The Backstreet Boys vs. The Vivian Girls: An Intellectual Summit


The Vivian Girls. The Backstreet Boys. Both bands are on tour this summer; both have a penchant for wobbly harmony; both have experienced relatively recent line-up changes. For some, these coincidences wouldn’t register, but for savvy Paper Magazine editor (and former Voice cohort) Elizabeth Thompson, it was enough to put the two groups in the same room, in the persons of Vivian Girls frontlady Cassie Ramone and her graying, gyrating counterpart, Backstreet’s A.J. McLean. Ramone turns out to be a better interviewer than many of the clowns that write about her band:

CR: Do you consider the other boy bands of the late ’90s friends or rivals?

AM: They’re mainly friends. There was never any real rivalry. Howie went to high school with Chris Kirkpatrick from ‘N Sync and I’ve known Joey Fatone from ‘N Sync for years. JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake are really good friends of mine as well. I play golf with Justin whenever he’s free. Nick Lachey, from 98 Degrees, we’re friends with all of those guys. We all try to hang out together.

“Whenever he’s free” is a journalist coup, all by itself. We’re also fond of this exchange:

CR: Speaking of high school, are you familiar with the game “fuck, kill, or marry?”

AM: No.

CR: I’m going to give you three options, and you have to choose who you would have sex with once but never see or speak to again, who you would be married to platonically for the rest of your life, and who you would kill. Your options are Minnie Mouse, Jessica Rabbit and Betty Boop.

AM: I would marry Betty Boop because she’s tattooed on my arm. I would have sex with Jessica Rabbit and I would kill Minnie Mouse. I grew up in Florida, where everything is Disney. Yeah, I would definitely do away with Minnie Mouse.

Further topics discussed include astrology, why the people who love McLean most know not to attempt to drive his ’68 Seville, and that catastrophic time somebody in Backstreet forgot his choreography. We’re sure that even now Fiona Campbell is attempting to memorize hers.

The Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone Chats with the Backstreet Boys’ A.J. McLean [Paper]