Backstreet Boys talk about tour
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Date: May 22, 2099
Listen to the press conference in real audio by clicking here
By JOHN SAKAMOTO
Executive Producer, JAM!
TORONTO -- The Backstreet Boys will tour Canada and the U.S. from September to November with a theatrical, in-the-round stage set, the band announced at a news conference here, Friday afternoon.
"Our management is putting together the dates and venues now, and we'll have a meeting within the next week and lock those dates down, and the venues, so we'll be posting those real soon," said Kevin Richardson who, along with Howard "Howie D" Dorough, and A.J. McLean held court about their new album, "Millennium", in a downtown hotel, 33 floors above the hundreds of screaming girls who lined the streets outside. (The other two Backstreet Boys -- Nick Carter and Brian "B-Rok" Littrell -- were handling press duties in the U.S.)
McLean later provided a surprising amount of detail about the stage set-up. "The stage will be set up right in the middle of the arena. That way everyone can see us in the round," he said.
"We have 10 dancers -- five guys and five girls -- we have a six-=piece band. We'll be adoing a little bit of ... flying, that's all I'll say. We're just doing all kinds of new stuff. The show has 18 songs. We have a lot of music we have to cover. Basically it's most of the hits off the last album and all the songs, pretty much, off the new album. So it'll be about two hours long, and with lots of really cool costumes. We just worked recently with (the people) who worked with Janet Jackson on her Velvet Rope tour, so it's not like your typical, everyday clothing. We've got some pretty cool stuff that was designed specifically for us for the show. We have four different outfit changes."
Asked if the show will be the same in Canada and the U.S. as it will be in Europe -- the tour opens in Belgium on June 2 and stays in Europe till Aug. 7 -- Richardson nodded enthusiastically.
"That's something we're excited about, because sometimes after we'd do a tour in Europe, before we bring it to Canada and the U.S., we've had to go back into rehearsals and adjust it and tweak it because of different songs that are on the different albums and stuff, but this is going to be a more theatrical show. We had Mark Rabbit, who's designed stages for David Bowie and KISS, he helped us put our show together, so we're excited. We want to our fans, we want to blow them away with this one."
Other topics that came up during the news conference:
- On breaking America, Howie D had this to say: "I think Canada had a lot to do with America catching on. You guys, being our neighbour country, it eventually leaked down from the border, and America couldn't hold back no longer, hearing all buzz going on up here in Canada. So we owe a lot of our success to you guys."
- On the flood of new boy bands, the Boys addressed both sides of the coin. Howie D: "It's very flattering to know that we were the first ones to break the doors back down again for pop music, for groups like us to come back out, and to see other groups after us now coming in our success, like I say, it's very flattering to think that we were actually the first ones to bring it back again, and that's why we're constantly trying to break doors down and be trendsetters."
Anderson had a slightly different view: "I just want to say one more thing on that subject. It is flattering to us, but in a way it's kind of frustrating at the same time. It did take while for us to break the doors down at radio stations and at the different music channels, to play our videos and stuff. It's like once something becomes successful, every recrod company has to get their version of that successful thing happening at the time, and it floods the market and oversaturates it and it's kind of frustrating to me. But at the same time, I think it also keeps everybody in check and keeps the quality level up, because there is a kind of competition factor."
- On the band's large gay following, Howie said: "Our music is for everybody out there ... it's very flattering the gay community has taken a liking to our music. We have a very large gay fan base. I think our music's for everybody. To each their own. As long as they're liking our music, that's what's important to us."
- On critics, who've actually given "Millennium" -- of which BMG shipped 500,000 copies into stores across Canada this week -- relatively positive reviews, Howie D responded: "I think the only way for us to quiet the critics or whaterver is to just keep putting records out and keepp our fans happy. Because we're not trying to please the critics, we're tyring to please ourselves and our fans."
- On the business troubles the band has encountered over the past year, A.J. had this response: "With our new management, and a new beginning you could say with this new album, things are going to be a whole lot easier for us, and I'm just thankful that I can get up on stage with these guys now and not have to worry about the business side, not have to worry about money issues and all that stuff. I just want to be able to get up on stage with these guys and sing and dance and put on a kick-butt show for our fans, friends, and family, and that's it and that's all we want to do. And we're so much happier now, and things are going to be a lot better for this next year and hopefully for many years to come."
-On balancing the band's success with various personal tragedies,
A.J. said: "We came together, we're right now, to this day, the tightest we've ever been. No matter what the extreme -- Brian had surgery, Kevin and Brian lost their grandfather, Howie lost his sister, we were going through all kinds of legal battles, and we changed management -- it was just a huge emotional rollercoaster for all of us. But we had to come together and make a stand for what we wanted as a group. It couldn't be two of us wanted this and three of us wanting that. We came together and said, 'This is what we want to make us happy again'. Because honestly? We weren't happy. We were getting up on stage every night and, me personally, I felt like I was just getting up on stage just because I had to. But now we're back to just getting up on stage and wanting to be there and wanting to perform and wanting to be in the studio, and we're just psyched now. We're happy again."
Kevin: "We were approaching a burnout point, and people around us didn't really care about that. They were only looking at the financial side of things, short term, and weren't thinking about our health and our happiness, and now we have people around us that do. But we got through that by communicating with each other and sticking together, because at the end of the day the five of us are the ones that are in charge and control everything. And we have to be happy. And we are."
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