While boy bands of years past have lived in a pure, pre-pubescent bubble, micromanaged by corporate fat cats determined to keep their sweet musical magic going and generating high revenue for record companies, today's singer/songwriters feel the need to break the chains of their predecessors and run forth with a new type of poster boys. Gone are the days when pure-unmarred skin, shiny teeth and sticky sweet love songs ruled the charts. Today's boy bands are pierced, tattooed and ready to speak their mind. But still, scandal continues to creep up around these money-making entities, who rely on the passion of pre-teens and teens to keep the magic going. Some of the biggest may shock you!
1. N'Sync, Backstreet Boys and Svengali Lou Pearlman
Lou Pearlman was the man behind two of the biggest boy bands ever, N’ Sync and the Backstreet Boys. He made more money than could ever be imagined through his connection to these bands, and their hit making capabilities during the 1980's and 1990's. His fascination with the music industry was sparked after experiencing the fame and success of his first cousin, Art Garfunkel.
Lou Pearlman set out to copy the entire business model of New Kids On The Block, whom he was introduced after the band hired the most expensive chartered plane Pearlman had during his run as a private transportation business owner. Seeing their success, he hired NKOTB's former manager and together, they formed Trans Continental Records.
But, it turned out that Lou had more going on behind the scenes then anyone ever knew. Once getting wind of his actions, both bands sued Pearlman for undisclosed sums of money, both eventually winning their suits. Pearlman lured investors with fake tax returns, phony finances, and manufactured documents. He was suspected of defrauding investors of over $300 million in one of the largest Ponzi schemes ever.
Authorities found him hiding out in a Bali hotel under an assumed name in 2007 and now he’s serving 25 years for conspiracy and money laundering. Molestation charges were brought against Pearlman from some of his famous charges.
2. Both Jonathan Knight and Lance Bass Come Out
New Kids on the Block singer Jonathan Knight never felt the need to out himself, since he never kept his private life so from friends and fans. So when it was revealed that Knight was homosexual, the ripple effect that occurred when other young celebrities did so as well was not as pronounced as years earlier. During a TV appearance, Knight's former girlfriend, singer Tiffany, dished that she and Jonathan dated back when she toured with the hugely popular group.
"He became gay later. I didn't do it. I had issues with that. I was thinking maybe I did. Now looking back when we were dating, he was so much fun. We used to do facials together. He was so easy to talk to." Replied Knight to her accusations, "I love living my life being open and honest, but at this time I choose not to discuss my private life any further! My fellow band members don't discuss their private lives with their loved ones and I don't feel that just because I am gay, I should have to discuss mine!"
Lance Bass, on the other hand, felt increased pressure to keep his sexuality under wraps, due to the money machine that was N'Sync. His conflict stemmed from his highly traditional upbringing and belief that if his orientation was exposed, it could lead to the end of the band. Said Bass, "I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys' careers in my hand, and I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said (that I was gay), it would overpower everything.
The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say," he explains of his decision to come out. "I don't think it's wrong, I'm not devastated going through this. I'm more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I'm just happy." Bass is in a committed relationship with longtime partner, Michael Turchin.
3. One Direction's Pot Smoking And Stripping Antics
One Direction is a band that has no issues with speaking their mind (or dropping their drawers) when they feel the need. This is a new type of boy band, who shares their daily routines via social media and has no problem with acting, well, like young men when they are out on the road. One Direction's success as a band has been monumental. Their worldwide domination of the teen market over the past three years has been epic, unlike anything the music industry has seen since the late 1990's.
Still, they have no problem doing what they like when they like. So when a leaked smoking video of Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik where the two were smoking a joint was revealed on a popular website, a backlash occurred. From angry parents you might say? No, from teenage girls defending their heroes. The two were reportedly heard in the video making references to “illegal substances” as well. One Directions representative stated, “The matter is in the hands of our lawyers,”
Harry Styles on the other hand, loves living his life in the public eye. Over the past three years, this high-spirited Brit has become the standout figure of his group with the most popularity and the becoming the biggest public member of the band. While Harry loves to show off his new ink when prompted (or not), when the band made a stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Harry took it upon himself to show off his new tattoo on stage.
The tattoo, which said “Rio,” was positioned on the front of his left hip just above his thigh. The crowd went crazy when he exposed a little skin. Seeing this, he felt the need to drop his pants all the way, and the crowd really went bananas. Aahh, the power of the pants!