. He's semi-retired now. He just turned 70. My mom was a housewife until I came along. I was probably 8 when she got a job. SHAGG: How did she have the time? Joey: By the time they (his eight sibling) were all grown up, she probably felt like she had all the time in the world. SHAGG: What's the age difference between you and your next oldest sibling? Joey: 3 and ¬Ĺ years. My brother and I are the youngest and then seven girls above us. My oldest sister is 47 and I'm 28, so there's a big difference. SHAGG: I don't know how women do it. It's a stupid amount of work. Whew!!Joey: I know, right? It's amazing how much we've changed and obviously, with this‚?¶(September 11th), it's pretty stark. It's pretty clear how much we've changed, you know. And they did it like that‚?¶(snaps his fingers) SHAGG: Have you been in the city to witness the good will, the compassion and genorosity? It was as beautiful‚?¶it was like the opposite of the tragedy. For awhile, it offset things that had happened. I mean, you're down in the neighborhood. Have you been down there long? Joey: I've been down there a couple of weeks. It shocks. I wasn't there in those first few days, crisis time, when you saw people's hearts explode, like 'here it is, whatever you want.' It's amazing. I was raised Catholic. I still think it's amazing and a mystery that so many people think that Jesus was born of a Virgin Mary. I mean, I don't know. (loudly and looking up) I don't know, God, Jesus, if I die I'm sorry, I hope you let me in there!I believe God gave us free will. Life would be great if we were still sitting around campfires, but we're not. And this is what happens. I guess I'm thinking about how we've all changed and how we all look at things now. But this is the way it is. You know what I mean? This is life and life has changed forever. Of course we felt like, "Holy sh*t! Now what?" But we move on. It's a dangerous time and the greatest city in the world has all of a sudden become the most dangerous city in the world if you want to go there. I thank God we're all still getting on the subways and we're all still doing it. I'm doing it, but I thank God for everybody doing it as well. It's a delicate situation and I don't know how I'm gonna deal with it. My thing lately‚?¶just off the cuff because we're talking about it‚?¶People say, "Oh, look at what they did. It was so planned out." You know what? They had a bunch of guys come over here, learn how to fly and then get on a flight that was very easy to get on. It wasn't like they came on with guns and then they flew it into a building. It's not that hard to do, you know what I mean? That's how delicate life is. (interrupted by his cell phone)That's how delicate life is. That's how delicate the mind is. I don't know. At the same time, I pray, "Please, don't let anything else happen." SHAGG: So you don't feel fear? Joey: No‚?¶(interrupted by cell phone again. Again, no one on the phone.) Sorry. My number got out somehow. Now I gotta change my number I guess. People just call up. I had people calling me. This clown got my number, kept leaving me messages. (Phone rings again. He turns it off.) SHAGG: Do you have a lot of faith? Do you live it not just talk about it? It's about living it? Joey: I guess so‚?¶ SHAGG: I mean, you talk about God, you talk about prayer, you talk about being raised Catholic and it sounds like it worked for you, unlike many‚?¶ Joey: I've done a lot of other stuff. There's a lot of God in my family. We've been through so much. I don't want to air dirty laundry, my mother will kill me. But my parents didn't get along. I mean, really didn't get along. They got separated when I was 10, but they never got divorced. There was a lot of pain in my family growing up. But it's amazing. They somehow raised nine moral, conscious, good people, caring people trying to do the right thing. Nine people that care and want to do something for the world. And care and have conviction. I have a lot of great people in my family who really care, so there's a lot of faith there. BILLY: Tell me about the project JOEY: Well, it's called Meet Joe Mac. I wanted to make an album that was a little bit more organic in the sense that musically, it was just live, real musicianship, and I did most of it in New York, and I worked with a lot of good musicians. My buddy MANUEL KIRIAKOU, who produced and co-wrote a bunch of stuff ... he and I live in Manhattan and just get a lot of vibes from the city, and also I worked a little bit in L.A. with my buddy SCOTT SAX. I also started writing with WALTER AFANASIEFF, who's a great songwriter and producer. I'm just really happy with the music. It's comfortable, and it feels more and more