As told to Jennifer Vineyard.
To some extent, I was used to growing up in public. I was a pastor’s kid, so eyes were always on me, even then. I sat in the first pew of the church, and I had to wear a suit every Sunday, because my parents wanted me to be this role model that I didn’t always want to be. I preferred going to punk-rock shows in small venues in New Jersey, where we grew up, wearing my jean jacket and all my band pins. That’s how I fell in love with music, how I became obsessed with it. I’d stand there, watching the singer running around the stage, owning the crowd. I didn’t even notice whatever else was happening onstage. All I could see was the singer.
But I had certain obligations at that age. If I ever didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, or when I was trying to figure out what religion I wanted to be, or trying to understand spirituality, I would always have to deal with knowing that people were looking up to me. We eventually left our church, Assembly of God, when I was 14. A scandal had erupted involving stolen money, and it caused a big rift in the church. After that the concept of church really upset me for a long time. I mean, I believe in God, and that’s a personal relationship that I have, but I’m not religious in any way.
I went to school until about seventh grade, before my parents decided to homeschool us. I sucked at math. Was pretty good with science, and I was great at music class. Big surprise. Music was always in the house. Our dad could play just about anything, and we started picking up instruments ourselves. When Nick was 7, he began singing everywhere—in the house, in the hair salon even, which is where he was discovered.
We never really had an idea of making music together, but years later when Nick was working on his debut album, Nicholas Jonas, Kevin and I genuinely wanted to write with him. So we wrote a song together in the living room called “Please Be Mine,” which we thought would just be for Nick. But when our dad heard us, he said we should play it for David Massey, who was A&R-ing Nick’s project at the time. He had signed a lot of brother bands—Oasis, Good Charlotte—and when we went in and sang the song for him, he told us he wanted to sign us as a group.
We weren’t put together by some Svengali but were definitely thrown into it. Especially Nick, who was only 12 (I was 15 and Kevin was 17), and he had to make all these big decisions about whether he wanted to be in a band or work solo or work with his brothers. Luckily, he was cool with working with us.
It took about two years before we released our first record, It’s About Time, in 2006. We were working on it for so long, and our dad had to drive us to the recording studio in the city every day. I’ll never forget our first concert: We were named J3—and we hated the name. It felt like something a boy band would be called. I remember turning to my brothers before that show and saying, “Do you want our name to be J3 for the rest of our lives?” When we got onstage, I was the one to announce to the crowd, “Hey, we’re the Jonas Brothers.” Nice and simple.
For a few years, my two brothers, our father, our backup band, and I drove around in a van from city to city, playing any venue that would have us—schools, churches, bat mitzvahs—while our mother stayed at home to take care of our youngest brother, Frankie. Those early touring years were rough. We opened up for the Veronicas, who had a club crowd, and we had to prove to those crowds that we could really play. Show them that we’re real musicians. It was always a struggle because every single night we were walking into hate. Sometimes people flipped us off, threw water bottles at us.
Everything completely changed when Disney entered the picture. They were geared toward a younger market, and we had a younger audience, so we started doing some Disney concerts, Disney Christmas concerts, and Disney roller-coaster openings. Then we made a music video for a cover song that we initially didn’t want to do because we hadn’t written it, called “Year 3000,” exclusively for Disney, which led them to start playing the song on Radio Disney and the video on the Disney Channel. Before we knew it, our fan base had exploded.
We went from an opening act to headliners, first in half-theaters, then full theaters, then half-arenas to full arenas, all within a span of around six weeks. Playing the Texas state fair in 2007 was a turning point. There were 40,000 people, and we needed to get a helicopter in order to make it to the show because the traffic was so bad. I remember sitting in that helicopter, flying over all those cars, and thinking, This is really happening.
Disney is great at creating fame. They’ve done it with so many pop stars and young actors, from Hilary Duff to the High School Musical crew. Miley Cyrus played an already-famous pop star on a Disney show, Hannah Montana, and as we were starting to blow up, we got a boost by playing ourselves, as her favorite band on her own show. That was definitely our first major love shown by Disney, and I think it might have been a trial to see whether they should give us a show of our own, and they did. We got a sitcom called Jonas in which we played characters named Kevin, Joe, and Nick Lucas, members of an already-famous band.
But the thing about the show was that some of the writing on it was terrible. It just ended up being some weird slapstick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at. They took out the kissing scene that Nick had. I had to shave every day because they wanted me to pretend like I was 16 when I was 20 (when the show was done, I cut my hair off and grew as much of a beard as I could). We went along with it at the time, because we thought Disney was our only real shot, and we were terrified that it could all be taken away from us at any moment.
Being a part of a company like that comes with certain expectations. Not overtly, but there was a subtle vibe. We were working with Disney in 2007 when the Vanessa Hudgens nude-photo scandal happened. We heard that she had to be in the Disney offices for a whole day because they were trying to figure out how to keep her on lockdown. We’d hear execs talking about it, and they would tell us that they were so proud of us for not making the same mistakes, which made us feel like we couldn’t ever mess up. We didn’t want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under.
