I've been fortunate enough to be able to sit down with the fellas of Youngstown because of a previous job I had, writing for a newspaper here in Northern California. So here's the transcript from the first interview I did with the guys back in March. It was a day before the first Kodak tour date in Hayward, CA. Enjoy!!
Youngstown Interview Transcript Date of Interview: Wednesday, March 22, 2000 (Hayward, CA) Interviewer: Marisa Houston, (Contra Costa Times Newspaper)
I showed up a little bit early at the Best Western Hotel in Hayward, CA. But early is always better. I brought my younger sister Renee and her friend Tanya along with me for support. Geez, not only am I a reporter, but I'm a HUGE Youngstown fan, so I needed someone there to slap me when I started to freak out. (Thank God nothing happened! Hehe!) We walked into the tiny conference room and it was full of people, Kodak staff, Hollywood Records staff and of course....YOUNGSTOWN! The guys were VERY warm and greeted us with hugs. Dallas gave Renee and Tanya two keychains. (They're limited edition YT hologram tour keychains.) Hey now, I felt kind of left out, so Sammy, being the sweet gentleman that he is, gave me his. *sigh* I knew I loved him for a good reason. Hehe. Anyways, Daisy, a member of the YT Tour Staff, had me set up the back of the room how I wanted it. So the four of us, DC, Sammy, Dallas and myself sat at a table to begin the interview. I told them right off the bat that I was EXTREMELY nervous and that I'm not just a reporter, I'm a BIG FAN and they all comforted me kindly. Renee and Tanya sat behind me and took pictures during the interview. So here's the transcript. Enjoy! Remember, it's not WORD for WORD because that'd be impossible to catch every single little thing. But the important and the funny stuff are included. Please do not take any of this conversation for your own uses unless you ask me first.
M=Marisa DC=DC D=Dallas S=Sammy Group= Youngstown All=YT and Marisa Renee= Marisa's sister Daisy= YT Tour/Publicity Staff Member
M- So it's the first stop of the tour, and I feel very special that you guys are here first.
M- How does it feel to be out on the road??
D- It's great to be out on the road. It's great flying, but I think we all love being on the bus. It's a lot of fun. It gets kinda hectic, but being on the bus makes it much more relaxing. We get to sleep.
DC- We did a Premear in the Park tour last summer with Nobody's Angel and we got used to it, but the bus is tha bomb! We get to play Sony and Dreamcast.
D- Our tour bus this time is so much cooler.
M- Is it?
D- Cuz it's got our pictures on the side and it says "Kodak Youngstown".
M- That's tight. Are you guys nervous at all??
D- Yeah you know if the nerves go away, there's something wrong. There's always a small sense of being nervous. I think the main thing that I'm nervous about is that we switched up our show a little bit. We're going to actually have to think up there, especially for the first few shows.
M- So tell me about your involvement with the Volunteers of America and how their presence is going to be felt on the tour.
D- Actually Volunteers of America will be at every single show. It's a way for us to get our fans and other people involved with volunteering in their local communities. You know, like cleaning up parks or help rebuild an old lady's house that she can't do herself and whatever. So basically they're going to be at every single show we do. Also there's a contest that's going on with Kodak also being there. That if you take pictures of yourself while you're doing volunteer work, you send it in and if you win, you win a concert at your school by us. Uhh,
DC- Your whole school wins the Kodak Max Cameras and you get to come chill with us at Disney World. We get to kick it!
M- That's sooo cool!
S- We can kick it, Mickey style.
M- So how'd you guys get started with Disney and the whole Inspector Gadget soundtrack?
D- Actually Mitchell Leib of Hollywood Records, he was in charge of all the sound tracks, he came to us with a song called "I'll Be Your Everything," of course and they said it was for Inspector Gadget. Each and every one of us grew up watching Inspector Gadget, you know, on Saturday mornings. So immediately we listened to the song and the hook. All of us felt the hook was strong and people could possibly be walking down the street and it would just come up in their head. It's a dope song and of course Disney backed it. It was an awesome experience.
M- Yeah, that's cool. Um, okay, I'm a huge pop music fan and it's kind of inevitable that you guys be dubbed a "boy band," so, well I could probably answer this myself, but I'll get it from you guys. What makes you guys different? What's different about Youngstown??
S- You know what? I'd like for you to answer that.
S- No I'm serious. I've never gotten like an opinion from a fan.
