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 TheChronicleHerald.ca article & interview with AJ:Backstreet’s back

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TheChronicleHerald.ca article & interview with AJ:Backstreet’s back Empty
PostSubject: TheChronicleHerald.ca article & interview with AJ:Backstreet’s back   TheChronicleHerald.ca article & interview with AJ:Backstreet’s back Icon_minitimeThu 31 Jul - 14:13

THERE’S NO DENYING it: at the peak of their career, the Backstreet Boys were the biggest thing in pop music.
In the ’90s their pre-packaged beats and harmony-infused hooks were the fun and frothy yang to the dark and brooding yin of alternative rock’s primal screams. While following a formula that evolved from the Monkees, they managed to create a rabid worldwide fan base that still enables them to make records and headline tours like the one that brings them to the Halifax Metro Centre on Saturday.
Calling from his home in West Hollywood, A.J. McLean is pumped to talk about the tour despite a recent bout of strep throat — "It’s still a little scratchy, but definitely getting through it . . . it’s all about ginger tea, ginger shots and vocal rest" — but at the same time he comes across as down-to-earth and sincere as he talks about the group’s meteoric rise and the ongoing effort to make music that makes sense to them as they enter their 30s, as well as to fans who are now more concerned with careers and families than MTV and lip gloss.
Certainly when McLean was teamed up with Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson (who left in 2006 to pursue a career in musical theatre), they didn’t have many illusions about pop music success. Maybe there’d be an album and a few hits, but not a 15-plus year run resulting in six albums selling over 100 million copies. "That’s just nuts, you kinda have to pinch yourself," McLean says.
"I’ve been saying this for years, that it still hasn’t hit me. Even at the tippy-top of our career, with the Millennium record and Black and Blue, I don’t think it hit me that we’re the group that we’re looked at as.
"We’re still just four guys that love to sing and dance, a bunch of dorks from Florida and Kentucky that get to do what we love to do. We’re just normal guys, but people put you up on a pedestal . . . and that brings a certain pressure. But we’re not perfect and we don’t pretend to be perfect."
McLean has joked that if the Backstreet Boys ever collaborated on a book about their experiences, it would rival War and Peace in terms of size, with a litany of Hard Day’s Night-style moments where legions of fans kept them barricaded in hotels. "Sometimes it’d be fun, other times it could be scary, or even sad," he recalls.
"We were constantly reminded of how crazy things could be; on the Black and Blue round-the-world trip we were in Rio and we were just doing radio and TV interviews in a hotel, and 48,000 kids showed up. It was a little nutty; that’s the sort of thing you’d see happen to Michael Jackson or Madonna. We’re just a bunch of good ol’ boys from the South.
"We just thought we were making pop music, but something like that is very awe-inspiring and it’s a kick in the butt to remind you what you’re actually doing."
Such a book would also have to deal with the man responsible for Backstreet Boys, boy band guru Lou Pearlman, recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for a number of failed financial scams. Working with former New Kids on the Block manager Johnny Wright, he put the Florida quintet (as well as *NSync and, to a lesser extent, acts like Aaron Carter and O-Town) into the spotlight, but understandably McLean’s feelings about his former manager are bittersweet at best.
"I think everything happens the way it’s supposed to, either good, bad or indifferent, but karma is a bitch," he sighs. "We do pay tribute to him for just giving this thing a chance to take off, and we will forever be in his debt for that.
"At the same time, Justin (Timberlake) said it perfectly: what goes around comes around. It’s what we expected was going to happen at some point, we just didn’t know when. It’s unfortunate and sad, but we’ve managed to come out on top as better businessmen and I hope as better artists."
On their latest album, Unbreakable, Backstreet Boys don’t shy away from danceable pop and earnest ballads, but there are also tracks that don’t rely as much on big production and show real growth in terms of sound and writing.
Making records now is a big change from what McLean refers to as the "dictatorship" of their early days when everything was planned out for them. But he says he feels the reason the group is still around is because they learned early the importance of fighting for creative control.
"We’ve definitely earned it, and we’ve definitely learned a lot from songwriters and producers that we’ve worked with," he says. "Now we see bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead take control over their careers and to hell with the record companies, making it all about the music and the creativity.
"I love it, I’m in full support of it, and I think that’s why we’ve been more hands-on with this record than with any previous record, and I can only imagine where we’ll be with the one that we’ll start making next year. We’ll be more in the loop with the sound and the songwriting, and we’ve often talked about getting to the point where we’re doing all the writing ourselves.
"We’re not there yet, but we’re always learning about the writing process and the production expertise we’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with."

SOURCE : Mike via LD

PS: Traduction sur demande !

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