[Recap] Hanging With The Jonas Brothers in D.C.
Last Friday I got an IM from Malitz asking me if I wanted to spend Monday following the Jonas Brothers around town on Monday. At first I thought he was joking, but after he assured me he was not, I immediately said yes. Who wouldn't want to spend the day in close proximity to the biggest boy band in the world? I can hear the indie rock snickers from here, but hear me out. I had a lot of fun on Monday. It was a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
My new favorite saying is "I am not a photojournalist, but I play one on the internet," and Monday gave me an opportunity to do just that. I shot the band at the White House, a packed press event at Madame Tussaud's, another smaller, more intimate press event at the venue, soundcheck and then the gig itself (You can see the evidence over at Washingtonpost.com).
Perhaps the best part was the way we got this access. We had an actual press pool and our group got to follow the band around in very close proximity all day. A press pool is a very unique (some might say innovative) way to cover a rock band.
The band's head of publicity for the tour was formerly in charge of the press pool following the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign, so this was something she was very familiar with organizing. The number of people in the pool ebbed and flowed during the day, depending on deadlines and whatnot, but we had a cool little group, including Malitz, Fox 5's Stacey Cohan, D.C. media maven Tammy Haddad, tween 'zine Twist Magazine and KOL, the kid's version of AOL. I was on the Fox 5 news at 5 and will be part of a future Newsweek video feature about the whole day.
The band, for their part, was very down to earth (as much as teenage millionaires can be) and have obviously been coached very well in all things media. Every time they entered a room, they introduced themselves and shook hands with everyone and were always incredibly polite. I also have tremendous respect for their work ethic. They had a very full day and still did a three hour meet and greet with a group of 350 or so fans right before they went on stage! When I took the assignment last week I had no idea that it would end up being such big news (well, it is D.C. in August after all) but it was very cool to have a front row seat to the whole thing.
The best part was the event at Madame Tussaud's. When we pulled up, the throng of female teens momentarily mistook Malitz for one of the JoBros. We saw looks of ecstasy turn into agony in three seconds flat. Then we got out and were ushered downstairs and planted on the front row for the statue unveilings. The girls who got access to the event were incredibly loud, all of them were just screaming their heads off the entire time. It was complete pandemonium when the curtain went down and the band was revealed to them, standing next to their wax counterparts. After a quick round of photos and some questions, the band was ushered out of the room just as quickly as they got there. We quickly followed through the same door and them we all slipped out a side entrance back into the venue's garage. After loading the band into their Escalade, we jumped into our van and our small caravan was off to the venue. Only we were being chased by girls running down the street. One of them ran out into traffic! And then we realized that TMZ was tailing us with a video camera. It was straight out of A Hard Day's Night.
Going out on tour with a band is awesome. Even better when you get to go home and sleep in your own bed. And as a bonus, we had enough downtime for me to edit all the photos I took during the day, so I had everything loaded and edited before we even started home.