Step 44 - NKOTB Block Party: Episode 21 - New Kids on the Block Fan Stories from Carmen, Amy & Kelley
Are you ready for THREE new NKOTB fan stories? Join us as we hear the story of our friend Carmen and that time she gave Joe a card about our podcast (what?! I know!). We will recount Amy's stories from early concerts in the 90's, her memorable reunion concert, crusin' and meeting Joey for the first time and then sitting in for an interview on Donnie's tour bus! Last we'll hear from Kelley about her fan beginnings to an amazing gesture from a fellow work BH that allowed her to see NKOTB for the very first time!
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Hi Brooke and Nikki,
I have a few stories to share and hate doing them out of order but this one is a top priority so here you go.
I live in Wisconsin and every year when it gets cold we go to LA to visit my family and spend a couple days at Disneyland. And we always fly into LAX. Always. But this year we decided to fly into Burbank. Not a big deal until one day Joe tweets that he is going to be performing in a show at the Garry Marshall Theater. In Burbank. While we are here. #nothingisrandom So I go online and was able to get a front tow ticket for the Saturday afternoon show.
After Joe’s show opened I started seeing pictures on social media of him with fans after each show and I realized this could be my opportunity to help with #MissionInterviewJoey2018! So I went out and bought the most attention-grabbing card I could find and wrote him a note about how much I love his podcast and how I have also found another podcast that I love. I included some screenshots from your website of some of my favorite episodes and told him he should check it out, especially if he is interested in hearing stories of how he and the guys have impacted and even saved lives.
So first of all, the show was hilarious and Joe was absolutely perfect in it! They even managed to work in some iconic NKOTB choreography which of course the audience loved since it was probably 50% blockheads. Afterwards Joe and the rest of the cast came out and took pictures and signed autographs. Right before he got to me I panicked because I realized if I gave him my card he would have to hold it and then it might be more difficult for him to take selfies. Joe typically prefers to take the picture himself since they are all pretty much selfie-masters at this point. But he can’t be a selfie-master with a big ol’ card in one hand can he? I certainly didn’t want to be the weird girl that gave Joe a card and then ruined everybody else’s selfie experience. So for a second I considered shoving it in my purse and forgetting all about it. It would have been so much easier. But then I hear Nikki’s voice in my head talking about putting yourself out there and being vulnerable and how good things happen when you take chances. I’m paraphrasing of course. It was either that or “if Jordan Knight is ever right in front of you sexy-singing just run your damn finger down his chest!” Either way, just do it. So I got my selfie, told Joe how wonderful he was in the show and gave him my card. Then I stepped aside to process it all. Shortly after, I noticed he had shoved the card in his back pocket! I don’t know if he will ever open it or read it - or listen - or agree to be “interviewed” but I did my best. And I do believe your moment will come, one way or another. Keep up the great work!
Also, I feel like I need to mention I’m actually a Jordan girl to my core. I wasn’t going to mention that since this was a Joe story but then I got to the end and felt guilty! Like I was cheating on him or something.
Ps: I ALWAYS circled the rock tumbler and NEVER got one either!
Carmen Zimmer @nemmrack
I am so excited!!! First of all, I LOVE YOUR PODCAST! Not only do you walk down my memory lane, but you do it in such a way that I feel like grew up on the very same lane. LOVE IT!
Thank you for giving me the chance to potentially share my NKOTB love and experience. Even if I don’t find my way onto your podcast it makes me happy to see there are girls out there like me! I am going to do my best to kind of paraphrase some of this, but it may still be quite long… Feel free to read in installments if you need to ☺
The summer of 1989 I moved from northern Minnesota (99 miles from Canada) to Colorado Springs. To say I was a fish out of water is a HUGE understatement. When I finally started school I had exactly 0 friends. As school went on I made my first friend, Sarah. She invited me to her house after school and my life changed forever. When I walked into her room, there were posters of these 5 guys EVERYWHERE! I was speechless…. Then she put on the album. Not the tape, not a CD, but the vinyl album. “Please Don’t Go Girl” started playing and I was hooked. Very quickly my walls became covered with posters of these 5 boys who stole my heart, with an emphasis on Joey. I have been a Joey girl since day 1!
