On December 12, 2018

98 Degrees to play Rutland, Monday

By Alan Sculley

The band 98 Degrees will come to the Paramount Theatre on Monday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $65-$85 at paramountvt.org.

Nick Lachey has been television host, a reality television star, a dance contest competitor, an actor, a teen pop star (with 98 Degrees) and a music solo artist.

Wearing many hats suits him well.

“I’d like to think I’m kind of hard to label. I enjoy being diversif ied,” Lachey said during a late-October phone interview. “I’ve always approached my career as not trying to put any kind of label on it or define it. As long as the projects are interesting and something I enjoy doing, just keep on working.”

But now, 22 years after he first came to notoriety as frontman of 98 Degrees, that group might be taking a central role in Lachey’s career once again.

The group came together in 1996 in Los Angeles as a vocal quartet featuring four Ohio natives – lead singer Lachey, his brother, Drew, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons. Initially 98 Degrees was marketed as a teen pop group, riding what was then a major trend in pop music.

98 Degrees never achieved the mega-stardom of peers like the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC or Britney Spears, but the group did very well. After notching a gold album with the self-titled debut, the 1998 second album, “98 Degrees and Rising,” topped 4 million copies sold, while the 2000 album, “Revelation,” was a double-platinum hit. In all the group has sold 10 million albums, which includes a first holiday album, “This Christmas,” released in 1999.

Then in 2001, the group went on a hiatus that lasted more than a decade. Each of the group members took on their own projects during the hiatus, making 98 Degrees seem like it might stay in the rearview mirror.

In music, Nick Lachey released has released four solo albums (including the gold-certified 2006 release “What’s Left of Me”). But his biggest impact came through television.

Following his October 2002 marriage to singer Jessica Simpson, the couple starred in the popular MTV reality television series “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.” The series had a three-year run – just like their marriage, which ended in December 2005.

To this day, some people still associate Lachey, with “Newlyweds,” even though he has since married former MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, with whom he has three children. It’s a situation that he finds odd.

“I guess it’s a weird thing because it’s obviously centered around a chapter in my life which is closed and has been for a decade really,” Lachey said. “But it’s always interesting how much people still remember that show. So on that level, it’s flattering to have been part of something people enjoyed and was a success. Yeah, it is bizarre at the same time because it’s so not where my life is.

“I’ve been lucky enough, thankfully, to go on and do quite a few things since then and host a lot of things,”

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