Jeff Timmons is a founding member of the platinum selling singing group 98 Degrees. He along with members Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre have sold over 15 million albums worldwide and are responsible for such hits as “The Hardest Thing” and “I Do (Cherish You).” After the group went their separate ways, Timmons focused on a solo career and appeared on the VH1 reality show Mission ManBand where former pop group singers (*NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick, LFO’s Rich Cronin, and Color Me Badd’s Bryan Abrams) joined forces and worked on creating music together. Timmons is currently using new technology and social media to get connected to and share his music with his fans. He is also getting ready to join the men of Chippendales at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas as the show’s emcee and special musical guest from May 12 through June 5 (Thursday through Sunday nights). TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Michelle Vaccaro spoke with the talented singer about his former band, new music, and his upcoming stint at the Rio.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: The New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, and even O-Town have gotten back together and created more music. Is there any chance that 98 Degrees will do the same?
Jeff Timmons: You know what? We threw out the idea for a while. Earlier in the year we got together and…I’m friends with some of those guys in the different groups you spoke about. I know they’re having a tremendous amount of success so far traveling and touring. We talked about it as a group…got together, discussed it, threw it around..but I just don’t think right now it’s going to happen. Everybody’s got their own things going on. So…maybe in the future.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: So you still talk to everyone else from the group?
Jeff Timmons: Yeah, I mean we’ve remained friends. It’s not like our group’s one of those groups that had a falling out or kind of broke up, on bad blood or anything like that. We were all friends. We kind of just had our run and kind of wanted to be with family and friends and do our own thing in the industry and so that‘s why we kind of just split up for a little while so…But yeah, I talk to them all the time.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You were on Mission ManBand. Would you ever consider doing another reality show?
Jeff Timmons: I would if the situation was right. I was pretty reluctant to do Mission ManBand. VH1 had been asking me for years and years and years to do it. I kind of had a feeling that they would kind if skew the show to make us not look so good and it’s what they did ultimately, but...the four of us actually had a bond and had a great time together outside of the show. I mean if they would’ve filmed some of the stuff outside of the show, they probably would’ve had a pretty crazy show, but they had their own plan and sort of a script for what they wanted to happen. I think that if the premise of the show was right and it was well written and sort of had a cool message or reached the right amount of people in the right way, I would definitely do it again.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Do you have any good stories from that then since you said it was a crazy time?
Jeff Timmons: Oh yeah, we had more fun…they had turned the cameras off at 11/12 o’clock at night. We had more fun after that…crazy times, people coming over, parties, and us screwing around and actually doing music. The show didn’t really revolve around us doing music, but we actually did music and nothing in particular, I mean the whole thing was great. I could give you stories, but you’d probably have to write another story.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Is that why the group never release any music…because of the show?
Jeff Timmons: Well, no, I think that…none of us were really taking it seriously. I think we all kind of did it because we all had things we wanted to promote. When we got into it, they were talking about one thing, regarding the seriousness of the group and us seriously doing music and we were putting a record out and stuff like that. I think all of us were into it just because it’s an interesting, kind of weird thing. But when we got there and started filming the show, the show wasn’t about that at all. The show was about putting us in situations that tried to make us look uncomfortable, feel uncomfortable, and more vulnerable. It wasn’t about the music so we just said, ‘screw it, we’ll go back and do our own thing, we’ll make friends…’ The premise of the show of the whole show put a monkey wrench into the whole process of putting music out.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Being in what many consider a “boyband,” do you think you have some training as to what the audience is going to be like at Chippendales?
Jeff Timmons: You know, I think the audience is just going to be an extension of what my old audience, the group’s old audience is. It’s going to be females. I mean the majority of our audience in 98 Degrees were females anywhere from 10-years-old to 42-years-old pretty much. I just think over the course of the past few years, I’ve always stuck with music so I still have a fan base. I gave away a record last year online in exchange for people’s email addresses and the album had over a million [and] two downloads. So I know that there’s still a fan base out there. I just think that they’re a little bit older now. Instead of being 12-years-old, they’re in their early twenties up until the late forties. I think it’s going to be the same kind of thing. I’m just ready to have fun with it. Anybody that knows me knows I’m not too serious of a guy so I think that it’ll be a good time. I’m looking forward to it.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You’re going to be singing and emceeing. Are you just going to be doing any dancing as well?
Jeff Timmons: If you’re talking about striptease dancing…absolutely not. You don’t want the Chippendales to start losing their fan base and people start going in different directions… No, I think I’ll get up there and stick with what I know best and that’s just pretty much entertaining and having fun..
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You have a new album coming out. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
Jeff Timmons: Yeah, I had produced all my music myself. I do it with some of my friends. I have been doing production since the group. A lot of our notoriety didn’t come from producing, arranging, engineering records, but we all did that stuff. This record is kind of a little bit different than 98 Degrees. It’s got a lot of high energy, high tempo songs. Of course you’re going to have the ballads like we had with 98 Degrees, but we have a lot of up tempo dance stuff. I’m going to be releasing the music in a very unique way. I’m going to be releasing songs exclusively through different popular social websites and entertainment websites…a site like yourself. I’d like do a song with you guys and release it exclusively through you guys and through some very, very unique technologies as well. It makes it a little bit more fun and interactive. Every song will have a music video attached to it…and a high level one, an MTV ready one. So I think that’s going to be quite unique with this project.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: That’s really cool. Now, you like to stay connected to your fans through the social media stuff. You also use VMS. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Jeff Timmons: Yeah, you really did your research. VMS is a new technology that’s very interesting. It hasn’t really caught on here in the States surprisingly. Some of the founders of VMS, they’re a Swedish group that I got connected to through an old producer of 98 Degrees… They met with me and said, “Will you promote this VMS for us?” Basically, it’s just video messaging. The fans can go to VMS, sign up for my channel. They download an app called VMS by Ironroad Technologies. They sign up and I can send them a video message and it’ll go right to their phone. And if they sign up, they can send me one back. I can go into my inbox and see…It’s sort of like a Twitter on steroids. Instead of instant microblogs, it’s instant video messages. I can pick and choose who I want to reply back in a video fashion. It’s pretty, pretty amazing.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: So are you going to release some of your music through that too?
Jeff Timmons: I don’t think that they’re capable of that…I can send a three minute video like that, but I want to make it so that the other technologies that I have…make it so…if I want to put…let’s say that you’re magazine was a real, physical magazine, not part of the virtual world. I could put a code in your magazine, people could snap a picture of it with their phone…I could do it on your website too…It could go right into the phone, but then they have the option to take it out of their phone and then stick into the computer and interact with it, with VMS it would just strictly be stuck into the phone. I think they’re working on the technology where they can take the videos out of your phone and into your computer, your iPod, your Zune, whatever.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Do you have any other upcoming projects…well, you’re doing a lot actually… Chippendale’s, the CD coming out...are you going on tour?
Jeff Timmons: You know I probably would do a few dates after the Chips. But right now I’m just really focused on getting the music out there. I want everybody to come to the Rio, check me out. We’ll have a good time. As you know… I’m very interactive with the fans and hands on. I just want everybody to check the music out and if they get a chance, I released the first single for free at sharefuze.com/JeffTimmons-itfactor and all you got to do is share it. If you share it once on one of your social networks, you can download it for free. A lot of the music will be free too this time.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Your whole CD is going to be free?
Jeff Timmons: Everything’s free. The whole thing’s free.