Jeff Timmons, formerly of 98 Degrees (and sometimes not so formerly), is an incredible personality. He was so truthful and candid during our conversation as well as being funny and entertaining. along with his extremely handsome appearance, he was sweet and sensitive, well spoken and refreshing.
The founder of the boy band 98 degrees, which had a huge success in the late ‘90s, timmons has gone on to do many other projects, such as a solo album, “Men of the Strip” and a tour last year with the reunited 98 degrees. He is about to come out with a new single and a new album shortly.
What’s happening, Jeff?
Not much, just got back to Vegas from California.
“Men of the Strip”?
No, not “Men of the Strip.” I’m not really doing much with them anymore, I kind of just let them go, and I’m getting back into the music. We’ve already got that brand up and running, so I’m doing some other things now.
Are you doing music with 98 Degrees or by yourself?
All by myself for this one.
So what exactly are you doing, an album?
Yeah, I’m working on some new music. The single will come out pretty soon, and the album shortly after that.
The single is slated to come out in mid-October, and then the album probably late November.
Do you have a name for it?
No, we don’t. We’re just putting songs together. We’ve been recording for about a year now, and we’re just figuring out the overall theme for the album. We’re fortunate to be able to work with some great people. We’ve got some good songs, a nice variety of tempo, mids and ballads, and we’re sort of putting the whole project together.
Sounds really exciting.
Yeah, I’m really excited. It will be my first real shot at putting a real solo record out. I did it kind of on my own a few years ago. I produced it myself, and it was kind of a moderate success, but we’re hoping that this one will have the proper backing, proper setup and we’ll get it out there and hope people will enjoy it.
Will you be following it with a tour?
Yeah, I hope so. There is also talk about 98 Degrees coming back on tour of course, maybe next summer. Obviously in our days the lion’s share of what you make a living out of is touring, so I hope to follow it up with a tour.
How did you get the name 98 Degrees?
Initially we had a bunch of bad names, and we could not come up with anything good. So back in the day, when people would ask that question, we’d always have all these crazy stories like, “Oh, because our music exudes heat,” but the real reason was our manager at the time had a really hot girlfriend, and she said … we couldn’t come up with a name, so her and her girlfriend said, “Why don’t you call yourselves 98 Degrees?” We were like, “Bingo, there you go.” That’s the real reason that we came up with the name, and it ended up being a good name for us that people didn’t forget, and it turned out to be a good thing.
Last year you toured with them, correct?
We toured last year. It was called The Package Tour, and it was with Boyz II Men, who we of course idolized, and New Kids on the Block, so it was a really nice tour for us. It was a 50-city tour, sold out arenas, and it was a good way for us to come back. We had not been out for a long time. For us to come back and get back together on the road…
I heard it was quite successful.
Yeah, it was sold out the whole time. It couldn’t have been better, I guess. Certainly, I don’t know how we can come back better than that. It was 50 cities, and we had our families with us, the fans were great, it was all well received by the media. So we were really blessed.
How is your life different from what you pictured it to be growing up?
When I grew up, I grew up in a really small town. It’s a very, very well-known town for football. So when you’re a kid, you’re expected to play. So my whole life revolved, a majority of activities revolved, around football. And I expected to be a football player, but unfortunately I was too short and too slow and not good enough. It was not what I was hoping for, but I had always excelled in theater, musicals, speech, debate, all of those things – choir – and that was never “cool.” So for me it wasn’t something I expected to get into. I was going to go to school to be a psychologist. I also thought about being a lawyer. When I got to college, I wasn’t into it like I was in high school, as far as the academic part of it. I was more into like messing around. Then I started singing in school again with some friends, just kind of like a hobby, and it just kind of clicked. It was something that I’ve always been drawn to. I might as well accept it, sort of go with the flow, and it turned out to be something fantastic for me. So it’s quite different than I expected, but growing up I was always an entertainer and all that stuff, and I think the folks always expected me to. But of course I wanted to be the athlete because of where we were from.
Who inspires you?
I was inspired by my father. He was always a big success at what he was doing. He’s an Army veteran, a Vietnam vet. He didn’t go to college, but he ended up excelling in his business, always achieving a better position in his job. He always took care of our family, and my grandparents and I never met a person that didn’t like him. So he was always my main inspiration.
That’s sweet. What was the most difficult time in your life, and how did you get through it?
Like everybody, it has its ups and downs. It’s like a roller coaster. I had a couple tough ones, though. After the group took a hiatus, and music changed, I got married. It was sort of a very difficult period for me. I had a young wife. We really didn’t know each other. We had a child very early. There was a lot of turmoil in that relationship. It was hard for me to get work at that particular time, so that was sort of like a real down-slide in my life. It was a very tough time for many, many years, fighting for custody of my kids. It was really hard to balance getting work, working, taking care of them and trying to make sure that they were safe. So that was a very dark period of my life. I’d say that stretched between then and when I ended up meeting my current wife, which I never, ever, ever planned or expected to get married again. I met her over five years ago. She kind of came in and brought light to my life and changed everything around for me. Got me straightened up as far as my mind, as far as what I could do in my entertainment business. She’s helped me get things together. She brought me back to life, and since then everything’s been great.
I like that story.
It’s true. It’s a true one.
If someone wrote a book about your life and made it into a movie – who would play you?
Boy, that’s a good question. I’d want a good actor to play my part. Zac Efron is pretty good. He’d do a good job.
Good choice. If you were standing naked in a window holding a sign, what would it say?
“OBJECTS ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR.”
Funny! What would your name be if you were a porn star?
I like it. If you could have two celebrities to be your parents, who would you choose?
Who are some good parents out there? And funny? I think Steve Martin. I’d pick him as my dad because he’s hilarious. I think Kathy Griffin would be funny. That would be a good pair.
You’d grow up laughing. OK, you have one day on earth and you could do anything you wanted and as much of it as you wanted. What would it be?
It can only be one thing, huh?
Nope. It’s your day, have fun with it.
I would spend time on an exotic island with an amusement park with my kids for half the day, and then making love to my wife the other half.
You love your wife to death. I love that you do.
She’s the best.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
What is the one thing you would want me to know about you?
The one thing I’d want people to know about me is that I’m humble. They expect certain things, but I’m just a regular guy.
Can we promote anything for you besides your upcoming album and single?
I want you to look out for the song. It comes out on Bowman Music/Upscale Recordings, and it will be out very soon. Check out my website, jefftimmons.com, for any updates.