Backstreet Boys Rekindling Fire In Studio After Three Years

Group hopes to hit road with another reunited group following late-summer album's completion.

The Backstreet Boys are in sync again.

"It's been like three years since we've all been in the studio

together, so it's like the fire was rekindled," is how Nick Carter described the reunion during a recent break from recording. "We're in there experimenting and really cool stuff's coming out. It's not gonna be the same Backstreet. I mean, you're always gonna have Backstreet Boys, but the music's gonna change."

The group plans to update the teen-pop sound it mastered in the late '90s with a more mature approach to production and songwriting (see "Backstreet Boys Inspired By Oprah To Hit Studio Again").

"We're just not doing it like we did before, with the same sound we've always had," A.J. McLean said of the band's first LP since 2000's Black & Blue. "The vocals and harmonies are obviously gonna stay the same. That's us, we'll never change when it comes to that. But productionwise, we're definitely experimenting with different writers, different producers, and we're kinda going in there and just not

limiting ourselves this time."

So far, the Boys have been recording with the Underdogs, a production team that's recently logged studio time with Ruben Studdard and Stacie Orrico. Other producers will follow.

"We've got a list of producers we're gonna work with," Howie Dorough said. "We're accepting new material, seeing what we gravitate to and going forward."

"We're writing, too," Carter added.

Their album is due in late summer, with the first single arriving a month or so earlier and a tour to follow.

The Backstreeters would like to hit the road with another reunited group.

"Are Destiny's Child doing another album?" asked Kevin Richardson.

"Yeah, somebody like that," Carter answered.

"Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men and the Jackson 5 — that'd be a ticket," Richardson dreamed.

The as-yet-untitled new Backstreet Boys album marks both the group's reinvention and an important step for McLean.

"It's good to be doing my first record sober with the boys," he said. "That's a cool thing and I'm enjoying it. We're men now, you know? So life is good. I definitely appreciate all the support from our fans and can't wait to get back onstage and see all those smiling faces."

While the Backstreet Boys are recording, Carter will also be filming his first feature film, the horror movie "Brew."

"It's just some twisted stuff, the way I like horror movies," he

explained, adding that no other actors have yet been cast.

Carter's bandmates will also keep busy when not in the studio. Richardson, for one, will be promoting "Krumped," video director David LaChapelle's new documentary featuring music from Richardson's production company.

"It just got an honorable mention at Sundance," he said proudly. "It's about a dance movement in South Central L.A. It's a really interesting, beautiful story."

Dorough, meanwhile, has turned into quite the businessman.

"I bought five hotels already and a condo I'm very proud of," he said. "I'm workin' it like Donald Trump."

Life has not been quite so glamorous for new father Brian Littrell. "I'm still changin' diapers," he said. "It's all good."