98 Degrees to raise temperature at MACC Feb. 13
Like many musicians adored by young female fans, the phenomenally successful band 98 Degrees was often besieged in public.
“We couldn’t go anywhere,” recalls group founder Jeff Timmons. “It got crazier and wilder than we expected. It was beyond my imagination. We were early 20-year-old guys, physically fit, and we had these big, monstrous security guys. We had girls hide in room service carts, everything you could think of. We were in one city and got on the tour bus with a police escort and got to another city and stopped, and found a girl hiding in one of our bunks. It was crazy times.”
In just five years, between 1997 and 2002, the popular “boy band” sold 10 million records, topped the charts dueting with Mariah Carey on “Thank God I Found You,” and collaborated with one of their idols, Stevie Wonder, on “True to Your Heart,” for Disney’s “Mulan.”
“We’re a Motown-influenced group and were signed to Motown so doing a song with Stevie was amazing for us,” Timmons enthuses. “It was a dream come true, and he was a joy to work with. Our first appearance on the ‘Tonight Show’ was with him. I had never been so nervous in my life.”
From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, boy bands enjoyed a fan mania that bordered on fanatic obsession rarely seen since the days of the Beatles. NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Boys II Men and New Kids on the Block all enjoyed massive success.
“Boys II Men and Take Six were a huge influence on us,” says Timmons, “and vocal groups from the ’50s and ’60s like the Four Seasons and Four Tops. Some of the classic rock groups used to stack crazy harmonies like Journey and Boston and the Eagles and they were big influences.”
It all began when Timmons sang at a college party, got a positive reaction and decided to fly out to Los Angeles to pursue his luck. Nick Lachey followed, having met Timmons through a friend, and Lachey suggested Justin Jeffre join, who brought his younger brother, Drew, along.
“I took the risk to leave Ohio and pursue the dream,” he recalls. “I wanted to make a group like Boyz II Men. Music had always been my passion and I wanted to put a group togther and go out to L.A., and we were lucky enough to see it into fruition.”
As far as their name choice, Drew Lachey once reported, “it’s representative of the mood we wanted our music to create. It’s like steamy, hot, body heat.”
Unlike most of the boy bands, 98 Degrees often recorded their own original compositions. “We wrote a lot of our songs but not a lot of the singles,” Timmons explains. “People don’t know that we wrote songs. Being young guys we were told, ‘You’re going to record the songs we give you.’ Eventually we started writing a lot on our albums.”
Signed to Motown Records, their second album, “98 Degrees and Rising,” featuring the hit singles “Because of You” and “The Hardest Thing,’ sold four times platinum in 1998. More platinum and gold records followed as they delivered a stream of catchy, romantic ballads.
“You envision it happening,” he says. “I wrote down my goals and read the Tony Robbins’ books and all the goals came true. You can envision it, but to get to enjoy it is another joy.”
By 2003, the four members had decided they wanted to pursue individual projects. A decade later they regrouped for a festival and to perform on “The Tonight Show,” and they kept going.
“There was a different feeling that hadn’t existed in the past and that was one of fun,” he marvels. “It was such a treacherous ride the first time around. For the first time, it was effortless. So it was ‘let’s do this,’ and it’s getting to be more fun than ever.”
* 98 Degrees performs a Valentine’s weekend show on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in MACC’s Castle Theater. Tickets are $49, $59, $79 and $129 Gold Circle (plus applicable fees), available at MACC box office, by phone at (808) 242-SHOW and online at MauiArts.org.
Following the successful run of his hit one-man-show, “White Hawaiian” at MACC’s McCoy Studio Theater, Eric Gilliom returns to the stage on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for encore performances.
Well versed in musical theater, among the highlights, Gilliom presents excerpts from a bunch of musicals including “Man of La Mancha,” “Annie,” “CATS,” “The Wiz” and “Xanadu,” all performed on roller skates.
“My dad got me this horrendous gig that he thought was great,” Gilliom explains. “It was a Broadway musical review on a cruise ship on roller skates. I get to recreate it in the show.”
During the show, he plays members of his family ranging from great grandparents to his famous sister, singing songs such as his grandmother’s, ” ‘Haleiwe Hula’ at the Cotton Club in 1940 as her,” he notes. “The show is a retrospective of all the great music that has been a part of our family history.”
Besides delighting audiences at the MACC, you can catch him with Barry Flanagan at Nalu’s South Shore Grill on Saturday nights.
The Maui Chamber Orchestra presents “Music for Four Voices: Love, from the Renaissance to Broadway” on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Kihei Baptist Chapel. The concert features Maui vocalists Molly Schad, Tracey Bloser and Gary Leavitt, joined by Chad Somers, a Juilliard-trained tenor who made his debut with the orchestra in December, with Lotus Dancer and John Rowehl on piano.
The centerpiece of the program is “Liebeslieder Walzer” (Love Song Waltzes) by Brahms, a set of quartets, duets and solos for four voices and four-hand piano, with lyrics drawn from the poetry of Georg Friedrich Daumer.
Leading into the Brahms are a set of madrigals from the Renaissance period, illustrating the contrasting styles of English, French and Italian composers of the era. The set includes popular works by Morley, Farmer, de Rore, Arcadelt, Josquin des Prez and Janequin.
The second half opens with three works by Samuel Barber, the neo-Romantic American composer best known for his sublime “Adagio for Strings,” followed by a setting by young composer Mari Esabel Valverde of the Yeats’ poem “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.”
The final act of the program journeys to Broadway, with the four singers heard in a solo number, before they combine for a special quintet arrangement of the Sondheim classic “Being Alive.”
Tickets are $30 ($20 for seniors, and $10 students) available online at mauichamberorchestra.org.
A rare opportunity catch the terrific Maui rock group the Deborah Vial Band on Sunday in a benefit for Mana’o Radio at Charley’s Restaurant. Also on the bill, The Dog Walkers and Marisa Corvo and Vicci Stewart. Show from 2 to 5 p.m. for $10 at the door, all benefiting the radio station.
Performing with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years, keyboardist Melvin Seals helped pioneer what is now known as jam band music. When the Grateful Dead’s guitarist died in 1995, Seals decided to keep the iconic musician’s legacy alive by fronting the band.
Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia band will perform on Feb. 15 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, at 1136 Uluniu Road in Kihei.
Beginning his career playing church organ, Seals backed Chuck Berry, Buddy Miles and Elvin Bishop, before he was invited to play with Garcia.
With roots seeped in gospel soil, Seals strives for merging music with spirit, what he calls, “the church vibe.” Playing a Hammond B-3 organ his music ranges from blues to funk to rock to jazz.
The current group features John Kadlecik on guitar and vocals John-Paul McLean on bass, Pete Lavezzoli on drums, and backing singers Lady Chi and Mary-eL. Kadlecik was a founding member of the Grateful Dead tribute band, Dark Star Orchestra, and played with Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh in Furthur.
It’s an all-ages show. Tickets are $35 for first 100 tickets, and then $39, available at www.eventbrite.com. Doors open at 5; show starts at 6:30 p.m.