The last time the Jonas Brothers were in Charlotte – almost exactly five years ago – youngest sibling Nick was just 15 and the Disney-bred pop-rockers were perched high atop the boy band heap.
They return Tuesday to a smaller venue (Uptown Amphitheatre instead of Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre), having since been replaced as The Boy Band of The Moment by the U.K.’s One Direction.
But the screams haven’t died down.
“It’s still very loud and they’re very passionate,” Nick Jonas says of the crowds he and brothers Kevin and Joe have encountered this year. “But whereas before it was primarily a teen audience, now the majority of them are in the last years of high school, in college, even beyond that. So it’s a new crowd that has a new appreciation for what we’re doing.”
The Jonases have a new appreciation for each other, too, after taking some time to work independently.
Kevin (now 25) got married in 2009, and with wife Danielle Deleasa has starred in two seasons of the E! reality series “Married to Jonas.” Joe (now 23) put out a solo album, “Fastlife,” in 2011. Nick starred on Broadway in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in early 2012.
When they put their heads back together in 2012, the first thing they did was part with Hollywood Records (one of the major Disney Music Group labels), which had released Jonas Brothers CDs in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The brothers reclaimed their master recordings, publishing and merchandising rights, a rarity these days for a band that’s had so much commercial success.
“We knew that in this next chapter we had to go and do our own thing, and be our own bosses, and decide our own fate,” Nick Jonas says.
In October 2012, to preview new material for fans, they played sold-out concerts in New York and Los Angeles. Their fifth album, “V,” is expected to get a fall release and combines pop, rock, classic R&B, techno and dance; all three brothers contributed to the songwriting, while Nick served as the main producer.
“It’ll definitely have a different feel, just because we’ve grown and changed so much over the last three or four years,” says the youngest Jonas. “The biggest way is that we’re more willing to take chances.
“We said before we went into the making of the record that it had to be innovative for us, and we had to push ourselves and make ourselves uncomfortable, and go there – talk about the things that maybe a couple of years ago we wouldn’t have talked about, and musically take the chances that we wouldn’t have been comfortable (taking). When you have success in one thing, it’s tough to split off and try something different, but we knew that it was necessary.”
The brothers continue to be independent. In fact, Nick Jonas was in Charlotte earlier this year shooting his first movie as a lead actor (“Careful What You Wish For,” a thriller also starring Isabel Lucas and Dermot Mulroney).
But he thinks the Jonas Brothers aren’t likely to ever drift too far apart.
“We love making music together,” Jonas says. “How long we’ll be doing that, we can’t say. But I know that we don’t foresee it ending anytime soon, and we hope to keep doing this for as long as we can.”