NSYNC's Lance Bass: 'Social media could've killed our career'

Lyndsey Parker
Editor-in-Chief, Music

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark ‘NSYNC album No Strings Attached, and speculation has run rampant regarding a possible full-fledged reunion ever since the beloved boy band (minus Justin Timberlake) joined Ariana Grande onstage during her headlining Coachella set last year. Twitter exploded that evening — but ‘NSYNC’s Lance Bass tells Yahoo Entertainment he is very glad that Twitter didn’t exist in the year 2000.

“I am so glad we had no social media!” he laughs. “Well, on the one hand, it would be nice to have 100 million followers, right? And being able to just talk to your fans so quickly. But on the other hand, who knows what would've happened? You know, at the beginning of social media we were just dumb kids.

“So the stupid things you might say, or someone might take a picture of you drinking at a club and you're underage — I mean, that could have ruined your career back then. It was a different time.

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“So who knows? Social media could’ve killed our career.”

There’s a disturbing side to social media, with some toxic fandoms, so Bass is glad that in the pre-Instagram age, he was oblivious to a lot of that. “[Fan behaviour] can be dark. Because a lot of people see the positive things of being in a group like [‘NSYNC], but when you're at a level like that, there's a lot of people coming after you and a lot of things that we weren't privy to at all — which was a good thing,” he says. “You know, our bodyguards kind of kept a lot of the information away from us. But in hindsight, looking back and knowing some of the stories that were happening around us, it's a scary world. There's a lot of scary things that were happening around us that we never let anyone know, and it was very dangerous. But our security is amazing and it's great, but there's some really horrible people out there.”

But there is an upbeat side to ‘NSYNC mania, which will be explored in Bass’s upcoming film. TriStar Pictures recently acquired the as-yet-untitled project, which is being produced by Bass’s eponymous company along with Cindy Cowan of Cindy Cowan Entertainment. The scripted buddy comedy is based on the stranger-than-fiction story of two crazy college-age fans who, determined to follow 'NSYNC’s entire 2001 Pop Odyssey summer tour, won a Winnebago on The Price Is Right and made their dream happen.

“It was the biggest prize ever won on The Price Is Right, and it just changed their lives,” says Bass. “So, it was this incredible kind of coming-of-age road trip story that happened. Even back then when I heard about this story, I'm like, ‘This is such a great film.’ So yeah. So we sold it to TriStar, and so we're going to be filming that next year. It’s a total road trip comedy. In fact, it's not even the original story — this is what happens 20 years later with the girls. They're getting the Winnebago back working again and trying to recapture their youth.”

In these dark times, the film is likely to find a nostalgic audience of fans also eager to time-travel back to the ‘aughts. “Oh, of course. Everyone likes to look back at the better times,” says Bass. “And you know, right now it's a hard time for a lot of people. … When you were a teenager, and all was good in the world, and innocent, you didn't really have that many responsibilities. And people just want to feel that again. And music is the soundtrack of that. You listen to a song, and it just takes you back to a lot of those memories, and people are just jonesing for that. I think that's why the ‘90s, early 2000s is just really huge. …People are just wanting to feel that innocence again.”