Just 10 months ago — what amounts to nearly a lifetime in the teentainment universe — the Jonas Brothers were no more than a footnote to Disney star Miley Cyrus. They played on her tour, appeared in her 3-D concert movie, and guested on her TV show. But after a full-court press by the brothers — with starring roles in Disney’s Camp Rock, the release of their summer anthem ”Burnin’ Up,” and a platinum album (A Little Bit Longer) — 2008 became the Year of Jonas faster than you could utter ”Hannah who?”
The Jonas Brothers — singer and guitarist Nick, 16; singer Joe, 19; and guitarist Kevin, 21 — were built to be teen idols: a band of brothers with wholesome good looks, but also a soupçon of trendy emo style, who churned out infectious pop-rock tunes and have been linked to red-hot teen stars like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. But though their shtick may seem overly produced, one quality sets the JoBros apart: They’re actually talented. The brothers write all of their own music and have managed to mature as songwriters, drawing both Disney tweens and a larger mainstream audience.
Despite all that actual artist stuff, the pandemonium swirling around the Jonases is as frenzied as that for any of the boy bands of yesteryear. Fans mark their bodies with permanent-marker tattoos (”Future Mrs. Jonas!” stands as the most popular). And back in August, when the trio took residence in New York City for a week to herald the release of Longer, a midnight trip to Virgin Megastore to buy their album turned into a hormonal mob scene. ”Our fans basically shut down Times Square,” remembers Joe. ”It was insane. For a good five minutes, it felt like Times Square on New Year’s Eve, but in August.” Adds Nick: ”We’re living a lot of people’s dreams.” And they’re likely in a lot of people’s dreams, too.
The Year in Jonas
Are the Bros the hardest-working act in show business? Since January, the trio has been plowing through a demanding year: They sold out two headlining tours, released the now-platinum A Little Bit Longer, and even squeezed in a little fun time. But wait, there’s more! Here’s a look back at the highlights from their madcap 2008.
Jan. 31: ‘Look Me in the Eyes’
The Bros launch their tour with a free parking-lot show in Tucson that shuts down a highway. They go on to fill venues ”we never thought we’d sell out,” Kevin says.
Feb. 1: Miley’s Movie
Their big-screen debut with Cyrus nets $65 million — and zillions of new fans. Of the Disney double dip, Nick says, ”It was overload for some kids.” In a good way.
April 24: Oprah!
”Oprah was the only interview I was super-nervous to go into,” says Kevin. ”She can ask you anything and you have to know what you’re about to say.”
June 20: ‘Camp Rock’ Premiere
Kevin claims they didn’t know their Disney TV movie — which premiered to 8.9 million viewers — would be so huge. Has he heard of High School Musical?
Aug. 12: Album Release
The trio storms the Big Apple — hitting TRL, GMA, and Regis & Kelly — to promote Longer. They also multi-task, shooting scenes for a 3-D movie of their own.
Aug. 15: Joe’s Birthday
”We had a bonfire in Woodstock,” says Joe of his 19th birthday. ”It was cool. It was just me and my best friends roasting hot dogs and hanging out.”
Sept. 3: Meeting the Obamas
Okay, not the president-elect, but the littlest Obamas, Malia and Sasha, backstage at Ellen. ”We heard they were fans,” says Kevin, ”so it was cool to meet them.”
Sept. 22: Shooting ‘Jonas’
Production begins on their new Disney Channel sitcom. ”Doing a TV show is such a massive thing,” Kevin says. ”We’re writing all the songs.”
Oct. 27: Gas Leak
The JoBros announce that, with youngest brother Frankie, they’ll star in the movie adaptation of Walter the Farting Dog.