Extended Adolescence: A.J. McLean on 20 Years as a Backstreet Boy

Posted by Kate on Feb 03,2015. No Comments

37-year-old singer opens up about his group’s new doc and old battles with Lou Pearlman.

The Backstreet Boys break a lot of boy-band rules. According to a script established decades ago, these acts are supposed to have an extremely limited shelf life. The journey from middle school showcases to sold-out stadiums and back to oblivion is supposed to take, roughly, four or five years. Young fans, it is said, grow up quick, and there’s always a new teen sensation waiting in the wings. If you don’t believe us, go ask the Jonas Brothers or ‘N Sync.

Somehow, it has been over 20 years since the Backstreet Boys formed, and the group is still going strong. The days when Nick, Kevin, Brian, Howie and A.J. shut down Times Square every time they appeared on MTV may be long over, but they retained a hugely loyal fan base and continue to release new music. In Europe, where they broke long before anyone heard of them in America, they continue to pack arenas with screaming fans.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the Backstreet Boys hired director Stephen Kijak to create a documentary that tells their whole story. Accordingly, Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of is a warts-and-all look into the screaming arguments behind their last tour, addiction issues from the height of their fame and even their fractured relationship with boy band svengali Lou Pearlman. We spoke to A.J. McLean about the making of the film and what’s ahead for BSB.

How did the idea for this movie first come about?
A couple of years ago we were all hanging out at Kevin’s house in Los Angeles. It was a little group powwow to talk about the upcoming album and who the producers would be. Nick kind of threw in, “What if we film the making of the album and the tour?” That started the whole thing. We started brainstorming all sorts of different concepts. We said, “Do we want this solely to be about music?” Then we thought it should be more of a full-fledged documentary about our backstory. What I liked about the idea is that we all lived it, but even our real die-hard fans don’t know what you see in the film.

It’s really not your typical music documentary of this generation. The Katy Perry one was a lot of live performances. The One Direction one was almost strictly live performances. This has very, very few live performances. It’s the whole story of our ups and downs, the highs and the lows.

I liked how it wasn’t presented in linear order like a Behind the Music or something.
Absolutely. That was a big hurdle for us, to find that arc. I can’t even tell you how many edits we went through. The original was over three hours long. We were like, “People will fall asleep. We have to condense this down to an hour and 45 minutes, two hours max.” We had to find the arc. It turned out that was Brian’s vocal problems. Figuring that out became a real turning point for us.

How did you feel as you walked through Lou Pearlman’s house?
It wasn’t as gut-wrenching for me as it was for the other guys. Lou and I actually stayed in contact after we let him go. He bought some cars from me and I’d speak with some of his people around the holidays. But for some of the other guys, he was a real father figure. They felt like, “How could you do that to somebody? You pretty much had everything you could ever dream of and you still basically fuck us?” It was especially hard for Kevin because he didn’t have a father and he really looked up to Lou like a father figure. It’s like your dad coming home and saying, “Oh, by the way, I’ve been cheating on your mom for the last 20 years.” That’s a hard thing to swallow. I didn’t walk through the house as much as some of the other guys. Brian couldn’t walk through it. He got halfway through and was like, “I’m done.”

You all must have complicated feelings. He’s responsible for breaking you, but he also stole from you.
It was lie after lie. It’s one thing to be the sixth Backstreet Boy and be making exactly what we were making. And that wasn’t for doing nothing. He did help fund our very early beginning stage. He got us on those school tours, and he got us the chance to meet [manager] Johnny Wright. There was a lot of positive stuff. Sometime in the middle, around the time that ‘N Sync happened, I feel like he lost his passion for us. He was trying to become more than a mogul. It wasn’t enough to be an entrepreneur. He was trying to become a label. He was trying to become things that he had no knowledge of. I think he just got too big for his britches.

It’s gotta be weird for you to picture him in a tiny prison cell now.
It is weird. One thing we tried to accomplish in the movie, that unfortunately didn’t happen, was they were trying to get us into the prison to actually talk with Lou. We wanted to have a heart-to-heart and just simply ask, “Why?” The parole officers and the warden were being cool about it, but then for whatever reason they shut it down. We were saying, “How about a phone call? We could do a conference call.” They refused, but then said one of us could do it. We were like, “If all five of us can’t be there, it’s not going to be as impactful.” So it kind of got lost in the sauce.

