AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys talked to Chad of XL 106.7 FM in Orlando and opened up about what exactly happened that got him to go into rehab and revealed that he did dabble in drug use and forceful words by Kevin Richardson calling him “A worthless piece of crap” that served as a wake-up call. For a complete transcript of AJ’s eye opening chat, read on.
A FULL TRANSCRIPT OF AJ’S INTERVIEW:
Chad: He didn’t go to Entertainment Tonight, he didn’t go to TRL, instead
he came home to XL106.7. His first radio interview since leaving rehab,
its AJ from the Backstreet Boys. What’s up?
AJ: (singing) Heeelllllooo. What’s up man?
Chad: Doing good. You sound great.
AJ: I don’t want sound egotistical but I think I look great too. I’m
Chad: How many days?
AJ: Today would be 78 days.
AJ: 78 days sober, loving it. Living for it, its been so awesome.
Chad: OK, first question. I saw this, I think it was on 20/20 or dateline
where your mom did an interview.
AJ: Yeah, 20/20.
Chad: Yeah, 20/20. She was talking about the theory of AJ v. alex and
almost the split-personality situation.
AJ: Mmmmm hmmmm
Chad: Explain that to me.
AJ: I think it was like a matter of you know never really differentiating
being on-stage and off-stage. It was a lot of you know, taking the character
onstage and you know living every single day through that person. It was
just really, it was really not the way to do it. When you are off stage,
you are not acting anymore, you are not a Backstreet boy, you are being
a normal human being and you are supposed to do normal things and have
fun and just be a normal 23 year old. But, I wasn’t. I kept that same character
going all the time. Partying and using my name to get close to girls and
to do things and party and drink. And it was you know, I got caught in
the hype, you know, and I could never really separate the two. But now,
now its like as soon as I am off-stage I’m just relaxing I’m normal I’m
going to meetings, I’m writing in my studio on the bus. I’m actually writing
on a house record, you know, just trying to do stuff more creative, now
that my head is so damn clear. Its like all this creativity is gushing
out of my head.
Chad: What did you do in rehab?
AJ: Um, basically, we did the usual primary groups in the morning,
talk to a counselor with a bunch of other people. Went to a couple of AA
meetings, couple of narcotics anonymous meetings. It was set up real well.
It was set up really well. It was like one giant community. Every, all
the people that were there were like family. It was very close, we had
the weekends off. We played volleyball, I became very good at Ping-Pong
(Chad laughing). I don’t know how exciting that is but I mean, everyone
there was so real, when my day came to leave I didn’t want to leave. It
was so the way I wish the real world could be inside there. And then when
you come back out you come back out to this world of destruction, violence
and, freakin’ stupidity. But when you are in there, its so quiet, peaceful
and everybody listens to everybody. There is no racism, there’s no second
guessing anybody. It was so wonderful. I’m actually considering after this
tour is done, just going back for like a week, to clear my head, just kinda,
just for peace of mind. Just to have people to meet, new friends, talk
to people. I know many other artists who have gone to the place I went
who have been sober for 25 years who go back just for 2 weeks just to talk
Chad: When did it become to much, enough was enough, you needed to
confront the guys.
AJ: I think what ended up happening, we had a day off in Boston and
we were to throw the first pitch out in some, I think it was some Boston
major league game, I’m not sure who the hell they were playing, and I was
hung over from the night before and it was our day off and I didn’t think
it was mandatory and we had just said yeah some of us would and four of
us went and I was like, “Well, screw it, I don’t really like baseball,
I don’t feel like going”. Kevin got upset, Kevin came and broke my door
down and tried to, there was two separate doors to my room and I had the
bedroom door locked and he couldn’t get in. He basically yelled and screamed,
“You know what, you are a worthless piece of crap. I hate you, you’re not
reliable, all this stuff, you are a drunk and just all this stupid stuff
that didn’t really click in my head until he left the room and I sat there,
kinda sat by myself and thought about it and broke down and cried and said,
“you know what, i think he is right, maybe I am a worthless piece of crap
and all this stuff, it just really hit hard. i was upset at the fact he
did it that way, but I was thankful that he actually, he was my wake-up
call. I called my security, my mom and said, you know I had a counselor
out on the road with me but that wasn’t enough, I was still partying and
drinking and dabbing into drugs here and there and i was still depressed,
and talking to someone isn’t enough. so, I said, I think I need to go to
the next level which is to go to rehab. Everybody was freaked out and the
fellas were like listen you know, if that’s what you got to do, then that’s
what you got to do and we’ll cone visit you and support it. And when I
went in there, the support from the fans was just overwhelming, unbelievable.
