Hot off the presses: It may be "The Hardest Thing" to believe, but 37-year-old former 98 Degrees star Jeff Timmons is teaming up and steaming up with Chippendales at Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from May 12 to June 5. Though he's got the body for it, will he actually be, you know, dancing? And if so, can you break this hundred for all ones and fives?
Cool down—he's billed as the emcee and special musical guest, so while Timmons will be shaking his moneymaker, in his case that moneymaker is his golden throat and not his pec-tacular physique.
It's been years since I last interviewed Timmons, one of the nicest people I've ever encountered in teen idoldom, but I got in touch with my old buddy with plenty of burning questions about his surprising gig...
Boy Culture: As part of your Chippendales gig, you'll be emceeing—have you done that before? You seem like you'd be a natural, but does it make you nervous?
Jeff Timmons: Yes, I have hosted and emceed a lot and I'm really excited about hosting the Chippendales. I saw the show a few months ago and it really isn't what you would expect so, no, I'm not nervous. It is a fully choreographed production with live music, a singer and some really great dancers. Most people think the show is about stripping and dollar bills but, in fact, they don't do the tipping thing anymore. It's going to be a blast because I've never headlined a show in Vegas before!
BC: How many songs will you be performing and how will they be worked into the show?
JT: We are still working it out, but it will be a combination of some of the songs already in the show, a few 98 Degrees and, of course, some of my new music that I am really excited about. They have a place already in the show that features their lead singer so I will be doing that role as well as a few other spots in the show. I will also host the evening so I will get to have some more fun with that as well! I really love hosting!
JT: For sure. I will do some 98 Degrees hits. I think I would get killed if I didn't sing some 98 Degrees tunes—which of course I love because we were lucky to have some great songs and hit
BC: For fans hoping you'll join the dancers and strip, I'm assuming you'll give them a little somethin', but how much are you leaving to the imagination?
JT: LOL, well, I am coming in as the "Special Musical Guest" so I won't be stripping. But who knows, maybe I'll show some skin...you'll have to come to the show to find out! By the way, something most people don't know is that men are always welcome at Chippendales. The old rule of "you have to be girl or with a girl" is no longer the case.
BC: What can we expect costume-wise? I am remembering some pretty out-there 98 Degrees outfits and wondering if you'll go that route or the opposite?
JT: Well, I hope there are no "out-there" costumes. LOL. The show is really cool and slick in production and uses some of the hottest club music and hits on the charts today. I'm told by the guys that they change up the music every few months to stay current with what's popular, which is very cool. I think the days of me donning space suits and catcher's gear are over...
BC: Congrats on getting married! (Now I can't ask the time-honored question: "Would you ever date a fan?") Have your longtime fans been supportive or do you still have those girls who are jealous of anyone who takes "their' man?
JT: Thank you! I NEVER thought I'd get married again. I didn't even date or plan on dating...ever. I just would casually see women from time to time. But this girl is actually unique and completely different than anyone I've ever met. She has the biggest heart and inspires me on a daily basis. And, she is a fan—well, she's a big fan of other artists and music, which I love. I like to think she's a fan of mine now, too. My fans have been wonderful about it. Of course you're gonna get those that think that they own you, or actually have a serious relationship with you outside of their support of your music or friendship, but for the most part everyone has been incredible.
BC: How did you come to pose for the NOH8 campaign (the pic looks great)? What was that like and why was it important to you as a straight dude?
JT: Thanks! I was approached by someone with the idea to do a song for the NOH8 campaign and record it with a current reality cast member, so a buddy and I jumped at the opportunity and wrote and produced the song in a night. The "cast member" didn't really take the song as seriously as we did, so we took her off the project. During the process of working on the tune, Adam was kind enough to invite me over to take the photo. To me, any type of equal-rights platform is extremely important and I was honored to be asked to be involved. Everyone loves the song, so now we are going to get all kind of folks guesting on it—gay or straight—with hopes to continue to spread the message and raise money for the caus
BC: So they say there's one gay guy in every boy band. You've been in or met every boy band. Do you think that saying is mostly true, totally true or not even close to being true?
JT: Well, some of the guys from the other bands have come out and said that they are gay. [Lance Bass of *NSYNC and Jonathan Knight from New Kids on the Block...anyone else in the U.S. come out?—Ed.] All of the guys in my group are straight. I think you could take any collection of folks in any environment and you will find diversity in sexual orientation.
JT: We always had a huge female following. I think we first noticed more and more men in the audience—gay and straight—after maybe the third single was burning and we were touring everywhere. I really became aware when I performed at my first pride festival in Chicago. I had a little anxiety because I didn't know what to expect from the crowd, and I also thought girls might think I was gay for doing the show. Ultimately, it was one of the best crowds ever and everyone was friendly and embraced the music. The audience knew the all the words to all the songs. It was a great experience, and it was my FIRST show as a solo artist.
As far as important gay people in my life goes, there have been many. Of course everyone has someone close to them, either a close friend or family member, who is gay. A ton of people in the entertainment business are gay from record execs to radio folks, media, managers, agents, to entertainers themselves. I've always seen someone's sexual orientation as a non-threat. I am a straight guy and could care less what anyone else does personally with their sexuality. That's how I was raise
The most influential gay person I've met would have to be my former manager Michael Caprio. He is one of the few industry people I consider a good friend. [Caprio not only works with Chippendales, he works with Olivia Newton-John, so he's not only gay, he's really gay! Hehe He's also a mensch, so it's not a shocker Timmons adores and respects him.—Ed.]
BC: You're the fittest boy-band member EVER. What do you do to stay in shape and healthy, and how has your regimen changed over the years? Any tips would be appreciated, especially anything that allows for eating lasagna every day and not exercising.
JT: Haha! You're killing me. Thanks for the compliment. I try to take care of myself. I've lifted weights since I was 15 years old. I was always the smallest guy around, and being a football fanatic I had to hit the weights hard to compete. I've always continued with tha
As far as diet, I was on the Atkins diet for years. I just now switched that up by incorporating more fruits and vegetables and less red meat. Still no simple carbs, though. I also started dabbling with p90x. Now THAT's a bitch of a workout.
BC: What's next for you?
JT: I have been fortunate enough to get with some tech folks that are amazing. I have the ability to give away the music virally online in a share-to-view platform. Fans have to share the link first before they can download the song or video. I gave away my last album last year for free in exchange for email addresses, and in doing so gathered over 1.2 million email addresses. There is still a huge fan base there. My goal is to have a music video for every song on this album. I have the technology at my disposal to let folks download the song/video right into their cell phones off of a magazine page or TV screen, too! It's freaking incredible!