’90s News: NKOTB Fever Returns, Corgan’s Tree-Fight, Bizkit Rock The Cruise Ship Scene


Please rewind this column after reading.


Fred Durst may just have to retire his seemingly evergreen anthem ‘Break Stuff’, with its opening gambit: “It’s just one of those days, where you don’t wanna wake up, everything is fucked, everybody sux”, because nobody can relate to that sullen attitude when lazing on a deckchair while cruising the glassy waters of sunny Florida. Yeah boy – the Bizkit are headlining ‘Shiprocked’, a music festival on a cruise ship which also features Filter, P.O.D. (who proved a love of God cannot quell anger), Buckcherry (Timebomb is a massive, massive song),  Living Colour, Sevendust and Tremonti – otherwise known as “dude, weren’t you in Creed? I’m pretty sure you were in Creed, in that clip on the top of the cliff.”

Making all this better is that supergroup Metal Allegiance will be playing, too. The group features Phil Anselmo from Pantera, Joey Balladonna from Anthrax, and other guys from Slayer, Dream Theater, Megadeth and your year nine pencil case – back when the world was a vampire set to drain. Get tickets for the cruise now (worry about flights later).

NKOTB Get a star on the hollywood walk of fame

When the New Kids On The Block received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame a few weeks ago, an interesting thing happened – every single fan that mauled the band back in the early ’90s was drawn out of whatever Wahlberg-less hell they’d dug for themselves in the years since Step Four was “I can give you more” and flocked sonor-like towards Hollywood Blvd. to straight up mob the group, for old times’ sake. It was as if New Kids On The Block were still the new kids on the block. Listen to the below coverage from the official website, written with a detachment only possible when you’ve dealt with crazy fandom throughout three different decades.

Flying in from Peru and Europe, sporting ‘Obsessive NKOTB Disorder’ t-shirts, waving ‘Blockhead Blvd’ signs and queuing before the sun had even touched the Hollywood Hills, around 2,500 Blockheads packed the street […] Streets were shut down and tour buses halted to a stop to witness the eager crowd performing group sing-alongs to ‘The Right Stuff’ and ‘Step by Step.’

If I gave you 60 seconds to think of five better NKOTB slogans for a t-shirt, especially one worn by someone flying in from Peru, I’m quite confident you could. Donnie Wahlberg said the following during the ceremony:

“We’ve been together for 30 years and been friends for longer. We’ve been through the droughts of droughts, highs of highs and things that most people could never imagine. We went from playing for food and meals in prisons, high schools, birthday parties and bar mitzvahs, to playing for the most amazing fans in the world, all over the world.”

A few fact about the Kids trajectory. It is true they did actually come up the ol’ fashioned Boston way, which House Of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’, Sam’s A.A. storyline on Cheers, and this Larry Bird Converse ad suggests has something to do with hard knocks and determination. They toured the shit out of their debut album, which still bombed; their label had made plans to drop them quicker than a hot potato before a track from album #2 started getting radio play. When this single (‘Please Don’t Go Girl’ – a song pitched by a kid who never dreamt he’d be required to hit those notes 26 years later) finally reached hit #10 on the Billboard charts, they were aged between 15 and 19.

Now, aside from sounding like the lyrics from a Springsteen song, Donnie’s above quote is either an exaggeration of their origin story for effect, or he’s saying their manager and mastermind Maurice Starr had these five kids working for meals in prisons. Hangin’ Tough indeed. Maybe Donnie really did ride the motorbike at the start of the ‘Step By Step’ clip!

Now, in honour of the News Kids’ star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, let’s step through three highlights of their career.