M- (voice a little shaky), Um, okay, for one thing, you guys just seem a lot more humble and you know, more open to your fans. Like on the Disney concert, which I taped by the way (group-laugh), you know being with your fans and being so warm and welcome to them. And you guys write a lot of your own music which is very commendable because it's something a lot of artists don't do.
DC- I'm glad you brought up those points rather than the obvious like, well there's 3 of you and 5 of the Backstreet Boys.
D- See those are things that make us different. I personally don't think that those other groups don't do that, I think they're in a situation where their record company doesn't allow them to do that. It's inevitable that if you're in this industry and you love to do it, you're going to end up doing it yourself. So 9 times out of 10 when people ask us what makes us different, we really don't say much makes us different. We kinda leave it up to the fans (points to me) to decide what makes us different to them.
M- (smiling) Very cool. Um this kind of goes with the last question, but did you guys have a lot of freedom on this album? Say what was going to go on this album? A lot of input?
DC- We had....
(Sammy begins to talk at the same time...and stops....)
DC- Naw man, go ahead.
S- We had a lot of input I think. Being that this was our first album, I think we had a lot of input. I think we had a lot of say so on what style. You know there are still a lot of political things behind it which we have to cater to, and to the record label as well since it's our first time being out, but uh I think we had a good headstart.
DC- WE GOT FIVE SONGS ON THE ALBUM!!
DC and Dallas- We can't complain!!
D- It's kinda...when you're doing an album, we were actually speaking about this earlier, when you're doing an album, you have to...sometimes being an artist comes into play and you get frustrated and you're like "Aw man, I wanna do this, I wanna do that," but they're pulling you this way. But what you have to realize is that if a lot of people hear something that's too different or that they can't compare to something else they've heard before, they might not like it. So you're risking the chance to really show the world what your true art is. You have to cater to what everyone wants to hear and hopefully your audience will grow with you.
(DC and Sammy agree.)
S- It's usually not about you sometimes, (points to me and smiles) it's about what the fans want And you have to cater them.
DC- It's gradually....
S- Slowly but surely. It's all a growing process.
M- Yeah. Um, so what's each of your guys' favorite song on the album?
S- YES it is! (Smiles at me) Have you heard the remix of it?
S- Ahhh! Well, I'll have to hook you up with that. (Smiling)
DC- Okay then what slow jams? Like "Whenever you Need Me"....
D- Personally like "Whenever you Need Me" and "Jamie Lee" is of course special to me.
S- I'm likin' all the ballads.
D- "Early Frost" is actually a ballad that we love and I don't know why we haven't thought of it, but for some reason we just haven't put it into our shows yet.
DC- You can REALLY FEEL the ballads.
(Group nods in agreement)
M- (Pointing to my sister and her friend) We actually listen to them ALL the time.
D- Just to let you know what kind of guys we are, we love to perform and we love to dance and do all that, but we could actually do a whole concert of nothing but ballads.
M- That'd be nice!
D- We're hopeless romantics.
M- Oh that's VERY cool. Um, so what CD would I find in your guys' CD players right now? Like what artists are you really into?
DC- Well I actually just made a mix, I got uh, the new version of "Pedal," what else, I got um old Soundgarden, I got uh Sublime, what else, oh Sisqo, "Thong Song".....
(Sammy and Dallas start singing the chorus of "The Thong Song".)
DC- I got Method Man and Limp Bizkit's "N 2Gether," Korn..oh, "Bye Bye Bye" is on there by N Sync....
D- I actually did go buy the N Sync album. It's hot!
M- Yeah, it's pretty good!
D- I love, I love uh, (Starts singing...) "Digital, digital get down, just you and me..."
M- YEAH! We were just bumpin' that!!
D- That song is dope! That song is so dope! Hey I'm a fan, what can I say?!
DC to Sammy- Sam Boogie??
S- Uh a little bit of everything, actually I bought a new CD by Wanya Morris called "Renaissance Millennium" or something like that with two other rappers, it's kinda tight. I just listen to a lot of Spanish Salsa and like Marc Anthony..and...
DC- Ricky Martin....
S- (Shakes his head) Nah, Nah!
D- I've got like Kid Rock, like I said, I got N Sync, Boyz II Men...
D- Babyface, Ozzy Osbourne, ACDC...just a wide variety. We listen to everything.
