New Edition's trail to the 2013 30th anniversary of the group's first album ("Candy Girl") will include live shows, a new studio album, a book, a movie, possibly a play and a blow-out gig that could result in a DVD -- at least if the group members have their way.
"2012 is going to be an incredible year for us," the group's Ronnie DeVoe predicts to Billboard.com. "Of course, we want to get to the 40th and 50th, too, but we just feel like our road to the 30th is going to be special because all of these different things that are in front of us. It's just gonna be an incredible ride."
The concerts -- which the reunited sextet began on July 3 at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and continues with a four-day New Year's weekend run starting Dec. 29 in Highland, Calif. -- are "the bread and butter" of New Edition's plans according to bandmate Ricky Bell. But the group is also in the planning stage for a new album, which will be the its first since 2004's "One Love" and the first to feature all six members -- DeVoe, Bell, Bobby Brown, Johnny Gil, Ralph Tresvant and Michael Bivins -- since "Home Again" in 1996.
"There's definitely been discussion," Bell says. "We're on calls with each other weekly. Right now it's just about scheduling and timing and setting up who we'll be working with as far as producers and writers and locking down whatever the deal is -- whatever label it's going to be or if it's going to be independent. So there's a lot that we have to talk about, but we're all excited about putting something new out and adding new songs into the show."
DeVoe predicts that the album will "be true to who we are at this particular time" but adds that he's "looking forward to something that has a little bit more of a retro feel and taking it back to live instrumentation...and talking about love and the ups and downs and the various things that go on in relationships." Bell adds that the material will reflect "the type of songs we're performing in our shows right now...singing different melodies with the nice grooves on top that you can dance to and, of course, the lovemaking ballads. I would think we would stay somewhat in that vein."
DeVoe says New Edition also hopes to take advantage of Internet and social media opportunities "and some of the ways that you're able to deliver music straight to your audience. We just have to see what the frequency of the music industry is right now and plug into that."
DeVoe and Bell have less to say about the New Edition book they hope to publish as part of the 30th anniversary celebration, and Bell acknowledges that film biography or documentary may not make it out by 2013 but is "definitely something that will be part of the plan." He says a stage musical may also be possible, while there will "absolutely" be a 30th anniversary concert, "hopefully in a stadium. What we would like to do is make it two hours because sometimes, in certain arenas, we can't play for that long and record a live DVD as well as a live album and put it out. We feel like we didn't give the 25-year event its just due, so we want to capitalize on the 30th year."
The New Edition shows, meanwhile, include not only the group's hits but also favorites from the members' solo careers and other groups such as Bell Biv DeVoe, Heads of State and LSG. "That's all our history," DeVoe says, "so we're trying to give people a little bit of all of that. We would be failing ourselves if we didn't do a combination of it all."