Thursday, November 8, 2018

Jessie Godderz, Jeff Timmons talk ‘The Girl Is With Me’ music video

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by Nir Regev

Jessie Godderz, Jeff Timmons talk The Girl Is With Me music video - Photo Credit: Jessie Godderz, Jeff Timmons

FanSided spoke with Big Brother wrestling superstar Jessie Godderz and 98 Degrees’ founding vocalist Jeff Timmons about “The Girl is With Me” music video.

Fresh off his Space Pecs appearance on Big Brother, “Mr. Pec-Tacular” Jessie Godderz recently teamed up with 98 Degrees’ world renowned singer Jeff Timmons for “The Girl is With Me,” a throwback to classic hits of the 90s. The light hearted music video for the new single is evanescent in nature, yet captures a certain universal moment in life. Two friendly rivals trying to impress and win over a romantic interest while sending verbal jabs and not-so-subtle body language for the other to make their exit. In this case, “Mr. Pec-Tacular” and Timmons vie to win the heart of Big Brother’sMorgan Willet in the “The Girl is With Me” music video!
FanSided spoke to the star vocal duo about what went into the making of “The Girl is With Me” single in the studio, inspirations for its amusing music video, and how the whole project began originally from LinkedIn to liftoff.
FanSided.com: I read on PEOPLE that you guys essentially created this whole project off a LinkedIn conversation originally! Which is pretty fun to imagine. Did it originally go, “Hey, you wanna be on Men of the Strip?” and Jessie was like “Nahhh brahh,” is that how the whole conversation started?
Jeff Timmons: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s exactly right! He was like, “No bro,” he was not interested in hosting it. He didn’t wanna do it, rightfully so. (Laughs) I can understand from an outsider perspective what it might have sounded like, to be honest. Even as a host it could make someone a bit trepidatious.
We ended up talking about music, and at first he was reluctant to do it… But then he came back and reconsidered. And of course the rest is history! Now everyone is telling him how great he sounds, and he should be proud of himself because he sounds fantastic on the song!
How did you go into the studio originally, Jessie? Did you take vocal lessons prior?
Jessie Godderz: I had a little bit of a background. Last time, I sang, granted was in high school, but it wasn’t something that I did all four years. I was in choir and in swing choir. So it was a passion of mine and it was fun to do… I also did it for the girls that were in swing choir to dance with them and stuff like that! (Laughs) But after that I really was just singing in the car and things of that nature.
I kind of alluded to that with Jeff, and he knew he had something to go off of. Then when we got into the studio he was able to give me a couple of tips that helped tremendously. There was a little bit of natural talent that I was a little shy about but once we were there for a couple hours it was easier for me to try to belt out a few notes because of Jeff.
I thought the “The Girl Is With Me” music video had this real universal appeal with the whole “competing over a girl in a bar” concept. It also had kind of a 90s feel to it! Was that what you’re going for? Something reminiscent of those days?
JT: Absolutely! I’m glad you thought that! Yeah, that’s kind of what we were going for. I mean my group 98 Degrees is best known as a group that emerged in the late 90s, early 2000s. I think that our fanbase, and obviously Jessie is much younger than I am, and his fanbase owns a more universal demographic with him being a wrestler. He appeals to as many men as he does women with all the stuff he’s done with Pop TV and Impact Wrestling, he’s got a more diverse fanbase than I do.
I have a mostly female demographic but the majority of the fans that we were trying to appeal to when marrying the two of us into one song was that sort of 90s feel. That throwback crowd which is en vogue and has been reemerging since the New Kids on the Block came back and all these reunion tours going on and the I Love The 90s tour. We’re definitely trying to appeal to that demo.
I noticed in the music video Jeff kept trying to charm the girl and make her laugh in the lyrics but Jessie responded by simply flashing his abs…
JG: (Laughs) Don’t let Jeff fool you! He’s in great shape. It was just like “that’s what it happens” (laughs) I think we pulled it off pretty well!
JT: Lyrically, we wanted to pay homage to this early 80s Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson song called “The Girl is Mine” and they play back and forth with guys fighting over the same girl. It’s a bit before your time! (Laughs) But we wanted to do a modern day sort of tongue-in-cheek version where we’re poking fun at ourselves a little bit. But, yeah I mean I think it wasn’t necessarily brains versus brawn, it was two guys fighting for the same girl and arguing over it. As you mentioned earlier, a lot of people can relate to that. I think everybody at one point can relate to it, even friends!
