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Before One Direction and The Wanted, before N’Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees, there was New Kids on the Block. The music between the aforementioned acts spans three decades, and New Kids singer Donnie Wahlberg is happy the genre has exhibited staying power.

“In some ways, [One Direction and The Wanted] validate us,” the NKOTB star told me via telephone. “And I think our reunion has validated us in many ways as well. The fans that grew up with us came back.”

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Wahlberg speaks proudly on not just his group’s return, but also the new generation of fans that have new music to grow up with.

“I think there’s a place in society for all different types of music,” he explained. “I’m glad that the young bands are coming out now and doing well because I think it validates what we did 25 years ago.”

Generations will collide August 17 and 18 in Hershey, PA, when New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, The Wanted, Kelly Clarkson, LL Cool J, and more converge on Hersheypark Stadium for the inaugural “Summer Mixtape Fest.” While Wahlberg seemed happy to speak about the state of pop music, he channeled personal experiences when commenting on the groups specifically.

“My opinion or my advice to them is really inconsequential,” Wahlberg stated, before offering his reasoning. “Yunno, the same way when I was 19 and they interviewed everyone from The Monkeys to Donny Osmond to one of The Beatles to whomever to give advice or to ask what they thought of us. When I was 19, I didn’t care what any of those guys thought about me.”

At 42 years old, it is easy for Wahlberg to reminisce on the path his group helped blaze given New Kids’ past success. The trip down memory lane becomes a little sweeter though when you factor in the group’s current run, which has lasted since 2008 and brought the band to new destinations that none of them thought were possible.

“It’s a really humbling experience; it’s been an amazing journey,” Wahlberg, who will turn 43 on the first day of the festival, said. “[The reunion] sort of turned a 19-20 year-old sort of college age experience that I look back on fondly in to a very mature and different experience now.”

The experience continues to play out, as New Kids will tour across five continents in 2012.

Boston-born singer Michael Africk has been around the block a few times, and by block, I mean world. The former teen superstar opened for N’Sync, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys. How in was the singer with these acts? None of them made him sign a confidentiality agreement. Africk also made a huge name for himself in Japan, playing sold out shows and becoming a sushi connoisseur of sorts in the process.

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Now, Africk is marking his return with “Make it Loud” – an uplifting dance track that he called in to chat about on “The Ralphie Radio Show.”


I suppose you could add another bullet point to the resume or bio after my interview with Joe Jonas aired last week on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” All three family members that comprised The Jonas Brothers have now joined my show for interviews.

– LISTEN: Kevin Jonas (8/11/2008)
– LISTEN: Nick Jonas (1/19/2010)
– LISTEN: Joe Jonas (7/21/2011)
Next up… all five members of N’Syncthe Backstreet BoysNKOTSB perhaps?

May is usually a big month for Jordan Knight – he celebrates his birthday on the 17. But in addition to turning the big 4-1, the New Kids on the Block singer will also release two albums on consecutive weeks. The NKOTBSB collaboration with the Backstreet Boys hits shelves May 24. Knight revealed on “The Ralphie Radio Show” that his solo project, Unfinished, will be released the following Tuesday.

“I had to push the release date back to May 31,” said Knight, who called in from his Boston home. “It’s very typical in this business to kind of push the dates back, but it’s still in May.”

Yunno, Knight has done this once or twice before. The original date was May 3, and the extra couple of weeks afford the artist more time to organize what will be a hectic spring and summer. In addition to the two albums and 41-date arena tour with BSB, Knight will also be holding autograph signings and performing radio promo events in support of his new album.

“Like you were saying earlier, (saying that I’m) being busy is ‘a gross understatement,’” Knight noted, referencing my introduction to our chat on “The RRS.” “I’ll probably be doing an in-store (signing) or maybe a radio show here, and then have to rush back to the arena to do the actual 2 hour show that we’re doing with the Backstreet Boys.”

The first single from Unfinished is the up-tempo track, “Let’s Go Higher,” written by “What You Got” singer and the Lady GaGa “Just Dance”-featured Colby O’Donnis. The Grammy-nominated O’Donnis had “Let’s Go Higher” in the bank for a minute. He sent it to Knight despite the fact that Jordan was looking for ideas for a track already created for the album.

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“That was about a year ago,” Knight said. He flew out to O’Donnis’ house to cut the vocals. “They have an intercom system in the house. His mom would call up – ‘Colby, dinner’s ready!’ and he’d be like, ‘Yo Jordan let’s take a break, dinner’s ready.”

The New Kid spent a couple days at O’Donnis’ crib and had nothing but great things to say about the experience, and the food. Knight felt like a kid again because when his band was first starting out – it was a similar situation. The guys would rehearse in Knight’s basement, break for food upstairs, and return for more recording.

Knight did not talk with the other fellas about promoting his solo project over the summer. He insists that it will not conflict with anything that New Kids or BSB are doing on tour – if anything, the complete opposite.