Fifth grade ended, Step By Step, was my new jam and I prepared to go back to Minnesota for the summer. I felt lost all over again. Nobody I knew from back home had ever heard of the New Kids… Then I got the call… My uncle who we would be staying with for part of our time in Minnesota for the summer, told me he had gotten some concert tickets, but wasn’t sure I would want to go. He said, “So these Fresh Guys Down the Street or New Dude Around the Corner are going to be here this summer, and I wasn’t sure if you’d be interested in going.” MY HEART STOPPED! I may have squealed into the phone, I have a few moments there it all got a little blurry… So, July 4th 1990 I saw New Kids on the Block for the first time. These things just didn’t happen to me… I had a single mom, with limited means, so everything I had accumulated was straight from my babysitting or whatever I could do to make a few bucks. Now I was going to see them, in person!
That day, was HOT and really humid! The concert was at a large outdoor park, and even though we got there early in the morning, we were sitting pretty far back. I spent the day becoming friends with a girl and her sister whose mom had brought them down from Canada to see the guys. We watched throughout the day as girls around us were crying and passing out. It blew my mind. Why in the heck would someone sit out in that miserable heat and then pass out before the guys even came out?!? The time finally came and they took the stage. I screamed and again got a blurry, but I sang and danced to every song!!
The next month I was super lucky to have a friend that got to tickets to the show in Denver and she picked me to take! I couldn’t believe this was happening!!! This was also how my little side action with Jordan started. See the letter below (LOL!!!!)
This is one of my greatest New Kids treasures… It’s a gem! And can I say THANK GOD that I never actually got this to him! I would have been banned from concerts and definitely cruising for life! After 8th grade I moved back to Minnesota and shortly thereafter lost ALL OF MY NEW KIDS EVERYTHING. Long story short, it was sold to the highest bidder. I was devastated!
I followed the guys the best I could (internet was NOT what it is now, and I never had a computer). As I grew up and they grew apart my love never faded. I caught Jordan on his “Jordan Knight Does New Kids on the Block” tour, but never really had the means to be able to chase after Joey. I watched any movie I knew Donnie was in, rewatched Hangin’ Tough Live and any other recorded videos I could nab from friends or find at garage sales.
Fast forward to 2008…. And I hear the BOYS ARE BACK! Oh sweet lord! I lost it. I got tickets and counted down the days. On the day of the concert, my friend said she was able to upgrade her tickets, so on the phone I got and 7th row is what I ended up with. WHAT!? 7th row! I was so nervous. I felt nauseated, excited, scared and on the verge of tears all day. That night we went to our seats and I could not believe I was close enough that I knew the guys could see me. When the lights went down, the crowd went NUTS. When I watch videos of that night I can’t believe the deafening screams, of which I was certainly one. The music to Single started, and in 2.5 seconds, I had unzipped my knee high boots, whipped them off and jumped onto the folding chairs. I am pretty sure I had an out of body experience because again my vision went blurry. That night was pure magic! And I haven’t missed a tour since!
Next came the cruises…. I wanted, no needed, to get on that boat. At first it just was not financially an option for me. I was a single mom and knew that it just wasn’t in the cards at the time. They kept sailing and my day finally came. My friend Bitsy (friends since 6th grade) said “I’m in!” I made sure to tell her not to toy with emotions, because if she’s in we are doing this. And so 2016 was my first cruise. We didn’t know what to expect, did lots of research, asked questions and got on a boat hoping to catch some time with the guys. It was SO much more than I could have ever dreamed it would be. Too many moments and stories to write, but I will tell you about our photo op day…. WOW! So, like many girls we got teamed up with some girls online and filled in the gaps the day of. I let Bitz pick who we would stand with and BOOM she picks Joe. Now, she is also a Joe girl, so I downplayed by 27 year full on love of him… back to the story. So the day of the pictures we met with our girls, and as we introduced ourselves to each other I let everyone know, full disclosure, that I was going to cry. Now, not fall on the floor, lose my mind, look a bit unbalanced cry, but definitely cry. When we got into the room where the pictures were being taken I lost my breath. There they were… and I was about to “meet” and hopefully hug each one of them. I made it about half way around the room when the tears could no longer be held back. So, a little something about me, I do not have a pretty cry… I get blotchy, puffy, my cheeks quiver and my eyes get red. So, that’s great… I am about to meet the 5 guys who have held me heart longer than anyone but my dad, and I look like I am having a terrible allergic reaction. I finally get to Danny, squeak out “hello” and his response “Are you ok? Are you hurt?” I politely said “No… this is just a lot.” Next was Donnie and in true Donnie fashion he sees me crying, gives me the sweetest smile (misty eyed) hugs me and says “It’s all love.” I was able to again squeak out an “I know… I just can’t…” Jordan was next, and as I went in for the most awkward hug of my life, Donnie reaches over and rubs my arm. Seriously Donnie! My sense of humor was finally peeking out and I said “You can’t do that! You are making it worse… no really you can totally keep doing that.” As I thought I was starting to pull myself together, I turn and there he is… Mr. McIntyre. Again, I was never sobbing, but now the tears were pretty constant. He looked at me, opened his arms for a hug and said “Girl, don’t cry…. It’s ok! It’s all good.” I just said I know and stood next to this man I had loved from afar for almost ¾ of my life. It took me longer than it should have to figure out where in the heck I was gonna put my hands. The picture snapped, I got a quick hug from Jon and it was over. I couldn’t believe that all that went down in serious 2 minutes max. LOL The rest of the cruise was amazing! P.S. the game show is the BEST part!
