America's most recent wave of boy band mania may be subsiding. But 98 Degrees is not letting up.
The pop group will bring their "98 Degrees at Christmas" tour to the Grand Falls Casino on Friday in support of their new album, "Let It Snow."
After a 10-year hiatus, the members of 98 Degrees reunited in 2012 amid a resurgence of boy band enthusiasm.
"The U.S. is a little fickle with music being cyclical. Boy bands come and go," said Jeff Timmons, founding member of 98 Degrees.
In the 1980s, the popularity of male vocalist groups such as New Kids on the Block set the stage for others to follow.
The timing was right for Timmons to drop out college and move to Los Angeles.
"It was borderline foolish. My parents at the time, if you ask them, didn’t know what to do," laughed Timmons as he recalled his impulsive decision to pursue music.
The Ohio native was studying psychology at Kent State when he and a few friends from high school gave an impromptu concert during a party.
Timmons was hoping to impress a girl in the room. But as their voices harmonized, something about the sound caught his attention.
With Boyz II Men topping the charts, Timmons decided to quit school the next day and drive to Los Angeles. Quickly, he teamed met up with Justin Jeffre and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey to form 98 Degrees.
"Sometimes in life you do things on a whim," said Timmons. "That’s the sign of the universe pointing you in the right direction."
After a few short years working minimum wage jobs, the group landed a deal with Motown Records.
In the early 2000s, 98 Degrees reigned alongside fellow boy bands NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.
But once again, America's taste shifted, and the country entered a boy band drought lasting nearly a decade.
In 2002, 98 Degrees officially took a break from recording and performing. "We kind of wanted to explore our own lives," said Timmons. "We had been together for six or seven years straight. It was a pretty crazy time."
During the height of their popularity, the members of 98 Degrees got seven days off over the course of two years.
On hiatus, the pop stars started families and pursued other careers.
Nick Lachey married singer Jessica Simpson and released two solo albums, "SoulO" and "What's Left of Me." Timmons also released a solo album, "Whisper That Way," and Jeffre ran for mayor of Cincinnati.
But with the rise of One Direction in 2011, boy bands were back once again. The members of 98 Degrees tested the waters at a festival in 2012 and reunited shortly after that.
"We missed each other," said Timmons. "We’re like brothers at the end of the day."
According to Timmons, the band feels blessed and fortunate that their fans have stuck by them for 20 years.
Fans coming to their show on Friday can expect all the bells and whistles.
Out of all the band's albums, their 1999 Christmas record stood the test of time, so the group was "very pleased" to do another one.
Their new track "Season of Love" is a change of pace from their usual style. The original song has an upbeat tempo, as opposed to the group's signature ballads.
After achieving success as a group and individually, the band members no longer feel the pressure they once did. According to Timmons, it was hard to enjoy performing when the competition was so fierce.
On their new tour, the boys get to let loose and have fun.
With the breakup of One Direction in 2016, the third wave of boy band mania seems to be petering out. But for 98 Degrees, things are heating back up.
For more info and to purchase tickets, visit grandfallscasinoresort.com.