FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Larry King Live Interview (January 9, 2001) – Part 1
LARRY KING: Tonight, they are huge! And they are here! Who is going to be talking to these guys? It’s going to be me! And who is going to be phoning in questions? It is going to be you! ‘N Sync for the hour — next on LARRY KING LIVE!
Only program in the world that will give you President Carter one night and ‘N Sync the next. But they’re here, all five of them: ‘N Sync, the hottest group in the world. Let’s meet them individually. We’re going to have a lot of fun tonight — include phone calls.
They are Justin Timberlake. He is the youngest member at age 20, and was member of the Mickey Mouse Club.
J.C. Chasez, 24 years old, from Bowie, Maryland was also a member of the Mickey Mouse Club.
My man, Joey Fatone, born in Brooklyn one block from where I was born: He will be 24 on January 28. And he wants to be Superman.
Chris Kirkpatrick is the oldest member of the group. At 29, Chris was born in Clarion, Pennsylvania.
And the last member of the group is Lance Bass, who is only 21. Lance was born in Clinton, Mississippi, once wanted to be a space engineer, wanted to work for NASA. And look where he wound up.
How did this — how did this — we will start, I guess with — you are the oldest, Chris, so I’ll start with you. How did this group come together?
CHRIS KIRKPATRICK: Well, you know, it is a lot of hard work. We started about six years ago. We used to do a lot of acappella singing together. We were friends. I worked with him (Joey) at Universal Studios in Florida. And those two worked together, like you said, on the Mickey Mouse Club (JC and Justin). And…
KIRKPATRICK: We don’t know Lance.
LANCE BASS: I don’t know where I fit in.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: He just keeps following us everywhere.
KIRKPATRICK: Lance is our best fan!
KING: You worked together, like doing what?
KIRKPATRICK: We actually — I sang at a ’50s doo-wop thing. And he dressed up as a monster.
JOEY FATONE: It was called the Beetlejuice Graveyard Review Show…
KING: So, how, J.C, did the five of you come together to be a group?
JC CHASEZ: Well, it’s a weird story. But, basically, how it runs is, each person knew somebody else in the band, you know, whether they were working or just friends. Chris was the one who initially came up with the idea to start a group. And he approached Justin because they were friends and they had met in different places, you know, passing each other, whether it be in auditions for commercials or whatever in Florida.
Justin and I, of course, were doing the Mickey Mouse Club. And after that ended, him and I started working on songs together. And then when Chris came up with the idea, he approached Justin. Justin called me up. The three of us were singing together.
TIMBERLAKE: Are you still with us?
KING: I’m with you. Still haven’t found out about Lance.
CHASEZ: Lance is coming in. Don’t worry. I’m going to get there. Now, after the three of us were together, Joey, believe it or not, was one of my first friends when I moved to Florida to do the Mickey Mouse Club. So him and I were friends. And Chris knew him from work. And so we both knew he could sing. And the three of us got together, we were out one night and ran into him, and said: “You know, we’ve started a group. Why don’t you join the group, man?”
KING: And he said yes?
CHASEZ: He said of course.
FATONE: I said: “Sure. How much money you giving me?”
KING: Was it named ‘N Sync then?
CHASEZ: No, not yet.
KIRKPATRICK: No, actually what was it then … *N…SYC
CHASEZ: Not entirely done.
KING: Now, how does Lance get in?
CHASEZ: And then, when the four came together, we were singing. And we would try and gig and everything like that. And it just — the sound wasn’t quite right yet.
KING: You needed one more.
CHASEZ: And we needed a bass. Therefore…
TIMBERLAKE: We did not have a true bass voice in all four of us. And we initially wanted to do this group because we wanted to be one of those groups who sings acappella But that’s — we wanted that to be our niche. And so my vocal coach, we got in contact with him. I took from him from when I was about 8 years old until about 11 years old. And we got in touch with him. And he gave us Lance’s name. And he said: “But his mother will never let him do it.” So…
KING: But she did.
TIMBERLAKE: So we had to convince mom.
BASS: Thanks, Mom.
KING: And then you became ‘N Sync. Did someone name you ‘N Sync? Or you named yourself?
TIMBERLAKE: My mother came up with the name. The first time … The first time we sang together, she goes: “Man, you guys sound really in sync.” And we were like ding, ding, ding.
KING: Did you have a hit right away?
CHASEZ: No, no not at all.
BASS: We were rehearsing for about a year straight.
KIRKPATRICK: We had a lot of hard work and a little house that three of us lived in, and actually Lance came down and lived in for a while.
KING: In Orlando?
KIRKPATRICK: In Orlando. And Joey came over and stayed.
KING: That is where you live. You guys live in Orlando.
KIRKPATRICK: And we practiced there. We did everything we possibly could. I mean, we worked so hard just trying to get anything, trying to get somebody to notice us and trying to get a deal somewhere.
KING: What made it for you? Was there a break?
TIMBERLAKE: About a half-a-year after we were together, we hooked up with our manager, Johnny Wright, and he led us to a record company. And, you know, that was the beginning.
KING: And was that record a hit?
CHASEZ: It wasn’t a hit here, we spent little over a year in Europe touring and busting our butts trying to get noticed over there. We signed to a German label because they were the only people that would pay any attention to us, really. And after spending a little over a year there, we came back to the United States, kind of exhausted, and one guy from RCA came to a show that we did in…
CHASEZ: Budapest. A guy…
KIRKPATRICK: Vince DiGeorgio…
CHASEZ: Vince DiGeorgio from — an A&R guy from RCA Records came to show in Budapest saw us said these guys have got something.
KING: What was you first hit record?
FATONE: “I Want You Back” in Germany. Yeah, first single. It was ” I Want You Back.” It was weird.
TIMBERLAKE: I want you back in Germany.
FATONE: “I Want You Back In Germany.” It was weird because it was like — it was kind of rushing to it. It was like the minute we got there we didn’t even a song or anything. We went up. We did a couple photo shoots for some magazines we sang a cappella at some open air festival that they had.
BASS: We release released that song, “I Want You Back,” before we even had half the album — our first album.
KIRKPATRICK: It was like 28 days after we signed the record deal so it was like, a record.
KING: What a thing it must have been, huh?
CHASEZ: It was cool.
TIMBERLAKE: It was pretty wild.
KIRKPATRICK: You know what was really strange is the fact that when we release we started to get so big over in Europe so quick, that we would get on a plane in Orlando, and fly over to Europe and get off the plane there would be like thousands of girls just waiting or just, you know, kids just waiting for to us get off the plane. We’d get off it was all this, you know, we were celebrities. We’d get back on plane come home.
KIRKPATRICK: Our parents would be picking us up from the airport.
FATONE: Our parents would be there like “Yay!!” [clapping]
KING: Boy, that’s got to be — that’s a weird feeling. We’ll pick up on career of ‘N Sync as we move ahead on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. They won the American Music Award Internet Fans Artist of the Year Award last night. They’re with us for the full hour. We’ll include your phone calls. We’re going to have a lot of fun, learn a lot, too. Don’t go away.