2017 brought us the Total Package Tour. YES!!!! My favorite so far, and here’s why… first of all, I LOVE THANKFUL!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Second of all, this! So, for the first cruise I made the ceremonial bedsheet skirts for Bitz and I and of course we wore them to the concert. People around us loved them! Asking for pictures of us and with us. We get to the show and we are row 2 on the side of the stage… um, #THANKFUL is right! We were watching Boyz II Men when Bitsy sees Johnny (Donnie’s assistant) and waves at him (I didn’t know this yet). The next thing I know, Bitz is tapping my shoulder and pointing at Johnny who is now walking to our seats. He gets to us and says “Let’s go!” As we followed Johnny backstage I was FREAKING OUT inside, but again kept my cool. When we got behind the curtain I coolly said “Hey Johnny, how you doin’? Where are we going?” His response, “Donnie’s tour bus.” HOLD THE PHONE!!!! What?!? Yup, on Donnie freakin’ Wahlberg’s tour bus! He quickly shuffled us across an open area where the four busses sat, and my heart started racing. He explained that Elijah was doing a documentary on the guys and wanted to interview us (obviously, not us, but BHs). I walked onto Donnie’s bus and there sat Elijah and his friend. They asked us to have a seat on the couch and the next thing I realized I was “petting” the couch. I mean seriously, you know Donnie has sat on that couch in his underwear! I pulled it together and answered some questions. My favorite questions Elijah asked was to the effect of when did you come back to the New Kids (i.e. when it was no longer cool to like the New Kids, when did you start liking them again.) I explained that I never left. It’s never mattered to me if it was “cool” or not to like them, I just do (LOVE them). They asked a few more questions then offered us a cookie they had made. We of course took one ☺ They asked to take a picture with us, and away we went. I did manage to get a quick selfie with Johnny, BONUS!
This fall was cruise number 2! This time I went with my cousin, Kiley (who’s more like my sister). Again, TIME OF MY LIFE. Only better this time because we met two amazing women from Tennessee, Jennifer and Marcie. We clicked from moment one and will be friends for life. This cruise Donnie was all about the love. I am happy to report that I did not cry during the photo op, but did manage to again stick my foot in my mouth. LOL!! Lots of good stories from this cruise too! The part that stuck out most for me was Donnie saying that “We didn’t save your life… you did that.” I have been through a lot. A lot of happy, a lot of sad, and a few times in there that I didn’t know how I was going to get through. I did not search out the New Kids, they were given to me. And yes, they have saved my life. They have a song for every emotion I have felt. They were present at my wedding, when my children were born and when I have had to say goodbye well before I was ready. They have never let me down, or left me alone.
My house is a New Kids house! My husband lets me be a blockhead (even though he doesn’t get it), my 18 year old son knows every song, and my daughter regularly sleeps in her New Kids jammies. When she started Kindergarten last year she formed her “Blockheads.” A group of girls who just listen to her sing New Kids songs. The only problem was that when I asked what song she sings her first one was “One, Two, Girl I see ya! Just sippin Tequilla!” Yikes, I didn’t think that Hola Mama was gonna stick out ahead of the others ☺
Thank you so much for reading this and I hope you got a laugh or two (I am way funnier in person than on paper, thankfully).
Amy's Follow Up
I recently wrote into you about my New Kids adventures, but this is something far more personal. I was introduced to your podcast by a friend I met on the cruise this year. In just over a month Jennifer, and her Best friend Marcie, have become a fixture in my life I needed so badly. But I’ll get to that. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to listen to all the previous podcasts, and each one is better than the last.
Today I attended a meeting where we had a speaker on gratitude. He challenged us to reach out to our lollipop story (someone who has changed our life without even knowing it). I reached out to my new friends, and now to you. You are MY lollipop story!
