Nick’s Broadway success made Joe want to act too.
Being brothers, there was always going to be competition between Kevin, Nick and Joe. But once Nick was seeing success on Broadway at just 8 years old, his other bros wanted a taste of the fame he suddenly had. "I think I was probably a little bit envious, somewhat jealous," Joe admits. "Looking up on stage and seeing Nick getting this attention, I remember saying to my parents, 'I think I want to start auditioning.'" His first show was an off-Broadway production of Oliver, which helped Joe -- who had a passion for comedy -- open up as a singer and a performer. "I knew that this was where I was supposed to be."
Kevin was mocked and called gay slurs because of his interests as a kid.
While Joe and Nick were doing Broadway shows, Kevin spent his time doing off-stage activities like gymnastics, pole vaulting and magic -- none of which really appealed to most boys his age. "I became a target," he recalls. "Kids were cruel at that age. They would call me gay, they would call me f--, piss head. It would break me down. I remember coming home from school and crying to my parents."
What's more, Kevin struggled to find a true passion like his brothers had on stage ("I never felt like I could find the place that I fit in," he says). But once he found his way into the world of commercials, he almost became an entirely new person. "It was kind of a crazy season where their talents started opening up opportunities," says their father, Kevin Jonas Sr.
The guys couldn't initially tell anyone about their first record deal.
Once the Jonas Brothers landed their deal with Columbia in 2005, Kevin recalls being so excited, but unable to share the news with anyone because their dad was the pastor of their church. "We didn't want my dad to lose his job, potentially," he says. "We were signed to a secular label and weren't making a Christian album." All three brothers talked about the impact of the standards that their dad's position in the church set, foreshadowing the kinds of issues they faced as a group later on.
Their success didn't come overnight the way it appeared to.
"It's really easy to look at the Jonas Brothers and think, 'Oh, they were this huge thing,'" the brothers' former music director, John Taylor, says. "But there was like two years of tried and true, rock and roll cutting your teeth." He details that in the beginning, the group rehearsed six days a week, 12 hours a day.
Kevin recalls a time when they would play two shows a day, driving from their hometown in New Jersey to Boston and back in the same night, then doing the same to Connecticut the next day because the gas money was cheaper than a hotel -- and they couldn't afford both. "We didn’t look at it as roughing it," Joe says. "You look at it like, 'We’re doing it, we’re living our dream.'"
They played a show the same day Nick was diagnosed with diabetes.
The documentary briefly touches on Nick's diabetes diagnosis, which they discovered after a period when he became more moody and demanded pit stops for pizza and Diet Coke during their band trips -- and when Kevin and Joe noticed how thin Nick had become. The boys had a major show that Sony executives would be the same day Nick was in the hospital, and ultimately Nick pushed through. "Nick said, 'Get out of my way, we're doing a show, and we're going to kill it," remembers their father. "You don't want to give a label an excuse to drop you."
They got dropped from the label at the same time that their dad lost his job.
Despite Nick's perseverance, things ended up not working out with Columbia. Unfortunately, around the same time, people in Jonas's church began to speak negatively about Kevin Sr., which led to him resigning from his role as pastor. "I think there was some judgment on us for not being a Christian band," Nick says. "Singing about girls started to become a bit of an issue."
The entire Jonas Brothers album was written in their house in Little Falls, New Jersey.
Kevin reveals that their dad had put $90,000 of his life savings into the band, which made their family's difficult time even more tough. Without an income and the church, the Jonases had to relocated to a much smaller house in Little Falls. But the brothers didn't give up on the music, and continued writing together in the basement of their house, which resulted in their self-titled album.
"We wrote a bunch of songs in that house out of the pain, the hurt, and the abandonment after we got dropped from Sony," Kevin says. "I think we felt that people didn't believe in us, so we were going to prove them wrong."
All three Jonas Brothers weren't originally supposed to be in Camp Rock.
After the Jonas Brothers began working with Disney's label Hollywood Records, the company wanted Joe to be the lead in a Disney Channel Original Movie they were working on called Camp Rock. But with the hopeful success they were seeing, the family decided the film couldn't happen if it meant splitting up the brothers, so Kevin Sr. proposed the idea for Joe to be part of a band with Nick and Kevin.