M- Yeah you can tell it influences your music too. The rock influence and Latin influence and everything and that's cool. Um, so what about when you guys were growing up, who were like major sources of inspiration? Who kind of gave you that push and support you needed to get into the music business and pursue your dreams and stuff like that?
D- I think, for myself personally, I can't really speak on the two, but I know DC's mom seemed to be pretty supportive most of the time. Myself, it was kind of uh..I really had something to prove. Coming from Kansas City, there's really no kind of industry there.
M- Mm hmm...
D- It's beautiful city to live but it's not an entertainment capital. So I felt this was something I wanted to do since I was a young kid so I felt like I had something to prove. So it wasn't really as much support as it was drive.
D- You know, sometimes my drive took me to some places where most people wouldn't wanna go, but I wanted to do it and that's where it was at the time, and I went there.
M- Yeah...(looks toward DC)
DC- Me personally I started singing way back in the day when I was like 13. A friend of mine, I was singing and playing basketball at his house in the driveway and he said that I sounded good and that I should pursue it. So really, singing started off as a hobby to me. And then once...I gradually got older and everything kind of just looped into it. Singing kept going and all the problems and stuff like trying to find a manager, trying to get out there and find a record deal and all that kind of stuff came into it and it made me want it more. And parents and people telling you you can't do it, get to reality, find a real job....
D- (Cuts DC off) Yeah, that was the biggest thing...
DC- (continues) It fueled it and that's what I think pushed me to make this happen.
M- Yeah, (looks toward Sammy...) And what about you?
S- Well I grew up in a music family. Everyone in my family played an instrument of some sort and it kind of just became innate that I pick up on music and I kinda gradually studied on it as I grew up and matured my talent. I mean, I never thought I.....I mean my dreams were to always pursue the music business and find out more about it and try to be an artist and so forth, but the thing is, I got caught up with these guys (looks at both DC and Dallas) and we started up Youngstown. And I never thought I'd be in the music business this early, cuz I didn't have any kind of knowledge of where to go and where to start. So....
D- WE OPENED THE GATE! (In a "manly" voice)
All- Laugh. (Dallas is cracking up...)
M- Okay, I have to ask about like the piercings and the tattoos, cuz you know I've got my own...
D- (Says to tour staff who are also in the room) They haven't seen all my tattoos!
M- I have to ask since I have all of my piercings, no tattoos yet because I'm scared....
D- (cuts me off) I actually just got a new one.
(Dallas lifts up his left sleeve to show a dark blue flame design on his forearm. VERY AWESOME!!)
M- Ooh did it hurt???
D- Hmm, little bit. Not too bad though.
(DC lifts up his pant leg to reveal a music staff that winds up his entire lower leg.)
DC- My new one....
M- Oh Ouch! I know THAT had to hurt!
DC- (laughs) It's still even scabby...(And he starts picking the scabs)
M- See? Oh oww, I'm so scared.
DC- No, it didn't really hurt.
D- Tattoos are definitely something that I say DO NOT GET unless you know you want it.
DC- You know you're positive...
D- See my dad had tattoos and everything and it's just, its probably almost inevitable that when I grow up I'm gonna get tattoos. cuz everybody I was around had tattoos and everything. Plus it's also a way for people to get to know us and maybe understand that the guy with the tattoos isn't such the bad guy after all.
M- Yeah..Mm hmm...
D- You know it's an image, and I like it.
DC- Tattoos are hereditary (laughs) They just show up after awhile!
(Sammy flashes me his tongue ring and I happily flash mine back....then Dallas interrupts this beautiful moment...hehe)
D- I actually did have my lip (labret) pierced but I took it out cuz it started to make my teeth like one inch long....
DC- Yeah it started to wear his gums down.
D- My gums were getting worn away from my teeth....
M- Wow! Really?
D- So I just took it out. But I had for over a year before I took it out.
M- See I thought about getting that done and I thought about my eyebrow.....
D- (giggles) Well I have another piercing that most people don't know about (rubs his left nipple and mouths the word "nipple") But shhh...
M- REALLY?? (giggles)
DC- (jokingly) Take off your shirt!
M- So what did your parents think? My mom wants to know that answer. She was really cool about it all.
S- Oh really? That's cool.
D- You know my mom actually...this is exactly what she said, she calls me Jamie...."Jamie you look stupid!". 10 minutes later she was like "I take that back, it kinda fits you." You know, so she was cool with it.
