Back from the brink

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - E GUIDE MU­SIC -

NO ONE would have blamed Back­street Boy Nick Carter if he had jet­ti­soned him­self from the boy- band amal­ga­ma­tion with New Kids on the Block – NKOTBSB.

In Fe­bru­ary, Carter’s sis­ter Les­lie died of an over­dose. She was 25, mar­ried, with a 10- month- old daugh­ter.

A griev­ing Nick, 32, in­stead has picked him­self up and ded­i­cated the com­ing Euro­pean and Aus­tralian legs of the NKOTBSB tour to Les­lie’s mem­ory, not­ing she loved to see him per­form.

‘‘ It was def­i­nitely tough,’’ Carter says. ‘‘ For me ( per­form­ing) was cathar­tic, it’s a way for me to get through my emo­tions. I’ve al­ways used singing and per­form­ing as my out­let to re­ally help me. It was only nat­u­ral for me to do that in this sit­u­a­tion to get through it.’’

Carter has had his own bat­tle with co­caine and al­co­hol – in 2006 Aus­tralian fans saw a sweaty, bloated Carter at the height of his booz­ing.

Af­ter the years of ex­cess, he was di­ag­nosed with car­diomy­opa­thy – a weak­en­ing of the heart mus­cle and the con­di­tion re­spon­si­ble for the death of singer Andy Gibb at 30 and ac­tor Chris Penn at 40.

Since 2009, Carter has cleaned up his act. He’s sober; there’s no more par­ty­ing with peo­ple such as for­mer girl­friend Paris Hil­ton, no more be­ing snapped in the LA celebrity scene.

‘‘ I try to fo­cus on pos­i­tive things and not be in the scene,’’ he says.

‘‘ I’d rather be ap­pre­ci­ated and re­spected for artis­tic value and the things I’m do­ing pos­i­tively in­stead of neg­a­tively.

‘‘ A lot of the times if you go out on the scene, you’re just chas­ing at­ten­tion. You’re do­ing what every­one else is do­ing.

‘‘ I stay home, I write screen­plays, de­velop movies, write mu­sic, go to the gym, work out.

‘‘ I’m con­stantly cre­at­ing, that’s my way of stay­ing ac­tive and healthy.’’

He is also ne­go­ti­at­ing a deal to write his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

The Back­street Boys/ New Kids on the Block on- stage merger has been an un­mit­i­gated suc­cess.

Last year’s joint US tour gen­er­ated more than $ 40 mil­lion.

The live show is burst­ing with hits – as well as all nine singers ( Back­street’s Kevin Richard­son left in 2006) unit­ing for sev­eral tracks.

‘‘ It’s like a tag team,’’ Carter says. ‘‘ We’ll come out to­gether, do a song, then we go off; New Kids come out and do 15 min­utes or so, they go off; we come back on, and on it goes. Ev­ery­thing flows re­ally nice and easy with all the mu­sic.

‘‘ Ev­ery­body com­pli­ments each other. And there’s so many hits, it’s kind of crazy. It’s def­i­nitely a great ex­pe­ri­ence . . . it could def­i­nitely hap­pen again.’’

Carter is a fan of the lat­est boy- band sen­sa­tion One Di­rec­tion.

‘‘ The younger gen­er­a­tion will hope­fully get a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence what our gen­er­a­tion ex­pe­ri­enced,’’ he says. ‘‘ And it’s good to have songs back and har­monies back on the ra­dio.’’

CAMERON ADAMS

NKOTBSB plays Mel­bourne’s Rod Laver Arena on May 18- 19. $ 99.90/$ 820, Tick­etek

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