Even close friends, sometimes you know that are single will sometimes be fighting over the same girl or trying to impress the same girl. Whether it be a bar or party or whatnot.
Yeah, I liked at the end of the video with the competition between you two eventually there’s two girls… But you still go home alone. 
JG: (Laughs) Yeah it got real, real quick for us!
Jeff, how long did it take you to write the lyrics to this song? What’s your writing process in general like for this kind of thing?
JT: You know, there’s all different ways that we do it. I’ve worked with a lot of different people and I’m always excited to work with new people. I’ve produced a lot of music for other artists. But you know, I think traditionally the process is: I’ll come up with a team of two other guys that I’ve been close with for years that I’ve produced a lot of tracks with over the years.
Sometimes we’ll come up with a track first and the beat, and then we’ll write melodies and lyrics over that. Or sometimes I’ll start the melody, and connect the recorder to my phone and I’ll go back to tweak lyrics and build a track around that. So this one, I specifically thought okay, what makes sense for Jessie and I to be on a song? Let’s do a modern day, fighting over the girls kind of song. We had the concept in mind before we did that. One of my co-production partners had already written a track, and it had this great throwback ’90s feel. And then, we wrote the lyrics, and did the concept and left a bit of it open for Jessie to be involved with. That’s one of the things we really like to do is have the co-artist involved with the writing part of the production process.
Traditionally, most producers will wanna be like, “Nah, I wanna do it all!” but I think it adds a little more feel to it, a little more growth to the project when the person involved is also a part of the writing process. So that’s what we did with this one!
I know it’s common in the industry to sometimes be flipping channels on TV and suddenly find someone you wanna work with. Was that how you found Jessie originally? I noticed you mentioned Impact Wrestling earlier. Or was it more like LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” connection feature?
JT: How did we get connected originally Jessie?
JG: Yeah, that’s what it was for me, I just crossed over his profile. I saw he was doing all these different projects, he was doing a lot of moving and shaking. Jeff’s awesome! Jeff’s doing like 500 different things all at the same time while juggling bowling pins up in the air, so I passed by that and saw he was super hard working. I reached out to him and told Jeff I’d love to work with him pretty much in any capacity.
JT: When I explored Jessie’s social media I saw he was very prolific on there, has a number of projects going on, always finds a way to put himself out there and keep relevant. I mean, Jessie’s got a ton of followers on Twitter. I thought man, this could be a really cool way to tap into a new fanbase for both of us!
You brought in Morgan from Big Brother to the music video and she looked like she was genuinely having a great time doing it. Jessie’s obviously known for Big Brother. Is that how that came about?
JG: Oh yeah! So I reached out to one of my friends Rachel Riley and she was busy that day but she said she had another friend which was Morgan. And Morgan arrived within not even 24 hours notice. Like she was super stoked for it, showed up and super professional like she’s been there before. We couldn’t have asked for someone better for the role! It couldn’t have worked better, and it was the first time we all got to meet and hang out. She had a phenomenal time!
Jessie, you have a new Amazon show New Dogs, Old Tricks, what was it like filming it?
JG: It was a lot of fun because we had a lot of input on our characters! So when director Candice [T.] Cain in the beginning stages of the first couple of episodes, she was like, “How do you envision this character? Is this like what you were really doing?” It’s like a college setting with fraternities and things of that nature and I’m one of the lead guys.
There’s a couple of rival fraternities and she kind of just wanted to go in-depth like, “How you would really be like” and like that sort of thing. She got to show one different side at the beginning of the season then a lighter, bigger heart side of us later in the season. And it was in conjunction with that, when I became more of a relevant character in the show, that we were able to also incorporate the song as well. I’m pretty sure episode 8 is the one it’s on. It’s one of the best projects I’ve done to date because I get to show a different side of myself, and people are really enjoying it which is cool. It was a phenomenal experience.
Jessie Godderz, Jeff Timmons talk The Girl Is With Me music video - Photo Credit: Jessie Godderz, Jeff Timmons