We were just kids. That’s the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that’s foisted upon you and you’re expected to be perfect. I went through media training, and I hated it. They’d teach you how to change the subject, whenever you were asked an uncomfortable question, by saying something like, “Oh, that reminds me of my dog! I have a great story about my dog!” Playing dumb is the best way of getting out of anything. We also had a strategy for who would take which kinds of questions. If it was a serious question, Nick would answer it. If it was lighthearted, Kevin would. Nick and I took questions related to our music and explaining what certain songs meant. We even did a Good Housekeeping story with our mom where we were wearing these horrible pastels. It makes me cringe just to think about it.
Disney made us more famous than we ever knew we could be. During concerts, when we’d want to play a new song or have an intimate moment, the screaming could be so overwhelming that we’d have to tell the crowd to calm down and enjoy the moment. It could get scary, too: We did a meet-and-greet in Spain, and like 100,000 people showed up and we ended up being chased through a shopping mall. It felt like a zombie apocalypse.
There were the moments when I’d walk into my hotel room only to find a girl I didn’t know standing there. For the record, we didn’t have the traditional rock-and-roll experience. We were kids working with Disney, so finding a girl in our hotel room didn’t feel like an open invitation. This isn’t 1986, and I’m not in a hair-metal band. It felt like a problem we had to solve without it getting us into trouble. There was this time in South America where a hotel staff member snuck his kid into my room. I don’t know what they were hoping would happen, but security showed her out.
People like to imagine what it would be like on a tour bus, and they’d ask us, “It must just be a party all the time!” And definitely whenever we were on-camera, we were perceived as smiling and happy and upbeat, but there were times when all I wanted to do was lie in bed.
The hard thing about dealing with out-of-control fans is that you don’t want to be the bad guy and you don’t want to disappoint them, but sometimes that ends up happening. There used to be this group of fans who liked to camp outside our apartments in New York, and about a year ago, one of them asked us for a photo in the morning, and I said hi to him, and later that night, he was outside a restaurant that we had gone to with some friends. That was not cool. It felt like he was following us. So we all got in the car and he runs up, yelling through the window, “Can I get your picture? Please please please?” I said, “Look, man, I’m usually nice to you about this, but we’re just having a night to ourselves, and if you can respect that, I’d really appreciate it.” He started bawling and ran off to his friends. Two days later, it’s in the tabloids that I was rude to a fan and made him cry and laughed in his face. It’s funny, because I greet a ton of fans, but the one I said no to ended up making news.
The topic that dominated news coverage of us for a long time was the whole promise-ring thing. We couldn’t escape it. It started when I was really young—I must have been 10 or 11. There’s a program people do in some churches called True Love Waits, where you wait for marriage to have sex. Kevin and I decided to join—Nick tried it later. Fast-forward a few years, we’ve started playing music and we’re working with Disney and we have these rings.
I remember this interview with this guy whose entire agenda was to focus on the rings. He kept pushing the subject, and when we insisted that we didn’t want to talk about it, he told us, “I can write whatever I want,” which terrified us. That’s the thing: We didn’t know any better, and we just wanted to make people happy. Now I know that I don’t have to answer any questions I don’t want to. Like, why do you even care about my 15-year-old brother’s sex life?
But back then, we explained that we had made these promises to ourselves when we were younger. A few months later, it comes out that we’re in some cult and that we’re these little staged Mickey Mouse kids. People were coming up to us, saying, “Thank you so much, I’m waiting because you guys are, too!” And we just thought, No! That’s not what we’re about.
Because of our age, because of Disney, because of those rings, there were so many things throughout our career that we had to sugarcoat. If a lyric was slightly sexual, someone at the record company would tell us we had to change it. It could be the most innocent reference, like “I’m alone in a room with you,” and it would have to go. It felt like we couldn’t be creative, so we stopped listening to them and just started handing shit in.
We decided to take the rings off a few years ago. I lost my virginity when I was 20. I did other stuff before then, but I was sexually active at 20. I’m glad I waited for the right person, because you look back and you go, “That girl was batshit crazy. I’m glad I didn’t go there.”
What was that couple that was pretty famous from The Hills? Heidi and Spencer? I didn’t want to become Heidi and Spencer, so I kept relationships quiet. I lived in a bubble of just me, my brothers, my band, and the people I went on tour with. That’s how I ended up dating a lot of people in the business, because you relate to them, you’re on the same schedule, and honestly, it was exciting. In the back of my mind, it felt special to date someone who was also famous. But I wanted to keep things quiet out of respect for my fans, because we had a large female audience, and I didn’t want to rub my relationships in their faces. Some of the girls I dated just didn’t get that.
I genuinely don’t have any resentment against any of my exes. So I’m not going to disparage anyone I was in a relationship with—only I might put it in my music a little bit, and hint at it, and tease it here and there, just enough for the fans and the people who really know the story. But I’m not going to openly say, “Yeah, actually, this person is a bitch, and she did this to me.” I don’t feel the need to do that to sell records.
