Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Cock Party? 

Question for Jordan Knight: Was the Block those New Kids were on located in the Castro?

Wednesday, Dec 14 2005
Comments
Aside from the remarkably catchy "Hangin' Tough," the only thing I knew about New Kids on the Block as an adolescent was what I heard on the playground: They were a bunch of fags with AIDS. At least, that's what I gathered from the vile slander that boys spewed when I was a susceptible youth, to the extent that I might've assumed the defining homosexual stereotype was not a lisp, but a South Boston accent. Surely there's a kid on a playground somewhere right now who knows someone who heard from someone else who knows for sure that Justin Timberlake, like, totally takes it up the ass.

Older and wiser, I've come to view hearsay such as the stomach-pumped-from-swallowing-too-much-semen fib as a mark of achievement for male performers who transition from unknowns into megastars -- something to be proud of, really. And it's why I've always had a tender spot in my heart for the boys in boy bands: not because of their derivative R&B sound, or the nascent sexuality that captures the hearts of both teenage girls and NAMBLA members, but because they seem like defenseless kids getting teased on the playground, like those who walk funny or throw like a girl.

But now, as an adult, I have to wonder: Were these cruel kids onto something? Are these guys literally a bunch of fags? They did sing, dance, and get dolled up, after all. For answers, I talked to the former frontman of New Kids on the Block, Jordan Knight.


Their rise to fame was pretty quick. In 1986, Maurice Starr, the creator of New Edition, brought together a different shade of boys from Boston to form New Kids on the Block. But just as soon as they were selling out stadiums and popping cherries backstage (or were they?), the kids went acronymic (to the tougher-sounding NKOTB), got older, and ended up performing in bars and bowling alleys across the country.

In 1994, NKOTB amicably broke up and went in different directions: Jonathan Knight had an impressive and oddly charming panic attack on Oprah, which resulted in his cowering in her arms; Joe(y) McIntyre scraped the bottom of the TV barrel by appearing on both Dancing With the Stars and the David E. Kelley mess Boston Public, and now performs on Broadway; Donnie Wahlberg got to say that he's genetically linked to an A-list celebrity -- brother Mark -- thus ensuring entry into any nightclub; and Danny Wood continued to look a bit like an ape.

But Jordan Knight, who appeared on a season of The Surreal Life (in which, in a fit of agoraphobia, he cloistered himself from his other housemates in a room using cardboard boxes, which is also charmingly neurotic), continues to sing and write similar, but more mature, pop confections, much the same way he did when he was a prime cut of underage meat. He even scored a bit of a comeback in 1999 with the dance hit "Give It to You," a song that arrived on the heels of Britney Spears' and her ilk's ascent.

Since Knight was and is the most attractive of the quintet, I always speculated (or, rather, hoped) that his sexuality veered to the left a bit. Sure, he's never been married, but then again he had a kid with his girlfriend, so that leaves me nowhere. In a sly effort to find out if he ranks a four or higher on the Kinsey Scale, I consulted a trusty list of gay male stereotypes. (If I ask him flat out, I could get sued à la douche bags Robbie Williams and Tom Cruise.) Killing two birds with one stone, I start off by trying to decipher any fey affectations in Knight's voice, while also gauging his knowledge of Spears -- two clear indicators of those who indulge in male-male love.

When I solicit any dirt on Spears, her progeny, and her greasy husband, sadly, he can't tell me much. He says shyly and sweetly, with a thick Boston accent that's more robust and full-bodied than I'd hoped, that he's "more of an acquaintance of hers ... I'm more friends with Justin, and that's how I [met] her."

Since he doesn't seem to know too much about Britney, which would be just bizarre if not downright disgusting for a homosexual to admit, we move on to a commonality: anxiety disorders. He and his brother (NKOTBer Jonathan) both suffer from panic attacks, something I, a reported gay, also suffer from now and then. Could they have one dramatic, self-induced crisis after another like me? Thus, in some extremely roundabout way, could they be gay, too?

Although Knight rarely had them onstage, he says that he would get them just before having to appear on television interviews.

"Oh, I get them, too!" I remark. "Wow. I used to take Xanax for them. What do you take?"

After a pause, it's clear he's not going to expand upon any drug use. He tells me that his doctor helped him out with them in the past, but doesn't specify what, if any, medication he took, therefore stranding me and making me feel like a complete junkie.

Yet another sign that he's not terribly bent: A gay guy will always share his comprehensive drug history with glee.

Gay men also love to hate each other. It's true. They've been known to scratch out one another's corneas in drunken fits on the dance floor, especially if one homosexual is younger or prettier than the other. So, I ask Knight about any rivalry with older or newer boy band members. He tells me that "people don't think that people who have the same audience can be friends," and that he regularly hangs out with other current and former teeny-bop crooners, like Color Me Badd's Bryan Abrams and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. This sounds like an exciting and surprisingly heterosexual group, especially considering Carter is the gruff one who (allegedly) beat the hell out of Paris Hilton. "We're kind of like a club," Knight adds.

In one last attempt at figuring Knight out, I ask him if he has planned any jazzy, showstopping dance numbers for his current tour. After all, a well-choreographed routine is what separates a group of guys singing love songs from a dreamy boy band -- or a drag show. Would Knight be busting out a few moves? Nope. "It's just me and a DJ this time."

Alas. Like hairy palms and the explosive combination of Pop Rocks and Coke, another playground rumor bites the dust.

About The Author

Brock Keeling

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed