KIRKPATRICK: For us, it was hit or miss. If we didn’t break the States, we weren’t gonna break. I was real nervous about how it was gonna be perceived by everybody. There was a lot of nerves, but a lot of relief that we got it finished. We’d do a show over in Europe in front of eight-to-ten million people that was the biggest show over there, then we’d come over here, and our parents would forget to pick us up from the airport.
CHASEZ: We basically became Platinum-selling artists all over the world, except for where we were born. [Laughs.] It was more of a sense of relief. We wanted to come home, and it was like, “OK, we’re releasing this thing at home. It feels good to be home.”
BASS: I definitely had mixed feelings, because I was super excited to be able to come home and release our music that our friends and family can see. A lot of people back home didn’t really understand – and half of them didn’t even believe – what was happening over there. On the other hand, I was just so nervous, because you really only get one shot in this country. I was so scared that “Want You Back” would come out and it would completely flop, and that was going to be our last shot, we were going to spend the rest of our career internationally and that was it. So I was extremely nervous.
CHASEZ: There is that sense of, when you’re traveling everywhere and you become a citizen of the world, I guess, your family and your friends can take your word for it, but they can’t see it and they can’t experience it with you. They can’t feel it. At least from my perspective, we wanted the people that we cared about to see this. To say, “Hey, man, we’ve been working our tails off, and for good reason.”
BASS: It was an overnight sensation over in Europe. We worked really hard to get there, but it happened so quickly. I knew it was going to be hard to get an American audience over a European audience, and we saw that in our shows. Some of the first shows we ever did in America were MTV Spring Breaks -- we went to a lot of different spring breaks, and half the audiences were guys. So it wasn’t just the girls you had to win over, but the guys. It was definitely a different market and we didn’t really understand how America -- if they were going to accept us at all.
CHASEZ: We have literally played in front of every kind of crowd you can imagine. From the early days in Europe, there’s a bunch of people going, “Who the heck are these American kids jumping around on our stage in space suits?” By the time we got back here, we had to start all over again.
That being said, we had years of experience under our belts, so we were confident in each other. For me, that was always what’s in the back of my mind, like, “You know what, this might not be their cup of tea, but they’re gonna walk away thinking, somehow, some way, ‘That might not be my thing, but I gotta respect it.’”
FATONE: It was cool just because of the fact that it was our first time coming out to the States, and hoping that people would like it, because obviously at that time pop music was coming back again. [Before that] it was grunge with Nirvana and everything else. But the minute that Hanson, Backstreet and Spice Girls came on over, that opened up the door for us to come over, finally. And we’re like, “Yay! We’re here!”