The Jonas Brothers Were Abandoned in the 'Middle of Nowhere' By Angry Bus Driver, Kevin Remembers
The Jonas Brothers are international stars now, but in their early days, Kevin, Joe and Nick, struggled to pay their bills — with unfortunate results.
One unpaid bus driver got so angry, he pretended the tour bus had broken down and left the pop band "in the middle of nowhere for more than twelve hours," until their dad, Kevin Jonas Sr., paid the driver, Kevin Jonas recalls in an excerpt from the brothers' joint memoir, Blood. (See below for the full excerpt, shared exclusively with PEOPLE.)
Fans of the Jonas Brothers have long awaited the release of the memoir, which the brothers co-authored with Neil Strauss. It will be published by Dey Street Books on Nov. 9.
The brothers teasingly shared information about the book in the press release.
"This book is intense! I think I overshared," Joe said.
"We all did. That's what memoirs are about," Kevin said. "Telling your truth."
"But what if your truth is different than mine…?" Nick said.
Joe went into more detail when Blood was announced in May 2019.
"We're three brothers from New Jersey, and we were not supposed to be successful," Joe said in a statement at the time. "From record labels dropping us to our dad losing his job over us, this shouldn't have happened or lasted as long as it did. Yet here we are, more excited than ever, and we're so grateful and ready to tell the full story of the journey we've had as individuals, as artists, and as family."
Blood alternates between each brother's perspective and traces their journey from the pop band's formation in 2005, to their breakup in 2013, and reunion six years later. Even though the Jonas Brothers went on to sell more than 22 million albums and have become household names, both as a group and individually, "things weren't always as they seemed" behind closed doors, according to the press release.
"In turns funny, irreverent, and eye-opening, [the memoir is] an unencumbered look at the ranks of fame and stardom, and a story of learning to find individuality within the blood ties of band and family," the press release continues. "With over 70 photos — some exclusive and never-before-seen — Blood is a deeply personal portrait of one family's survival in the high-stakes world of pop music as well as a feat of brother-to-brother storytelling."
Keep reading for the full excerpt from Blood, told from Kevin's perspective:
Finally, Columbia said they'd be releasing our debut single, "Mandy," in March 2006. To set it up for success, our management booked us on MTV's Total Request Live, the biggest music show of the time, to debut the videos. I'm sure they promised MTV an interview with Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys or something, because we definitely weren't big enough to earn it on our own.
For our first performance eight months earlier, we'd come up with the great idea to bus in fake fans from the local dance studio. Now that we were introducing the Jonas Brothers to the world, we figured we'd do the exact same thing.
We even recruited kids from the exact same dance studio.
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As everyone shuttled in, holding up signs and cheering for us outside the studio window, the host, Vanessa Minnillo, muttered to one of the producers: "How do these kids already have that many fans?"
After TRL, I eagerly checked the Billboard Hot 100 chart when the single was released the following week, but our song was nowhere on it. Growing more desperate, we tried anything and everything.
In Idaho, we accepted a gig on Super Bowl Sunday at a bar that didn't allow anyone under twenty-one to enter. We had to wait in the bus until it was our turn to perform. Then we ran in, played a set that everyone hated because we were responsible for the sound being turned off on the game, and then immediately left the premises.
In case it's not completely obvious, these shows did not pay well, when they paid at all. At first, the label supported us, but over the past couple of months, there had been a lot of behind-the-scenes instability there. And someone, somewhere, made a decision that they'd spent enough money on us. So, they stopped covering our costs while we toured, which wasn't a good sign for the album that was supposed to be their number-one priority.
Undeterred, my father financed our travels himself. This was no small expense, especially since he was responsible for the food, hotel, and salary of the entire band. We worked just as hard as before, but now there was a cost to each new fan. Yet Dad never complained about it. As generous as ever, even as the expenses began to pile up, he continued to keep his promise to take care of Kiyoko and her daughter Maya.
As we pressed on, though, the cracks started to show. First, checks for the backing band and the support crew kept getting delayed as Dad scrambled to gather the funds. One time, as we were driving through the Midwest, the bus driver pulled over to the shoulder of the road. He called Dad and told him, "If you don't pay me what you owe me soon, I'm gonna kick them out of the bus and leave them on the side of the highway, and that will be goddamn that."
And true to his word, he pulled over one day on the side of the highway, said the bus had broken down, and left us in the middle of nowhere for more than twelve hours until my dad paid him.
From Blood by Jonas Brothers Copyright © 2021 by Jonas Brothers Enterprises, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street Books, an imprint of William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers.
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