Was there a time around 2003 or whenever when you thought the group was just going to end? It just seemed like that whole scene was over and everyone was moving on.
There were a couple of points throughout our career when we really weren’t sure what was going to happen. There was a transitional period between Black and Blue and Never Gone where we had no management and no representation. We were sort of floating in limbo. It was definitely scary because we still wanted to keep making music and going forward, but we didn’t know if that would happen.

How did Kevin’s return a few years ago change the group dynamic?
It was actually a pretty lucid transition. We were worried it was gonna be kinda sticky-icky and rough. There was almost a seven-year break with him, and there was a certain dynamic that we had prior to him leaving. There’s almost a 10-year age gap between him and Nick, so they didn’t always see eye-to-eye. Kevin is very strongly opinionated, as we all are, but sometimes he takes a little too long to make a decision. He’s just a perfectionist.

I always felt when he was gone there was something missing. That fans definitely felt that way. We carried the torch as best we could as a quartet, but when we came through the Staples Center on the New Kids tour and Kevin popped up on our B stage for his part of “I Want It That Way.” In our entire career, we’ve never heard the decibel level we heard in that moment. That’s when I knew the impact of the five of us. The Backstreet Boys is five. We kept the brand going as four, but in my opinion we weren’t truly the Backstreet Boys until Kevin came back.

We’re all married now and, besides Nick, we all have kids. I think there’s a better dynamic now. We can communicate on a much more grown-up level. We can still be immature, goofy kids, even though we’re grown men in our mid-to-late-thirties. We’re all still kids at heart. I’m a huge sneaker head. I have a massive collection of sneakers that I don’t even wear because I just love sneakers. And video games: Nick still plays World of Warcraft. I mean, come on.

What are your future plans? New album? Another tour?
We’ve been on a really nice, well-needed break since the end of the summer. It’ll be almost six months by the time we get back on the road. We’re getting back on the road in April to finish up our 20th anniversary tour. By that time, it will be our 22nd anniversary. We’re going to finish up the Pacific Rim, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Mexico. Then we’re going to go back in the studio and start work on our 10th record.

How is Brian’s voice doing these days?
I feel like it’s getting better. It comes and goes. It’s been a struggle for all of us, especially Brian obviously. I can’t imagine what he feels like on a daily basis. Sometimes he struggles to speak. Sometimes the words come out when he sings, and sometimes they don’t. I feel like there’s a certain register in his voice where he sounds like Brian, and there’s another register in his voice where it’s just not there.

We’ve had many conversations about it. Doctors have tried to label it as “hypertension dysphonia,” but it could be something mental. It could be to the point now where his brain is convincing him that he just can’t get it out. He’s going to therapy and doing as much work as he can on it. We’re all praying for him. We hope everything will be back to normal. I don’t know if it ever will, but hopefully it is.

On the second leg of the tour we did in Europe and in the U.S. last summer and even on the cruise in October, there were moments he sounded great. After the show I would say, “Dude, you sounded awesome tonight.” I think he needs to hear that. We’re going to do whatever we can to get him into that positive frame of mine.

How much longer do you see the group lasting?
As long as the fans want us around. We’ve been doing this for 22 years. If we were going to end it, that would have happened 11 years ago. Once we reached our 20-year mark, I think we’ve gotten over the hump. I think now we’re going to embark on 20 more. We’re still dancing. Kevin is 43 years old, and we’re still up there dancing like we’re 18 and 19 years old. We’re having fun. We’re feeling the crowd. We’re feeling the energy. We’re just gonna keep on doing this until we can’t.


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Checking In With Our Junior High Boyfriend, Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean

Posted by Kate on Jan 30,2015. No Comments

Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean once blew off a performance because he was in a ‘coke coma.’ The bad boy of boy bands on the origins of the documentary ‘Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of.’
From 1999 until around 2002, the Backstreet Boys were the biggest band in the world. Under the guidance of Florida boy band manufacturer Lou Pearlman, five fresh-faced and talented boys from lower- to middle-class homes—A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, and Nick Carter—conquered the pop charts and sold 130 million albums worldwide. They drew screaming crowds massive enough to paralyze Times Square; they sold out stadiums across the planet; they lived out their wildest teenage dreams.