Meeting Miley Cyrus was the moment Nick first felt love.
Nick jokes that he and his brothers became closest when they bonded over girls, which was particularly elevated for him personally when the Jonas Brothers were on an episode of Hannah Montana in August 2007. "When he met Miley, I think that kid's head exploded," Kevin says. That's when Nick says he began writing about love, and understanding what it felt like. He adds, "For the first time, I was asking them the questions that only a little brother could ask his older brothers."
Joe and Nick totally called that Kevin was going to marry his wife, Danielle.
As Nick was falling for Miley, Kevin had a fling with a girl named Danielle Deleasa. After struggling to get a date in high school, it took Kevin a while to realize that he'd met the girl of his dreams -- but his brothers new right away. A home video shows Kevin on the phone with Danielle before a show she'd be attending that night, and as Joe and Nick listen in (and hilariously give him pointers on what to say), Joe looks at the camera and declares, "It's Kevin's future wife."
They regretted JONAS Season 2.
The guys played a drinking game to help get things off their chest as they spent time together last year, during which Nick admits that Season 2 of their Disney Channel show JONAS was his biggest regret during the first Jonas Brothers run. "It really stunted our growth," he says. "We literally couldn't evolve because of it."
"It didn't feel like it was us anymore," Joe adds. "It felt young, and we're becoming adults." Kevin even suggests that it almost made them feel like they had two different identities, and it affected the perception of the band that they were a joke.
Their purity rings became a major burden.
On top of the cheesy television show, the media had a heyday with the purity rings the Jonas Brothers wore, which was something their old church had encouraged. "Probably by like 15, I was like, 'What is this?'" Joe laughs. The rings became more than just an embarrassment for the brothers, as Nick recalls being booed at sporting events. What's more, the guys never really discussed the disappointment of being mocked -- instead, they just went into more work, which made tensions rise even more.
Joe saw Fastlife as his first taste of failure.
When the guys were on a brief (not-officially-announced) hiatus, Joe released an R&B/pop solo album titled Fastlife. Joe says he saw it as an opportunity to prove himself to his brothers and to the world, but admits it didn't go as well as he had anticipated. "It was a little taste of reality," he says. "It was really tough for me, because I felt like, 'I can't do anything without my brothers.' It was embarrassing."
Joe and Nick didn’t want to have any part of Married to Jonas.
Similarly to Joe's Fastlife regrets, Kevin's decision to be part of a reality TV show with Danielle wasn't exactly what the Jonas Brothers needed during their break. "Our whole life was a closed-door meeting, and Kevin invited cameras into that meeting," Joe says. "We felt like he was going to air out a lot of our shit that we didn't want people to know about... to watch it every Sunday was not fun for us."
Kevin and Joe didn't think Nick would actually call an end to the band in 2013.
"It was not, 'My heart's not in it, and I want to be real with you as band members and brothers, this is where I'm at,'" Joe remembers. "It was, 'The band is over, I want to go do stuff without you guys, and I've made up my mind.'" Though they didn't know that Nick had previously had a two-hour conversation with their dad about it, Joe admits that he felt betrayed and lied to. He later gets emotional thinking about that moment, adding, "What hurt the most is that it came from Nick -- because he is my best friend, and I thought that me, Kevin and Nick were going to do this forever, and it was us against the world."
Nick may have initiated the breakup, but he almost instantly regretted it when he went solo.
The Jonas Brothers' longtime manager, Phil McIntyre -- who also managed Nick during his solo career -- says that a 21-year-old Nick came to him and said, "I feel like I'm a has-been." "I think a lot of people in my life gave my abilitiy to be okay a little too much credit during that time," Nick admits, adding, "I didn't feel like I deserved to unravel because I had initiated this very tough conversation."
Kevin still feels some hurt.
After admitting he didn't fully comprehend what the Jonas Brothers' split would do to him, he takes the heartbreaking comments one step further: "Even to this day, I get asked if I’m Joe or Nick every day."
Frankie Jonas loves the Jonas Brothers more than any superfan.
As the credits roll at the end, Frankie finally makes an appearance aside from home videos -- and it's the best cameo of all. "I am their number one fan," he declares with a massive grin. "I know every lyric of every song, I can recite every story of how they were made. I love their music, so much."