How do you generally prepare for an acting role? I’m sure you prepared differently for “The Girl Is With Me” music video than New Dogs, Old Tricks, for example. Do you have a certain method or ritual that you always practice in the morning or just go straight in?
JG: Yeah, I mean I’ve been wrestling since 2009. And I’m sure Jeff has a lot of input to add on this. Like live television and a live performance is completely different than when we shot the music video. I was super nervous because obviously, I was out of my element. Jeff helped me get over that, plus we were over there for quite a while. I think we got so wrapped up into it, we wanted to put the best sound out there, so we continued to hammer it out. And all those nerves went away! Especially, because of Jeff.
What I did to prepare for it? I knew that I wanted to do the best I could in that and then let Jeff take it from there. But when it came for acting stuff, “Mr. Pec-Tacular” Jessie Godderz can’t be “Mr. Pec-Tacular” Jessie Godderz if he’s not in shape. So it’s not just a one day thing. I gotta stay in shape 365, 24/7, 7 days a week. All the hard work towards that has been done. I can eat normally, just show up, maybe put some spray paint and look TV ready, when it comes to any kind of acting gig.
But I don’t go through a regimen of like calling myself names or memory exercises or anything like that if that’s what you’re getting at. (Laughs)
In PEOPLE, you two compared diets while shooting the music video, that Jeff couldn’t eat pizza and stuff like that. Is it true? No pizza?!
JT: Well yeah, I mean obviously, Jessie is a professional! He’s competed in professional competition. I’ve had like beach muscle that I’ve tried to maintain since like high school football and college football and stuff like that. I’m not anywhere close to the kind of physical specimen-like shape that Jessie is. But I did want to know what diet he’s on! I’m at least ten years older than him and unfortunately, part of being in the entertainment business is the way you look. And it’s a big part! Above and beyond talent or anything else.
People first judge you, the way they see you, on the screen or in videos and live performances and concerts. So my ground in general we try to maintain being in good physical shape. But I wanted to know what he does! I mean I lift weights and I’ve been sort of on the acting/keto diets for many, many years. But I was like, “Man how do you get to look like this?” So he’s on the opposite side with a high carb diet sponsored by a high carbohydrate supplement company. And he looks amazing! So, I was just like, “How do you do it? What do you do?” So we got into that a little bit and routines but I certainly have a lot to learn from him.
I mean I don’t think my body is capable of looking like that! (Laughs) But he gave me some great advice and great tips along the way.
So you’re a big believer in what Steven Tyler says about always keeping in shape as a front man?
Steven Tyler about staying in shape to Sunday Times Magazine circa 2007:
I have to watch what I eat because I have this ongoing nightmare that I’m going to put on weight and end up looking like some of the other rock stars of a certain age who bounce around the stage. You look at them and think, “Oh my God, what happened to you? How did you let yourself get like that?”
JT: Well you have to, and not only that when you tour and get older there’s so much wear and tear. We’re about to go on a 39-city tour and you can’t afford to eat bad or not take care of yourself. You can’t afford to not take care of your body. Just the show itself, if you’re putting the right energy into it, and effort into it to relay the show the way you want it. And to have the impact on the fans the way you want, you have to put a lot of effort into it. It’s a very physical thing believe it or not, there’s a lot of cardio that goes into it, then traveling and all that stuff. Steven Tyler is definitely right!
Your fans forget for the most part that you’re still a regular person at the end of the day. They create this image of you based upon when they became fans, and they expect you to resemble that when they see you. All of that ties into that you’re still a product that gets sold out there, and luckily for Jessie and I, we get to be creative and do entertainment for a living. It’s a small tradeoff to live your dream and have a lot of fun in the process!
Jessie, do you still compete in bodybuilding competitions now while you’re on the road with TV and wrestling and everything?
JG: As of right now, no. I haven’t had any competitions for a while. But I have kicked around the idea. I mean I’m not too far away from being able to step up on stage with what I’m naturally able to just carry myself at. The hardest part is just the nutrition part of it. You really have to hunker down. Jeff definitely knows it.
