By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
Because he and his two brothers are homeschooled, 18-year-old Kevin Jonas doesn't have a prom to go this spring. But it's cool, figures the oldest member of Bergen County's Jonas Brothers, since every time he logs on to the band's MySpace page, he finds a new offer to accompany a fan to her prom. "I'm really happy," Kevin insists, on the phone from the tour bus he currently shares with 16-year-old Joseph, 13-year-old Nicholas, and their dad, who manages the group. (Mom's back home in Jersey with the boys' little brother Frankie.)
The Jonas Brothers play squeaky-clean pop-punk that, per Kevin's estimation, bridges the gap between the high-gloss tween-rock of the Kelly Clarkson set and the slightly tougher mainstreamo popularized by acts like Fall Out Boy and the All-American Rejects. On It's About Time (Daylight/Columbia), their debut, they sing in pretty boyband harmony about doing homework, going online, and knocking on heaven's door in crackerjack tunes co-written with big-shot song doctors such as Desmond Child, Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne), and StarGate, the Norwegian duo behind Ne-Yo's "So Sick."
The band began when Nicholas, a veteran of Broadway musicals including Beauty and the Beast and Les Misérables, signed a solo deal with Sony a few years ago. Kevin and Joe thought they'd pitch in and help write songs, which Nicholas's A&R team liked enough to sign the trio as a brother act. "Nick's sound was a little more adult contemporary," Kevin explains, "but our sound changed as a group. We're definitely a rock and roll band." It's About Time's title refers to the last two years, an eternity the band spent writing and rewriting over 60 songs for the album that seemed like it would never come out. "We wanted to have it be right," says Kevin, who points out that many of the completed tuneslike "6 Minutes" and "7:05"are also literally about time.
To build pre-release buzz, the Jonases toured earlier this year with Australian sister act the Veronicas; they've also opened for the Backstreet Boys and Jesse McCartney. On March 1, they debuted their video for Time's lead single "Mandy" on TRL, then cut across the street for a Planet Hollywood appearance mobbed by enthusiastic Jersey girls. "99.9 percent of our fans are girls," Kevin admits, "which is cool. They buy records."
The Jonas Brothers play the Bamboozle at the Meadowlands Sports Complex May 6.