Sin City’s resident super-hunk on quarantine, creativity and some very pesky buttons…
Boy bands. Every decade has its share. Some, like The Beatles, create a lasting legacy while others yield punchlines or are forgotten. Resilient members re-invent themselves, branching off in new directions until the inevitable reunion tour. Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees has experienced most of the above. And, like the boy band he founded, Jeff still keeps temperatures rising.
Timmons is a smart businessman as well as a seasoned entertainer. He’s weathered the ups-and-downs of fame and focused on personal growth when boy bands fell out of favor. While he was keeping busy behind the scenes in the music industry, the male revue Chippendales invited him to be a celebrity guest host.
Uncertain of how it would impact his career, the Canton Ohio native was reluctant to accept. His wife Amanda, however, realized that it was a great opportunity and urged him to give it a try. A few weeks turned several successful months, and Jeff was suddenly everywhere in Las Vegas…pool parties, nightclub gigs, and even a protest march down the Strip with dozens of Jubilee showgirls (that’s a whole other story).
While pop singers often quickly fade away, Jeff Timmons’ lasting image is tailor-made for the Sin City scene. He boldly embraces his sex appeal, which isn’t as common for male performers as you might think. With open shirts (sometimes even bare-chested) and sensual body language, the always-shredded hunk knows how to make hearts race and body heat soar.
Timmons is also the rare musician who celebrated his LGBTQ fan base long before it was common to do so. He recognizes everyone as equals and was ahead of the times by performing at gay clubs, participating in Las Vegas Pride, and promoting the NOH8 Campaign for marriage, gender, and human equality.
After the Chippendales stint, Jeff settled here permanently with Amanda and the kids. Then he created his very own male revue called Men of the Strip. The sexy production was daring and cutting-edge, with a focus on live singing and one or two controversial sequences (like this one). MOTS toured the country, had a limited run at Hard Rock Live, and was covered in a documentary event for E! Network.
98 Degrees was headed to the Philippines as part of their latest tour when COVID-19 struck, so now Jeff is hunkered down in Las Vegas with the family. I was able to get ahold of the hard-working stud and talk about his motivations, latest activities and long-term plans. I also tried to get to the bottom of all those unbuttoned shirts.
You’ve dabbled in many facets of entertainment, like reality television, recording studio engineering, and mentoring new acts. What’s left to conquer?
When I think of things I’d like to “conquer” or from an accomplishment standpoint, I feel like I’ve got a LONG way to go. I’m working hard to make a mark in the TV space in a number of different areas. I’ve got a few non-scripted things in the works finally, an entertainment news magazine show, a holiday special, and some other things going. I eventually want to get some scripted things happening as well. I’m launching a podcast very soon, so there is some new news on the horizon. I’ve got a lot of things left to do!
The Vegas entertainment community is crippled right now. Do you have any encouraging words or suggestions?
I think the entertainment business as a whole has really suffered, not just in Vegas. I’m fortunate enough to have a very loyal and dedicated fanbase. 98 Degrees has the luxury to reschedule shows, create new music, etc. Not everyone has that luxury. I know I’m very lucky. I like to look at things from a positive perspective.
Although this pandemic has been devastating to everyone, there are some good things that have emerged. There are tons of new and developing technologies that allow artists and entertainers to produce high-quality productions from their homes. The pause has really given me the opportunity to learn more about music and TV production, and get better in the studio. Artists just have to be creative on how to keep fans engaged.
Another plus is that because folks have so much time on their hands, entertainment is being consumed more than ever. You really only need a handful of loyal fans that believe in you and what you’re creating to make a living. You just have to be creative. And, although things can be depressing, find a way to stay positive and use the time to get better at your craft.
There’s a joke going around that men will come out of the pandemic as either a “hunk”, “chunk” or “drunk”. Which one will Jeff Timmons be?
WELL… I started out working out like a fanatic (wannabe hunk), then slipped for a bit (put on some chunk), and now I’m back in obsessive mode (trying to get to hunk again). One thing has been consistent: the DRUNK part, lol…
A lot of artists are saying that the shutdown’s isolation has allowed them to create new and better pieces of work. Have you experienced that?
I definitely have utilized the time to try to get better. After the initial shock of having to postpone 40+ shows, I rolled up my sleeves and have been using this time to learn more about the recording studio, reading a ton of inspirational and motivational material, and pitching a number of ideas to strategic partners that will go into production when things open back up. I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons.
What one Sin City guilty pleasure do you miss having at your fingertips right now?
I’m not much of a sleeper, so I loved how at any time of the night I could find something to do on the strip. I miss that.
Choose one new favorite: A) catching up on sleep B) binge-watching movies/shows C) spending more time with family
I think it’s a toss-up between B and C. We crafted our touring schedule to be home with our families during the week, but the quarantine has really allowed for much more quality time. I’ve also binged-watched about everything there is to watch on all of the streaming services. There isn’t much left but foreign language series, and I’ve fallen in love with a lot of those!
Have you formed any new habits that will remain when things return to normal?
I’ve always been a reader, but I make it a point to dive into at least one new book a week. That habit is going to stick for sure.
Do you foresee yourself staying closer to home now instead of touring? Is there a possible Vegas residency in the works?
I LOVE being at home with my family. That being said, the demand for live concerts is at an all-time high. I think 98 Degrees has at least one or two more big tours in us. We are DEFINITELY exploring opportunities for a Vegas residency. The chance to be in one place and have the fans come to us is a dream come true. It allows us to stay with our families.
You’re known to your fans, friends, colleagues, and locals as a kind, genuine person. What keeps you grounded?
I hope that’s true. I think it’s all about how you’re raised. My parents made sure we always stayed grounded and treated others with the utmost respect. Part of staying focused and keeping things real with yourself is having a constant inner dialogue about what your truth is and taking an inventory daily of what you’re thankful for. Grattude is the attitude!
I often call you the “Sexiest Man Alive”. You embrace your physical appeal in a way that few male artists do. Have you always been that confident?
You’re always so kind when it comes to that. I’m so very flattered. I try to embrace it because it’s part of the business. Unfortunately, talent is always further down the list when it comes to success in the entertainment business. We learned that as a group early on. We know that fans are expecting us to look good. Anyhow, it gives us an excuse to stay healthy and in shape. Hopefully, it makes our wives happy!
Will we see more of ‘Men of the Strip‘, or is that chapter closed for good?
I never want to close the chapter on ‘Men of the Strip.’ It was such a success from a touring standpoint and so much fun. It was quite a different experience from anything else I’ve ever done. There is always a demand for that show, so never say ‘never!’
After covering new territory, Jeff and I revisited a series of questions that I first asked him back in 2013. As is the case with ever-changing Vegas, only two reponses remained the same. I’ll leave you to guess which ones they are.
Favorite Vegas Restaurant: Archi’s Thai Kitchen
Favorite Spot To Relax In Vegas: The pools at Wynn or Cosmopolitan
Best Thing Off The Strip: Downtown
Who Is Your Dream Duet With?: Bruno Mars or Ed Sheerin
Best-Kept Vegas Secret: Hiking and the lake
Best Hangover Cure: Hair of the Dog!
The Sin I’d Like To See Sin City Lose: The traffic on the Strip
Favorite Place To Stay Fit: I do it at home now
Favorite Sexy Look On Stage – Tight Shirt, Unbuttoned Shirt, Or No Shirt?: All three have their advantages! (winks)
You can keep up with the latest from Jeff Timmons and 98 Degrees by visiting his official Facebook page.
Photos: Sam Novak, Gabe Ginsberg, Jeff and Amanda Timmons via Facebook