Backstreet Boys' charming wild one tests the waters of a solo singing career, speculates on how marriage will change the group, and predicts who will win tge Boy-band battle
Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean has been busy making a new name for himself (we all know who that is) Johnny No Name. Under the mysterious moniker, AJ's alter ego headlined a solo tour across the USA thispring, covering heavy tunes like Rage Against Machine and Stone Temple Pilots and as usual Backstreet Boy ballads. Here, AS reveals his plan for 2 new projects and his future with Backstreet Boys.
YM: What can you do as Johnny that yo can't do with AJ?
AJ: Johnny and AJ are like night and day. Johnny has no fear. He says and does whatever he wants to onstage. It's a whole different vibe than the BSB thing. But I did ask all of them if they were ok with me doing this during our downtime. They were all very supportive, especially since the proceeds are going to the VH1's Save The Music Foundation.
YM: Do you think Johnny NoName's fans are any different from AJ's?
AJ: They're raunchier. Onstage at backstreet Boys shows I usually get teddy bears, candy, and flowers thrown at me. Johnny gets panties and bras.
YM: How did you come up with Johnny No Name, and why does he speak with a British accent?
AJ: Our drummer had bought me this cool velvet jacket, and the label read, "Johnny Suede, Dressed to Pimp." Then, on the last tour, people caught on to the Happy Gilmmore alias I use in hotels and I had to change my code name. I started going by Johnny Suede when I was playing small show's with the BSB's backing band. Johnny Suede just envolved into Johnny No Name, 'cause he's an "every guy" type, As for the accent, I justwanted him to be different.
YM: You make jokes about BSB in your show. How do you they feel about that?
AJ: It's all in good fun. Johnny disses everyone in the intro to the song "Bad To The Bone" and talks about their nicknames are stupid. Brian's is B-Rock, so johnny says stuff like, "Why would you like to be a rock? You get stepped on whenever you go, run over, and dogs pooop on you!"
YM: All jokes aside, is it rough not having the rest of the guys on tour with you?
AJ: The first couple of shows felt really weird. I'd turn aroun thinking Brian would come sing his part, Kevin would tell a story, or Howie and Nick woule do a dance. Wthout them, I really have to rely on myself. As you can see you can tell by my [scratchy] voice and the hottea in my hand, it's killing me!
YM: How will Johnny No Name album in the work be different from the AJ McLean solo album you're planning?
AJ: As AJ, I want to do more of an R&B pop thing, like D'Angelo. Johnny's will be more like LImp Bizkit, with a hip-hop feel. There will even be difference in the pictures inside each album. On johnny's I'm thinking the band will be sitting on a white furry couch, with a black carpet going up in flames in front of us. They'll be dressed, but I'll be naked, holding a pillow in frot of my crouch! AJ's will be more conservative. I'll just wear a ciwboy hat and crazy hair.
YM: Which one will you record first?
AJ: Probably Johnny's, because it's easier to write rock songs, which are more about getting people pumped up and jumping around. It's harder to write R&B songs, because they're more spiritual and from the heart.
YM: When can we run out and buy them?
AJ: It'll be probably be a while. Backstreet Boys will be in the studio-in New York, in Sweden, or at home in Orlando-until the end of August. Then, in September or October, we'll probably rlease the first single and launch our world tour, which will last through December 2001. So it would be after that before I'd able to do anything on my own.
YM: What's the vibe going to be like for the next Backstreet album?
AJ: We're going to the Bahamas for ten days to start writing and producing it. It will be interesting to see what comes up with withoutour girlfriends, fianc?, ansd security around. We'll be moving away from the computer-generation stuff. Nick is really adamant about playing live drums, and Kevin would like to play piano more, so we'll probably akk pick up instruments this time around. We'd like to try to beat Millennium, but it's more about the quality of the music than just wanting to sell 15 to 20 million albums.
YM: Do you feel any presssure to sell more albums than 'N Sync did with No Strings Attached?
AJ: I know it bothers some of the other guys more than it bugs me. I do hope we beat their record, but I don't want anyone to think it's Backstreet Boys against 'N Sync. There's subtle competition between us, but behind the scenes we're all friends. When it really comes down to it, I think Backstreet Boys stand alone in our singing ability, and our next album is going to blow everyone away. When it comes out, all the other groups are going to go bye, bye, bye!
YM: Which BSB member do you think will be the next ti di a solo project?
AJ: Probably Nick, 'cause he likes the spotlight as much as I do. He really loves Nirvana and other rick acts, but I don't know if he'd di the rebel thing or gothe nore mature route.
YM: Speaking of maturity, do you think that Kevin's and Brian's upcoming marriage will mellow the group?
AJ: Of course getting married will change their prespectives. It might have an impact on our style, but we'll still be the same group. We want to settle down, have families, and just be normal. I'm not ready for that yet, but I do have a girlfriend.
YM: Rumor has it that you're shopping for a ring, too.
AJ: That's what everyone's saying. It started in Tampa [where Nick lives],so I blame it on Nick for that one!
YM: If your solo career takes off, would you abandon the Backstreet Boys?
AJ: I do some solo stuff and everyone thinks I'm quitting the group! I love those guys and I love what we do I'd never leave backstreet Boys.