I give so much back to my fans now, they have the utmost respect from me
b/c they were so supportive which I think it absolutely amazing, you know,
God…God bless them really.
Chad: You know who your fans are, they stuck with you all the way and
when this first happened we did the whole get- well card and everything
and its amazing how many fans..
AJ: I heard about that, my mom told me, and I think she has it. I haven’t
seen it yet, but I heard about it, I guess you guys had it at the what,
Chad: We did it at different malls around town, we also took it to
the House of Blues and did some teen nights. Its amazing how many poured
out to sign this card. You would be so surprised at how many fans you have,
just reading this card and looking at this card and the words of inspiration,
AJ: I tell ya, its so good to go home and to like, when I was home
after I got out I went home for my mom’s birthday and I bumped into a couple
of fans at Cafe Tu Tu Tango on I-Drive and they were just all like its
good to see you out, you look great, you sound great. They were like can
we buy you a glass of water (AJ laughing). I was like yeah, go ahead. I
was drinking my Sprite and orange juice. Now, that I’m clear minded, I’ve
gone to bars with my girlfriend and sat w/ some of my friends that might
be drinking and I see how people are acting drunk and I’m like God, what
idiots and I can look back and think that’s how I was acting? It just wasn’t
worth it. I can go to clubs and restaurants and not be tempted, its absolutely
amazing. There have been a few times where it has been hard, if I get stressed
out or we are under a tight schedule or I freak out. There is a guy out
here on the road, that kind of like my sponsor, who goes to meetings w/
me, talks to me when I need to talk, plus I’ve got so much support from
everybody out here, its really getting easier and easier.
Chad: The MTV Video Music Awards. The comments that were made, I don’t
know if you saw this or not, Jamie Foxx I guess was trying to be funny
and when you guys walked off stage he was holding a champagne bottle.
AJ: Yeah, Brain was actually the one he was talking to and you didn’t
see him on camera, Brian got really pissed off w/ him and exchanged words
with him and that’s when he basically said its apple cider and stuff. But
you know, if I’m going to get pissed off about all the stupid crap that’s
going to be said about it, cause I realize when something like this happens
to anybody in any group or in any line of work where they are in the public
eye constantly, there is going to be backlash, there is going to be jokes,
if every person got pissed off about it, they would be back in rehab cause
they would probably relapse.
AJ: You know, it just shows his immaturity about it. I’ve seen him
out before and I’ve seen him drink and I’ve seen people like him drink
and they don’t get. I got, they don’t, I don’t have anything against him
personally, but I think it was wrong but oh well.
Chad: It just shows you are the bigger person..
AJ: Exactly, that’s what my mom said. When she saw, you know what,
there were a lot of things that I wanted to say b/c it was live, I was
like I can say whatever the hell I want and no one can do anything to me
b/c they can’t bleep me out, you know what I mean. Then I was like, screw
it, if I do that, that’s what they would expect. So I said screw it, I’m
just going to be proud of myself, and just say this is how many days sober
I am and screw you, ya ya ya…
Chad: Good for you, congratulations. I know that you guys uh, lost
a crew member on one of the planes that went into the WTC. Your thoughts
AJ: I didn’t really know what was going on and we pulled into Canada,
actually we were pulling into Toronto the morning that it actually happened.
I was awakened by my mom and my mom’s friend that there had been this big
mess of destruction in New York and I’m like what the hell, I mean this
is what I’m waking up to.
