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A Portrait Of The Boy Band As Grown Men: Backstreet Boys' New Documentary

<em>Show 'Em What You're Made Of</em>, a new documentary, tracks the 20-year career of the Backstreet Boys.
Courtesy of the artist
Show 'Em What You're Made Of, a new documentary, tracks the 20-year career of the Backstreet Boys.

They were five guys struggling to make music careers for themselves, ranging in age from 12 to 21. When a Florida businessman put them together to make a band, there was chemistry, tight harmonies, creative facial hair — and a formula for success.

Twenty years later, the teenybopper pop boom in which the Backstreet Boys found globe-smashing success has faded, transformed and risen afresh, with all-new groups of cute, pubescent performers taking up the torch. But in all that time, the Backstreet Boys never quite went away — or let up.

"Kevin is 43 years old, and he's still up there cuttin' a jig. Granted, he might be icing his knees and his back after the show," A.J. McLean jokes about his bandmate Kevin Richardson. "But when you come see a Backstreet Boys show, you're coming to see a show. ... If I came to see my favorite band after 20 years of following them and they sat on stools, I'd be a little bit bummed out."

McLean and fellow member Nick Carter spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about growing older, making music on their own dime and the new documentary Show 'Em What You're Made Of, released Friday. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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