Band of Brothers: CosmoGirl Interview
Source: Feb. 2002 CosmoGirl! Magazine
"Where's Chris?"
"Is J.C. still in the bathroom?"
"Ugh, Justin ran off again."
At the 'N Sync photo shoot on an October morning, we're trying to get all of the guys in one place at one time. But we're at their manager Johnny Wright's house, which sits on a private lake in Orlando, and there are lots of…distractions. Like outside, there's a sound system that blasts Top 40 hits to every inch of the "compound," so you never miss your favorite song while swimming, jet skiing, practicing putting, or shooting some hoops. Inside there's an arcade with games like Foosball and Ms. Pacman (rumor has it Johnny "requests" you pay a quarter even though all the video games are rigged to be free) and a one-lane bowling alley. Oh, and for those who care, shoes of all sizes are available.

So after J.C., Lance, Joey, Justin and Chris show up (yes, it's in the order in which they appeared—Chris said no one called to wake him up), they're scattered all over the house playing. Justin's run off to swing his new golf club; J.C. is wandering around singing Enrique Iglesias songs ("If I could be you're hero, baby!"), and Joey is hanging out by the bowling alley with his baby girl, Brianna who has huge blue eyes and two pigtails on top of her head (F.Y.I. Lance is her godfather). And when we finally get them all together to pose for an outside shot, it starts raining, prompting the guys to bust out into a hilarious rendition of the cheesy 70's song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (hilarious because they don't know the words). Then when "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige comes on, they take a quick break to dance (exactly) like her.


But of course the chaos at the compound is nothing compared to the chaos going on in the world around us. Barely a month has passed since the terrorist attacks, and although "N Sync seems to be the same happy-go-lucky guys we see on MTV all the time, they're still reeling. "I never thought my generation this horrific," says Justin. "The day of the attacks, my girlfriend [Britney] called me in tears. I told her everyone was confused about why people would want to do this. For a good two or three weeks after that I was just scared."

Just like it has changed for the rest of us, September 11 has profoundly changed the 'N Sync guys. "Before the attacks I used to be a hermit," says J.C. "After it happened, I fell into a funky depression. But then I said 'Okay, let's turn it around.' Since then I've made a conscious effort to go out and see people instead of just calling them—be a little more social. I used to be more into being by myself."

"I used to have a really bad temper," Chris says. "You realize it's not worth it to get upset over the fact that someone is, like, sitting in a more comfortable chair than you." (That's good to know— because at the moment his chair isn't exactly a Barcalounger Gemini!)

Not to be morbid, but they're also now seriously thinking about their own mortality. "Tomorrow's not promised to you at all," says Lance. "On the first Sunday of every month, I have a family reunion now. Everyone wants to see each other more often now, instead of just once a year at Christmas." All the guys also recently got new life insurance policies (which explains the sweet-but-confused looking white haired doctor sitting by the vending machines, patiently waiting for Justin to pee in a cup—new policies require physicals). And while Chris says he now has to take medication before he gets on flights to deal with his fear, Justin trusts fate. "I don't put a judgement on where I am right now, or where I'm going to be, or where I was," says Justin. "I have this idea in my head that right before everyone dies, they get to a higher thought. If they get there while they're on this Earth, then their souls become subject to a higher power, and they have no need to be here anymore. That's just the positive way I look at death."


If Justin's talk of a "higher power" surprises you, it shouldn't. The guys have always had very strong faith in God. "We've always prayed together before every show," says J.C. What's surprising though is that they're now pretty reluctant to talk about their spirituality. "In every interview I've done it's like 'Oh, you're a really spiritual person!'" Justin says in a mock flippant voice. "They want to know about my spirituality, and it's like, 'That's mine!'"

"You have to understand that, to us, in our spirituality," says Chris, "the hardest thing in the world is to just do something for the goodness of it. Just do it because that's something between you and God. Like, 'I'm doing this for you God. Not for this person, not everyone who's watching, but for You.' If we give to charity, or go visit kids in a hospital, everybody wants to televise it. Which is a good thing for the charity, because it gives them publicity, but it's hard for us to really get intimate and be like 'I swear to you I'm doing this out of sincerity.' And the camera guy is like 'Hug that little boy again.' Everything we do is scrutinized. When we want that time to be alone in our beliefs, people are right there going, 'Are they religious? Are they good kids?'"


