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KID STUFF

The rat tails may be gone, but the New Kids on the Block still have their edge.

My heart was racing. Minutes before the interview, I didn't know which New Kid on the Block would call.

I did Zen breathing exercises, picturing my childhood Jordan Knight doll. And my trading card. And the dance instruction video that, uh, my cousin Bethanie Dayes may have sort of purchased off television a long time ago.

What, you don't have skeletons?

My manifest Jordan yoga technique failed. Danny Wood, who once sported a rat tail and did not have my Tiger Beat heart, was on the phone.

Danny, who was super nice and has trimmed the tail, discussed their reunion tour and album, The Block. Bad boy Donnie Wahlberg even popped in with some Rays trash talk. Here are some excerpts.

I almost asked Danny to give Jordan my number. Then I remembered he had a rat tail, too.

You guys have been getting great reviews. Is it a weight off to know people are having fun?

We didn't do this to get good reviews. We did this to do a good album and to put together a great show, so the reviews are a plus, you know what I mean?

I've heard different things about bras flying on the stage. Is it different this time around playing to grownups instead of kids and teens and tweens?

It's a little different. They're a bit more, uh, a bit more ... active. They drink during the show. It's like a girls night out.

Did it feel like riding a bike, doing the New Kids Dance?

We use some of the old moves, but most of the choreography is new. We definitely wanted people to have the flavor of the old stuff, but we wanted this to be new and fresh with what's happening today.

You guys were known for your memorabilia. What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen yourself on?

We had these creepy stuffed animal dolls that weren't out very long 'cause we had them taken off the market. . . . They were not cute. They were kind of demonlike.

Are you all bunking together?

There's three buses. Me and Donnie share a bus. It's the Baby Daddy bus.Then you have the Dark Knight bus with the Knight brothers. Then you have the Baby Baby bus, which is Joe's bus because he has his son with him and wife and the nanny and the whole deal.

Does anyone have strange tour habits?

Not really. (All of a sudden, loud cursing breaks out. Danny laughs.) I'm sorry. That's Donnie.

Donnie Wahlberg: WHO DAT? WHO DAT TALKING?

Times: Hey, Donnie.

Danny Wood: She says hello, from the St. Pete Times.

Wahlberg: HELLO!!! ST. PETE! I'm still mad about the Devil Rays whopping the Red Sox!

Wood: He's mad about the Devil Rays. . . . You know. It's their turn this year. (Donnie pipes down.)

You guys have had solo careers. How did splitting up and exploring your own tastes impact your musical style on this album, The Block?

Coming back together, you kind of knew we should stick to the basic formula that we had success with. Basically, doing pop records with an urban flavor to them.

Do you think you are better performers with age?

Absolutely, no doubt about it. Maturity, life experience, learning from mistakes we made in the past. Coming together to do this again, none of us were going to settle for nothing but the best. If we were going to sacrifice time away from our immediate family like my kids, I wasn't just going to come out here and do some reunion tour with a couple new songs.

Do your kids grasp the whole New Kids frenzy?

Oh yeah, they do now.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8857.

IF YOU GO

New Kids on the Block

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $35-75. (813) 301-2500; stpetetimesforum.com.

On the Web

Listen to the entire Danny Wood interview at entertainment.tampabay.com.

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