Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees Talks Chippendales, Gay Fans and Post Boy Band Stardom!
Sit tight Degreers. Jeff revealed he will NOT be stripping down to his boxers. We know. Sad face. But on a brighter note, he WILL be lending his beautiful vocal stylings to the show’s already extravagant and provocative line up. His role will be as a guest performer and M.C..
Jeff chatted with us about everything, including his gay following and what that means to him. He even revealed that talks about a 98 Degrees reunion have taken place (hooray!). Read the entire interview and get the entire story straight from Jeff himself after the jump — and check out a chance to WIN four VIP tickets to the show!
When did you first decide to team up with the Chippendales?
My old manager, Mike Caprio, is the PR guy for the Chippendales and he actually approached me about a year ago about doing it and I thought Chippendales? What do they want me to do? They want me to become a male stripper! He said that’s the old school Chippendales — you gotta come check out the show. A lot of celebrities are going and doing these shows in Vegas now. It’s becoming a miniature Broadway. Vegas has always been known as a haven for entertainment. I went and checked out the show and was pretty blown away. It’s a multi million-dollar performance in a $10 million performance facility and it’s a real deal show. Did the guys in the show take off their shirts? Yeah, that’s what they do. Do they strip naked and do girls shove dollar bills in their pants? No, it doesn’t happen like that anymore. They do musical numbers. It’s an entertaining show and it also hits my fan base, which is the female fan base. So, I was asked to come in and, not dance with the guys cause I cant hold a candle to those guys as professional dancers, but to come in and MC the show basically. I sing a couple older numbers and some of my new stuff, and get some new fans acclimated with my new music. It sounds like a fun thing to do.
Is there anything that you’re most nervous about in regards to performing with the Chippendales?
Well, those guys are extremely well-built studs. I’m just the guy next door from Ohio. It’s intimidating to get up there with them. I don’t know if I’ll be performing with them or exactly what they have in mind as far as the musical numbers that I’m going to be doing with them. But it’s an intimidating thing to get up there with a bunch of guys that look like the Incredible Hulk. Just little old me from Ohio hanging out with them. Although, I am really comfortable I my own skin, I think the biggest part of the whole thing that bothers me is that I hope people don’t get the misconception that I’m becoming a stripper. None of those guys in that show are strippers. It’s a very professional show like I said before. At the end of the day I’m excited to get up there and perform and introduce new stuff and get out there again. So, I’m not really nervous about any of it to be honest with you.
What has life been like post 98 Degrees stardom?
Well, I’ve been married before and I have two kids from a previous marriage, so I’ve been spending a lot of time just being a Dad. That was great — but I’ve never gotten out of music. I released my solo record on my own that was a very small project but made some noise on the adult contemporary charts and overseas it did pretty well. I’ve always been producing new artists, up and coming artists, and just been in the studio working on some of my new stuff. I’ve always hung around music and stayed with the music.
You also released an album that you put up as a free download on your website.
Yeah I did. I think at first people didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to experiment and see if it worked. What I wanted to do was put it up and everybody that submitted their email address would get a chance to download the record. I collected over 1.5 million email addresses in a matter of months. It worked out. I was nervous at first. People were asking why I was giving it for free, they didn’t understand. Here people are downloading music and movies for free on the Internet anyway. So, I figured if you cant beat them, you might a well join them. So, I gave the record away, had millions of downloads of it and got the music back out there. Now, with this new album I’ve been working on, I’m going to be doing a similar kind of thing. Starting today actually, I’m releasing the first song. I’m sending someone an email, blasting all million and a half emails. I’ll be sending a link. They can take this link and download the new song. The catch is, they have to share the link with at least one other person on their social network. So you can blast the link on your Twitter or your Facebook before you have access to the song. All that’s doing is helping me get my music to more possible fans.
The next release and subsequent releases on the album all will have music videos attached to them. Real music videos. So, every song on the album will be released over the Internet for free, virally, and with music videos attached. It’s pretty cool.
You talked about your female fan base, but you also have a huge gay following. How do you feel about that?
I’m flattered to have a following at all. The way I was raised, we didn’t discriminate against anybody. Sexual orientation has never been something that intimidated me whatsoever. Having a gay following, straight following, female following, alien following! I’m just happy to have people liking music. If I have a huge gay following I’m totally cool with that. 98 Degrees had a big gay following. We would go overseas to places like Germany and go to a club that was an exclusively gay club. It’s all about getting in front of your fan base and performing. In fact, my first solo show was for a Chicago Gay Pride festival. I’ve never had a problem with it. I’ve embraced it. I’m pretty sure everyone has good intentions, regardless of what they look like or what they prefer sexually.
I grew up in a small town. Not everyone has an open mind about things like that. I was raised a certain way, and if I behaved any differently my parents would kick my butt.
Are there any plans for a 98 Degrees reunion?
You know, we had talked about it for the first time in a long time a few months back, but we just couldn’t get it together. Everybody had different things that they wanted to do still. It’s still out there but I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. I think we have seen what New Kids and Backstreet Boys are doing, and they’ve had a fantastic run tour wise. It looks like it could be a great opportunity but we just couldn’t pull it together this time. But it’s not off the table. Just not right now.
Want to meet Jeff in person and catch the rest of the Chippendales action? Tell us in the comments section what makes you the ultimate Jeff Timmons or Chippendales fan and you will be entered to win the Chippendales Ultimate Giveaway package. Including 4 VIP tickets (front row), a round of drinks, Chipps gift package (calendar, t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, playing cards), and a meet and greet with Jeff and the Men of Chippendales with a picture of you, Jeff and the boys! Remember, you must comment to win!