I have dealt with depression on many levels throughout my life. My husband struggles to understand, as do many of the people in my life who have not been personally touched by depression. Nikki, when I listen to you it’s as if I’m listening to myself. Only I’m not!!! I am listening to someone who is able to articulate exactly how I feel. From your love of New Kids to your emotional side... you are saving me. For the first time in my life I feel like there is hope, because if someone else feels like me then I know I’m not “crazy.” I find my self laughing with you and crying with you and frequently shaking my head wondering how you can be a real person, so much like me. Brooke, you remind me of my best friend. She is the less-emotional yet supportive one (I also sent her a letter today). She is my cousin who grew up as my sister. She gets me like nobody else, and I see that in your friendship.
I firmly believe that people are brought into your life for three reasons: to teach you a lesson, for you to teach them a lesson or to be a lifelong part of your story. Sometimes we think someone might be in one category only to find out that they aren’t. I believe that Jennifer and Marcie were brought into my life as forever friends. And it was no mistake that Jennifer “introduced” me to you.
So, when you think that you are just doing some fun podcast reliving your youth and talking about New Kids, remember that you are saving at minimum one life. Your light and real ness is pulling me from a very deep dark hole, and is giving me the courage to fight against that darkness. We can’t do this alone, and sometimes the light that pulls us through doesn’t even know they are doing it!
I’m sorry this is so long... I could honestly go on all night. Again, thank you so much for your podcast, your fun and most of all your keeping it real! I hope I get to meet you (maybe on the cruise️)
Hello Ladies! It’s me Kelley!
My story is not nearly as exciting as the ones already read on the pod, but I am gonna share anyway.
It had to have been 1989....my 7th birthday. My younger brother and I had a joined b-day party since our birthdays were so close together, he is only a year younger than I am. I remember he had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake and I had NKOTB. Our party was held outside in the yard. My mom had told me that she had a huge surprise for me, the New Kids were going to be at my party. I told all my friends. They all showed up and some brought roses for their favorite guy. I remember during the party wondering when are they going to show up. After cake and the gifts were open and games were done, my mom told me I had one more gift inside. I was pumped......so excited. My friends and I were all so nervous. We made our way inside the house and went to the living room. They were no where in sight. Mom told us to have a set in the living room and then proceeded to turn the tv on. In the VCR was the NKOTB Hangin Tough tape. This was her idea of them being at the party. Granted, I was happy and thankful for the tape and all that was done for my birthday......but I was so embarrassed. I felt like my friends all thought I lied to them. They all forgave me though, no one laughed or teased me about it thank god.
I did not grow up with much money so lord knows I never once asked to go to a concert. That was just always a dream that would stay just that, a dream. I gave in a decided it would never happen for me. Fast forward some and I hid my love for NKOTB, it wasn't cool anymore. I even got rid of my NKOTB things...UUUGGGGHHHH!!
I remember throughout the years I would read and hear about them in one way or another. Donnie was in this movie and that movie, Jordan and Joe are doing solo stuff. I knew that concerts were not cheap and never even attempted to try to get that to happen. Growing up I can only even remember my parents going to one concert ever, which just lead me to believe they were that much harder for ME to get to go to. It just wouldn't be in my cards.
Fast forward to the NSYNC era. I was asked by a family friend if I would be interesting in going to an NSYNC Concert, ticket paid for, to help her chaperone her daughter and her friend.....ummm DUH! I said YES! I was finally at a concert, and it was amazing. Lance was sick the night of the concert and was not there. I was bummed but still had a blast! I grabbed confetti from the floor and got a souvenir picture....Chris Kirkpatrick and his cute little dreds with bright green background. I framed the picture and on the top right put the confetti and the bottom left I put my ticket stub.
After that I would go to affordable concerts or ones I won tickets to or shows at county fairs. I have to date seen Tim McGraw, Eminem, Journey, Poison, JoDee Messina, Melissa Etheridge, Jason Aldean, Sean Kingston, Sugarland, and so much more, (including a Justin Beiber concert in 2010.) But never.....ever....NKOTB.
Fast forward to how I met my best friend, Long story short, when we first met we ended up drinking wine and danced to hangin tough on the back porch. We have been best friends ever since. (She has a Donnie story from when she was 16! She needs to share her stuff! Come on Christian!!)
Ok, Fast forward again, they reunite....go out on tour again....omg.....I just feel like this is out of my reach, this dream I have had for years......there is no way it will become reality.
