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4 Music

StarTwo

FRIDAY 23 December 2005

Still

here

With their first studio album in five


years, the Backstreet Boys seem to have
reappeared and are about to take the
world by storm. But how long are they in
it for this time, wonders NIKI CHEONG, as
he speaks to band member Howie
Dorough in a phone interview from
Florida.

OY bands from the past decade have


come and gone some more quietly
than others. While splits from bands
like Take That almost caused a national
emergency, others like 911 or Code Red just
disappeared into oblivion. Who? Exactly.
That said, many bands have taken the cue
from the Rolling Stones, with band members
doing their own stuff but not officially calling
it quits.
The Spice Girls did it, and every now and
then, rumours still crop up about a possible
reunion; Take That has just announced a
reunion tour (with, or without Robbie
Williams) and *N Sync is ... well, still taking
their break.

The Backstreet Boys (from front left): Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson, have reunited after a four-year
hiatus.
For the Backstreet Boys, their sabbatical,
in 2001, couldnt have come at a better time.
While the official word was that they wanted
to take a break after 10 years of non-stop

working, there was also the fact that fellow


Orlando boys *N Sync were proving to be a
major competitor. But the break gave the
group the rest they needed band member

A.J. McLean needed time to win his battle


with drugs, Howie Dorough and Kevin
Richardson needed time to mourn the death
TURN TO PAGE 6

6 Music
StarTwo

FRIDAY 23 December 2005

Loyal fans
of family members, and Nick
Carter and Brian Littrell had to
pacify their egos and work on
their solo careers.
But 2005, for better or
worse, saw the comeback of
this mega-popular band.
Their first major appearance
was, incidentally, in Kuala
Lumpur at the Force of Nature
concert, which coincided pretty well with the release of
their first single Incomplete
from their latest album Never
Gone (ironic, considering
theyve been gone for almost
five years).
While songs from the album
have yet to emulate their previous releases that topped the
US charts (their highest chart
ranking thus far for this album
is #13 on the Billboard Hot
100 for Incomplete), it seems
that support from the fans has
yet to wane.
We have the best fans in
the world, Dorough
explained. Theyve grown up,
weve grown up and our lives
and music have changed but
we still have their support.
Were so lucky to have fans
who are such loyal people.
Indeed, they have already
sold out indoor and outdoor
arenas across America and
Europe as part of their Never
Gone World Tour, which was
held in conjunction with the
release of Never Gone earlier
this year.

hey start the Asian leg of


their tour in January, culminating in Singapore on
Jan 24 before heading to tour
Australia. The concert will feature a string of their greatest
hits, as well as nine new
songs. Critics have already
hailed their concerts as a great
comeback, albeit much more
toned down from the usual
extravagant concerts which
have in the past seen them
flying across stages.
The tours have calmed
down a bit, were all getting
older, Dorough said. We still
do some of our trademark
dance routines for the older
songs but now, we also play
with the band Nick gets on
the guitar and Kevin on the
piano.
However, just like their
music and concerts, it appears
that their priorities have also
changed.
While Carter has released
his solo album to lukewarm
response, Littrell is also hoping to make it solo-wise, with
a Christian-inspired album
due out in early 2006 as well.
Even Dorough has been working on a solo record which he
said will be a Latin-English
crossover album.
I think its hard to deny
that each of us has dreams of a
solo career, he said.
But besides just trying to
get a bigger piece of the entertainment pie, it seems that the
Backstreet Boys dont live just

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for music anymore.
We try not to do things at
such a fast pace as we did
before. We realise what we
have, and what we need is a
good healthy balance. We
really need to enjoy it (making
music), Howie explained.
Which is fair enough, after
all, theyve been doing this for
13 years and there were
points, Dorough mentioned,
when they began to suffer
and resent the work that they
were doing.
Now, a little bit older, they
have other things to consider
such as their loved ones.
Littrell and Richardson are
married, with the former now
a father as well. Just last week,
the Backstreet Boys made an
appearance in New York sans
Dorough, who was instead in
Florida on the annual cruise
that his Dorough Lupus
Foundation, set up in memory
of his sister who died of lupus,
organises.
So where do the Backstreet
Boys go from here, with all
these new priorities in tow?
Backstreet Men?
Howie laughs: No, well
always be the Backstreet Boys.
Its not an age thing, over here,
we use the term boy to call
our buds, friends.
And besides, we feel that if
the Beach Boys and Beastie
Boys can get away with it, so
can we.
And as for the future of the
group?
If we feel like taking a
break, well take a break,
Dorough said. Well just play
it day by day.
So, perhaps their album title
doesnt mean that theyve
never really gone away, but
that they never will ... even
they dont know just yet.
The Backstreet Boys wont be
coming over to Malaysia as part
on the Asian leg of their World
Tour (Its a time factor,
Dorough explained. Of course,
were trying to get to everybody
but realistically its very hard so
we have to pick out certain
places which are strategically
most accessible to our fans.)
but they will be performing for
one night only at the Singapore
Indoor Stadium on Jan 24.
Tickets are priced at S$160,
S$125, S$95 and S$70 and can
be purchased online via Sistic
(www.sistic.com.sg).