One thing you probably don’t know about me is that I’ve hung out with the Backstreet Boys. That is, unless you heard me announce it on Twitter a couple days ago. So OK, perhaps you DO know that I’ve hung out with the Backstreet Boys.
Hanging out with the Backstreet Boys is something I have kept a secret for 14 years. But now I’m ready to let the cat out of the bag.
The year was 1997. I was a lowly intern at BMG Music in Toronto. My day-to-day life consisted of making coffee, cleaning out my bosses’ disorganized desk drawers and fetching egg salad sandwiches from the café on the corner.
When I wasn’t running errands I was down in the basement dubbing tapes and trying to get the A&R department to notice that they had THEE NEXT MARTIKA sitting right under their noses (that would’ve been ME. A-HEM.)
It was a grim existence, but I stuck with the job because occasionally there were “perks”. Like hanging out with celebrities.
When I heard the Backstreet Boys were coming to town, I was kind of excited and also very distraught. Although I knew I would be hanging out with the BSB, I also knew that in my social circle, the Backstreet Boys were the furthest thing from cool. So I did what ALL “lowly-interns-that are-embarrassed-of-what-their-friends-might-think” do:
I invited my DAD along to hang out with the Backstreet Boys too.
(I admit that I don’t really know what I was thinking when I invited my dad along to hang out with the Backstreet Boys. He was surprised to discover that the “Backstreet Boys” were NOT a gang of criminals responsible for several drive-by shootings in the south-central Los Angeles area. But I invited him anyway.)
It wasn’t long before the big day arrived and my dad and I rolled up to Maple Leaf Gardens in his stylin’ courier truck to hang out with the Backstreet Boys before their show. While my dad parked, I located the back entrance of the venue and was immediately assailed by several troops of desperate thirteen year-olds, begging me to sneak them inside.
I glared at them with disgust, shook them off and proceeded to enter the building. The security guards ushered me in immediately because my name was on THE LIST.
(I enjoy being on lists. I know it’s an ego thing, but I still enjoy it. Being on lists also comes in handy because I have a strict policy against waiting in lines unless you have a sign outside your driveway that reads, “Tim Hortons”.)
I sauntered into Maple Leaf Garden’s (whilst still glaring at the desperate thirteen year-olds) and found the green room. The BSB weren’t there yet but many of my snobby record-company co-workers were, so I flopped onto one of the couches and enjoyed some shallow yet egg-salad free conversation.
It was at this point that I remembered my Dad.
DAD!!! Oh no! I forgot to wait for him and his name wasn’t on THE LIST!! What do I do???
(May I remind you that this was 1997 and we didn’t have cell phones. OK, I didn’t have a cell phone. So I didn’t have a cell phone until 2010; what’s it to you???)
Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a tall man at the Backstreet Boy’s buffet, eating ALL of their food.
“DAD!!” I shouted. “How did you get in here??? And why are you eating all of that food?? YOU CAN’T DO THAT!! It’s for the BACKSTREET BOYS!!!”
My dad’s mouth was full of a turkey sandwich, but he smiled anyway and patted my shoulder. “Don’t worry muffin,” he said to me. “They won’t even notice!”
I returned to my spot on the couch, covered my face with my hands, and shook my head, knowing that Backstreet’s turkey would never be “back”.
A few minutes later, I sensed an uprising of excitement in the room. I uncovered my eyes just in time to see the BSB posse stroll in.
(By this point in time, the green room was so full of record company people and radio contest winners that nobody even noticed that my dad had eaten ALL of the Backstreet Boy’s sandwiches. I let it go and patiently waited for my turn to “meet & greet” the boys.)
To be honest, I can’t really remember what happened next. I know that at some point I had a conversation with each and every one of them because I have an autographed CD to prove it.
I also remember thinking that they were very short. Except for Kevin. Kevin was tall. Nick was of medium stature. But the rest of them were short. Very short. Much shorter than me.
And that’s my very true story about the day I hung out with the Backstreet Boys.