Music fans are notorious petition starters, and a few months ago the spirit of grassroots activism — or more likely a hormonal explosion of Jonas Brothers love — moved six teens and tweens in Missouri to kick off a campaign to get the wholesome threesome on the cover of Rolling Stone. After written pleas and e-mails were sent, they brought in the big guns — a dance-off on YouTube, of course.
The video, titled “Official Let’s Get JB On Cover of Rolling Stone,” was directed and edited by Lauren Bode, 17 and features Mariah Bode, 11, Kendal Kamman, 10, twins Ashley and Grayson Nickolaison, 10, and Melanie Thorne, 17. Over the course of three days in May, the crew shot and edited the six-minute clip, making sure to insert as many Jonas references as possible. “We tried to make the video as Jonas as we could without going too Jonas, but I don’t think there is …” Thorne explains, before Lauren Bode interrupts, “There is no such thing as too Jonas.”
For the girls, the Jonas phenomenon has meant a lot more than music, videos, concerts and crushes. Thorne and Lauren Bode credit the Jonas Brothers and their music as the foundation for their friendship. The group’s song “When You Look Me in the Eyes” in particular was a source of strength in dealing with the death of a friend. “Getting them on the cover was like thanking them. I would love to go up and actually hug them and thank them, but if they know that we can do this for them, it’s kind of like us giving them the favor back because they did so much for us,” Thorne explains.
Fans of the band have been extremely persistent in making sure their favorite group receives attention. A previous fan campaign (including another YouTube video and over 5,000 e-mails) landed the band on The Oprah Winfrey Show in April. When asked, “Why Rolling Stone?” the girls explain, “Once you get a Rolling Stone cover, you realize that you’ve arrived.” (For the record, the editors of Rolling Stone didn’t actually see the video until after the issue hit newsstands.)
YouTube has played a major role in defining and establishing Jonas Nation’s identity. Searching “Jonas Brothers” on the site yields over 150,000 videos. That’s more than “Bob Dylan,” the “Rolling Stones” and “Billy Joel” combined. “Your Daily Dose of Jonas,” a 16-second clip featuring Nick and Kevin lifting a table and a joke from Joe has almost 3 million views and 29,000 comments in the five months since it was posted.
The Jonases are not the only young Disney act to have embraced YouTube, the fourth most visited Website in the U.S. Miley Cyrus and friend/backup dancer Mandy Jiroux have their own popular YouTube channel, “The Miley and Mandy Show.” A recent episode mocked other Disney girls Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, who also have highly trafficked channels of their own. Cyrus has since apologized.
The Jonas activists have a MySpace fansite with more than 2,000 friends which they constantly update with the latest Jonas news. Thorne is interested in pursuing a career in acting, and hopes to try out for Camp Rock II (auditions are in September). They recently added a blooper reel of deleted scenes, and are considering documenting a trip to Wal-Mart at midnight on August 12th to ensure that they are among the first to purchase A Little Bit Longer, the upcoming Jonas Brothers album: “If it’s anything Jonas or Disney-related, we’re on it.”