But I did date a lot. I used to sneak out and hook up with this one girl in her car, and some rumor came out along the lines of: “Teen pop star seen in the back of a car, in a parking lot, hooking up,” and the write-up was kind of explicit. I kept thinking, Oh my God, there’s going to be video, there’s going to be photos. The girl was also in the business, and we thought we were screwed because we were both working with Disney. It would have been the worst thing we could think of happening to us. But nothing ever came out!
One relationship that meant a lot to fans was the one I had with Demi Lovato, who I’ve known for years. We had been friends forever, we were both Disney kids, and because we played a couple in the Camp Rock Disney Channel specials—and fans liked seeing us together—we eventually dated for a month. I really got to know her and got to see the ins and outs of what she was struggling with, like drug abuse. I felt like I needed to take care of her, but at the same time I was living a lie, because I wasn’t happy but felt like I had to stay in it for her, because she needed help. I couldn’t express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect.
It was an insane situation to be in. Things kept building up, and Demi ended up punching a girl in the face on a plane, because she thought the girl was blaming her for something. Everybody gasped, and the girl just started bleeding. That’s when her team and her family told her, “You need to go into rehab.” I remember being in South America, and fans immediately jumped to the conclusion that we kicked her off the 2010 tour, and they just hated on us for it.
Being a part of the Disney thing for so long will make you not want to be this perfect little puppet forever. Eventually, I hit a limit and thought, Screw all this, I’m just going to show people who I am. I think that happened to a lot of us. Disney kids are spunky in some way, and I think that’s why Disney hires them. “Look, he jumped up on the table!” Five, six, ten years later, they’re like, “Oh! What do we do?” Come on, guys. You did this to yourselves.
The first time I smoked weed was with Demi and Miley. I must have been 17 or 18. They kept saying, “Try it! Try it!” so I gave it a shot, and it was all right. I don’t even smoke weed that often anymore. I was caught drinking when I was 16 or 17, and I thought the world was going to collapse. But I was in another country, and it was legal there. My 21st birthday, I fell down a flight of stairs. I was unconscious that time, and my whole team was scared to death that somebody was going to get a picture. Now I appreciate wine or a vodka-soda at the end of the day every once in a while.
When I was 20, I started dating Ashley Greene, and she was my first serious relationship. We were together for almost a year. I was living out in L.A. by myself, and at the end of the day, long distance didn’t work. It’s incredibly difficult. I did a cover story with Details acknowledging the relationship, and the day after it was on newsstands, we announced our breakup. That was just coincidence, but it’s funny how that always happens, right? After Ashley, I took two or three years to just be single. I was hooking up and having fun. Now I’m with someone I really care about. We get each other.
And, yes, I’ve dated fans. I can’t say that I’ve never put a foot in that world; there were times when I definitely took advantage of the opportunities I had. I remember I invited a fan to a movie, and we just made out the entire time. I don’t even remember what the movie was about. I must have been 16 or so. Afterward, I was kind of freaking out, because I thought she’d go public and the whole world would find out. Luckily, she never did, I think because she assumed there’d be another meet-up down the road.
There were days when I wanted to give up sometimes. When it all felt too overwhelming and exhausting. But my brothers helped me get through a lot. I mean, we’ve only canceled two or three shows in our entire career. There were times when we definitely performed while sick because there was so much riding on it. All we’d have to do when one of us wasn’t feeling well was say, “I need you to take this chorus.” There was never even a question. It was always: “Okay, I got you.”
It made us closer, being in this strange juggernaut together. I’m the middle child, so I’ve always been the bridge. I can relate to both really well. Nick and I are athletic, we bond over sports. Kevin and I were always close, but we don’t see each other as much since he got married. We were just three brothers facing all this insanity together. Whenever any one of us got too cocky, we’d remind each other that this shit wasn’t handed to us, we’d remind each other of all the people who hated on us from the beginning, who didn’t believe we were any good. We used that as motivation to get us going and keep us going.
Given all that, performing with two other people, especially if they’re your brothers, can be difficult. We all brought different ideas to the table when we wrote music together, and they didn’t always coincide—one person wants to write a happy song, one person wants to write a sad song, and I might just want to write a song about taking a walk down the beach. So in 2010, around the time that Nick was doing his side project, Nick Jonas & the Administration, I decided to take some time on my own to experiment and go in a new direction. And it happened organically. I was creating music, which turned into recording music on my own, which turned into thinking about what it would feel like to perform those songs onstage.
One of my biggest career disappointments happened a few years ago, when I made a solo album that never saw the light of day. I recorded more than a dozen songs with a guy named Robert Schwartzman, who’s the lead singer of Rooney, and the album was kind of Hall & Oates–y. Had a Freddie Mercury vibe (he’s one of my biggest influences). I handed the songs in, and Hollywood Records was like, “This doesn’t work.” They said the songs were too weird and sounded like demos. The record company wanted me to use a team of Disney hit-makers—the people who wrote with Selena Gomez and Miley a couple of years ago. But it felt so fake to me. I called my manager and said, “I really want to slam my head into a wall right now.”