The mind set when it comes to bodybuilding, is you need to start living your life around eating. As opposed to eating around your life. Which the vast majority of America and everybody else does. That’s just the tradeoff, you know, because it is your job. So, I haven’t competed recently but I have kicked around the idea of maybe doing a competition in the next couple of years.
You’ve wrestled primarily in Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground the last few years. Do you see yourself going to the WWE, maybe joining NXT like some of the other Impact Wrestling stars in the future?
JG: I definitely see myself continuing wrestling. What outlet or company that will be in, I haven’t quite decided yet, but I do know that probably sometime in the future, I’ll be stepping back on the canvas. I haven’t decided which way I want to go yet, to be completely honest with you. But obviously it’s a dream! Once you have that, a live crowd is so much different than on being on something that’s televised. Obviously, I’m sure Jeff you know. Just to position yourself for the camera… It doesn’t really seem like much but what you shot for those thirty seconds that you set up for three hours for, is how you’re going to be showcased.
A live event, as soon as you step out there and then all the way through the performance, we even go back out the curtains. You’re on! Like you’re entertaining, every single step, everything that you do! There’s nothing like it!
It’s one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever had in my life, where I do one thing in the ring and the entire crowd either boos or cheers. It’s like a euphoric like skin goosebumps moment and that doesn’t go away. Wrestling will always be with me. I’ll definitely be doing it soon. But for what organization I gotta weigh my options and make sure. That’s why I took this hiatus because I’ll be done with projects as of right now. They took precedent to knock them out of the park.
I saw you compete actually in 2014 with Impact Wrestling in New York. I thought you, Robbie E, and DJZ looked like legit stars right there! You guys gave a great show!
JG: Oh wow! A true BroMans fan! Yeah, DJZ just had his birthday this month on Oct. 5 and he was happy to see on Oct. 2 when me and Jeff’s music video came out! (Laughs) We still stay in contact, those guys were great! That was a great little stable that we had between the three of us and we all brought different traits and abilities to the table.
We had a certain shine and I think that’s why that it had such a lasting impression. I still get tweets and texts or emails and things like that because of it. You know, you gotta make the best of it and we had something that we definitely believed in and we just took off with it. Those characters were awesome!
Are you are you planning to do more stuff with Big Brother like Space Pecs in the future?
JG: It’s one of those things, where I’m always surprised to see what Big Brother and CBS have for me. That one really blew me away! If you had told me ten years before that something like that was gonna happen, where the competition was going to be completely based on something I came up with and a character that I made in 2009… I wouldn’t have believed you! I always show up and they always surprise me, and they love working with me and obviously vice versa. It’s my first family!
They helped launch my wrestling career, they’ve continued to bring me back, it’s just a great relationship. It’s almost like I’m a staple now of the show, late in the season, which is pretty cool. I have no say in it if that makes any sense, they just call me up and then go from there.
Jeff, you’re touring with 98 Degrees right now?
JT: Yes! We just had a show on Oct. 12 at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach then we had shows at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. We embark on a Christmas tour that starts Nov. 1 and goes to Dec. 23. We did our inaugural tour last year and we didn’t know what to expect but it turned out great! And we decided to do it for a second year and hopefully we’ll get the same response as we did last year. I’m still fortunate that we’re still able to tour and have people come see us after all these years.
Do you think you might bring Jessie along on-stage and perform “The Girl is With Me” live?
JT: You know I’d love to do that! I hope that he’ll make it to one of the shows, so we can call him up on stage and do a little bit of it.
Are you planning to team up in the future to release another single?
JT: I think we both expected that there would be some reaction but were pleasantly surprised at the extraordinary amount of feedback we got. I’d love to work with Jessie in any capacity. He’s such a great guy, such a hard worker. The project has been a joy to be a part of and I’d definitely love to do it
JG: I definitely concur, if I get the opportunity, we will definitely run with it!
Jessie, how do you feel about singing live?
JG: Singing live? Well there’s only one way to find out, I’ll tell you that much! (Laughs)
JT: (Laughs)
Thanks guys!

