AJ takes Backstreet Boys back to his roots

BACKSTREET Boys' AJ is looking forward to exploring his Scottish roots when the group visit in Glasgow in the European leg of their world tour.

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The Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys

Alexander James McLean, 36, proudly reveals how the American boy-band is one fifth Scottish and is eager to see some of the city in homage to the McLean clan, during the In A World Like This Tour.

He said: "I didn't get to see much last time we were in Glasgow, so I'd like to do a bit of wandering and get a feel for my roots... apparently my ancestors were sheep herders.

"I want a real life proper kilt too, in the McLean tartan of course... I don't think I'll be wearing it the right way though.

"No no, I'll have to betray custom and put underwear on otherwise the crowd will get a fright."

The father-of-one also tells that it's the first time his daughter, Ava Jaymes, will be visiting Europe and he's really excited "to show her where daddy's from".

Kicking off in Beijing last May, the tour celebrates Backstreet Boys' 20th anniversary and fans will be pleased to know they are performing all the old hits such as "I Want It That Way" and "Everybody," complete with original, old-school choreography.

AJ says warmly: "It will be a trip down memory lane for the fans, they've been with us from the start and we know how those songs are still favourites after all these years.

"But there will be lots of new stuff too. It gets really intimate in the middle, we bring it down and have a little acoustic session.

"We all play instruments and it's really serene. I play the Cajon."

Approaching their 21st year together, I asked AJ how he thinks the group has changed: "I think we've got better! Better as a group, better writers, better performers.

"You know we're all a lot older, we've got families, we've grown up and our attitude's kinda changed.

"I mean we've always looked out for each other, but back then everyone was so young and dealing with their own stuff, we've always had each other's backs, but it's stronger now.

"We've stayed together all this time because of the loyalty from our fans, and loyalty to each other."

Being launched into boy-band history at the age of just 14, AJ says he wouldn't want to do anything else with his life.

He said: "This is all I know and all I wanted to know. It's gave me so much happiness, I couldn't ask for more.

"You have to work hard though. You can be great-looking, you can have all the best moves - but if the music's not good you won't get anywhere."

AJ has been through some turbulent times, and reflecting back, he concedes that he wouldn't change a thing.

He said: "If you regret, you can't move forward. Everything happens the way it's supposed to and everything works out, so just roll with it.

Girl band All Saints have reformed specially for Backstreet Boys' UK dates, and having toured together back in the 90s.

AJ says: "It'll be like a family reunion to see the girls again, they're absolute sweethearts."

Recently rewarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and with a world tour continuing well into 2014, AJ said that 'Backstreet's back' with a vengeance and hope to be here for the next 20 years - and even beyond that.

n The boys will be performing at Glasgow's SSE Hydro on April 3.

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