Then they grew up.

Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of, the Backstreet Boys’ documentary in theaters today, does what you’d expect it to: It relives the height of the guys’ fame, reveling in old footage of screaming girls, frosted tips, and matching outfits. But it also forces its subjects, five men in their late thirties and early forties putting together a comeback album and 20th anniversary tour, to face their careers’ biggest unspoken issues. Are grown men in boy bands a joke? Is the novelty of nostalgia the only claim to relevance they have left? Can five old friends put twenty years’ worth of baggage and bullshit behind them?

“Shut the fuck up. Don’t talk to me that way,” Littrell growls at Carter during a meeting with producers in the film, his voice rising closer to a shout with every word. “Don’t be a fucking dick, like everyone knows you are. DON’T BE A DICK!”

Carter, who was only fourteen when Pearlman recruited him to the band, is screaming “shut the fuck up” right back at Littrell. As kids, the two were closer to each other than to anyone else in the group. But right now, Carter is so angry he can barely speak. “I’m not afraid of you anymore,” he sputters.

In another scene, McLean, the band’s requisite “bad boy,” remembers struggling with addiction during the band’s heyday, and blowing off a performance in Boston because he was in a “coke coma” in his room. Richardson, the eldest member of the group, almost broke down A.J.’s door in a blind rage. “I’ll never forget him saying ‘You are dead to me,’” McLean says quietly. “That was it.” He checked himself into rehab shortly afterward and Richardson quit the band entirely in 2005.

We hear from the men about the lies Pearlman told them to cheat them out of a chunk of their earnings: He told the boys he had to recoup the million dollars he had invested in the band, he took commissions as manager, and he claimed he was a one-sixth member of the group and entitled to the same pay as each member. “By 1998 we had sold millions of albums, toured nonstop in stadiums and yet our bank accounts…didn’t make sense,” Richardson says. In the years after his own father’s death, Richardson had looked up to Pearlman as a surrogate father. Until the band sued to get rid of the Ponzi schemer once and for all.

We also hear about the betrayal the guys felt after learning about Pearlman’s side projects. “We’re molding them in your image,” Dorough remembers being told about the boys of ’N Sync. “But next thing we knew, if we got tired or didn’t want to do a certain TV show, boom, ’N Sync was right there picking up the pieces. Next thing you knew, Jive Records [to which the Backstreet Boys were signed] had signed ’N Sync. Lou basically created our competition.”

In the film’s final scene, the men are seen hiking through leafy terrain in the hills of rural Kentucky. McLean has been having trouble keeping up with his bandmates. “This is really shitty for my knees,” he huffs (he’s only 37). They take turns hoisting each other up a hill, miraculously keeping their jeans and fedoras dirt-free. They look thrilled. “We did it,” McLean says.

McLean hopped on the phone with The Daily Beast to discuss the documentary’s origins, bitterness over never winning a Grammy, and the struggle to shed their boy band image and be taken seriously as singers.

Hey A.J.! Where are you calling from?

I am actually sitting on my front porch, I had to walk out of my house because my daughter’s watching daddy’s music videos. I thought that might be weird to have on in the background.

She watches your music videos?

All day, every day. She’s almost two-and-a-half and it’s either watching daddy’s videos or singing “Let It Go.” I’m kind of over both of them. Nick [Carter] and his wife were both here last night, hanging out with me and my wife. My daughter’s got Nick’s name down and she’s got Howie’s name down, so I’m trying to get her to learn all the fellas’ names.

That’s adorable. So, I hear the band is working on a new record again.

Yeah, though we’re still in talks about what the concept is and what direction it’s gonna take. We’re also trying to figure out what producers we’re gonna work with; I know there’s been talks of us reaching out to Ryan Tedder, possibly Pharrell, or Max Martin and Dr. Luke. We’re actually still off until the second or third week of April, when we go on tour to finish the 20th anniversary tour. Between now and then we’re gonna hopefully try to hone in on a direction, probably start the writing process mid-March, and then hopefully finish recording over the summertime. And then we’re off to the races again. It’ll be album no. 10 and another tour.

