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Jonas Bros: Triple-Threats

[IMG:L]In 2006, the Jonas Brothers’ debut album, neglected and orphaned by a regime change at Columbia Records, disappeared after selling a mere 65,000 units. Two years and a label switch later, the teen dream trio from New Jersey is poised to top their platinum second album with their third CD A Little Bit Longer, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. What a difference multimedia exposure and a major push from Disney can make.

As the posters on your daughters’ and sisters’ walls will attest, the cute and stylish siblings are this generation’s ‘It’ boy band, inheriting the mantle from such predecessors as New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, and ‘N Sync, but like the Jacksons and Hanson, the Jonases have the added advantage of shared DNA. The talent here is hereditary and organic—Kevin, 20, Joe, 19, and Nick, 16 have the musical chops to accompany the photogenic image. Unlike the manufactured likes of the Monkees and Menudo, these guys are the real deal—they play their own instruments and write their own music, which has attracted a fair number of fans older than 14. No less of an authority than Rolling Stone magazine gave A Little Bit Longer a four-star rave.

But there’s no doubt that the Jonas Brothers have benefited from a promotional and publicity blitz orchestrated by Disney and Hollywood Records that has made the trio a ubiquitous presence and set them up for superstardom. A cover of “Kids in America” on the Meet the Robinsons soundtrack, the theme song for the American Dragon cartoon series, airplay on Radio Disney, and guest spots on Hannah Montana got the buzz going, and the coveted opening slot on Miley Cyrus’ tour (and in the Hannah Montana concert movie) built it to the point where the boys were soon headlining—and selling out—arenas on their own.

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In between, there were appearances on American Idol, So You Think You Can DanceDancing with the Stars and every major talk show, three trips to the White House, the hit summer Disney Channel movie Camp Rock, in which Joe played the male lead and his brothers had supporting roles, and a reality series for the Disney Channel, Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream. There is much more to come: a Camp Rock sequel is on the drawing boards, and a 3D concert movie and scripted Disney Channel series are on the way in 2009.

“We have had a really amazing year and are so thankful for the opportunities we have had,” says Nick. “We have a lot going on, but we are just very honored that we get the opportunities that we do,” echoes Kevin. “No one puts our workload on us. We make the decisions along with our management team and our father. We love what we do. We love being out on the road. Working as much as we can and being able to see our fans is a big thrill for us.”

NEXT: The Jonas Bros on upcoming projects and their No. 1 priority… [PAGEBREAK]
[IMG:L]This fall, they’re staying closer to home in L.A. while working on the series. Originally conceived with a teen-spies-disguised-as-a-band premise, it has morphed into something less far-fetched. “We kind of grew as a band and the concept shifted,” explains Joe. “It changed to being more about us being on tour and traveling and living with the same things everybody our age would live with like going to high school, working,” adds Nick, noting that the characters “are exaggerated versions of each one of us.”

Boy-band vet Joey Fatone has signed on to guest star, and there will be new music each week. “We’re already writing songs. They give us an outline of what they need for the episode,” says Nick. They’re having fun with acting, but as Joe reminds, “Music will always be the number one priority, because that’s what feels right to us.”

The youngest but the brother with the most acting experience, Nick appeared on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast, Annie Get Your Gun and Les Miserables before he landed a solo album deal at 12, with an eye toward becoming a Christian recording artist. While he and his sibs ultimately went in a secular pop direction, their values remain wholesome, exemplified by the purity rings all three wear—and for which Russell Brand mocked them on the MTV Video Music Awards.

Avoiding the fast lane while living in the spotlight, the Jonases stay grounded by remaining appreciative, humble, and surrounded by their family, which includes little brother Frankie, 8, the ‘bonus Jonas.’ “Our parents have pretty much seared this into our hearts from an early age,” notes Kevin. “They raised us to say, ‘Even if you’re at the top, act like you’re at the bottom.’

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We want to be able to be a positive influence,” comments Kevin, and that extends to their involvement in various charitable causes, especially children’s or diabetes organizations (Nick is diabetic). The trio will perform at the Carousel of Hope gala Oct. 25, an event benefiting diabetes charities.

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