Turn the holiday heat up to 98 Degrees

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Michael C. Moore

Holiday music and hits are on the set list for the Admiral Theatre visit by 98 Degrees — from left, Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Nick Lachey.

Justin Jeffre is a bit sheepish about the fact that the "Christmas Tour" of his band, 98 Degrees, touches down in Bremerton three weeks before Thanksgiving.
"It's the only way we can make it work," said Jeffre of the massive 36-show tour, which kicked off Nov. 1, runs through Dec. 21 and includes a Nov. 7 stop at the Admiral Theatre. "We really love doing it, and we want to hit as many places as we can."
Unlike their heydays, though, when they sold 10 million records between 1997 and 2002, Jeffre, brothers Nick and Drew Lachey and Jeff Timmons have other people to please beside their fans.
"We're all married and have children now," said Jeffre of the resurgent quartet, who turned down the heat following that torrid five-year stretch and were inactive as a band for more than a decade. "Part of the trick of making it work is finding that balance (between band time and family time), being able to manage both.
"Now, we make sure we take breaks and get home to see our families," he added. "We start earlier, but we also make sure we finish up earlier. I think we went right up to about Christmas Eve last year."
Jeffre said the quartet — which began testing the waters for a comeback with a few gigs starting in 2013 and now consider themselves revved back up to full swing — were in touch all during their hiatus, while they were all building their families and pursuing individual opportunities. Jeffre himself made an unsuccessful run for the mayorship in his native Cincinnati.
"We're friends. We're like brothers," he said. "It's always been something we've talked about, but we've definitely made the decision (to again be a full-time concern). We decided it wouldn't be worth it to just get together once in a while. It's too much work to put the machine back together."
The group — all native Ohioans — formed when Timmons, who had relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his career, invited Nick Lachey to come west and start a band. Lachey brought along Jeffre, his classmate from Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts, and younger brother Drew Lachey soon joined the mix.
After building a base in L.A., 98 Degrees were discovered and signed by Motown Records. Their first single, "Invisible Man," vaulted them into the ranks of teen-oriented vocal groups like the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. They embarked on what Jeffre called a "rocket ship ride" until they decided to pull back, and performed together only rarely until the reboot began.
One thing the band always has been into is Christmas. They're recorded several holiday albums, and embarked on their first major holiday tour in 2017. Jeffre said it was so much fun, and so well received, they just had to do it again.
"This year, we're trying to do a lot of songs that weren't on last year's tour," he said. "For the most part, this songs people have never heard us sing or perform."
That's the second set. The first is heavy on hits, the ones Jeffre said "fans wouldn't be happy if we didn't do."
Jeffre said that for the most part, 98 Degrees are feeling less heat — as in pressure — since reconvening than they did at the height of boy-band mania.
"We also have a lot more experience," he said. "We're better singers, better performers, and we know how to handle being on the road. We have a lot of fun, and the fans can really see that."
Jeffre described the fan base now as multigenerational, but still leaning heavily to the female side.
"We always joke that if you're a single guy, there's no better place to be than a 98 Degrees concert," he said.

98 Degrees Heads to Balboa Theatre 'This Christmas'

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Jeff Timmons chats about how 20 years later, the boy band plays on—even in San Diego this month

Balboa Theatre, crank up the AC please. It’s about to get heated when 98 Degrees takes the stage for 98 Degrees at Christmas on November 18. The reunited all-male quartet—calling them a “boy band” isn’t quite as apt as it was in the ‘90s—began touring to perform songs from their holiday albums last year, and this will be their first stop in San Diego. Sprinkling dad-joke banter between ballads like “Thank God I Found You,” “I Do,” and “Because of You,” the family show is meant to have a little something for everyone.
Here, founding member Jeff Timmons looks back on the past two decades, the band’s love for the holidays, and how, yes, they’re still “trying” to dance.

Give us the breakdown. How much of the show is the hits versus holiday cheer?

The tour involves everything we’ve done, really. We cover a lot of Christmas songs, we try to get our dance on—we’re not known as the best dancing group on the planet, but we move around and get the audience out of their seats. We had a Christmas album called This Christmas back in the day (1999), and last year released Let It Snow. We have fun doing those songs and pepper all of our hits in there too. And we throw a bunch of goofy stuff in there to keep it light—last year, we did a little Mr. Grinch section and a parody of “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. It’s just us being silly and doing stuff you wouldn’t expect, you know, 45-year-old grown men to be doing onstage. We’re keeping it light and still acting like we’re 22-year-old kids.

Is there anything you can’t do today that you could when you were 22? 

It’s the opposite. I think we’re actually better now than we’ve ever been. We’ve had another 20 years to develop our vocals! We’ve evolved as performers and as artists, not just singers. Being apart from each other and doing things on our own, we had to develop those things. I think our showmanship has gotten a lot better through the years. I mean, we used to not dance at all, and there are those who would argue that we still don’t. We were really young guys and posed ourselves as a vocal group, so we never really concentrated on moving around on stage or performance-ship.

Speaking of time apart, you had a stint in Chippendales during the band’s hiatus (2003–2012). Did you ever think that would end up on your résumé? 

Not in a million years. There’s a fallacy that I actually stripped in the show. No, I hosted the show. It was very professional, and then I created a trendier one, Men on the Strip, which Magic Mikeexemplified on the screen a couple of years later. It’s a fun culture. But especially when I started approaching it, it was still a bit taboo for ladies. With Men on the Strip, I’m proud I was able to develop it, and that it also might have been a catalyst for 98 Degrees to get back together—my wife said, “If you get out there, the group might see it and want to get back together now that you’re doing some stuff.” [At the time] Nick was obviously the rock star doing his thing, but I was doing a lot more production stuff behind the scenes. As far as bringing striptease into the group, we’ve talked about it but it seems to fall off the set list every time (laughs).