How did the idea come up for filming a documentary at this point in your careers?

You know, it’s really interesting how this whole thing kind of came into fruition. A little over two years ago, the five of us were at Kevin’s house, just hanging out, talking about concepts for the In a World Like This CD. We were listening to the Beatles’ White Album, Zeppelin, the Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, and Prince, kind of just trying to get inspired and figure out what the direction was gonna be.

Nick had brought up the idea of us flying out to London and pulling an MTV Real World, living in the same house together and reconnecting and bonding again, since Kevin had just recently returned to the band. While we were at Kevin’s, Nick was like, “You know… we’ve always talked about filming the making of an album.” That was the initial idea. Once we got with Pulse, the production company, it kind of turned into a full-fledged documentary—making it about not just the album process, but about the past twenty-plus years that we’ve been together: getting our star on the Walk of Fame, taking trips back to our childhood homes, the stuff about Lou.

Did the five of you try reaching out to Lou to appear on-camera?

Pulse had actually reached out to the jail where Lou was, asking for the five of us to go there, visit him on-camera and basically sit down in the room with him and ask him, “Why?” Which would have been extremely powerful. But the warden changed his mind and said he’d only allow one of us to talk to him. And if it wasn’t all five of us, then it’s not really worth it. I think what we ended up having in the film is just enough, so it’s not focusing solely on that, even though it’s a really big part of the last twenty years.

One of the film’s most poignant moments comes when the five of you wander through Lou’s abandoned mansion in Florida. You talk about feeling betrayed by him and desperately wanting to ask him why he did what he did—but it doesn’t seem like you regret working with him.

No, not at all. Never bite the hand that fed you, you know? I can’t speak on behalf of all of us; I think some of the guys may have some regrets and some resentment, which is completely understandable. But I personally don’t. I feel like that’s a waste of my energy and my emotion. I think everything happened the way that it was meant to happen, there are no mistakes in the world.

But I do think we’re still trying to understand. It’s like [to Pearlman,] “You could have had the world with us, but you got greedy and took advantage of something that you created from the ground up. You should have been able to sit back and be proud, cherish it, embrace it, and run with it until the wheels fall off. Instead, you made the wheels fall off way too soon.” But, again, I have no regrets. I think we’ve become better artists, better men, better people because of all the things we’ve had to go through.

It’s mind-blowing to look back and see just how young you all were when you became the center of this global, multi-million dollar business. Does seeing the documentary make you feel protective for your younger self?

You know, not really. It’s kind of humbling to look at ourselves and reminisce, and for a brief moment in time, recapture our youth. I think we’ve all aged pretty well, all things considered. [laughs] I try to live the healthiest lifestyle I’ve ever lived and I want to be a good representation as a father for my little girl. I’m in the gym six days a week, I’m doing the Paleo diet, I’m really just trying to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Obviously, all of us went through highs and lows—some of us worse than others—but it’s really humbling to kind of look back and go, “Maaan, I remember that, holy shit! That’s what we did? Wow.” I mean, looking at the wardrobe or the hairstyles or the facial hair and you’re like, “What the hell was I thinking?” But you know that was what was in then, and it’s funny how a lot of what was in then is back in now.

You definitely had the most distinct style of the group, with the sunglasses and the chameleon hair. Do you have any old favorite looks?

I get a lot of shit—especially from my wife—for my little Flock of Seagulls hair extensions, back from when we did the Black and Blue around-the –world-in-100-hours tour. But I think my top two favorites would have been the corn rows and the bleach blond hair with a little bit of my roots showing. I went through every single color, including tennis ball green, leopard print—I did it all.

But there were definitely a lot of clothing don’ts that I look back on now and I totally regret. Like the oversized, super-baggy, hip-hop wannabe shit that I was doing. Like, I was P. Diddy Jr. for a while with all my bling and stuff, I don’t know what I was thinking. But that comes with living in the moment of being a pop star.

The documentary also raises another interesting question: Whether the band wants to keep riding the nostalgia wave or reinvent yourselves as more serious musicians. Which are you leaning toward?