We reached out to some of the biggest producers in the business, Rob Knox and Danja, for the solo album that actually got released, called Fastlife. There was a track with Lil Wayne on which he said the word bitch, and when I heard the album was going to have a parental-advisory label because of it, half of me was thinking, Sweet! People are going to think I’m a badass. The other half thought, That’s going to alienate a lot of fans in Middle America. I’m not saying that’s the sole reason why the album ultimately didn’t do as well as my previous records had. But I think there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and I think it was rushed, and I couldn’t speak up because I was scared to. They wanted me to be this Justin Timberlake clone. Even one of the heads of Hollywood Records said, “He’s the new Justin Timberlake!”
After that, it was back to being with the Jonas Brothers, the “boy band.” I’m not offended that everyone would think we were a boy band; I like some boy-band music. Even yesterday, somebody said, “You still dance, right?” and I said, “I never did that.” But I can see why people saw us that way. We largely had a teen audience, and we’ve been on teen-pop magazines where you’d have to cuddle puppies. We wanted to be perceived as a cool band, one that plays its own instruments and writes its own songs, but a lot of people didn’t notice that. Radio stations would be like, “Whoa! Really? you brought guitars? Why?” All I could think was, You’re kidding, right?
The Jonas Brothers’ breakup was going on for a lot longer than a lot of people thought. We hit a place where we just weren’t jelling on the same things, and we didn’t want to become a band that was worried about the fact that people didn’t understand how cool we were. The whole situation was breaking us up as a family, and we ultimately felt like we were holding each other back. I wanted to go sexier with a video, for example, and Kevin wasn’t comfortable with that, for his reasons. I mean, he’s married, and I get that. Nick also had a louder voice than me and Kevin when it came to music and major decisions—he took a leadership role in the band, which got to us after a while.
Things came to a head when we had a meeting where we thought we were going to talk about how to release our new music and it ended up shifting into this huge fight. That was the first time we were really honest with one another about a lot of stuff we weren’t happy with. The fight got loud. I was screaming. When Nick presented the idea of closing a chapter and moving on, I freaked out. I didn’t know whether to pick up and leave or just punch something, because I was furious. I’d spent so long working with my brothers on this band, and in my mind, it felt like we were just giving up. It didn’t make sense to me.
But once I started peeling back the layers, I understood. There were a lot of dysfunctional things going on. The music was getting stale, too, because we’d write it and record it and then it would sit around for a long time. After that meeting, we took a night to think about things, met again, and nothing was resolved, so we decided to take a week and think about it. Then we canceled the tour. It would have been really tough for me to go on a last-hurrah tour. I didn’t care about the money; I just wanted to figure out the right, healthy way for us to be good as a family.
We appeared on Good Morning America to talk about the breakup, because we thought that would be the professional way of explaining it and expressing our love to the fans—I think they felt they were owed an explanation. Some of them were mad that this was happening, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to take care of ourselves as family. And that’s fine. And that should be fine.
Now that I’m 24 and have control of my life, I’m going back to the drawing board. I’ve been through a shit-ton of stuff, but I’m genuinely excited because now I can go back to the studio with those people who I used to work with. I don’t have to rely on anyone else’s opinion, whether good or bad, and hear them say, “No, no, you can’t go write with them. That’s too weird for us.” Because weird works. Look at Lorde.
*This article originally appeared in the December 9, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.
"JONAS" redirects here. For other uses, see Jonas (disambiguation).
Jonas, also known as Jonas L.A., is a Disney Channel Original Series created by Michael Curtis and Roger S. H. Schulman, starring the Jonas Brothers. The pilot was filmed in September 2008, the series premiered on Disney Channel on May 2, 2009, and became available on demand starting on April 25, 2009.
Jonas is the first Disney Channel Original Series since Phil of the Future not to be shot on videotape in a multi-camera format, be filmed before a live studio audience or use a laugh track. The series was the first on the network to premiere on a Saturday night, part of a deliberate strategy by Disney to open up the night to original programming.
On November 9, 2009, it was announced that Jonas was being picked up for a second season. On May 5, 2010, it was revealed that the name of the series was changed to Jonas L.A., reflecting the move to Los Angeles, making it the first Disney Channel sitcom to have the show's main setting change during the course of the series. The second season premiered on June 20, 2010 and ended on October 3, 2010. In November 2010, Disney Channel announced the series was cancelled after two seasons.
Shortly after the Jonas Brothers guest starred on the Hannah Montana episode "Me and Mr. Jonas and Mr. Jonas and Mr. Jonas", development for a TV series and Disney Channel Original Movie called Camp Rock starring the Jonas Brothers, the TV show began.
The original concept for the TV series was about the band playing concerts as a cover while working as government secret agents to save the world and was entitled Jonas (an acronym which stood for "Junior Operatives Networking as Spies"). At the same time, they tried to hide their double lives from their mother and Frankie. Meanwhile, Stella, ignorant of the Jonas' double lives, dated each of the famous brothers without informing the others and reported the details in her teen magazinecolumn. Said Staub, "So pretty much the entire show, it's all of us lying to each other, and kind of everything backfiring, and us getting caught in awkward situations." She described the concept as, "like The Monkees and a little of bit of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. There's going to be fun action sequences and still be a sitcom".