STEP ONE. New Kids Go Psychedelic

Step By Step was the follow up album to their breakthrough Hangin’ Tough, assuming you don’t include Xmas albums – which you shouldn’t, unless you consider the Mulder and Scully action figures to be the follow up to X-Files season three. The title track was the lead single and was a home run: the video had them jumping off things, riding things, they all got a singing solo, and it opened with the most massive five-part harmony since Brian Wilson stopped being able to feel the beach – a home run. It’s a testament to how mental New Kids fever was getting at that time that a label with very real plans to drop the band a few years earlier now allowed them to release ‘Tonight’ – a ridiculously self-referential baroque song – as single number two. ‘Tonight’ sounds like Maurice Starr dropped a tab, played Magical Mystery Tour on loop and realised that “the screaming kids at the shows need to turn on. I know what those cats will be hip to (I forget how slang went in the ’90s), an avant garde orchestral breakdown! This is the new sound.” It’s a great song – and you could feasibly convince someone it’s an XTC single from the ’80s, if deception is your bag.

STEP TWO: New Kids Go H.A.M

There reached a point on 90210 where a handful of the actors cast to play teenagers had gotten so old that believability was a real issue. This point occurred roughly before the shooting of the first episode – but was able to be ignored successfully enough until around 1994, by which point Andrea Zuckerman looked older than Mr Walsh. This year was also when the whole New Kids On The Block name was beginning to seem faintly ridiculous – the group’s oldest member Jonathan Knight was 25, and even Lil’ Joey, as he’d be known if this band launched in either 1930 or 2010, was 21. The solution: NKOTB – no more dancing, no more cute pop, no more lip-syncing, no more games. There was now a harder, more industrial sound (the wiki pages hopefully labels it as G-Funk – a better tag might be proto-‘Pop’), there was now rapping, there was even some misogyny to really shave off the existing fan base – no better realised than on lead single ‘Dirty Dawg’ (which actually holds up nicely). Fans greeted this shift with hesitation – it was the group’s last single to chart for 15 years. How calling girls ‘tramps’ and ‘dogs’ – sorry, ‘dawgs’ – didn’t translate to a second phase of popularity remains a mystery.



…and speaking of 90210.


Not just any 90210 actress either, but Rebecca Gayheart, who played the daughter of a Mafioso guy that put a hit on Dylan’s dad. So Dylan goes after the daughter and starts dating her, right, first out of revenge, then out of love, and it ends with her gunned down accidentally in the rain, and some of Luke Perry’s finest acting. I suppose that should have been pre-empted with a spoiler alert, but if you’ve waited until now to watch season six of 90210, then you’re priorities are way outta whack. Anyway, Gayheart lives near door to Corgan, and back in 2012, a huge eucalyptus tree on his property crashed onto Gayheart’s, causing a mess of damage. Insurance companies sorted it, but Gayheart wanted four similarly-threatening trees also removed. Because Corgan is known for being reasonable, he flat out refused, ushering in a two-year period of fighting over trees – which was set to actually result in a court date this week, until Corgan caved in and cut down the tree – still just a rat in a cage.

This whole dispute has led to my favourite TMZ moment of all time – this proudly-tagged ‘exclusive’ pap shot of one of the tree stumps.


There’s surely a French word for when you dislike a man for what his occupation entails, but pity that the highlight of his week was sneaking onto private property to take a snap of a tree trunk.

In an effort to make this entry somewhat music related, here is a partial list of bands that played live on 90210 before they hit it big: The Flaming Lips, Maroon 5, Goo Goo Dolls, Christina Aguilera (not strictly a band).


Pearl Jam are the only group that can inspire such intense loyalty they could release an album called No Code without a bar-code as an anti-consumerism statement, then put 72 different live albums on sale four years later, and not be called sell outs. So it would make sense that PJ fans would go crazy for the latest trove that has (illegally) hit the net – eleven unreleased recordings from their self-titled album sessions.

The tracklisting is below, and although we cannot be seen to encourage the downloading of illegal material, it’s available should you wish to blast ‘Fuck Tha Police’ and find it anyway – tip: blast an illegally downloaded version for an extra layer of thug life.

Here is a download of the track ‘Rearranged Furniture’, named after an old dressing room prank the boys used to pull on Ray Charles while touring with him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s