That’s the thing—we actually had a long conversation the other day, all five of us. We were in a meeting and asking ourselves, “Do we wanna continue to live off the nostalgia? Or do we really want to be known as singers?” There’s a real huge difference. People will always call us a boy band, and for years we hated it. Now we obviously are very humbled by it and accept it because that’s we are. We’re still boys, we’re still young at heart, we’re still having fun and we still have a passion for this.

But we’re definitely leading toward being known as singers. I think there was a little bit of bitterness for years over being nominated for multiple Grammys but never winning one. But I always tell the guys, you know, look at Leo, look at Johnny Depp, look at some of the best actors in the universe that get nominated almost every season and they still haven’t won. Leo is past 40 and still hasn’t won, Johnny is 50-something, still hasn’t won. Martin Scorsese finally won for The Departed years ago. Our time will come too.

Do you think the film will change audiences’ perception of the Backstreet Boys?

When people came to the 20th anniversary shows, they may have come in thinking, “Oh, this is gonna be a nostalgic thing.” But I think people left going, “Wow, these guys still got it. They got it even better now. They still look good, they sound great. They’re dancing still, they’re having fun.” People leave our show happy. Now, especially after seeing the film, I think people are gonna have a different respect for us.

What else is a priority for the band going forward?

On this most recent record, we did it strictly independent. We have our own label, we have no marketing. We put our own personal dime into this record and into the promotion. We still physically go into every radio station to promote the singles and, with our management and our publicist, we did as much TV as we could. And the record still came in the top 5. So something is still working. I’m really anxious to see what happens after the film.

Brian also brought up a really interesting point to us the other day—not that it’s a desperation to stay relevant, because we are still relevant, but to be cool. I think little things like being at the end of This is the End was cool. People did not see that coming and it kind of changes things. It puts us in a totally different light. I think after people see this film that cool factor will absolutely be there. They’ll hopefully gain a newfound respect for us.


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AJ Mclean sold his Hollywood Hills home.

Posted by Kate on Jan 16,2015. No Comments

He bought his sumptuous Hollywood Hills home in Los Angeles in 2001 for $430,000. Now Backstreet Boys star A.J. McLean has sold the Mediterranean-style property for $1.65 million, pocketing $1.2 million in the deal, according to the Los Angeles Times. Still, it’s less than the 36-year-old hoped to get for the 3,244 square feet house in the prestigious Oaks area of Los Feliz.

He reportedly first listed it for just a dollar under $2 million in 2012 but pulled it off the market when it didn’t sell. It was put back up for sale in September at $1.795 million. The singer-songwriter shares the three bedroom, four bathroom house with Rochelle Kandis, his wife of three years, and their two-year-old daughter Ava. Built in 1958, it boasts an open-space floor plan, exposed beams, a chef’s kitchen and a covered patio with a fireplace and a built-in barbecue.

The tiered garden has a raised patio and fountain, tropical landscaping and a two-car garage. A.J.,has been with the Backstreet Boys since the group’s inception in 1993 after starting his career as a  child actor in Disney and Nickelodeon shows. The star, who has been in and out of rehab battling a drink and drugs addiction, credits Rochelle and little Ava for helping him stay sober.

The family man told People about fatherhood in September, saying: ‘It’s crazy! It’s the best thing in the world…There is no more rewarding job – and I’ve been doing this, performing, for over 30 years – to be a father and have a little girl that admires me, loves me, unconditionally.’

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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New Staff Member!

Posted by Kate on Jan 16,2015. No Comments

Hello every one my name is Kate, I am one of Nicky’s friends and I will be here to update all the member sites as often as I can, with news, pictures and graphics. I wish you all a nice day.

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Came back again

Posted by Nicky on Sep 15,2014. No Comments

First of all, I’m so sorry for don’t update the site before. I was working a lot this summer with my new job and I didn’t get the time. Anyway, I’m going to try to update the site with tons of new photos & news but I need a few time to check all the photos, please, be patient. So, please, come backand enjoy the updates. Sorry for all the problems.

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AJ McLean at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Robocop’

Posted by Nicky on Feb 12,2014. No Comments

A.J. McLean arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Robocop’ at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 10, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Over 60 HQ photos have been added to the gallery. If you take the photos, please, credit to incomplete-men.com

AJ McLean AJ McLean AJ McLean AJ McLean AJ McLean

Gallery Link:
“Robocop” – Los Angeles Premiere

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