The Jonas pilot was shot in 2007, but the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike impeded progress. However, Disney Channel Asia aired it during the Sneak Peak 2008. Instead, Disney Channel filmed a mini reality show, the 2008 Disney Channel Original Short SeriesJonas Brothers: Living the Dream, which followed the Jonas Brothers on a concert tour and premiered May 16. A few weeks later on June 20, 2008, the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock, in which the brothers starred as the fictional, non-fraternal band "Connect 3", debuted. The Jonas Brothers also released Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, a Disney Digital 3-D concert film. "After this rush of releases, the Jonas Brothers became too popular to imagine them as anything but more dramatic versions of themselves," explained executive producer Michael Curtis. "The spy concept was very big and very ambitious and it started to not feel quite right. As the band got bigger and bigger, doing a show that captured more of their real lives and trying to turn that into a more grounded, real version of what they might be doing became more interesting to do and more fun to do.". "It is now about us being a band and balancing a normal life," Nick Jonas told Access Hollywood. The title of the series changed from J.O.N.A.S. to JONAS, dropping the acronym but remaining in all capitals.
Producers have drawn connections between Jonas and productions by earlier bands. Show creator and producer Roger S. H. Schulman claims that "It's hard not to make parallel comparisons to The Beatles in 1962 and 1963 when you see the kind of response that the Jonas Brothers' fans have to them," and describes the 1964 A Hard Day's Night and 1965 Help! as "very much a template" for the series. Producers and critics have also compared the series to The Monkees, a popular but short-lived mid-1960s television comedy also following a real life band. At the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January 2009, Gary Marsh, entertainment president of Disney Channel Worldwide, described Jonas as a cross between The Monkees and Flight of the Conchords. The Chicago Sun-Times remarks that Joe Jonas parallels "goofy Micky Dolenz", Kevin Jonas "quirky Michael Nesmith", and Nick Jonas "dreamy Davy Jones". The Jonas Brothers reportedly watched episodes of The Partridge Family and The Monkees "for literally three days straight" for inspiration.
- Joseph "Joe" Lucas (Joe Jonas) – Joe is known as the teen heartthrob of the group. He performs lead vocals, as well as keyboards and the rhythm guitar for the brothers' band, JONAS. Girl crazy and flirtatious, Joe will go to any length to get a girl to like him. He is shown to be the most superficial and appearance oriented member of the band, and is obsessed with his hair. Joe tends to be goofier than Nick, but is not quite as quirky as Kevin. Joe likes stuffed animals that make noises. His pockets and backpack are seemingly bottomless and capable of holding comically large quantities. He always carries a blue panda pencil with him. Joe and Stella – the brothers' childhood friend and band's stylist – are shown to have mutual romantic feelings for one another from the beginning, but both agree that they will not go out, as a potential break-up could ruin both their longtime friendship and working relationship. However, this agreement does nothing to quash Joe's crush on Stella, and he often flirts with her and tries to spend as much time with her as possible. Near the end of season 1, in the episode "Double Date", Joe and Stella kiss, resolving their romantic tension. They soon decide to become a couple. When the brothers move to Los Angeles, Joe decides to spend his time exploring a career in acting and the film industry. He lands a role in a movie with famous actress Vanessa Page. In the first episode of season 2, "House Party", Stella witnesses Joe hugging Vanessa, which hurts her and leads to her telling Joe that she'd rather they stay friends. Following the breakup, Joe becomes very jealous when Ben asks Stella out and she accepts. Joe then decides to pursue Vanessa. With Stella dating Ben and Joe dating Vanessa, they still have feelings for one another – however, both parties are oblivious to this fact. Joe eventually breaks up with Vanessa after discovering that she dislikes Stella, whom he loves. At the end of the series, he and Stella reunite as a couple, after they both finally become aware of their feelings.
- Kevin Percy Lucas (Kevin Jonas) – Kevin is the oldest of the brothers, and is usually seen as wild and goofy. Kevin is known to think outside of the box, and likes to imagine wacky animals, such as an otter that can play the trumpet and a bear in a bikini. Kevin often comes up with plans that are insane or impossible, which can make him look naïve and unintelligent. However, he shows glimpses of profound thoughts and intellect, and sometimes comes up with genuinely good ideas. Kevin is shown to be very honest, as he's a poor liar; when he lies, his voice becomes comically high-pitched. He owns a full moving rack of guitars, and likes woodland creature stuffed animals. He plays lead guitar and does backup vocals in the brothers' band JONAS, though he once performed lead vocals. He had a crush on a girl that he met in Scandinavia and, when that romance didn't work out, fell for another girl from France, which suggests that he has an affinity for foreign girls. He is more of a risk taker than his brothers. Despite sometimes having a bit of a rivalry (like when they're both vying to get a spot in Justin Timberlake's ping-pong tournament), Nick and Kevin are very close. He also enjoys filmmaking, which is shown in "Direct to Video", where Kevin very much wants to direct the band's new music video. His middle name, Percy, is revealed by Joe in the series finale.