That’s a family-friendly choice. Is there anything you do regret from the past two decades with the band? 

Some of the outfits were horrible, certainly plenty of bad performances that you don’t want to remember, but wonderful memories at the same time. The biggest regret I have from when we were our hottest would be that we didn’t have as much fun as we probably should have. We took it a little too seriously. It was just us and us against the world. We were always under so much pressure. We weren’t enjoying when we were on the Tonight Show with Stevie Wonder or singing with Mariah Carey. Looking back, we had all these fun things, and we really didn’t get a chance to enjoy it because we were so stressed and working so hard. Now, I try to enjoy every moment… even being with our families during the holidays.

Why is the holiday season so special to the band?

For us, the five or six years we were on the road, we spent Christmas together. Our memories aren’t like everyone else’s, where they’re getting around the tree or celebrating with families. We had our own little family and, traditionally, we were in a hotel room or doing nothing because everything was closed down. It means a lot to us to share the holidays together. And now, all of us have kids, with the exception of Justin. Just the thought of being with your family is tradition enough for us. That’s probably a boring answer, but we really cherish and value it. 


Vanessa Lachey Gushes Over Her and Husband Nick Lachey's Dog Wookie: 'He's Our First Born'

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By 

Vanessa Lachey Wookie
He’s more than just a pet, he’s family! Vanessa Lachey couldn’t help but gush over her and husband Nick Lachey’s dog during a segment of “My Pet Tale” on Thursday, November 1.

Wookie looks like Chewbacca,” the 37-year-old Top Chef Junior host began a video for the Today show. “He is a mixed breed — Yorkie-Poodle mix — he’s about 15 to 20 pounds, so he’s a little guy.”
As for why the pair — who tied the knot in 2011 — opted for a tiny pup, Lachey explained: “We got him smaller so we can travel with him, because we travel a lot. He’s our first born.”
The Truth Be Told actress went on to detail how she and the 98 Degrees singer chose the name for their four-legged friend.
“Chewbacca from Star Wars is actually a Wookie, so we named him Wookie,” she gushed. “We got him 7/7/7, so we should have named him Lucky, so that makes him 11.”
However, just because the canine is getting up there in age, doesn’t mean he’s ready to slow down.
He has these moments of still being a puppy. He wants to run around and protect the kids and chase them,” she said. “It’s fun to watch. He still has this zest for life.”
Vanessa went on to note that Wookie made the couple “a complete family,” when they made the decision to get her, adding that the adorable pooch slept in each of their children’s nurseries when they were newborns.
“Having Wookie prepared me for being a mother to my three children,” Vanessa continued. “In a way where you are now responsible for somebody, or something, else as opposed to just yourself.”
Vanessa concluded: “Wookie makes our life better … we’ve had him for 11 years and every time we come home he’s still excited to see us and it’s a beautiful thing to watch and be a part of … he’s the best.”
Vanessa and Nick share three kids together: Camden, 6, Brooklyn, 3, and Phoenix, 1.

