Luxe Life Blog
Photos: Backstreet’s Nick Carter is back after health issues, drug fight
Two of the biggest boy bands in pop music history are united for an all-out music assault on The Strip this Fourth of July weekend, and handsome Nick Carter said it’s amazing that his longtime Backstreet Boys fans have become mothers -- and now are bringing their daughters to see them.
As he began his journey to Las Vegas for Sunday’s show with New Kids on the Block at Mandalay Bay Events Center and the after-party at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens at the Paris, I chatted with the 31-year-old singer, songwriter, dancer, musician and actor about his -- and the group’s -- longevity.
The blond-haired, blue-eyed heartthrob’s weight ballooned to 240 pounds as a result of his 10-year battle with drugs and alcohol that led to the diagnosis of a weakened heart muscle that could cause sudden death or need a transplant.
“I feel like this is all the beginning of a nice, healthy, long career again,” Nick told me. Busy promoting his new solo album I’m Taking Off, now available on iTunes, Nick said he’s now at 175 pounds, and with continued diet and exercise, he plans to lose more.
“I’m like a new person,” he said after sobering up and slimming down. “I don’t know that person from before. I was reborn two years ago, and I did turn my life around. I cannot change what happened behind us, so I only now look to the future.”
Nick, who loves to work and play in Las Vegas, told me: “I have so many things going on, I don’t even know how to handle it all. It’s good stuff. I’m busier than I’ve ever been before. I was even able to fit in between this massive tour with Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block a way to record a solo record.
“It’s my sophomore album. I feel like my first solo album wasn’t really something that truly represented me, so I feel like this is the beginning of the solo side of things.”
I asked Nick if there’d been a time when boy bands almost died and if he thought what he would wind up doing next. “Honestly, we never let that enter into our mind,” he replied. “I think that’s why we’ve been so resilient and why we’ve sort of continued on is because we had such a large fan base and we were able to tour off our Black and Blue album.
“Then I decided to do a solo record, and I was able to tour on that. Then we came back with another about two or three years later called Never Gone. I’m not sure if it was the material on that album or the maturity of the album, but I think it kind of assured our fans that we weren’t going away.
“The fans loved our music so much they stuck around, and so we were able to continue to go on tour. Since the whole boy band thing started to die, we’ve still been on four major tours -- that was even before this New Kids on the Block Backstreet Boys joint tour. There were a couple of albums that were under the radar because we weren’t getting as much radio play as we wanted. The industry and music television moved on to newer, younger things, but our touring kept us alive.
“I can safely say that the old fans are still there. That’s pretty astounding because the old fans have kids, and they’re bringing them now. But there are also the curious kids who just want to listen to our music. Music is music, and you fall in love with what you want to fall in love with. That’s the great thing about freedom of choice.”
Nick said he’s looking forward to this weekend’s Las Vegas stop with longtime girlfriend Lauren Kitt. “I absolutely love Vegas, especially the golf courses. I have a new passion for golf, so I plan to play while I’m there. I love gambling, but I never win there. I guess the thrill is what it’s all about!”
He summed up telling me what to expect here Sunday night: “The show is so unique in itself -- that is the special part about it. Who would have thought that two of the biggest pop boy bands would ever team up together? Would one even be around after all this time? People are showing up, and we’re playing huge places and ballparks as if we never went away.
“We played 37,000 people at Boston’s Fenway Park. We are the fireworks for the holiday weekend! We’ve created this rocket, and we’re all going to take off on it.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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