honest. I think that's what every artist wants to do, they just want to get more and more to the heart of who they are and that's what I try to do. BILLY: How tough was it? JOEY: Well, I want to have fun, and so ... it's not dead serious. Some of the songs I'm proudest of, talk about things more than I love you, you love me -- they talk about things going on, questions in my life. You know, I'm 28 years old, so the questions of who am I -- what do I want out of life? BILLY: You've had a whole career already, and now you're moving on to stage two. I kind of want to ask why? (laughs) JOEY: Why? (laugh) Why, I know. Sorry. BILLY: No ... I mean... JOEY: No, I hear you. The cool thing is, I feel more comfortable now than I ever have. Really, to me, it's life, it's comfortable, and I'm just being creative and I get to work with good musicians. I'm busy, but it's much more on my terms, and it's my music. I'm just having a good time. The other stuff, NEW KIDS, was great but it was crazy and I was young. Now, I'm grown up and life is different. I really feel like I'm experiencing it and ... I think that's when life is at its best. BILLY: How long did it take you to do the album? JOEY: About a year. I write my own stuff, so it takes a while to write some songs that are cool, that you might not use on the album and are just stepping stones -- and you meet different people. I've been lucky to write with some really good people. BILLY: So, what will you do now? What are you going to do to promote the album? JOEY: Well, we've been touring a lot this year, but I'm planning an acoustic vibe show and it's called "Meet Joe Mac Live." It's an intimate setting -- I want to play smaller clubs where ... I have the best fans in the world, so I can kind of rant and rave about everything. I mean, music is awesome and, that's what I'm going to be playing. But at the same time I don't mind playing old stuff and talking about old times and talking about whatever topics comes up. We're toying with it, but I like the idea of it because I've never put myself in a box, and in this business, sometimes it's like, well, what are you? What kind of sound are you? Is it punk or grunge or rock, or...? To me, when I'm on stage, I can just be me and it's in the moment and that's it and that's why I love to perform. So, I look forward to being on the road for a while. BILLY: You mentioned your fans. Have they followed you and stayed with you over the years? JOEY: Yeah. I certainly have a younger audience from the TRL and the MTV that might not have known me for New Kids, and I've had a couple of videos out and been on that show for a while now, but also, I got my die hard fans ... I call them the "Braveheart" fans. They put the war paint on and they're fighting for me. Most of them are in their 20s and have grown with us, and it's just cool. It's an incredible foundation to have that kind of support. Hopefully other people will open up and take a look at what I'm doing now. BILLY: Is that the down side of having been a New Kid? JOEY: Yeah, I mean, everything ... it's a catch-22, I mean, life is a catch-22. I think in life, everything has its up side and its down side. One of my qualities is probably that, I'm okay in dealing with people and meeting people, and I get a lot of energy, but sometimes that can be a down side because I can be a pain in the ass. (chuckle) A lot of people look at me as coming from that, and they just might have one certain perception of me, but the good side is that, it afforded me ... not only did I learn so much, but now I can make the kind of music I want and at the end of the day, creatively, I'm happy with my work. That's what's most important. BILLY: What was your thought this week when you heard about A.J. McLEAN from the BACKSTREET BOYS? JOEY: There's not much I don't talk about, but I just ... I don't want to talk about it, because I don't want to be a talking head about someone because ... it's none of my business. BILLY: In the past you've talked about your own partying ... is it part of the pitfalls of the job? JOEY: Yeah. Watch "Behind the Music" and all the crazy stories and being a young pop star, it does have its down time. That's why I think so many people in the past have gone into drugs, because you're so high. It's such an awesome feeling to be touching so many people's lives and traveling so much and throwing a party every night basically, and being able to deal with the quiet times after that. It's a constant vigil. I don't care if you've never had a drink in your life. It doesn't matter. If you're at a certain height of excitement every night, you need to learn how to come down off of that and just keep it