- Nicholas "Nick" Lucas (Nick Jonas) – Nick is portrayed as being the calm and collected member of the band. He has many short-lived relationships, and his family has criticized him for falling in love too fast. Nick is much more serious than his brothers, sometimes losing his patience with Kevin's silly antics. Nick likes stuffed animals that swim. Nick is the drummer for JONAS. When he was a baby, according to his family, he never smiled – Nick claims he was waiting for his teeth to come in (however, when Joe asks what his excuse is now, he does not have a response). Nick is also the mastermind of creative plans gone awry, and can keep a level head amid chaos. He is also seen baking many times in the show; Kevin is unable to resist his blue cookies. In season 2, he develops a relationship with Macy Misa, being smitten by her transformation into a different and more relaxed person who no longer acts like a rabid fangirl to the band. His moments with Macy tend to get interrupted by DZ, to humorous effect. In "The Secret", Nick is forced to watch over Big Man's niece, Kiara (China Anne McClain), who is aware that he and Macy are dating. In exchange for her silence about their relationship, Nick begrudgingly agrees to do a collaboration with her. He ends up telling the rest of the friends about his relationship through the song that he and Kiara made. Nick is seen to be very thoughtful, and makes a handmade mug for Macy for their one-month anniversary, after learning from Kevin that she likes homemade gifts.
- Stella Malone (Chelsea Kane Staub) – Stella is Jonas's stylist. She is best friends with Macy and is the brothers' childhood friend – she has known the boys since she was three. Stella and Joe both know that they like one another, but don't date, as they don't want a potential breakup to ruin their friendship. However, she gets jealous if she sees Joe with another girl, which was shown when she thought Joe and Macy were dating. Stella created an automated outfit selector called the StellaVator, and is constantly trying to adapt clothes to Jonas's hectic lifestyle. She gets annoyed when her outfits get ruined, which happens a lot more than she'd like. She is addicted to texting, and always has her phone on her. Stella also tries her best to help Macy talk to Jonas normally, instead of like an obsessed fangirl. Unlike her best friend Macy, who is a great athlete, Stella is horrible at sports. She is, however, an excellent seamstress, and once created a dozen girls' volleyball uniforms with very little notice. In the episode "Double Date", Joe and Stella kiss, and soon become a couple. However, at the beginning of season 2, she sees Joe hugging Vanessa Page, and assumes that they are romantically involved. The incident with Vanessa makes her decide that she only wants to be friends with Joe, rather than be in a relationship. While hiking with Macy, she meets a boy named Ben, whom she goes out with, much to Joe's disappointment. In the episode "America's Sweethearts", Stella is jealous when Joe's producer asks him to kiss Vanessa. After Joe says that he likes Vanessa, she lies to him, saying that Vanessa doesn't like him back. Stella feels guilty, and admits that she lied. Joe and Vanessa date, and Stella tries her best to not be jealous and spends time with Ben. Neither Joe nor Stella have lost their feelings for one another, however, After Vanessa tells Joe that she doesn't like Stella, Joe breaks up with her. After finally realizing that they both love one another, Stella and Joe become a couple in the series finale.
- Macy Misa (Nicole Anderson) – Macy is Stella's best friend, as well as the president of JONAS's fan club. In season 1, whenever she approaches the members of Jonas, she becomes incredibly nervous and excited, and either faints or accidentally injures them. She commonly steps on the boys' feet, or hits them in the head with her sports equipment. She often refers to each boy as "(first name) of JONAS." When she dates a boy, Randolph, she tries to make him into a JONAS member, even calling the boy "Nick" as a "nickname". Macy is very athletic, and plays on a number of sports teams. She also works in her mother's thrift store, called Misa's Pieces. Macy is revealed to be tone deaf, so much so that, according to Stella, they once called Animal Control under the belief that Macy's singing was an injured manatee at a softball game. Macy's obsessed fangirl attitude about Jonas changes into a real friendship with the boys late in season 1, as she begins to see them as people rather than popstars. In the episode "Frantic Romantic", she and Stella attend a Hollywood Private Party with the boys. In season 2, Macy is shown to have greatly changed, no longer being a crazy fan. This different attitude and the appearance of her real personality intrigues Nick, who eventually falls for her. Her moments with Nick tend to get interrupted by DZ, to a comical effect. In the episode "The Secret", it officially shows that Macy and Nick are dating – however, they want to keep their relationship a secret. It is revealed in a later episode that she has many brothers, and they are a big golfing family. It is also revealed that her mother taught her to play golf and her family only gives handmade gifts. Nick tries to please Macy by making her a mug for their one-month anniversary. Nick and Macy's relationship is eventually revealed, and by the end of the series, they are openly dating and happy with each other.
- Tom Lucas (John Ducey; main, season 1; guest, season 2) – Joe, Nick, Kevin, and Frankie's father, as well as the manager of Jonas. He is sometimes the voice of reason when his boys have crushes on girls. In his downtime, he often plays hide and seek with Frankie. He is usually nervous when famous people interview the band. It is also shown that he likes woodland creature stuffed animals that can swim and make noises, which are combinations of his son's favorite toys. He is a main character in season 1. In season 2, he appears as a guest in one episode.
