- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2008

Up on stage, swimming in lakes of flashing lights and fans’ shrieks, the Jonas Brothers look like consummate professionals. Just 15, 18 and 20, respectively, Nick, Joe and Kevin combine the swagger of the Rolling Stones, the fashion sense of the Killers and the frenetic energy of pinballs.

They rock out on their instruments, slide on their knees, leap off of various things and lean up against one another, back-to-back, while coaxing out the notes to their power-pop tunes.

Want to see for yourself? Just check out the music video for the band’s current hit, “When You Look Me in the Eyes.” While the love ballad plays (the melody evokes Lonestar’s “I’m Already There”) moody black-and-white footage shows the three brothers-turned-band-mates experiencing the dizzying highs of touring, performing and being heartthrobs. Yes, we’ve seen this video before with different stars — usually ones who have been in the game at least a few decades.

These youngsters seem to have skipped a few grades. They released their full-length debut in the summer of 2006, and now these music-industry freshmen already are enjoying the kind of success that’s hard for some seasoned artists to fathom.

A No. 5 record, with another, even more promising one on the way? Check. A prime placement opening for the tween dream herself, Miley Cyrus, on her Best of Both Worlds Tour? Check. A sold-out headlining tour that’s gaining steam? You betcha. A Disney Channel film (“Camp Rock,” due out this summer), a forthcoming TV show (“J.O.N.A.S!”) and a groundbreaking two-year, multimillion-dollar deal with concert promoter Live Nation? Of course.

So how does it feel to be at the head of the class? Well, says 18-year-old Joe Jonas, “It’s really cool.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Jonas Brothers still talk and act their respective ages — at least offstage. It’s unexpected and refreshing in an era when child actors go on TV talk shows and sound as if they’re 7 going on 37.

Somehow, the Jonas boys seem unfazed by the three-ring circus going on around them: the fans camped outside their hotels, the jampacked schedules that require being “on” for every minute and even the tabloid journalists scrutinizing their every move closer to Miley Cyrus. (By the way, the guys swear that she and Nick are not dating.)


“There’s not really a lot of pressure that comes along with it,” Joe says. “Not much at all. It’s really a lot of fun. No one’s directing our way; we’re just being ourselves up on stage and having fun.”

The brothers have been performing and dabbling with music since a young age. While they were growing up in New Jersey with musician parents, family singalongs were par for the course. Before landing their first record deal, Nick and Joe worked on Broadway and all three starred in commercials together.

The Jonas Brothers first signed with Columbia Records, which released their debut, “It’s About Time.” Before delivering their second effort, 2007’s platinum-selling “Jonas Brothers,” they made the leap to the Disney-owned Hollywood Records, home of most of the tween dreams of the moment, including Aly & AJ, Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus.

“When we were on Columbia Records, there were a lot of people thinking about who we should sound like,” Joe says. “That kind of helped us learn who we wanted to be as artists, so with this last one, we really made the album we wanted to make — and the next one will really be who we are.”

The musician says that the band isn’t trying to “push” its audiences. Instead, the brothers try to write songs about things to which people in their cohort can really relate — such as dating, school and believing in one’s self.

In addition to the positive messages they send, the Jonas Brothers also serve as positive role models by steering clear of the questionable activities that land other young stars in the gossip rags. They even wear “purity” rings as a pledge that they will remain chaste until marriage.

Faith plays a big role in the siblings’ lives, and it’s one way they’ve been able to stay so grounded amidst all the fame. “Thankfully, it’s almost like we have a pastor with us all the time since our dad is an ordained minister,” Joe says. “Every week, we try to get in a little Bible study and prayer time. We also just surround ourselves with a lot of good people…[who] share the same values.”

Jonas Brothers concerts are far from preachy, however.

Basically, Joe says, “We just love to rock out.”

The Jonas Brothers perform a sold-out show tonight at 7 at the George Mason University Patriot Center (www.patriotcenter.com).

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