POPSTARS Magazine, February 2002 Issue
5 Hot Secrets From the New Season Of Making the Band
This is straight form POPSTAR Magazine's February 2002 issue, in stores now.
5 Hot Secrets From The New Season of Making the Band
1. Q: What are some of the storylines the show will follow?
A: Listen closely because this is all exclusive!! A little bird told us that we'll be seeing a lot of stuff about Ashley's pursuit of an acting career, Trevor's crush on the very taken Britney Spears, trips to Germany and Mexico (where jacob's connection to the late Mother Teresa is revealed), the making of O-town's second ("rockier, edgier...like 'Girl' and 'Love Should Be A Crime'") album and "lots" of filmed segments with the guys' moms and dads!
2.Q: Now that the show is on MTV, the guys told us exclusively to watch for a whole different side of their personalities to be shown. Perhaps the side ABC took such pains to hide?
A: "It won't be a bad side!" Dan exclaims. None of us are THAT bad. There's just a certian side that's gonna be shown now-going on tour, writing. I think that's gonna be the coolest thing for everybody to see, all the writing that's going into our new album by us. You thought you knew everything about us, but you really didn't know as much as you thought!">
3. Q: Will Shelli be on the third season?
A: "I don't know," Ashley tries to tell us at first. But when we ask if that means she isn't around at all or she is "possibly" around, he melts. "It is possible. She designed some stuff that I am wearing in the Britney shows and she's always making stuff for me, so it's a possibility that she might be on collaborating with me on some stagewear."
4. Q: Is the show real? Or fake? What percentage is altered by the way it's filmed?
A: Dan thinks up to 100% of the show is altered by the order in which the scenes are aired, but doesn't think that means the show is fake. "The timeline is severely altered already so all the events will lead up to something and you don't always see somebody's side of the story. Every episode has to have a beginning and an end and if somebosy'd point of view doesn't fit into a storyline the TV show is making, it doesn't get shown on TV and people don't get the 'real" story." Still, the guys say nothing is set up and that you'll find a lot of really shocking insights into their lives this season.
5. Q: If they've changed so much, do the guys even like the old episodes?
A: "Oh, gosh, we look SO stupid." Erik-Michael groans. "We're not not going to look as foolish, I hope, this season. We've relly grown a lot because our career has gone in so many different directions. We're glad the first years are over."
There you have it. Some info about the next season of MTB right from Popstars! magazine!
It's All or Nothing for the members of O-town as Making The Band continues to chronicle their fast-paced lives, drama-filled loves and rise from struggling singers to pop superstars -- " (by Shawna Malcolm)
Ah, the glamorous life of a teen idol...
This particular November day began with Ashley Parker Angel, O-Towns resident heavenly blond, disguising himself in sunglasses and a hat in an attempt to sneak past a group of giddy girls who were waiting for him in the lobby of his New York hotel (it didnt work). Then came a morning full of teen zine interviews and a quick sound check for MTVs epicenter of Gen-Y cool, Total Request Live, which O-Town will cohost and perform on later today. By the time the carefully coiffed boy band made up of Angel, 20; Jacob Underwood, 21; Erik-Michael Estrada, 22; Trevor Penick, 22; and Dan Miller, 21arrives in a dimly lit room on the 29th floor of MTVs Times Square offices, its barely 12:30, yet they already look beat. Theyve been allotted 40 minutes for lunch (and not a second more), although nobody but the dreadlocked Underwoodwho immediately grabs a sandwich from the deli trayseems eager to chow down. Instead, as they converge around a small table, Estrada and Miller rest their eyes, Penick halfheartedly check out a TV thats been left on and Angel attempts to take care of a little personal business.
Where did Ashley go? barks the groups tour manager, Mike Morin. Underwood shrugs. He just had to go to the bathroom.
This hardly seems to make Morin happy. He scowls and begins anxiously pacing the room until the momentarily MIA O-Towner returns. I swear, right now we feel like the busiest group in the world, says Angel. Because were on tour, were always in a different place. I never know what were doing or where were going. I dont even look at the schedule anymore because its too depressing. Theres no downtime.