- Frankie Lucas (Frankie Jonas) – Frankie is the youngest Lucas brother. He is constantly trying to get in the Jonas spotlight. Frankie hopes to get a chance to perform with the band, but his brothers don't think that is likely. Frankie can move very fast, and is an expert at hide-and-seek. He's also very skilled in getting his way. He was raised in New Jersey, and enjoys playing ping-pong. He has a crush on Macy, and was briefly mad at Nick for dating her, even going to lengths to try and "steal" her.
- Big Man (Robert "Big Rob" Feggans) – He is the bodyguard who escorts the band everywhere. He is seen to live with the boys in L.A. He has a niece, Kiara.
- Sandy Lucas (Rebecca Creskoff) – She is the mother of Kevin, Joe, Nick, and Frankie, and is Tom's wife. She's down to earth and always proud of her sons, despite their mistakes. Mrs. Lucas just wants to have a normal family, but has acknowledged that it may not be possible with famous children. She is mostly an off-screen character.
- Van Dyke Tosh (Chuck Hittinger) – He is Stella's occasional love interest, who habitually makes Joe jealous. Van Dyke asks Stella on a date in the episode "Double Date", which causes Joe to crash their date.
- Mrs. Snark (Tangelina Rouse) – The biology/drama teacher who loves Joe, Nick, and Kevin. Much to Joe's chagrin, she often gives them preferential treatment in school, sometimes causing tension between the boys and other students. Her niece is a huge Jonas fan.
- Dennis Zimmer "DZ" (Adam Hicks) – A new friend who the band meets while in L.A. He is the son of a very wealthy and successful record producer. He shows the band the "hot spots" in Los Angeles. He is very fun and outgoing. He is also an aspiring rapper, and tries to get his father to listen to his songs but can never get the chance.
- Vanessa Paige (Abby Pivaronas) – A popular actress who co-stars with Joe in a big-time film, "Forever April". She is also briefly his girlfriend on the show, until he breaks up with her because she dislikes Stella.
- Lisa Malone (Beth Crosby) – Stella's aunt who Stella and Macy stay with while residing in Los Angeles. She doesn't want them to date rock stars, as she made the mistake of dating rock stars twelve times. She appears in nearly all of the episodes in season 2, despite not being a main character.
- Mona Klein (Debi Mazar) – The director of "Forever April". In "Up in the Air", after Joe and Vanessa break up, Mona gives some advice to Joe, saying "when you find something real, never let it go".
- Kiara Tyshanna (China Anne McClain) – The niece of Big Man. She is the first one to find out about Nick and Macy dating.
The series was originally set in New Jersey, before the setting changed to Los Angeles for the second season and was shot at Hollywood Center Studios, which has also been the home to several other Disney Channel sitcoms over the years including The Suite Life on Deck and Wizards of Waverly Place. As of November 2010, Jonas L.A. was the only live-action Disney Channel Original Series, produced by It's a Laugh Productions, not filmed before a live studio audience.
Disney Channel has officially announced, in November 2010, that Jonas L.A. will not return. They mentioned that they will be working with the Jonas Brothers in the future.
Nicole Anderson also auditioned for the role of Stella, but actress Chelsea Staub ended up winning the part. According to Staub, her previous work with director Sean McNamara helped her land the role. After the series plot changed, producers decided to create a best friend for Stella and offered Anderson, Staub's real life best friend, the role of Macy.
Jonas was intended to star Kevin, Nick, and Joe Jonas, who lend their first names to their television counterparts. The role of Frankie Lucas was also created with Frankie Jonas in mind. In addition, Robert "Big Rob" Feggans, the Jonas Brothers real-life head of security, plays The Big Man, the JONAS bodyguard.
Main article: List of Jonas episodes
The series originally premiered on May 22, 2009 on Disney Channel. It premiered in June 12, 2009 on Family Channel, on June 15, 2009 on Disney Channel (Australia and New Zealand) as well as on TV2 in New Zealand in April 17, 2010, on August 9, 2009 on Disney Channel (Southeast Asia), on September 11, 2009 on Disney Channel (UK and Ireland), on October 10, 2009 on Disney Channel (Europe, Middle East and Africa), an on November 30, 2009 on Disney Channel (India).
The second season originally premiered on June 20, 2010. It premiered on July 23, 2010 in Canada, on September 6, 2010 in Australia, on the same date in New Zealand and on May 31, 2012 on TV2, on October 23, 2010 in Southeast Asia, on August 13, 2010 in the UK and Ireland, and on September 18, 2010 in South Africa.
- Season 1
|JONAS: Rockin' The House||September 22, 2009 (USA)||Wrong Song, Groovy Movies, Pizza Girl, Chasing the Dream, Band's Best Friend, Cold Shoulder, Beauty and the Beat|
|Bonus features are five episodes from the series plus two never-before aired episodes and a special feature titled You've Just Been Jo' Bro'd: Surprising Chelsea Staub.|
|I Heart JONAS||January 26, 2010 (USA)||Karaoke Surprise, Love Sick, Frantic Romantic, The Three Musketeers, Forgetting Stella's Birthday, Double Date, Fashion Victim.|
|Bonus features are seven episodes from the series and a special feature titled You've Just Been Jo' Bro'd: Surprising Jordin Sparks.|
Beginning August 23, September 6, September 20. Three volumes making up the entire first season of JONAS were released on Region 2 DVD in the United Kingdom and Region 4 in Australia. The volumes include new cover arts and different titles for both volumes released in the U.S. (previously "I Heart Jonas" & "Rockin' The House"). The three new titles being, "Rockstars In the House" "Ready To Rock" and "Keeping It Real", with episodes released in airing order.
