Monday, December 9, 2013

EVENT | Men Of The Strip Hits Toronto

Photo via Facebook
My December kicked off with a great start. I had the chance to attend Men Of The Strip, a live male revue performance show hosted by Jeff Timmons (you may recognize him from a certain boy band, 98 Degrees). Gorgeous guys dancing and singing? Count me in. I got to chat with Jeff about his new venture, what it's like working with such a talented roster, and how he makes girls go crazy.

Men Of The Strip was founded by Jeff along with Glenn Douglas Packard and Mike Foland. They have been working hard to put together a killer show that is full of energy.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video from their calendar shoot:

They did not disappoint. Men Of The Strip took place at UNIUN Nightclub in Toronto and I stopped by the venue beforehand to do the interview with Jeff. I loved how sleek it was inside:

How's the tour been going so far?

Jeff Timmons: It’s been great. It’s a lot different than any of the other promo tours I’ve done before. When I originally thought about doing 98 Degrees in the beginning, although we were signed, we didn’t have a lot of label backing and support, so we wrapped a Winnebago with our picture on it and drove into Canada to get discovered. We went to all the Backstreet Boys venues and drove our RV up there and that’s how we started getting fans, by doing grass roots stuff like that. Now this is a little bit different, and now that we’ve got the experience of myself and Glenn to do this, we’re taking that model and plugging ourselves into it. So it’s different in that we have the experience behind it, but similar because we have the whole grass roots approach to it.

What made you want to get into this?

JT: I guest hosted a male revue of the Chippendales several years ago and it was a tremendous success. It ended up breaking box office records. I thought there was a ton of potential in having a show like this coupled up with a pop singer. A lot of our fans who were much younger are now at the age where they go to these shows. We are creating a total ladies night out, where they can have the nostalgia of a boy band guy singing the hits and MCing while you’ve got these hunks getting up on stage doing their thing. It’s much different than what people thought. When people hear of a male revue, they were expecting it to be a raunchy, nasty and gritty thing. These guys are a bit edgy, and all very sexy, but it’s more about tantalizing the mind for ladies and giving them a ladies night out where they can have the fantasy scenarios along with some great dancing. Glenn Douglas Packard is an amazing choreographer. All of that together, it seems like it’s going to be a successful thing for us, and now we’re going to be doing it for TV too so we’re really exciting.

What can the ladies of Toronto expect from you guys?

JT: A good time. I really pushed hard to get the guys up here in Canada because this is where 98 Degrees really broke first, Montreal and Toronto. We had a hit song and it did well in the States, but it really broke first here in Canada, where we had our first platinum records. It’s a bit of a more open-minded and loyal fan base than in the States. The ladies can expect to have a good time, let loose and do their thing. These guys are all great individually, one-on-one, they’re all charismatic. They’re nice to look at and everything, but they’re talented too. They sing, they dance and they put on a good show up close and personal. 

From being on The Package Tour [with NKOTB & Boyz II Men] to now Men Of The Strip, you're always surrounded by so many strong and talented men—what's that like?

JT: That’s a great question. There are a lot of Type A’s, including the crew, from the bus driver and on down. And being in 98 Degrees, they all are their own celebrity in their own respect. So it is a challenge because everybody expects it to be their way, but at the same time, we’re all striving for a common goal, which is success. So you give up certain things that you wouldn’t expect. Like, I had my own tour bus with my wife and kids on it, it was T-Pain’s tour bus, and it had a studio in there and everything, but we’ve kind of sacrificed that. All twelve of us on this tour, crew included, are on one bus together and are working at it from the ground up. It’s been a challenge but also a humbling experience, which I’ve really enjoyed.

You seem to be an expert on making girls go crazy, now that you’ve been in the industry for so long – any tricks of the trade that you’ve learned over the years?

JT: I’m always learning. These guys are teaching me a lot of stuff that I didn’t know. But in regards to performing, I think it’s just to always give 100 per cent. The audience is not stupid, especially girls. They know when you’re faking the funk or are really putting yourself out there, so as long as you put 100 per cent of your effort into it, the reaction is always going to be positive. If you’re singing with passion and you’re feeling what you’re singing, then they feel what you feel. That’s the most rewarding part about all of this for me, because you can see the direct response. When we did The Package Tour, we played huge arenas. So you can see the people and interact with those around the stage, but you don’t get to really have a hands-on experience that you get from playing some of these smaller venues. That’s a little more, believe it or not, rewarding for me. Sure, it’s great to have the accolades of saying I sold out an arena, but it’s better to see the individual people and their reactions to what you’re doing well or not-so-well on stage.

What's the craziest thing that a woman has done at one of your shows?

JT: Well the guys already have girls following them. We have Men of the Strip groupies going from city to city following our tour bus and we’ve had a couple girls try to get on the tour bus. We’ve had guys try to get on the tour bus. That’s about as crazy as it’s gotten so far, at least that I can talk about. It’s starting to get a little buzz and these guys are starting to get a following and starting to become rock stars like we were hoping to.

What do you hope for the future of Men Of The Strip?

JT: We want it to be a successful show. We obviously want a Vegas residency and ultimately have a successful run. We want this to be the new brand and face of male revue and we want it to have that infusion of the pop stuff along with the sexiness and take away some of the negative stigma that these types of shows have because these guys are all entertainers and superstars. We want to have this franchised in different regions, like LA and Toronto, and more. We want to make people feel more comfortable with it and be like the Magic Mike of live shows.

Thanks Jeff, it was great meeting you!

Here are some of my shots from the night:

I definitely went home a happy camper....

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PS - I got to see this song performed teenage heart was melting.

Jeff, you have not aged.

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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