98 Degrees Offer Boy Bands Advice: ‘Stay Away From Taylor Swift!’

Reunited foursome gives sage advice to newbies One Direction and The Wanted.

98 Degrees are OGs when it comes to navigating the politics of pop music. And as they stage their own comeback this year, they have some sage wisdom for newbies like One Direction and The Wanted.

“Surround yourselves with good people,” Jeff Timmons told MTV News last week, when the fellas stopped by to talk about their new single “Microphone.” “I mean, not to get too serious about it, but that’s one thing that I think that we didn’t always have. We didn’t always have folks looking out for us the right way. Surround yourselves with good people; enjoy the ride.”

“And stay away from Taylor Swift!” Nick Lachey added. “She’ll write a song about you… Oh! I’m too late on that one. I didn’t get to [that advice] fast enough. [The song will] be a hit, but it will be about you.”

Lachey, who married fellow pop star Jessica Simpson at the height of their superstardom, knows a thing or two about dating fellow chart-toppers, but he’s not sure the newbies really need his advice. “They’re making money,” he said. “They don’t need our advice.”

One reason he didn’t have too much to offer is the stark difference between the pop scene then and now — namely how accessible pop stars are thanks to a 24/7 news cycle and the dominance of social media. “I’m very thankful we didn’t have any of the Twitter and camera phones and all that stuff when we were going through it the first time cause that’s a whole nother element that we didn’t have to deal with,” Lachey said. “A lot of respect for these guys who have to deal with that as young people, that’s really tough.”

Another major difference is how fans feel about the music. Drew Lachey thinks fans are more open to supporting multiple acts at a time, unlike in the late ’90s explosion when fans were pledging their allegiances to one band over another.

“I think most fans that are fans of pop music have gotten to the point where they are fans of the genre in general. Of course they’ll have their favorites, but they’ll appreciate the genre. As opposed to saying ‘I’m this one’s fan.’ Or, ‘I’m this one’s fan.’ I think is music kind of become a little less segregated and it’s more for the masses now.”