simple. Everybody's got to do that, whether they drink or not. That's rock 'n' roll, and sometimes it's tough, but that's just the way it is. BILLY: Well, how do you keep yourself in check? JOEY: I have a great family. I have seven sisters and a brother and great parents that keep an eye out for me even when I don't want to have an eye on me, and that's what's important. Everybody has got to make their own mistakes. Nobody is perfect -- I certainly made my mistakes, but I feel good about where I am today. You've just got to take it slow, and try to be in the moment. With 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys dominating today's pop-music landscape, it's easy to forget their boy-band progenitors. But think back for a moment to the halcyon days of 1984. Prince's Purple Rain was dominating the radio airwaves and New Coke was supposed to set the world on fire. Instead, that task fell to the MTV generation's first boy band, New Kids on the Block. When the New Kids came on the scene, adolescent girls went wild. The group made hit videos, chart-topping albums--and piles of money, thanks to a merchandising juggernaut that included dolls, T-shirts, lunch boxes, posters and anything else with a logo-friendly surface. There were sold-out concerts, worldwide tours, even a TV series. Not bad for five kids from the wrong side of Boston. The youngest of the bunch, Joey McIntyre, was 12 when the group started. While most of his peers were worrying about their next algebra test, McIntyre spent his teen years fighting off hysterical girls hiding in hotel rooms all over the globe. The youngest of nine children, McIntyre was born New Year's Eve of 1972. He began acting and singing at an early age, and after the New Kids broke up in 1994, he returned to acting, starring as Matt in the 1995 movie adaptation of the long-running stage musical The Fantasticks. He also continued making music, earning a gold record for his first solo album, 1999's Stay the Same. Now, the 28-year-old singer is back with a new album, Meet Joe Mac, a mixture of pop, rock and ballads that abandons glossy production and synthesizers in favor of a raw, guitar-heavy sound. As for the songs, this time out, Joe draws from personal experience, resulting in a very confessional work. But there's no shortage of fun--especially on the song "The National Anthem of Love," which features Fred Schneider of the B-52's. Now's your chance to hang tough with Joe Mac. What was it like having thousands of teens after him? Does he miss being a New Kid? Boxers or briefs? We at 'Billy Tweedie Dot Com' asked, & now the blue-eyed boy 'fesses up! What do you hope your fans get out of the new album? Also, are you planning on touring anytime soon? Joey: Well, I hope they appreciate the musicianship and the cynical maturity and the honesty I tried to put down. I hope they "dig it." My sole purpose now is to hit the road. See you there! What is your absolute favorite thing to eat? Joey: Steak au poivre (with a Dewar's on the rocks). Boxers, briefs or boxer-briefs? Joey: Nothing. Do you find that the fans are different now than when you were a New Kid? Joey: We are all different. But I have my Braveheart fans, the core who are my peeps from way back, and then I've got new fans, too. I want my music to be liked by all. Are you a ticklish guy? If so, where? Joey: Do you really want to know? I loved the strong connection between NKOTB and Boston. Where are you based now, and if it's not Boston, do you get back there at all? Joey:I still have a home in Boston, but I spend most of my time in New York City. I hate the Yankees, but I love the Big Apple. What's your favorite book now that you're all grown up? Joey: My fave novel is The Alienist by Caleb Carr, and my fave touchy-feely book is The Artist's Way. I've followed your career through the years, and I must say I love your music more as you grow. I would imagine that music and performing have always been fun for you. Is it more fun now and more fulfilling? Joey: It's all about the moment--and then about creating new stuff. In that sense, it's awesome, so I don't really compare it with the past. Past, present, future--it's all good. Do you keep in touch with any of your former bandmates? Also, was the breakup amicable, and would you do it all again? Joey: I see Donnie the most, and I talk to Danny some. Every once in a while, I see Jordan. But we're all doing really well. And yes, it did end on the most amicable of terms, and I wouldn't change a thing, except for changing our name to New Kids on the Block. We were always just the New Kids. Will there ever be a NKOTB reunion tour? Joey: Well, the majority of my fans now are college age. I realize