DC- I think my mom tripped about me getting my ears pierced back in the day then my eyebrow. Cuz you know what? I actually wanted to get my tongue pierced. and we have this family dentist and she WOULD NOT take me to the dentist if I got it done. And she swore up and down and said "You're going to have to find a new dentist, you're going to have to pay for it..."
DC- And I was like Dang! And I wanted something pierced so bad so I was like all right, we're gonna compromise here, and I came back with the eyebrow and she was like fine, that's cool.
D- I used to live with DC and his mom, everytime we were about to leave out the house she'd be like, "You're gonna go out of the house wearing that? What are the neighbors going to think?" (In a funny, nagging voice)
DC- Always worried about what other people think.
D- She was always worried about what everybody thinks.
S- (acknowledging my lip and tongue piercings) I was just checkin' that out......
(Sammy flashes his tongue ring again....and I flash mine right back...)
M- See my mom was really cool about it. It took me awhile to convince her since I got it done before I was 18.
S- Yeah, see I got mine done when I was what, 19? 20? And I went home and my dad checked it out and he was laughing and he was like "Oh my God?!" See my dad's really cool. But my mom......
(Dallas cuts him off..)
D- She was more worried about eating.....
(Sammy breaks back in...)
S- Man I eat just as good with my tongue ring. It doesn't bother me, trust me.
M- Yeah, I've had no problems.
DC- Its the same with tattoos. This is my first real one right here. (Lifts up sleeve to show his angel chick on his upper arm) And then my mom was like THAT'S IT.
DC- But then I gradually...I mean, I've got five now! Me and my father actually went and got one a few months ago. I told my mom, "Yeah mom I got the one of my ankle touched up." Cuz I did this one on my ankle, it's a little music note on my ankle, I did that by myself in high school...
DC- And I said "yeah mom, you know the one on my ankle, yeah well I got it kinda touched up a little bit".
DC- and she was like "How Much?!?" and I said "Oh just a little bit!"
All- Laugh (The tattoo is huge!)
DC- She hasn't seen it yet though. She's gonna have a heart attack but it'll be alright. (laughs)
S- Your moms is a trip.
D- I don't know, its just something you like.
M- That's cool because I identify with that!
S- Yes, we're young, we're growing!!
M- I relate to you guys!
DC- (yelling into the recorder) SO THERE MOM!
M- (laugh) So for all of those aspiring artists who want to be where you guys are, you know, what can you say, you know advice wise?
D- Just you know you can't really pay attention to the negativity around you cuz you're gonna get it. A lot of people, well I don't want to call them haters, but they don't really, well sometimes it's hard to believe that if you really work hard enough, something can happen. And that's because a lot of people settle for what life has given them. If you choose to follow your dream, you can make your dream happen. Anybody can. Cuz if we did, we know everyone else can do it.
S- Pssh, OH YEAH.
D- I mean, if people just only really, really, truly knew. It'd be so easy for everyone to be doing their dream their whole life. You know, I truly believe that if I wanted to, I could sit down and teach myself to be a doctor...if I wanted to..
M- Yeah...(with doubt..)
D- If I seriously, seriously wanted to and I was dead serious like I am about music, I believe that I could do it. And I believe anybody could do it. It's just a matter of studying your craft and being insistent in everything that you do.
DC- It starts within you.
S- Can't nobody else do it but you.
M- Yeah....that's cool. Um, So after this tour, what's next for you guys?
D- Hopefully another tour!
DC- Yeah, hopefully another tour. Well, hopefully we'll be filming the "Pedal" video, maybe we'll do it in the middle of the tour. But uh, that'd be pretty cool, so hopefully after this we get to get on another tour.
D- I actually got some good news today. You guys know that show on the WB, "Popular"?
(DC cracks his knuckles right over the recorder..it's SOOO loud!)
M- (laughs) Yeah!
D- A song, that I wrote called "Will You Marry Me?" is going to go on that show.
M- REALLY?? (looking at my sister's friend) Tanya watches "Popular".
D- You'll see us on a couple things, you'll hear songs on certain TV shows....
M- That's cool!
D- And we're also doing, what's it called? Y-TV?
DC- Y-TV, Yeah, it's a 10 minute show on the internet. Just our own, whatever we want to do type of thing.
D- We're definitely trying to put ourselves in other places besides JUST Youngstown.
DC- We're going CYBER!
D- It's all Youngstown, but we wanna bring a bunch of things together.
