By JERRY WOFFORD
Drew Lachey talks about the band’s return
Drew Lachey was surprised how quickly he and his bandmates in 98 Degrees found their sound again after several years apart.
Preparing for that tour in 2013, Lachey, his brother Nick, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons soon found what sent their pop and R&B vocal creations to the top of the charts.
“It kind of awoke a sleeping giant, like, ‘Oh, we miss this! We enjoy performing together and making music together,’ ” Drew Lachey told the Tulsa World in a recent interview.
Lachey and 98 Degrees are bringing that music back to Tulsa on Saturday, with a heavy dose of pop nostalgia coming along on the MY2K tour, also featuring O-Town, Dream and Ryan Cabrera. The show is set for Brady Theater, with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Lachey talks about why they wanted to come back, the reception from fans and the possibility of new music while dealing with a changed music industry.
What was it about that tour three years ago that motivated this tour?
I think it was the fact it had been so long since we had performed together and getting back on stage together on the tour was kind of the catalyst. It kind of awoke a sleeping giant, like, “Oh, we miss this! We enjoy performing together and making music together.”
So that was kind of what spurred this on with the fact we realized now over the passage of time, we’ve learned to appreciate the opportunities we’ve been given and how much we enjoy performing together and working together.
How were you surprised by the reception?
It’s been very flattering and humbling. There’s no real way to put it other than we’re excited that our fans have missed us, and we’re excited to get back out in front of them. The last tour, it was electric with the connection with the audience. To have the fan base that, even after all these years, is excited to hear your music and see you perform, that’s a huge compliment.
What was it like getting back into that grove of touring and performing? Or was there a new groove you had to discover?
On the last tour, we had our families out with us, so that was definitely an adjustment to being young guys just out on the road together and being responsible for no one other than yourself. But on the MY2K tour, we’re going out on the road just the four of us and our band, then flying home on days off to see our families. So yeah, there are adjustments logistically and schedule-wise you have to make and compromises you have to make, but for the most part, just physically, skill-wise and practice-wise, it was kind of like riding a bike when we got back together. The sound came back, the harmonies came back. We’re fortunate we were able to recapture our sound again.
What set 98 Degrees apart from other vocal groups at the time?
I think it was our sound. Our vocal sound. It was always a little more harmony based than other groups. We modeled ourselves after groups like Boyz II Men or Four Tops, the Temptations, more vocal harmony groups were our inspiration. I think our vocal sounds and harmonies were our biggest difference.
And you guys were with Motown Records and you wrote most of your own music, so that added a few different layers there.
Sure, every group has their different strengths and different focuses and things that set them apart, but yeah I think being on Motown and having the R&B influence to our music and our vocals, it definitely was one of the things that made us different from the other groups. Not better, not worse, just different.
When you guys were putting together “2.0” in 2013, how was that process different from earlier albums? Do you see that process changing as you go forward?
The industry has definitely changed a lot in the last 20 years — the way people solicit songs, the way albums are put together, advances, publishing, every aspect of music has changed. So for us, going back into the studio, we kind of have to learn a new business model as we’re recording.
We’re definitely much more educated now as to the new music industry, but I think there is less of a focus on album sales and more about the connection to your fans, which is something we’re 100 percent supportive of, and that’s the way we prefer it. Our fans have been so supportive of us for decades. They’re the ones that have given us this opportunity to come back and supported us, so we love being able to get back out in front of them and make music.
In that way, you have kind of a 20-year head start of building that fan base.
Yeah, it’s great. We just have to catch up on the social media front and all that kind of fun stuff. I feel like my grandparents a lot of times. But slowly but surely we’re getting there.