it's natural for a lot of you guys to want a reunion--however, it's very unlikely. As individuals, we're too dedicated to our personal work. If we ever did it, it would have to start with the music. Otherwise, we'd just be doing it for the money, and we wouldn't do that. In the meantime, take a listen to our solo stuff; it might hold you over. Since you were so young at the time NKOTB blew up, did you ever feel uncomfortable with the girls who would creep in and out of the other members' hotel rooms after the concerts? Joey: What girls? If you could walk a day in anyone else's shoes, dead or alive, who would it be? Joey: I know it sounds expected, but I wouldn't mind being Paul Revere at the birth of the United States. And I love history, so...maybe a modern-day president? Being the youngest in the group was probably hard. But do you think it was also a protection? Did the others look out for you, or did you have to look out for yourself? It's so refreshing to have good role models. You break that stereotypical thinking. Joey: I think we should all be thankful I wasn't an older New Kid, or we may have all checked into the Betty Ford Clinic. To their credit, the rest of the guys were good role models for me. What are your plans for a film career? I know you did The Fantasticks, but do you have anything else on the docket? Joey: Not right now. I'm still married to my music, and I'm not quite ready for an affair with acting again. But it's always in the back of my mind. Soon enough. Due to your past involvement and success with United Cerebral Palsy, will you still be appearing on the telethons? Joey: It's so easy for celebrities to get involved. Sometimes I feel pretty selfish being so consumed with my career. What are your plans for future albums? Are you interested in doing any mixes--like house/dance/techno? Joey: Funny you should say that. I think I might be working on some mixes soon from both of my CDs. What else would you like to achieve as a singer--and in life? Joey: My immediate goal is to stay on the road so you can Meet Joe Mac. As far as life, well...I want to travel, meet people and maybe teach somehow. When you were with NKOTB, you had four guys to share your experiences with. How different is it now that you're a solo artist? Joey: I still have so many cool people helping me out, so it's not as if I'm lonely. Eman (cowriter-producer) is my musical director. I've also got my doctor-manager Jerry Jaffe, and I've got my Bravehearts. What is the most extravagant thing you've ever bought for yourself? How about for someone else? Joey: A gold Cartier watch for me. I bought a house for my mom. And it's really cool to buy your dad a Cadillac. I noticed whenever I see you on TV, whether hosting or a guest on a show, you're so down to earth. You seem like you'd be really cool to hang out with, and you seem like a good sport. How do you keep your life in perspective in spite of the perks and consequences? Joey: Thank you. Frankly, I think that's my best quality, but it's something that should be natural. God is good. I tend to look at things as they are, not as they're hyped up by the Industry or by celebrity. I'm just being a decent guy; it's only because the bar is so low that it seems I'm nicer. Know what I'm sayin'? We all have a "guilty pleasure" list of three celebrities we could have an affair with and our significant other would have to forgive us. So, who are the three lucky ladies atop your list? Be honest! Joey: Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwyneth Paltrow. Okay, and Jules Asner. Do you have any tattoos? Joey: Nope. Do you have a favorite song on your new album? If so, why is it your favorite? Joey: It changes from week to week. This week: "Rain." Other than your music, what accomplishments are you most proud of? Joey: I'm most proud of the fact that the people I work with are happy to work with me. They know I respect them--and vice versa. In the end, that's what matters most--what you've shared with someone in the creative process. What brand of toothpaste and mouthwash do you use? I know this seems like a silly question, but the girls at your bulletin board have an ongoing debate about Colgate versus Aquafresh versus Crest. If you don't use one of these brands, which would you say is best? Joey: Crest mint gel in the stand-up tube. No substitutes. With mouthwash, I'm more flexible: green Listerine or Scope. Preferably Listerine. What's with the hair color? They were dissing you about it the other morning on Y-100 in Miami! Joey: I didn't really vibe that well with the crew there, and I don't remember the hair. But regardless of that--I'm diggin' the highlights! P.S.: Fugheddaboutit!