“With all the people that I’m working on with my solo project, I told them all, ‘(The album) cannot get in the way of the New Kids on the Block,’” said Knight. “I don’t want there to be any kinds of conflict. I only want each thing to enhance the other.”

The New England-native believes that the NKOTB comeback will help his album, but that wasn’t the primary motivating factor in the release of his fifth solo LP.

“The resurgence of the New Kids obviously gives it a lot more exposure,” Knight admitted. “I’m happy about that.”

Above all, it seems that Knight is just happy to be in the mix again – solo or with the guys.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said of his upcoming summer. “We’re going back on tour and it’s a huge arena tour with another ‘boy band’ and the excitement, the music, the fans… it’s just all so much fun.”

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Before the Backstreet Boys tour with NKOTB, A.J. McLean will trek to rehab. TMZ broke the story and Nicki Fertile called with the details.

Catch Nicki on TMZ TV, local listings here.

As you may or may not know by now, Backstreet Boys singer A.J. McLean proposed to his girlfriend, Rochelle Karidis, on stage at a Las Vegas night club earlier this month. The Ralphie Radio Show obtained this photo of the engagement ring given to Karidis:

McLean previously described the ring to MTV News:

“It is a square head with princess-cut diamonds surrounding and a one-carat diamond in the center and there’s also about 20 or 25 princess-cut diamonds on the actual band,” he said.

No date has been set for the wedding.


07.23.09 : The Backstreet Boys – Straight Through The Heart (Soldier Down)
07.22.09 : Colby O’Donis – I Wanna Touch You

07.21.09 : The All-American Rejects – I Wanna

Download the mp3

Ralphie spoke with Professor Rivka Tadjer on the recent reports of A.J. McLean’s fall from sobriety.


Professor Tadjer’s book, Two Weeks Under, is available in stores now or online at Amazon.

In case you missed it, TMZ just posted footage of a very innebriated A.J. McLean. The Backstreet Boy’s struggle with substance abuse is well-documented… who could forget the emotional revelation of his problems when the group appeared on MTV’s TRL back in the earlier part of this decade?


What I can exclusively reveal is that the group just completed recording their new LP, due out this spring. The boys were also celebrating Nick Carter’s birthday. Carter has three more birthday bashes on the docket, all throughout Canada, all planned previous to last night.
But is it possible that on their watch, McLean fell off the wagon? Interesting considering it is an unspoken rule within the camp that you do not drink in front of A.J., under any circumstances. The subsequent statements to be released by the parties involved will hopefully shed more light on what is looking like a bleak situation.


The following will appear in The Weekender, a weekly arts and entertainment publication in NEPA with a circulation of over 175,000.

Rod Stewart watches “The Office.”

TMZ caught the “Forever Young” singer outside a restaurant in Los Angeles with his wife, model Penny Lancaster. When Stewart’s spouse went to snag the car, he told her, “Pull it out just a little bit.”

Then Stewart quickly added, “That’s what she said.”

“It’s pretty cool that we got (on camera) Rod Stewart,” TMZ’s Leslie Harris told me on The Ralphie Radio Show. “But he did his own joke! It was awesome.”

Usually when TMZ cameras are rolling, the joke is on the celebrity. But this time, the subject provided the laughter, without any bait.

Maybe it makes a little bit of sense considering Stewart is usually regarded in a class of his own. Both Elton John and James Brown have referred to him as the best “white soul singer” alive.

BARACK-BERRY TO STAY

Last week you read in this column about the new barrier that President Barack Obama attempted to break down: the first President to e-mail in the Oval Office.

Well, it looks like President Obama will officially become wired.

The Associated Press reported last week that the Secret Service and White House lawyers will allow Mr. Obama to keep his BlackBerry. He will use the device to keep in touch with family, close friends, and staff members.

“Anything Obama’s thumbs tap out into the ether is of historical value,” said one presidential historian to The AP.

No media outlet has yet to report on if the President uses BlackBerry Messenger, or what is PIN is.

NEW MUSIC ABUNDANT

A number of previously-unreleased songs and demos by A-List artists leaked on The Ralphie Radio Show within the past 7 days.

Last week, a new track from The Black Eyed Peas emerged. The hip-hop quartet hasn’t released an LP since 2005’s Monkey Business. Lead emcee will.i.am. told Billboard that he finished recording The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) last October. The album is due out sometime this year. “Rockin Tha Beatz” is an uptempo, synth-heavy club banger, laced with an auto-tuned Will on vocals.

Also on the Internet is a demo of a track called, “Hologram.” The beat is a Dr. Dre production, and Chris Brown guests on the track. The Backstreet Boys purchased the song. It’s the first single from the band’s new effort – which hits shelves this spring.

Finally, a new Lil Wayne song hit the net Monday. Weezy gets his ‘Yeezy on, singing with autotune on “Prom Queen.” The track is from the rapper’s rock album, to be released this April.

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