M- Mmm hmm, the internet's a good place for it.
Group- Oh yeah!
DC- I'm a freak of the internet....
(I glare at him for a few seconds....)
DC- (in a funny voice). Next question!
M- So is there anything else you'd like to say to your Bay Area Youngstown fans?
DC- Yay Area!
S- WESTSIDE!! (Really loud!)
D- The only thing I can say is that the last time we were here the crowd was so wonderful. We appreciate it!
S- Much Love!
D- We love them, we love everybody.
DC- 49ers Rule!
D- Yea, the 49ers DO RULE!
DC- (laughs) We're (him and DC) are huge Niner fans.
M- Oh well, well...
DC- So back up! (laughs)
M- (Pointing to my sister) We've got a Packers fan back here.
(DC starts making fun of the Packers to Renee while Dallas goes on....)
D- You know I'm still loyal to the KC Chiefs but the 49ers have a good team.
M- I'm not a football fan, I"m a basketball fan.
(Sammy gets a huge smile on his face and reaches up and gives me a huge high five...such soft hands Sammy has! Hehe)
D- We just hope that we can come and do the same type of show like we did last time and hope that they're responsive to this one like they were to that one.
M- Yeah, Its going to be HOT tomorrow, I can tell you that right now. I mean, we're getting there VERY early. So um...
M- This is like MTV's FANatic for me guys!
DC- Ooh no! (Laughs)
M- I mean, they're my own questions and everything....
D- You know what? We watch that show all the time. Cuz we're kind of fanatics ourselves. You know maybe that's what makes us different is that we'll admit it, that we're fans of other people.
M- Do you get star struck and stuff??
D- You know what? We do, but the thing is, since we're a group, we have to play this cool thing. So what we do is like this, (whispering) "Hey check it out. Look who it is! It's Jennifer Love Hewitt man, check it out.!"
D- We actually RAN a block to see Jennifer Love Hewitt one day.
M- Are you serious?
D- Yeah cuz we seen her drive by and I was like "Dude that was Jennifer Love Hewitt!" And they were like "No it's not!" So we're jettin'! (He makes running motions with his arms, everyone's crackin' up!) Everyone's running and it's like as soon as she gets out the car, we're like.... (He straightens up and plays it cool.) We were just walking and lookin' at her...
DC- She walked by and we were like "Yeah..." (Does the whole wink,point thing..hehe) She walks right passed and it's like she don't know nuttin'!
D- I was like.....
S- You could smell her perfume.
DC- Then we're like, Oh, time to go home!
M- (laughing) That's so great!
D- So we're fans.
M- That's so cool. Well guys, that's all of my questions!
D- Well thank you very much.
M- NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH! This is so great! I mean, I got the call from my editor and she said "Well you know how you're reviewing the show?" I'm like.."Yeah........" And she says "Well I got a call from Youngstown's publicist and they want to set up an interview." I was like YOU'RE KIDDING ME! This doesn't happen to me!
M- So um, this is all very cool.
S- It's a pleasure talking with you.
DC- Oh and can Dallas borrow your pants?
(puts his hand on my leg..Ooh...hehe, and Dallas looks under the table to check out my pants...)
DC- We have a show tomorrow and Dallas could use some more shiny pants, hey that's for real!
M- Hey I like my pants!!
Daisy- So Marisa you're coming tomorrow right?
M- Oh of course! Oh yeah, OH Yeah!
Daisy- To take your picture with the guys and everything?
D- (to himself) As a matter of fact, where's my camera?
M- Oh yeah, I'll be there and you'll see me with my glitter posters and everything.
That was the end of the recorded interview. Dallas came up to me with his camera and took a pic of me and him cheek to cheek. (He held out the camera in front of us and took it himself) Then, DC took out one of the new YT keychains and started trippin' over the hologram of him...
"Man look at my eye! It's lazy! I look all retarded!" He was stuck on that damn keychain forever! Dallas and Renee started talking about shoes..they are both shoe freaks. Then we took a big group picture which turned out awesome. DC told me they were going to spend some money at the mall and asked if there was a Best Buy around. I had no idea, so I was no help! So after our goodbye hugs, the 3 of us went to the car and started blasting "Pedal to the Steel". The guys were in the parking lot waiting for their car to come, and we drove by jammin' "PTTS" and the jammed right long with us. Then it was off to the mall to do some shopping. (NO MORE SHOES DALLAS!!)