Yeah, they're definitely good "kids," although they're more like men— if there's a draft, Justin, J.C., Lance and Joey could be called. So, would they serve? "My whole family has been in war—World War II, Vietnam," says Lance. "I have huge patriotism. If I were called today, I would totally go. I would be a great soldier. I can outsmart the enemy. Most people get too antsy when play paintball or laser tag, but I can stand there for an hour without moving. I always wait for them to come to me. I also know how to shoot a gun, I'm a good shot!" Realizing that isn't the most P.C. thing in the world, he explains. "Is it a bad thing to say I go hunting? Yes, I'm a hunter; I'm from the South. I go up to the Mississippi Delta where my friend has a huge plantation and I stay in a log cabin with my family. I usually bird hunt. Pheasant, duck, turkey. I only hunt thing that are overpopulated."

Joey breaks in: "I can't shoot a gun, but I can run really fast, I can run away!" We all laugh, and then he gets serious. "Actually, I don't know what I'm capable of, because I'm not in that situation yet. But if there comes a time, I guess I'll have to learn real quickly." Chris thinks he'd rise to the challenge too. "In times of war, average guys do extraordinary things," he says. "I used to say it about us; it's strange how we're five average guys, but sometimes when we're together onstage, we almost float on air. Something kicks in. That's when great things happen. That's when wars are won—when people feel that energy working on them."

"With Chris and me, honor is a big deal," adds Justin. "And when honor kicks in, you always make the right decision." The only one of them opposed to enlisting is J.C. "I'd be a terrible soldier. Ugh! I don't believe in fighting, it's against my religion—I'm Menonite. But if somebody steps on me, I'm going to defend myself. If I have too."


That's what's cool about 'N Sync—they're kind of like a mini-America; a strong group made up of individuals who have their own opinions and unique skills. "Our differences bring us together," says Justin. "And we capitalize on that." But there are three important things that all five guys have in common; [1] They love their country. As Joey puts it, "We're so thankful for where we come from. There are places in the world where you aren't even allowed to chew gum!" [He's referring to Singapore.] [2] They love each other. I've been quoted as saying that girls come second, and I don't find anything wrong with that," says J.C. "I'm married to my best friends. People say it's work, but my work involves four of the closest people in my entire life." And [3] they're all taking President Bush's advice about getting back to normal. "We had a time where nobody felt right doing anything," Chris says, "because we didn't want to take away from the memory of the people that died. But now we're ready to move on. Never forget, but move one."

And that's exactly what they're doing. As the day winds down, the guys' conversation turns to more lighthearted stuff—Chris talks about his golf game (he and Justin are totally addicted), Justin plans Britney's 20th birthday party, and J.C. goes back and forth about buying a new boat. "If there's anything good to come out of what happened," says Lance, "lately everyone is just doing good. For the last 10 years, it was so cool to be bad. Now it's cool to be good."

"Celebrity" Superlatives: Oh, yeah—just in time for awards season…

CG!: Best sound effect?
Justin: Joey
Lance: Joey!
Chris: Joey is a walking Foley stage, that's what they use to make sound effects in movies.
Joey: You know, doors creaking open: Wrrrrrrrreeeee. And closing: Errrrrpllltttt.
Chris: We didn't say they were good sound effects.

CG!: Did you ever make an inappropriate sound effect at the wrong time?
Joey: Nope.
Chris: (to Joey) Yeah, you farted at the wrong time, didn't you! "'Hey, I'm Chris.' 'I'm Lance.' 'I'm plllftt.' 'And we're NSYNC!'" (Everyone laughs)
Joey: That's my ass ladies and gentlemen.

CG!: Best mental picture of the year?
Lance: Janet Jackson naked.

CG!: You saw Janet Jackson naked?
Lance: No.
J.C.: But it's a mental picture!
Lance: I can see it.

CG!: No. 1 "Gee, I'm glad I have a girlfriend" moment?
Chris: Wait, when did we determine that it's good to have a girlfriend? I'm trying to think of a good time. We just get suckered into it.
Justin: There's a lot of, like, really scandalous girls in my past, so I'm not glad I have a girlfriend—because God knows it's easier to live for one person—but I'm glad that I have mine, because she makes my life wonderful. I appreciate her every day. Every moment we get alone. There's nothing in my life that's been less rehearsed than her.
Lance: J.C. dated the president's daughter.
J.C.: I did not!

CG! (to J.C.): You're the only one without a girlfriend right now, right?
J.C.: Yeah. Dang! The tables have turned! I used to the only one with a girlfriend!
Chris: It won't take him long at all, he's very clingy, tell girls he needs a girlfriend!