AJ: Then I, I got back to my room and watched the news and it was devastating
and i went shopping that afternoon and there was talk about one of our
crew members being on the flight flying home to see his wife, she was having
there 2nd baby, it really wasn’t confirmed yet, and then my the end of
that evening it was said he was on that flight. There were a lot people
we knew who were supposed to be flying to L.A. and it just happened to
be Daniel Lee, who was one of those unfortunate, unlucky souls that happened
to be on that flight and we dedicate Show Me The Meaning.. to him every
single night and show his picture on stage, so its like, we are doing as
much as we can, we set up a trust fund for his kids and his wife. We are
donating .50 cents every night from each of the tickets towards the Red
Cross towards the relief fund. We also just did this big AIDS benefit song
like ‘We Are The World” thing w/ Bono and Jermaine Dupri producing it and
a bunch of other artists we are taking some of those proceeds and putting
it towards the relief fund.
Chad: I was actually in NY and saw it happen, I was there the morning
it happened, I was there the night prior for the Michael Jackson concert
Chad: Its amazing how people will come to the aid of someone whenever
AJ: You that’s, even though it was so devastating, to like watch it
on TV and to see people on the street who would never even say 2 words
to each other, helping each other, that was really amazing. To see so may
backgrounds, races, cultures coming together helping each other. That’s
what’s gonna keep this whole planet together, that it what’s so cool about
a bad thing. If that’s the right way to say it. I really don’t know how
to say it but..
Chad: Lets talk happier thoughts, Hits: Chapter One the album coming
out in October next month.
AJ: Oct 23.
Chad: The new song. Drowning, if you ask me is a hit song its already
on the Hot 9 at nine, it was number 4 last night.
AJ: Really? Wow, cool.
Chad: You guys are moving up the countdown. Tell me about that song
and the album itself
AJ: That song was actually recorded for Black & Blue. And when
we had the big A&R meeting at JIVE records, we decided to save that
record, it was too good of a record to throw away, b/c there were a lot
of other good records on B&B that could be good singles. And we really
didn’t want to lose it, it was between Drowning and More Than That to go
on B&B album and MTT was little bit more acoustic and a little bit
more powerful we thought then, now we think otherwise but uh, it was written
by some of the guys in Sweden, not Max Martin thought, it was Rami, Andreas
and David Foster’s wife. The album itself is just a compilation of every
single we have ever released since 96. Its 10 years of music almost, we
have been together for almost 10 years. Its a decade of hits, its so cool
for even us to sit back and listen to it and go from QPG and We’ve Got
It Going On to Drowning, its totally changed but its us. To hear a sort
of greatest hits album.
Chad: I know when some groups release a greatest hits album that’s
there way of saying out 5 minutes are up.
AJ: Exactly. Well, we’re, in a weird kind of way, we’re actually ,you
know, releasing this album as a greatest hits, just to give back to our
fans our whole life with them. And also a decoy, if you will, to buy us
some time to have some time off and go back to the studio for 6-8 months
and work on a brand new album. Hopefully, we’ll drop something at the end
of the summer time, we are going to take our time with this next record.
We are not going to rush it. W/ B&B we feel we kind of rushed b/c of
the pressure from Jive and our management to release the album in a certain
window and all this crap you but we are going to take our time with this
one and hopefully our best yet and do a lot more writing, different producers,
duets maybe, some collaborations w/ other artists, just really broaden
our horizons, maybe change our song up a little bit, who knows. Kev, me
and Nick, we all have studios on our buses out here. Like, I’m working
on a whole new house record that I’m going to do hopefully, solo wise,
just for clubs and radio. We are also working on like rock and roll alternative
type stuff for us and all kinds of different stuff.
Chad: Well, I think I speak for myself, and the rest of the BSB fans
when I say, we’re extremely proud of you, we really are. You stuck to it
and you sound great. You do.
AJ: Thanks man, I just want to say to all our fans back in O-Town.
Love you guys, I’m sure I’ll see you at the Florida Mall, just don’t bother
me while I’m eating (Chad and AJ laughing), Again, to you guys, XL is the
bomb, you guys have always been there for us. And uh, I’ll talk to you
Chad: Take care all right?
AJ: All right buddy, you too.
Chad: Thanks a lot, all right?