Giving you just one night: 98 Degrees ramps back up after a decade off

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BY ALAN SCULLEY


Nick Lachey has been television host, a reality television star, a dance contest competitor, an actor, a teen pop star (with 98 Degrees) and a music solo artist.
Wearing many hats suits him well.
“I’d like to think I’m kind of hard to label,” Lachey said during a late-October phone interview. “I enjoy being diversified and I certainly enjoy hosting and I enjoy music, obviously, both in a solo capacity and I still perform as a solo artist, and I clearly love what I do with the guys (in 98 Degrees). So I’ve always approached my career as not trying to put any kind of label on it or define it. As long as the projects are interesting and something I enjoy doing, just keep on working.”
But now, 22 years after he first came to notoriety as frontman of 98 Degrees, that group might be taking a central role in Lachey’s career once again. The group will play Cache Creek Casino on Friday night.
The group came together in 1996 in Los Angeles as a vocal quartet featuring four Ohio natives — lead singer Lachey, his brother, Drew, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons. Initially 98 Degrees was marketed as a teen pop group, riding what was then a major trend in pop music.
98 Degrees never achieved the mega-stardom of peers like the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC or Britney Spears, but the group did very well. After notching a gold album with the self-titled debut, the 1998 second album, “98 Degrees and Rising,” topped 4 million copies sold, while the 2000 album, “Revelation,” was a double-platinum hit. In all the group has sold 10 million albums, which includes a first holiday album, “This Christmas,” released in 1999.
Then in 2001, the group went on a hiatus that lasted more than a decade. Each of the group members took on their own projects during the hiatus, with the Lachey brothers getting considerable attention for their ventures and enough success that 98 Degrees seemed like it might stay in the rearview mirror.
In music, Nick Lachey released has released four solo albums (including the gold-certified 2006 release “What’s Left of Me”). But his biggest impact came through television.
Following his October 2002 marriage to singer Jessica Simpson, the couple starred in the popular MTV reality television series “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.” The series had a three-year run — just like their marriage, which ended in December 2005.
To this day, some people still associate Lachey, with “Newlyweds,” even though he has since married former MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, with whom he has three children. It’s a situation that he finds odd.
“I guess it’s a weird thing because it’s obviously centered around a chapter in my life which is closed and has been for a decade really,” Lachey said. “But it’s always interesting how much people still remember that show. So on that level, it’s flattering to have been part of something people enjoyed and was a success. Yeah, it is bizarre at the same time because it’s so not where my life is. It seems like ancient history to me and I’m sure to her (Simpson) as well.
“I’ve been lucky enough, thankfully, to go on and do quite a few things since then and host a lot of things,” he added. “So luckily for me my career has continued to evolve.”
Indeed, Lachey went on to host several television shows, including the a cappella singing competition show, “The Sing Off,” during its run from 2009 until 2014. He did another reality show in 2015, “Lachey’s: Raising The Bar,” which followed the lead singer and his brother, Drew (whose individual pursuits have included roles in Broadway productions of “Rent” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot”), through the process of opening a sports bar in their Cincinnati hometown.
Most recently, Nick Lachey competed in the 2017 season of “Dancing With The Stars.”
Drew Lachey won the second season of “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006 with partner Cheryl Burke. But Nick, who said he never considered himself much of a dancer, didn’t fare as well, finishing ninth in his season.
By then, things were gearing back up with 98 Degrees, which Lachey said, despite appearances, never broke up. The group reunited in 2012 and returned to action with the 2013 album “2.0” and a slot on that summer’s “The Package” tour with New Kids On The Block and Boyz II Men.
A headlining tour followed in 2016. Then last year, during the group’s 20th anniversary, the group decided to celebrate by making its second Christmas album, “Let It Snow,” and embarking on a holiday tour last November.
The tour was a success, leading to a second holiday tour this fall. Where at first it appeared that 98 Degrees might be only an occasional enterprise that would come together from time to time for different tours or projects, Lachey said the four members now consider 98 Degrees an active, full-time endeavor.
“We kind of view this as a year-round thing. We’re focusing on our holiday tour and this is kind of our big moment to be together for the year,” Lachey said. “But we’ve also done spot gigs throughout the year together. I think as long as we continue to enjoy performing together and the fans still come out and support it we’re going to keep doing it. We enjoy each other’s company and enjoy performing together so I really don’t see any reason to stop.”
And the group wouldn’t mind seeing Christmas music become an annual part of its activities.
“I think if that opportunity is there, we certainly would be very receptive to it. We toured last year to support the Christmas album (“Let It Snow”) and had such fun with it, why not? Why not try it for a second year and see how it goes. If we’re lucky enough to be a part of peoples’ holiday traditions and we’re lucky enough to be able do this again for years to come, that would be great.”
The future could also include new albums, including more Christmas albums sometime down the road, and regular albums could also be in play — if it seems like the market has a place for new 98 Degrees music.
“That’s a tricky one because we love making music together. So the immediate answer would be yeah, we’d love to be in the studio and make more music together,” Lachey said. “But the music business has changed so much in the way people consume music and where do we kind of fit into the landscape of new music coming out and so on and so forth. It’s definitely something we’ve talked about and we would love to do. I just think we have to get a better idea of what that would look like.”
For now, the holidays are on Lachey’s mind. This year’s Christmas show — a mix of holiday tunes and songs from the regular studio albums by 98 Degrees — will not be a re-run of the show the group presented last year.
“We didn’t want to come in and do the exact same show again,” Lachey said. “We definitely are doing some different covers. I think that’s probably the biggest difference. There’s still a lot of our own stuff on the first Christmas record and last year’s Christmas record. We’re also doing some different holiday covers in there as well this year to kind of mix it up. There’s obviously a lot of material out there to choose from so we wanted to do a different version this year. Hopefully everyone will like it as much as last year.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

