Catching Up With The Backstreet Boys


By Noah Michelson

Brian Littrell and A.J. McLean chat about crazy encounters with groupies and supporting their gay fan base.

You guys have a lot of gay fans, too. When did you first realize that you had a gay following, and do you have any kind of relationship with your gay fans?
A.J.: I think, I mean...
Brian: I have gay friends...
A.J.: Years and years ago, especially over in Europe, it's funny, a lot of the boy bands, a lot of the members that were in a lot of those boy bands were actually gay, and it was just something that was normal over there. Doing a lot of these outdoor festival shows, you would see a lot of gay men and gay women just chanting and going for it. It kind of started over in Europe, and we did this show with Divine Brown years ago and it was during gay pride, and we were unaware of who she was, we had no idea -- I didn't put two and two together with her and the whole Hugh Grant thing. And, you know, it was amazing. We have a huge gay following -- it's awesome. I, personally, am trying to get more and more involved with the gay and lesbian movement, very much so. I've got quite a lot of gay friends back in L.A. No on Prop 8. It is a really huge market, and people are people, it doesn't matter what you believe. And we make our music for everyone, and whether you're gay, straight, black, white, it doesn't matter. Young or old.
Brian: Yellow or red.
A.J.: Music touches everyone, and if our music touches the gay community, I think it's awesome. I think it's absolutely brilliant. We're actually going to be doing the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco. We are the Grand Marshals. We're going to perform -- it's before we do our show in San Francisco. So I'm looking forward to that -- we all are. It's going to be fun.
Brian: We are not here to judge, we are here to love.
A.J.: Absolutely.

Is there a song from your catalog that you hate or wish that you never had to perform again?
A.J.: There's one that is the general consensus of the group, and unfortunately this song was written by an absolutely amazing songwriter, Mutt Lange. But I think it was Mutt's approach to being a Max Martin'type song. It was called, "If You Want it to Be Good, Girl, Get Yourself a Bad Boy."
Brian: And that's one of the longest Backstreet Boys titles in history. Probably one of the...
A.J.: It was a political thing. Our record company was friends with him. They wanted the song on the record.
Brian: They managed him.
A.J.: Yeah. We were like, "No." We've never performed it live. It's actually in our show, now, as the end of Brian's video. We each do four individual films that we've been kind of CGI-ed into. I do Fight Club, Howie does The Fast and the Furious, Nick does The Matrix and Brian does --
Brian: Enchanted, the Disney --
A.J.: Enchanted. And at the end, when the dragon comes up, that song's playing. So that's the only way that song will ever get into any of our shows. Ever.
Brian: I always say, "If we were Shania Twain, then it would be cool." But we're not Shania Twain.
A.J.: Man, I feel like a woman. Like that? Yeah. That song sucks. It's horrible.

On the flip side, if you had to pick one song from your catalog that best describes the Backstreet Boys, or one that you think is most representative of your career so far, what would you pick?
A.J.: Let's not go with the predictable. Let's try something different. I would say, "I Want it That Way," but let's try something different. I don't know, because that's the one we always say, so I'm drawing a blank.
Brian: Well, I'm going to go with the new record, This Is Us, and go with the song called "Undone." It happens to be my favorite song on the record, and the Backstreet Boys are unfinished, we're undone. There are new memories, new things that we want to do. So for the future, I would go with that. But for the typical, boy band label, I would have to say we'll probably still go down in history for "I Want it That Way."

For the latest info on the Backstreet Boys, including a full list of their summer tour dates, visit their official website.

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Tags: Music