Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Timmons coming home for library benefit concert



Growing up in Massillon, Jeff Timmons remembers his father taking him to the local library.

As a young boy, the founding member of boy band 98 Degrees’ favorite read was “How to Eat Fried Worms.”

While his schedule today is much harder – juggling family life, a solo music career and jumping into other endeavors – Timmons says he still makes time to read.

“I try to read as much as I can,” he said. “Maybe a book or two a week.”

It seems fitting that the book lover would return home this week to help raise funds for the Stark County District Library’s Vote Libraries levy campaign.

Stark County voters passed a 5-year, 1-mill operating levy in 2004, and money raised through the levy has enabled the Stark County District Library to enter into partnerships with Plain Local Schools for the new Plain Community branch and with Stark Parks for reconstruction of the Perry Sippo branch.

In addition, the library has increased the size of its collection, increased operating hours, added computers and technology and added staff.

Timmons will hold a benefit concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Palace Theatre, 605 Market Ave. N.

“Anytime I can get back home is great,” the 34-year-old said. “I’m excited to come back and see some friends. I jumped at the opportunity to come home and support a great cause.”

Timmons stressed the $25 ticket price goes directly to the library’s campaign.

“All of the proceeds go the library,” he said. “I hope people come out to support the cause.”

Goodnight L.A., described as a catchy and bouncy band which will soon release its single “You Know Me,” will open the show for Timmons.

Timmons promises fans classic 98 Degrees songs but also a lot of material from his new album – which is set to be released this summer.

“It’s a new sound,” he said. “It’s a lot more up beat and fun.”

On his first solo album, “Whisper That Way” – which was released in August 2004 – Timmons said he was still finding himself and it reflected his career in a boy band.

His new album is much more solo-artist oriented.

“I got to do what I wanted,” he added.

Since beginning his solo career, Timmons has been working on a lot of different projects including a stint on VH1’s “Mission Man Band” – which paired Timmons with members of other successful boy bands including Chris Kirkpatrick of ‘NSYNC, Rich Cronin of LFO and Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd.

The show followed the newly-formed band as they prepared to make an album.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “Of course they edited the show (how they wanted to.) We had a lot more fun than what they portrayed on the show.”

Timmons said the group never intended to put out a record but the songs that were written and performed by the group were great.

While Timmons enjoys his singing career, he prefers to be in the studio writing and producing.

“It’s something I’ve been into for a while,” the father of two said. “It’s really my passion to be in the studio writing and producing.”

At the end of the month, Timmons will begin filming a new reality show which will follow him in the studio.

“It will follow me around the producing world. It will show the atmosphere of the studio and all the crazy people (in the production business) and the odd-ball experiences we have in the studio,” he said. “There will be a lot of guest stars and we’ll focus on a lot of the guys from the area – local guys from Massillon and Canton – that worked with me in the beginning.”

Timmons, who now calls Orange County, Calif., home, is also spearheading an alternative way to distribute albums in non-traditional markets.

“Right now, we have contracts all over the country to sell albums in grocery stores and convenience stores,” he said.

In his spare time, Timmons finds time for his children Alyssa, 9, and Jeffrey “Buddy”, 6.

“They keep me extremely busy,” he laughed. “And so does everything else.”

While it’s harder these days to stay in touch with his band mates from 98 Degrees, Timmons said a group reunion is a possibility.

“We talked about it last summer ... It definitely isn’t out of the question,” he said. “All of us our doing our own thing now so it gets harder to stay in touch with our own personal lives.”

Tickets for the show are $25 and all seats are reserved. Tickets are available at the Canton Palace Theatre Box Office and online at www.cantonpalacetheatre.org.