In for the long haul

Brian Lit­trell can pic­ture Backstreet Boys per­form­ing into their 50s.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By Luis Gomez

Ihate to be the bearer of bad news for One Di­rec­tion fans, but the im­mensely pop­u­lar Bri­tish boy band won’t be around for­ever.

his­tory has taught us that solo as­pi­ra­tions or in-fight­ing among band mem­bers will likely do in the quin­tet within the next two to three years (five, if they’re lucky), just like they’ve done in nearly ev­ery pop band that came be­fore them. Many of us can see the harry Styles solo al­bum com­ing from a mile away.

and when that day comes and One Di­rec­tion is no more – which hope­fully hap­pens later rather than sooner, for the sake of mil­lions of teenagers – don’t be sur­prised if the Backstreet Boys are still go­ing strong.

the Backstreet Boys, you see, are the ex­cep­tion to the rule.

the I Want It That Way band cel­e­brated its 20th an­niver­sary and re­leased its eighth stu­dio al­bum, In A World Like This, last year. Backstreet has been record­ing new mu­sic steadily since its self-ti­tled 1996 de­but, never go­ing more than five years with­out an al­bum re­lease.

to put that in per­spec­tive, pop acts such as ‘ N Sync and the Spice Girls haven’t re­leased an al­bum in more than a decade and 98 De­grees and New Kids On the Block both waited more than a decade be­fore record­ing an­other al­bum.

In Oc­to­ber, the guys will take part in a four-day Backstreet fan cruise, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Car­ni­val Cruise Lines.

that’s not to say it’s been smooth sail­ing (ex­cuse the pun) the en­tire time for Backstreet. there have been solo al­bums, stints in re­hab and law­suits – not to men­tion Kevin Richard­son left the band in 2006 be­fore re­turn­ing in 2012.

Still, they’ve far out­lasted ev­ery­one’s pre­dic­tions and, as last year’s sur­prise cameo in This Is The End proved, re­main rel­e­vant af­ter all these years.

here, band mem­ber Brian Lit­trell talks about where Backstreet goes from here and pic­tures a day when the gen­eral pub­lic gets past the boy band stigma and gives the guys their due. Backstreet is now 21 years old. What keeps you guys from call­ing it a day and go­ing your sep­a­rate ways?

We’re hav­ing fun do­ing what we’re do­ing.

Backstreet Boys — com­pris­ing (from left) Kevin richard­son, nick Carter, aJ McLean, Brian Lit­trel and howie dor­ough — has been to­gether for 21 years. Backstreet has been around a long time. Nor­mally groups like us have a shelf life of two to four years. We al­ways wanted to have a long stay in the mu­sic world. and we’ve been able to do that the past two decades. No­body from our mu­sic genre in the ‘90s is around any­more. It’s a solo artiste’s mar­ket, not a group mar­ket. Could you imag­ine a sce­nario where you guys are still re­leas­ing mu­sic and tour­ing to­gether into your 50s?

Well, we’re close. two of us are in our 40s, I’m about to be 40 here in a minute, aJ (McLean) is late 30s, Nick (Carter) is the baby. he’s got a while. I don’t know if we’ll be tour­ing all over the globe all the time like we are now.

We’ve been ex­tremely busy the past two or three years with this 20th an­niver­sary tour. But yeah, I could see us still do­ing this in our 50s. I don’t see why not, as long as we’re hav­ing fun and en­joy­ing it.

I would hope some­body out there will still want to hear a Backstreet Boys song when I’m 50-some­thing. there would be less dancing though. We do a lot of dancing at our shows now. We dance our butts off. It keeps us in shape. Is there an­other band whose ca­reer blue­print you’ve been try­ing to fol­low?

For me, the band that comes to mind is Bon Jovi. they blew up dur­ing the hair band move­ment in the 1980s and then ... no­body wanted them. So they went to europe and con­tin­ued to tour and sell records. and the next thing you know, the tide turned and they came back to the US and now they’re do­ing sta­di­ums.

that’s kind of the blue­print that’s hap­pen­ing with us. We ex­ploded in the mid-to-late 90s and then there were 10 mil­lion groups like us ... and the pop mu­sic sound went away. Backstreet has been grow­ing abroad and mak­ing records and con­tin­u­ing to tour. Now, here we are 21 years later and people are kind of fall­ing back in love with the Backstreet Boys. Your son is 11, which means he wasn’t around dur­ing the height of the boy band hys­te­ria. Does he grasp who you are and what you’ve ac­com­plished?

Baylee grew up around the time of the Never Gone tour (in 2005). he gets who Daddy is. Baylee is a lit­tle en­ter­tainer him­self. he opens up for us on tour and sings two songs be­fore avril Lav­i­gne.

Some of the other band mem­bers have younger kids and ba­bies. It’s harder for them to grasp that “Daddy is a su­per­star”. Do you feel like Backstreet’s last few al­bums have been as good as its first few?

Yeah, I do. the mu­sic is just as good. I think we’ve had a lot of great songs. I think it’s a lit­tle more raw and not so over­pro­duced any­more.

People to­day just want to hear what you are. With our lat­est record, we wrote like 85% of it.

that’s why it’s a spe­cial record to us. We now own our­selves. We have our own la­bel af­ter out­liv­ing our con­tract with Jive Records. a lot of people gave up on us but we kept kick­ing and mak­ing mu­sic. Do you still find yourself day­dream­ing about cer­tain goals or sce­nar­ios, or have you achieved ev­ery­thing you wanted?

I daydream about Backstreet Boys ac­cept­ing a Grammy one day. We’ve been nom­i­nated many times but never won one. So I think that would be a nice thing.

Gram­mys are hard to get. Your peers and the people in the mu­sic in­dus­try are the ones voting, not the fans. People have to re­spect you across the board. We’ll keep work­ing at it. It’s easy to dis­miss Backstreet as just an­other boy band, but the record sales tell a dif­fer­ent story and put you on the list of the best-sell­ing artists of all time. Do you feel like the band gets the re­spect it de­serves?

I don’t want people to think I have a chip on my shoul­der. Backstreet Boys has achieved many things. I’m ex­tremely happy with where we are in our lives. I’m OK with our per­sona.

I know what we are. I know we’re su­per tal­ented and have great mu­sic and loyal fans.

Maybe one day the world will pat us on our back and say: ‘hey, well done, guys.’ Maybe on the 30th an­niver­sary, when we’re in our 50s and not dancing. — Chicago tri­bune/McClatchy-tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

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