Jeff Timmons talks about the boyband's new nationwide tour

By Steve Helling
July 09, 2016 08:50 AM
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Credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Admit it: if you clicked on this story, you probably know all of the words to “The Hardest Thing.” (We’ve helpfully put the video on the top of this page. You’re welcome.)

And you probably already know that 98 Degrees has embarked on a new nostalgia-fueled tour that includes Ryan Cabrera, Dream and O-Town.

But there are probably a lot of things that you don’t know about 98 Degrees. Before the tour’s kickoff, singer Jeff Timmons talked with PEOPLE about the group’s fans and families – and what it’s really like on the 98 Degrees tour bus.

Everything is Different Now

A lot has changed since the group’s heydey in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Nick Lachey, 42, tasted superstardom during his marriage to Jessica Simpson. He now has two children with Vanessa Manillo.

Drew Lachey, 39, won the second season of Dancing with the Stars. He and wife Lea have two children.

Justin Jeffre, 43, ran for mayor of Cincinnati in 2005. He’s the only member of the group who’s still a bachelor.

Timmons, 43, is a devoted family man, living with wife Amanda and their five children. He also had a reality show, Men of the Strip, in which he assembled a team of male revue dancers and went on a nationwide tour.

They’ll Be Sharing One Tour Bus

When the group toured with New Kids on the Block in 2013, they each had separate tour buses. “We brought our families with us,” Timmons says. “It was great to have our wives and kids with us.”

But for this 35-city tour, the families will stay home and the band will be crammed together on one bus.

Timmons is the first to admit that things weren’t always harmonious on the tour bus in the ’90s.

“We got on each others’ nerves a lot,” he says. “There were a lot of burdens, both professionally and personally. We didn’t have the luxury of having a professional team with us. So there was a lot a stress. Frankly, we didn’t have much fun. It was a great ride, but it wasn’t a lot of fun.”

So how will it go this time?

“It’ll be fine,” Timmons says. “We’re in a different place. We understand each other more. Some of the stuff that used to bother us is now endearing. There won’t be as much pressure.”

Their Fans Have Remained Steadfastly Loyal

Let’s do the math. 98 Degrees had their breakthrough in 1997, when “Invisible Man” hit the Top 40 and they opened for Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope tour.

If the average 98 Degrees fan was 12 in 1997, she’s 31 today.

“A lot of our fans are now moms,” Timmons says. “They’re teachers and lawyers, moms, doctors. But they attached to our music at a young age, and the songs make a lot of them really emotional. It’s crazy to see these grown women start crying when they hear a song they love.”

“And some of these moms are playing the music for their kids. We’ll meet 8-year-olds who know our music, and I’m thinking, ‘You weren’t even alive when we were on TRL.’ ”

They’ll Record New Music When The Time is Right

“This is a throwback tour,” says Timmons. “It’s called My2K, because it’s a throwback to the Y2K scare. So there will be a lot of nostalgia.”

“We want to do new music,” he continues. “But things are different than they were in 2000. There’s social media. There’s all sorts of ways we can make it successful. So we’ll be open to seeing what happens on the tour. Who knows? We may come up with some new music on the tour bus.”

The My2K tour will perform in large and small venues across America until August 29. A full listing of the dates is on the tour’s website.