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Backstreet Boys Making Way Back Into Fans' Hearts

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

This is not your older brother’s — or sister’s — Backstreet Boys. For starters, the pop vocal group looks different than it did

even three years ago, due to the June 2006 departure of Kevin Richardson to start a family and because, according to bandmate Howie Dorough, “he wasn’t exactly seeing eye to eye with the way the

music industry was going.”

The remaining four members — Dorough, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell and A.J. McLean — have kept going, but the group, which has sold more than 100 million records worldwide during its career, is no longer “Larger Than Life.” Its latest album, “Unbreakable,” has sold about 1.1 million copies worldwide since its October release. 1999’s “Millennium” sold more than that in its first week of sale in the U.S. only.

“We’ve obviously been through a transition, just like the music industry’s going through a transition,” says Dorough, 34, who co-founded the group in 1993 in Orlando, Fla. “I think every artist who wants to be around for a long time and have staying power has to go through that transition. Some records are gonna be bigger than others. Even Michael Jackson is compared to ‘Thriller’ (on) every record.

“All you can do as an artist is strive to make the best record you can and just ride the rollercoaster as it goes up and down.”

The Backstreet Boys are headed for a few dips and curves in the near future, too, according to Dorough. Both he and McLean are planning to release solo albums in the near future, following Carter and Littrell who have already made that plunge. Dorough — whose father passed away in June — says he will explore the Latin roots of his mother’s family, which hails from Puerto Rico, and he describes it as “kind of Latin-ish, English, Spanglish. It’s just a mixture of my American roots in pop music meets my Latin roots.”

But, Dorough promises, “Backstreet’s always gonna be number one,” and he says the group has already started working on its next album, with plans to hit the studio in earnest after its current concert tour.

“We’re looking at getting back into the studio quite quickly,” says Dorough, adding that Backstreet Boys may work again with Swedish producer-writer Max Martin, who worked with the group on “I Want it That Way,” “Shape of My Heart,” “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” and other hits. “We want to hopefully have something ready to go or at least be heavily into it by the end of the year and have something out towards the beginning of next year, hopefully.”

Backstreet Boys and Girlicious perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Aug. 8) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $75 and $39.50 pavilion, $20 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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