98° bring early Christmas cheer to the Vogue Theatre

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The temperature rose inside the Vogue Theatre last night (November 6), but it wasn’t because of global warming. 98° brought early holiday cheer to Vancouver with a special evening of Christmas tunes and of course, ‘90s pop hits.
Nick and Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons, and Justin Jeffre released their eponymous debut album, 98°, in 1997. Two years later, they released This Christmas, a collection of covers of their favourite Christmas songs, plus originals. This Christmas remains one of their proudest works, so they commemorated their milestone 20th anniversary with a follow-up collection, last year’s Let It Snow.
Although the Vogue installed seats on the entire floor, fans couldn’t help but stand for several of the group’s best-known hits. On top of “Invisible Man,” “Because of You,” and “I Do (Cherish You),” 98° performed standards including “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and a swingin’ version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” They also shouted out Love Actually, which they called the best holiday movie of all time, with a version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Despite celebrating the best of Christmas music, 98° felt it was only fair – and just as necessary – to celebrate the worst of it, too. They went all-in on a Chipmunks routine, complete with high-pitched vocals. And depending on how one feels about Justin Bieber, this category also included “Mistletoe.” To 98°, though, they were merely paying tribute to one of the biggest pop stars today while visiting his home country.
Following an intermission, the Lacheys, Timmons, and Jeffre returned. They had swapped their maroon suits for red plaid, leather vests, and leather jackets (and a pocket chain). From this point on, the group picked up the tempo with “What Christmas Means to Me,” on which their keyboardist Roland got to shine, and their collaboration with Stevie Wonder, “True to Your Heart.” Meanwhile, their guitarist Mark got his own moment to shine when he finger-picked his way through nylon strings on “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” which flowed right into “Feliz Navidad.”
For the encore, 98° performed the piano-led “The Hardest Thing” and finally, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Frank Sinatra, bringing a touching end to a nostalgic evening.
98°’s dance moves and routines came straight out of a boy band playbook. They shuffled, spun, and swung their arms in choreographed sequences. They pulled one lucky female fan onstage and took turns getting down on one knee and serenading her while holding her hands. But 98° always set themselves apart from their contemporaries like the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC with their harmonies.
98° lean more towards R&B and soul groups like Boyz II Men. They even showed hints of a barbershop quartet. Sure, both the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC can fill larger venues than 98°, but on this not-so-silent night, the Vogue Theatre provided the perfect setting for 98°’s merry, heartwarming, family-friendly performance.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Watch 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons & ‘Big Brother’ Star Jessie Godderz Battle It Out for a Girl! (Exclusive)

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One has made a living with his pecs and one has wowed fans around the globe with his abs, but who will win the girl?
98 Degrees heartthrob Jeff Timmons goes head to head with Big Brotheralum Jesse Godderz, aka Mr PEC-Tacular, in the new video for their single, “The Girl Is With Me,” premiering exclusively on ET below.
The fun track sees Timmons and Godderz, an actor, wrestler and bodybuilder, vying for the attention of a sexy blonde (played by fellow Big Brotherstar Morgan Willett) while out a bar.
“It’s a little silly and cheesy, but that’s the point of the whole song,” Timmons tells ET. 
The two hunks decided to work together after connecting on LinkedIn, with Timmons initially asking Godderz to host his Las Vegas male revue show, Men of the Strip. Reluctant, the 32-year-old Tainted Dreams star later came around to the idea of giving music a go with Timmons instead.
Setting out to create a modern-day take on Michael Jackson and Sir Paul McCartney’s “The Girl Is Mine,” Timmons created the song concept and Godderz contributed some of the lyrics before the pair hit the studio to record.
“He was actually a lot better than I expected,” says Timmons of Godderz. “He could sing! He was very apprehensive at first, but then relaxed and it ended up being pretty incredible.”
The guys then reconvened at the YouTube Space in Los Angeles, California, to shoot the tongue-in-cheek video together.
While these days, Timmons is enjoying family life and wedded bliss with his beautiful wife, Amanda, the 45-year-old musician admits that the concept of competing for a girl’s love is all too familiar thanks to 98 Degrees’ heyday.
“When we were all single and first became popular, we were like kids in the candy store for the first time with having all the girls around,” admits Timmons, who is preparing to kick off the boy band’s Christmas tour on Nov. 1 in Winnipeg, Canada. “And when there was a certain girl one of the guys liked, pretty much all of us would like her. We had a friendly competition!”

So, who got to gloat, “The girl is with me,” back in those early days?
“Luckily, with boy bands, each guy usually has their own fan base, so I think it ended up working out an even split!” Timmons laughs.