STORY WRITTEN BY DAVID KLEINMAN
For Digital First Media
It’s no secret of nature that girls mature faster than boys. So what’s the fairer sex to do while waiting for their male counterparts to get a clue and learn the ways of love and romance? It’s a quandary record companies have been more than happy to provide a remedy for time and time again.
The cure for many a loveless tween is the boy band, serving that innocent time in a middle school girl’s life pre-first kiss. Debuting in 1984, the five members of New Kids On The Block took center stage in pubescent hearts across the world.
Right in the middle of the mayhem of millions of unbridled high-pitch screams was Danny Wood, the self-proclaimed “fitness, muscly dude” of the quintet. What was once for vanity now comes out of necessity now that he’s all grown up.
“I always stay in shape, it’s been a thing for me,” Wood said in a recent phone interview. “I wanted to be a young dad and now I’m 46 but I have a 23 year old son. My girls are 16 and 17. I want to be able to play with my grand kids whenever that happens. The number one reason I do it is for them.”
As his female fans approach middle-age there’s still no shortage of appreciation for his six-pack abs. With age comes maturity and now self-proclaimed ‘Blockheads’ too hold a deeper admiration for his musical abilities, evident by the interest in his latest efforts, “Look at Me.”
“My songs are definitely different from what the New Kids On The Block do,” he said. “There’s a pop element to my songs but it’s singer-songwriter. We went all out on the last tour, I really think we delivered a gigantic extravaganza. This is more intimate, it’s just me and my guitar.”
Wood’s solo tour kicks off in Philadelphia Feb. 17, with dates in New York and Boston already sold out. Wood hopes to expand beyond the northeast in promotion of the record and Remember Betty, a charity Wood founded to financially support those struggling with breast cancer, a battle his mother lost in 1999.
“It’s more personal than any of the other records, the whole record takes you on a little bit of a journey through my life. I tried to put together a piece of work to honor my mother. The first thing I wanted to do was try to make something beautiful that she would be proud of. I hope that I’ve accomplished that.”
Through his foundation Wood is looking forward to help the next generation of breast cancer victims. Contacted via social media and the Meet n’ Greet opportunities he offers at his concerts nary a day goes by that he isn’t informed by his audience of the impact of the disease.
“Breast cancer now affects a younger demographic, I hate to say it but it hits home directly with our fan base. Whether they’ve gone through it or not, they always know someone in that family or a friend. I get an e-mail from Abbie [Vicknair] who helps me run my mother’s foundation, she’s like ‘This person just got diagnosed, do you remember her from this city?’ ”
As long as breast cancer still runs rampant Wood is ready and willing to continue packing his bags to help raise money until a cure is found. “Look at Me” is certainly a creative output for Wood but the main driving force for the project was made undoubtedly apparent.
“I’m doing this for my mother’s foundation so I started writing and now I have a whole record out. I don’t feel the need to sell a whole bunch of records, have a hit record — none of that. I’m on a mission to raise awareness of breast cancer, preventing it and trying to raise money,” he said.
Throughout the chorus of his album’s title track Wood informs listeners “I’m not the man that you think I am.” The general public may know Wood best as one-fifth of a popular boy band but to those who know him best, musician comes a distant third to family and charity.
“I think in life, what defines us as men is the fathers that we are so you would have to ask my kids. There’s the ups and downs with all of them but I’m proud of them, I think I’ve done a good job when I look at them. I think that’s what defines you.”