Its been a week since the group hit the road as the opening act for the queen of teen pop, Britney Spears. Its their third tour this year and, according to Penick, its really hot.
On our summer tour, we were the headliner and we [were playing], like, 6,000-seat places, says Estrada, perking up. And now were playing to, like, 20,000 people a night.
Not bad for five guys who were complete unknowns a mere two years ago. The brainchild of boy-band impresario Lou Pearlman (he also put together N Sync and the Backstreet Boys), O-Town came into being after thousands of hopefuls auditioned during the first season of ABCs reality series Making The Band. Faster than you can say overnight success, the groups first single, Liquid Dreams from the platinum self-titled debut discentered the Billboard charts at No. 1 in January. Its follow-up, All or Nothing, was the breakout ballad of last summer (the video even routinely trounced N Syncs and BSBs videos on TRL). And the pop act shows no signs of slowing down in 2002: Theyll ring in the new year performing at MTVs New Years Eve bash, while MTB will jump from ABC to the music network when the series returns for its third season January 19. Such momentum is even more impressive considering its come at a time when teen pop has started to show its age. O-Town came around toward the end of the boy-band splash, as the whole phenomenon was losing steam, says Chuck Taylor, senior editor at Billboard. But their material was strong enough to defy the odds. The musical act isnt about to take its success for granted. The first time AON hit No. 1 on TRL, Miller and Penick were on a rare vacation in the Bahamas. We were in the middle of a basketball game with these Bahama dudes, Miller remembers. When we heard [the news], Trevor and I were, like, hugging each other and jumping all over the place. The Bahama guys were, like, What the hell?!
It was awesome, adds Penick. It was really, really hot.
By 3 P.M., the crowd gathered outside MTVs Time Square studios has grown feverish. While a good percentage have come to see Michael Jackson and Enrique Iglesias both will also appear on TRL todayits hard to ignore the O-Town fans. Some, like Tasha Lazbobsky, 16, have traveled from as far away as Vancouver, Canada, to catch a glimpse. Others, like 18-year-old New Jersey resident Kari Culver, have come bearing gifts. Im an O-Town artist, she says intently. Shes holding a large placard on which she has sketched each member of the quintet.
Erik is my favorite drawing, she says, but I dont have, like, a favorite member. Everyone always ask me that, and its like, I cant choose!
More decisive is Jessical Hurlye, who, clad in a white strapless prom dress, hopped on a train from Connecticut at 8 this morning for a chance to propose to her favorite O-Towner via poster: Marry me, Trevor! Im 18, she says with a giggle, so Im legal.
Like many fans, these girls first got into O-Town not through their music but through MTB. While O-towns critics and peers have derided the group for being manufactured for TV, its fans view the groups reality-TV roots altogether differently: For them, the show has served as the ultimate backstage pass, a chance to observe every triumph and stumbling block on the boys rise to fame. The fact that it also affords them the opportunity to spy on O-towns love lives particularly Angels on-again, off-again relationship with hometown honey Shelli certainly doesnt hurt. (For those of you keeping track, Angel and Shelli are currently on again, Underwood remains devoted to his childhood sweetheart and the remaining three heartthrobs are single.)
O-Town wasnt totally sold on the idea of a third season. While it has gained exposure from the show, the guys were eager to focus solely on their music. When the third season came up, we were just like, How long is this going to go on? admits Angel. At some point, you just want some things to be private.
Eventually, O-Town was persuaded to do another season, on a couple of conditions. First, the shows cameras will no longer be on 24/7 (that means considerably fewer shower shots, girls). And for the first time, the boys are able to screen episodes before they air and veto anything they think represents them inaccurately. When we first did the show, there was a lot of stuff that was taken out of context says Estrada. People who dont even know [us] were piecing the show together, and some of the story would get lost.
Estrada recalls one such story line with indignation: [In season two] I happened to get sick, and now everyone thinks Im this sickly little Tiny Tim kid, which is not the case. But thats what TV does. Its unfortunate, but we work through it.
MTBs producers understood O-towns concerns. We recognize that they are not the five unknowns guys they once were when we first started [the show], says executive producer John Murray. Theyre artists now. Theyre going to be a little more controlling because they now have so much to protect.
