The Jonas Brothers still get plenty of screams from their mostly female audience, but these days they're seeing signs of their fans' –– and their own –– maturity.
"I'm looking out in the audience, and there are fans with beers in their hands," said Joe Jonas, who performs with his brothers, Kevin and Nick, Friday, July 26, at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.
"Obviously, it's still the young audience we had before, but the majority of fans have grown up."
The "before" refers to the Wyckoff natives' successful career launch as Disney Channel stars who sold some 20 million albums while they were still teens.
The Jonas Brothers' reach is still long - their official Facebook page has nearly 12.8 million likes and they have 4.2 million followers on Twitter. But how they will fare together following a three-year break remains to be seen - they have released a single called "Pom Poms," that seeks to update and expand their sound.
During the hiatus, middle brother Joe Jonas released a solo album entitled "Fastlife," and the youngest, Nick, formed a side project called The Administration that also spawned an album. Oldest sibling Kevin Jonas, and his wife, Danielle, who are expecting their first child, now co-star in the E! reality series, "Married to Jonas," which also features his siblings.
Ahead of the brothers' AC debut, Joe Jonas talks about the stage bond with his siblings and the challenges of moving beyond teen stardom.
Q: Why did you decide to perform together again?
A: We were dying to get on stage together and make music again. We got in the studio and tried things. The first trial wasn't as successful we hoped. It was a bumpy road musically –– we didn't feel like it was anything progressive.
We decided to get back in the studio. Something clicked, and we felt really confident about the stuff we're making.
Q: You didn't want to do the same-old thing musically?
A: We wanted to challenge ourselves. As an artist, you want to progress your music, especially since your fans are getting older. The music they listen to is changing. People's attention spans for music is one record, and they're moving on. You really need to love it to listen to it more than once.
Q: How did going solo compare to working with family?
A: It was nice to have some freedom. It was a scary thing to go into. You think you have one shot at a solo project. In reality, it's one of those things where you learn that that will always be there. Your home is the brothers and where your heart is invested.
I definitely missed them, especially on stage. You get so used to having two guys to lean on, whether you need a water break, or you're just feeling tired or whatever it may be. It's nice to have guys to lean on when you're performing, because it's exhausting all on your own.
Q: Having gotten your start on a reality show on Disney Channel and now appearing on E!'s "Married to Jonas," how do you feel about living your life on-screen?
A: The reality show thing is a little invasive, but you also have to know that whatever you say could be filmed, clipped and recorded and be on TV. You have to be careful about what you say and do, but you have to be yourself and hope people like you for who you are.
Q: As you plot your future, do you look to any former teen idols as career models?
A: I've met Donny Osmond, and it's cool to hear how happy he is with what he does and how much he enjoys his life.
It can be difficult with teen stars, when every move you make is on the Internet. You have to put your blinders up about other stuff or rumors or gossip.
For my brothers and I, we try to remember where we came from –– a small apartment with the brothers living together and my parents and uncle, and doing music because you genuinely love it and you can't help doing anything else.
That's where you try to put your focus –– that's what's important.