by Chris Connelly
The men of 'NSYNC wouldn't be taking the stage for another seven hours, but a few hundred fans were already gathered outside the Rose Bowl gates, screaming their love on the first day of Celebrity's release. The fans might have been busy learning the words to the songs from the band's new studio album, but they already knew the tune: that even after years of ceaseless touring, recording and promotion not to mention selling more records in one week than anyone in SoundScan history with No Strings Attached these guys still enjoy their work, their fans and one another's company.
If Celebrity's dirty pop represents bonafide artistic growth for the group, what hasn't changed about them is just as impressive: They're still friendly, unpretentious and always willing to chat. And chat we did, about their songwriting, hooking up with Stevie Wonder and how their fame has affected their private lives ... or what's left of them.
Chris Connelly: You gave yourselves a huge writing responsibility on this record. Why was it so important for you guys to take that lead?
Justin Timberlake: I don't know if it was a conscious thing that we said, "We have to write our stuff." I think it's just something we've always wanted to do. We're realizing that we're getting the time to do it. We're also realizing that we're not having any insecurities about it ... that we can do it. It's one thing to go and write a song, but it's a whole other thing to go in and be turning knobs that you don't know what they mean. Now we know what they mean, [which] comes with experience being in the studio. We feel that we are in that place now, and we just wrote a whole lot of stuff after the No Strings Attached tour. [RealVideo]
Connelly: The big theme of this record is getting respect and earning respect. Who do you want respect from that you think doesn't respect you already?
Chris Kirkpatrick: When we talk about that stuff, it's all tongue-in-cheek. We're real happy with where we are. ... We're just having fun making the music that we love to make. We hear a lot of good feedback from what we do on tour and what we do on the albums. The most feedback we enjoy is from our fans, and what they like. I know we're happy with the record.
Connelly: JC, you say in the liner notes that this was the most difficult year of your life. Why is that?
JC Chasez: Just because it's been a roller coaster ride. This record is tough because we're trying to do three things at once. The last record, even though we had a lot of adversity, it was one thing at a time. You record the record, you promote it, you go out on tour and you breathe for a second. This time, it's everything at once. We were still recording while we were preparing and touring, and promoting all at the same time. The workload has been triple what it usually is. The tour has been nicer, because it's big and we have days off in between, but the days off are usually filled with something else. So your head's gotta be in three different places instead of totally focused on one thing at a time. [RealVideo]
Making studio magic with Stevie Wonder, their own worst critics and wondering if they can top themselves ... NEXT >>>