Fast forward again.....(do you feel like you are in that movie Click with Adam Sandler? LOL) I started working at my current job December 2016. I ended up becoming friends with a coworker around Spring this year, (Her name is Kate, and she has lots of stories too! Tell your stories Kate!) Kate and I were just chatting and music came up in the conversation and I said something about how I recently saw Kid Rock in concert and she smiled and said, “so....I've seen the New Kids a bunch of times.” My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe it. These kinds of people exist? She told me stories and I sat there and laughed and cried in a public place...I think she cried a little too. Then she told me that she was going to see them in like 2 months or so in Tampa. No way! SO Awesome. I looked up tickets, I just couldn't make it happen, my car was acting up and I had to save to fix it. It just was not the right time.
Slight fast forward only a few weeks this time, we are at work and she asks me what I am doing on a Saturday like 2 weeks away, I did not even think about why she was asking me and then she said it....”Would you want to go to the New Kids concert with me? I have an extra ticket, my friend can't make it.” Are you kidding me? I said yes before I ever cared how much the ticket was going to cost me. Kate, if your listening to this, you are dream come true maker. LOL She just gave me the ticket guys!!! Then we split the hotel and stayed fancy and even ordered room service the next day.
Rewind to the concert, we had amazing seats, not right at the stage but really close to the back stage on the floor. We were like front row near where the guys walk between the floor seats and us. Holy smokes.....holy crap.....i jumped, I cried, I screamed. Danny.....there was Danny...coming right for us.......I stuck my hand out for a high five.....he grabbed it and held it for a second.....aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! There's Jordan, he's coming from the other way......he keeps stopping and taking selfies with people....he is only 2 people away from us, there is direct eye contact......THE UNICORN WAS ALMOST OURS FOR A PICTURE and then...and then.....sigh....he was redirected to the back stage, his picture time was up. I did feel like the eye contact had an “I'm sorry” in it. Look, to the right.....OMG....HOLY CRAP.....IT'S JOEY JOE........here he comes.....he's moving fast, there will not be much time, I shake like crazy......I'm crying.....I cant speak and the guards are pushing him fast to the back stage....I try to snap a picture and I get his sweaty shoulder and the side of his head. Sigh.......holy adrenaline rush. I don't even care, that picture still went up on my Instagram so fast!
This Concert trip was awesome. Kate has been active in the NKOTB scene during the time I had given up hope and she has a lot of stories and even introduced me to fellow BH's who we met for lunch before the concert and to hear their stories.....awesome!!!! (That person is in this group too and she needs to tell some stories as well...you know who you are! (Joyce)) Kate has cruised before and we have made it a goal to cruise next year. My BFF Christian is coming too, and she even has 2 sisters eyeing a spot on the boat next year as well. SO EXCITING!!
So, after that concert, I was obsessed again. I have started saving for the cruise already, I'm working out like crazy because I wanna look good on that boat, plus get healthy too ya know LOL. On my birthday, Kate, knowing I had got rid of all my NKOTB stuff, was so very generous. She gifted me the NKOTB sleeping bag, NKOTB cartoon lunchbox with the thermos and a one of a kind pencil drawing that is from the August 1990 People Weekly magazine cover.
I want to tell you how I found you lovlies as well. I saw on Instagram that Joe said he liked Podcasts. SO, I searched Podcast Addict for his name. I found like 8 podcast episodes the he interviewed with and one podcast that looked dedicated to NKOTB. This is how I found you and I listened to all episodes pertaining to or that he guest starred on, then, I downloaded all My So Called Whatever episodes and listened to all 6 that were there at that time and have listened ever since.
This is also how I found the About Last Night Podcast. I love those guys! I say that I'm a Joe girl with Adam Ray Tendencies. I need to find a way to work Jordan in that sentence too. Adam Ray is good buddies with Joe and I have heard from a good source, (Adam Ray's live Instagram video) that Adam will be on that boat next year with all of us! Can you imagine...I need a pic with Joe and Adam at the same time.....AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Sorry this is so long, but I just had to share it all. I have searched and search for childhood pictures, but cant find any. I have included quite a few that are more recent though.
Thanks for letting me share and for deciding to do this podcast. I feel like I have gained an amazing group of sisters that I never even knew I had.
Pictures: I tried to caption them in the order I added them.
This is Jordan as he was taking selfies...he ended up getting so close but the unicorn got away.
The one with the arrow....that's Danny's dad!
Jordan singing....he's so beautiful.
Joe singing please don't go girl. I cried. Sigh...
Kate and I getting ready for some NKOTB in Tampa.
Joe's sweaty shoulder....you know what you did Joe.
I got vintage bracelets for Christian, Kate, and I.
The day after the concert, Kate and I went to the first Wahlburgers location in Orlando. They had this out front. #OrlandoStrong #OrlandoUnited
"Wahlburgers...ba da da"