Disney Interactive Studios released a video game based on the series for the Nintendo DSconsole system. It was released on November 10, 2009 in America. The game is based on many of the sets used in the TV show. The player can play as any of the brothers, play 6 concerts, and juggle school.
The game was not well received, mainly due to shoddy graphics and bad gameplay, as stated on IGN, only earning an average score of 4.0 (out of ten.)
Jonas is a soundtrack by the American pop rock group Jonas Brothers featured the songs from the first season of Jonas L.A.. The soundtrack was never released. Only the songs from the second season were included in the official soundtrack, Jonas L.A.. Some songs from the first season were never leaked or released complete.
- The full version of "Live to Party" was featured on Disney Channel Playlist, the video game "Jonas" and a UK bonus track for their third album, A Little Bit Longer.
- The full version of "Give Love a Try" was featured on Radio Disney Jams, Vol. 12.
- The full version of "Keep It Real" was featured on Lines, Vines, and Trying Times and the video game "Jonas".
- The full versions of "Tell me Why", "Work It Out", "Love Sick" and "Time Is On Our Side" were featured on the video game Jonas. Also, the full versions of the six songs of the video game were posted on YouTube in January 2010.
Main article: Jonas L.A. (soundtrack)
|2009||Jonas||"Give Love A Try" (featuring Bridgit Mendler)|
|"Work It Out"|
|"Keep It Real"|
|"Live to Party"|
|"Tell Me Why"|
|2010||Jonas L.A.||"L.A. Baby"|
|"Chillin' in the Summertime"|
|"Make It Right"|
|"Your Biggest Fan"|
|"Set This Party Off"|
|"Things Will Never Be the Same"|
Jonas received mixed to negative reviews for its premiere. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called the show "The Monkees for millennials" and enjoyed the featured Jonas Brothers music. Variety magazine reviewer Brian Lowry believed that Jonas Brothers' adorers would be pleased with the result, and that those who are not fans would still find an amiable charm within the series. Paige Wiser of the Chicago Sun-Times found the series better than Hannah Montana, but commented that Nick Jonas's reserved nature made him the weak link of the premiere episode and that the boys' amateur acting is "endearing until they play a scene opposite someone with real comedic timing – like John Ducey."The New York Times' John Carmanica was also disappointed with Nick's performance, particularly because, according to Carmanica, he gives off the savviest air in the band's off screen life. Carmanica also criticizes the series' script as blithe, unfunny, and "seeded with profound cynicism", but praised the believable fraternal interactions and Kevin Jonas's acting.
The series was the first series on Disney Channel to premiere on a Saturday night, part of a deliberate strategy by Disney to open up the night to original programming and compete with Nickelodeon's traditional dominance of the evening. The show was paired with the established series Wizards of Waverly Place, which moved from a Sunday early evening timeslot, in the 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) slot. The series debuted on Disney Channel on May 2, 2009, and drew a solid 4.00 million viewers in the US, 73% of which was female. While this amounted to Disney Channel's best ratings in the time slot in eight months, it was also Disney Channel's second-lowest rated live-action series premiere in nearly four years.The Hollywood Reporter comments that "Jonas didn't do poorly, exactly. [...] It's just that one expects the premiere of a show by a heavily promoted major Disney brand like the Jonas Brothers to make a bigger splash."
Viewership for the series second episode the following week fell sharply to nearly half its premiere audience—2.2 million total U.S. viewers and beyond cable's Top 100, which E!: Entertainment Television notes "in the grand scheme of things, is still a very good showing - unless you're trying to live up to the media's expectations for a world famous act." E! credits the decline to the premiere of Nickelodeon's hour-long iCarly special, "iDate a Bad Boy", which earned 6.5 million viewers. Ratings improved over the following episodes, and the New York Times reported, "If "Jonas" can dent ratings for iCarly […] the brothers’ sitcom will be considered a big success internally. However, just weeks after its premiere Disney Channel moved Jonas and Wizards of Waverly Place to Sunday and Friday evenings, respectively, and began airing movies in its old timeslot. In its Sunday timeslot, Jonas has been doing well in key kids demographics and averaging 3.4 million viewers.
However, the move to Sundays and Fridays and declining ratings, along with the change in setting and ill-fated strategies in promoting the show would result in Disney's decision to pull the plug on "Jonas L.A." On November 8, 2010, It announced that the show will not return for a third season. In a statement from a Disney Channel spokesperson: "We've been fortunate to work with the enormously talented Jonas Brothers on several projects, including the Emmy-nominated series JONAS L.A.," adding that "We look forward to working with them on new projects in the future."
Awards and nominations
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