But lest you think MTB will now be all about Making the Band Look Good, never fear, says executive producer Mary Ellis Bunim: O-Town understands the audience wants to have a glimpse into whats really happening to them as a result of this rise to fame. This season, look for early episodes to focus on the groups songwriting efforts as well as a weekend getaway with their respective girlfriends.
3:30PM inside the TRL studios. A petite, middle-aged blond woman is watching the festivities with all the excitement of on of the fans outside. When host Carson Daly introduces O-Town, she screams at the top of her lungs and claps so furiously that her hands turn bright red. She is Penicks mom, and she has flown all the way from Rancho Cucamonga, California, to be here today. Penick immediately spots her and gives her a little wave. Besides Trevor, Dans my favorite, she confides, unprompted. He reminds me of Trevor, but hes more responsible.
When the group starts dishing about touring with Spears, Underwood reveals that the teen diva requires a whopping 21 semitrailers to tote her elaborate set. You know, you dont need all that stuff if you can really sing, Penicks mom whispers.
7:20 PM. Its mere minutes before O-Town will take the stage at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, and a few girls have asked Shelli, who is sitting back by the soundboard, for a picture. It was the baby-doll voiced Shelli who provided MTB with its choicest sound bite of the first season, when, during a temper tantrum on the beach, she yelled at Angel, I hate you!
Today shes wearing an itsy-bitsy white midriff top, skintight jeans, mile-high platforms and enough mascara to put Tammy Faye to shame. Around her neck dangles a blue VIP pass, which the girls eye enviously. Ok, smile. Shelli flashes a fleeting, plastic grin. The girls thank her, but as they walk away, one of them mutters under her breath, @#%$.
By the time the guys take the stage at 7:30, though, all is forgiven. Immediately, the overwhelmingly female audience unleashes a wave of deafening screams, which dont seem to cease once during the 45-minute set. For anyone who watched O-Town perform on the early days of MTB, this performance is a revelation. The guys are confident, charming and (gasp!) actually decent singers. They are five very gifted guys, and they shouldnt be lumped into any category, says the man who signed the band to its record deal, the legendary Clive Davis. Initially, everybody is doubtful, but if you see their live show, these guys are the goods.
The girls in the audience certainly seem to think so. When AON begins, they immediately sing along, waving their little blue and green glow sticks in unison. When the song ends, the members of O-Town stand still for a beat, just taking in the moment.
I understand the people who stereotype us, Angel will say later. Id probably do the same thing. But theres something special here. All five of us feel it. And were out to prove people wrong.
Gettin' the low-down from O-Town!
Winter - 2001
From 16 magazine
Ashley and Jacob chat exclusively with 16 about their new album and more!
O-Town's debut CD from J Records is almost here. The group has waited for this since the day they sung their hearts out at auditions for ABC's Making the Band over a year ago. When you let the CD spin on your CD player you'll be in for a shock. The album has pop hits for sure, but it is also laced with influences of hip-hop, R&B and rock. Each song has its own unique flavor and showcases each member's vocal talents. "One of the things that we wanted to do was have a lot of diversity so each song doesn't sound exactly the same," says Ashley Angel. "That's one of the things we've talked about as a group since the beginning. We wanted each song to be able to stand on its own." And each song does. You'll even find songs on the album written by members of the group, something unusual for an act's first release. At press time, Jacob Underwood had at least one song, "Take Me Under" (knows as "Bring Me Under" by some fans) on the album. "They encourage us to write and demo it and send it in like any other writer. Clive [Davis, President of J Records] is very objective," says Jacob. "He's like, 'I want hits. I don't care if they come from you or somebody else,' but he's not going to put songs on [the album] just 'cause we wrote them if they're bad." The fact that they've proven their writing and singing talents their first time out immediatley separates O-Town from the rest of the pack.
Life for Ashley, jacob, Trevor Penick, Dan Miller and Erik-Michael Estrada has certainly taken a dramatic turn in the last few months. Not only have they become household names across the U.S., but Making The Band now reaches as far as England, Japan and Israel. The boys have been super busy over these last few months jet-setting from coast to coast, filming the video for their first single, "Liquid Dreams," and putting the finishing touches on this album. However, we did manage to ring up two of the members of O-Town for a quick chat.
