In late October, the Jonas Brothers called it quits after cancelling a tour. We surmised that there were a few good reasons this was a smart move — mainly because they’re currently in musical world purgatory, where they’re not scoring hits, but still too fresh to tap their fans on the nostalgia circuit. But in this week’s issue of New York, Joe Jonas opens up about his life as a JoBro and all the behind-the-scenes action that helped shape his career. It’s got everything you want out of a confessional: sex, drugs, rock & roll and how the Disney machine warped his mind. Here are our nine favorite revelations:
1. Joe Jonas is not religious.
Although he grew up in the church, a scandal when Joe was 14 soured him on any institutionalized houses of worship. “After that, the concept of church really upset me,” he says. “I believe in God, and that’s a personal relationship that I have, but I’m not religious.”
2. The Jonas Brothers’ name was a last-minute decision.
Originally called “The J3,” Joe Jonas decided that was awful when the band walked onstage for their first-ever concert and simply introduced them as “The Jonas Brothers.”
3. Their Disney sitcom, Jonas, sucked.
After testing positively with guest spots on Hannah Montana, Disney got the three Jonas Brothers to star in their own tween-sitcom, Jonas. “It just ended up being some weird slap-stick humor that only a 10-year-old would laugh at,” he says.
4. Jo-Bro fandom was like The Walking Dead.
In describing Jonas Brothers fandom at its peak, Joe tells the tale of when the band was in Spain and 100,000 fans showed up for a meet-and-greet. “We ended up being chased through a shopping mall,” he recalls. “It felt like the zombie apocalypse.”
5. Joe Jonas lost his virginity when he was 20.
The Jonas Brothers were famous for their love of “promise rings” — a fact that Joe despised — but even with a ton of opportunities to deflower himself, he waited until he was 20. The promise was kept. . . at least for longer than expected.
6. Joe Jonas first smoked weed with Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato.
Joe remembers this happening around the time he was “17 or 18” and that it was Miley’s encouragement that made him try it. His review? “It was all right. I don’t even smoke weed that often anymore.”
7. His side-project with Rooney’s frontman was canned.
Joe cites this as his biggest career dissapointment: an album he cut with Rooney’s Robert Schwartzman that had a “Hall & Oates-y” vibe. Hollywood Records reportedly rejected it because it was too weird and “sounded like demos.”
8. When Jonas Brothers break up, they scream.
The reason that the Jonas Brothers gave for their breakup was the old adage “creative differences.” Joe’s words certainly back that up. “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.”
9. Joe Jonas now looks to the Lorde for inspiration.
Joe is excited to be free of everything, and to continue working on his musical career. And JoBro fans should expect some level of experimentation. “I’m genuinely excited because now I can go back to the studio with those people who I used to work with,” he says. “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.”