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Rebranding Boy Bands: Pop group Midnight Red is a new version of an old breed

Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:18 am, Wed Jul 27, 2011.

By ROBERT DiGIACOMO, For At The Shore |


Some boy bands are here today, gone tomorrow. See: Menudo. Others, however, show a surprising endurance. See: This weekend's headliners, New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, performing Friday, July 29, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

These groups' abilities to transcend their eras - the late '80s and mid-'90s, respectively - is something their opener, up-and-coming boy band Midnight Red, must be noticing.

Midnight Red has just released its first record, a digital EP featuring the single, "One Club At a Time," and a cover of New Kids' "Step By Step."

The "One Club" single will be one of three tracks featured at the July 30 event National Dance Day, sponsored by reality competition "So You Think You Can Dance" and held at Six Flags amusement parks. It is meant to encourage people to dance and be physically active.

Before performing in A.C. for the first time, Midnight Red's Joey Diggs Jr., a polite 21-year-old from Los Angeles, talks about being in a boy band today and what he's learned from the boys of yesterday.

Question: Does the term "boy band" still apply, or would you rather be called something else?

Answer: There's no way we can escape the boy-band term. We're five boys in a band, and we're singing pop music.

Q: So, how do you put a new spin on this old format?

A: If you take us five individuals, we're all different. We come from different backgrounds in music. We can basically cover almost every genre. We range from country to R&B.

In our own little way, what's special about us is we can crack any piece of music that's given to us or we write ourselves.

Q: All boy bands must have the moves to match their vocals. Which is easier for you - the dancing or singing?

A: I'm more of singer. I'm trying to become equally proficient at both. The first half of the year, dancing was more challenging. Now it's become like cake. Once you get used to repetition, it will take you far.

Q: What's it like for you to be on the road with New Kids and the Backstreet Boys?

A: I think the best word to describe it is surreal. As kids growing up, everyone dreamed of being in a situation like this. Now that it's become a reality, it's just a blessing.

Q: Have you gotten any advice from them?

A: The two in particular who have given us the most advice are Brian Littrell from Backstreet Boys and Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids. They're telling us to keep our heads on straight and keep the unity between the group, because that's what's going to take us far. Sticking together will take us very far in this game.

New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys with Matthew Morrison and Midnight Red

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 29

WHERE: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $30.50, $50.50, $71.50 and $91.50, are available at the Boardwalk Hall box office or www.pressofatlanticcity.com/tickets

WEBSITE: www.midnightred.com