Talkin' With An Angel
16 chatted with Ashley via his cell phone as he was waiting to board a flight to Los Angeles for O-Town's first video shoot. "Our first video shoot," Ashley repeated over and over as if to make sure it wasn't all a dream. He admits that he's nervous and excited at the thoughts of shooting a video with Dave Meyers, known for his work on Britney Spears' and Kid Rock's videos. As Ashley describes the video's concept of a liquid-morph dream girl, you can almost picture the sparkle in his eyes. "I get maybe a little too excited about things like this," he admits. "I've always got my camcorder and I have to videotape everything. to me, this experience has been so incredible that I don't want to forget any piece of this whole journey. This video is going to be a milestone for us and it's a huge landmark in our careers. It's going to be awesome." Ashley says the group's dynamic has seriously changed due to the increased traveling and rehearsal schedules. "We've had to stay a lot more focused and we've had to stay a lot more disciplined, he says. "We really have to rely on each other to keep each other in check and keep positive."
Jet-setting With Jacob
A few dans after speaking with Ashley, Jacob called our offices. Again there wasn't a moment to spare, since the group was off to London, England, later that day to attend the London Film Festival. O-Town was there for the release of Longshot (previously titled Jack Of All Trades) in which they are featured. Jacob was happy to share more details of the shoot and even let us in on some of the mishaps on the set. For example, most of the video was shot in front of a blue screen, since special effects would be added in post production. One scene required O-Town to show off their dance moves in a pool of water. Jacob told us that each member had on regular shoes and that the bottom of the pool was extremely slippery. Can you guess what happened next? First it was Dan who took the unexpected plunge and then during one of the more splashy scenes Erik jumped down into the water only to slip and fall flat on his butt! Both had to chage their clothes and dry off while listening to the hoots of laughter coming from their dry groupmates. "It was funny 'cause you know we were not trying to do it," says Jacob, "...But we had a good time."
A year ago, Ashley never thought he would be shooting a video, but Jacob says he is exactly where he hoped he'd be." I'm just excited that the goals I set for myself are being reached," he says.
Jacob couldn't let us go without sharing a little more about the album. he says "Liquid Dreams" is a perfect example of how different this album is going to be from what people might expect. Granted they've been categorized as a teen act because they're a group of guys in their late teens and early 20s, but O-Town is interested in making their music appeal to everyone. They want to reach teens, their older siblings and maybe even their parents.
Making The Band - Season #2
Trying to make it as a recording artist is tough work - it's even tougher when cameras are catching everything on tape. O-Town has both the luxury and misfortune of being able to look back at Making The Band's first season and relive every moment. But there are two sides to every coin. For every sour note the camera recorded, it also captured the sweet moments when the boys harmonized perfectly. "[The show] is a constant reminder of how bad we were in the beginning - we were rookies. But it's good to look back and see how much we've grown in the last 10 months," Jacob says. "All of us know more, we're not freshmen. We've learned how things work and in the second season you will see our own personalities and our individual takes on how this music business has affected us." Jacob knows that having their lives recorded on film affected each member of O-Town differently, this season they will remain true to themselves. "We've relaxed and we are back to how we were before we joined the band," he says.
Ashley looks at it like a video journal of their lives. "You'll be able to see the actual growth," he says. "Plus, there is still a lot more of the story to be told for us."
Before we said goodbye to Ashley and Jacob, we hit them with one final question. If they could go back in time and give their pre-O-Town selves advice, what would it be? Ashley says he wouldn't change a thing. "It's all about the experiences you go through, they are all learning experiences. Jacob wished he would've trusted his heart during trying times." When I look back at myself on the show. I can see it in my face that I wanted to do something but I didn't ,cause I was playing the game," he says. "The whole thing happened so quickly so I would not say some things... I just kind of went along 'cause I didn't know the big picture." Now that the big picture is finally in focus, the group is ready for anything the biz can send their way.