Context: After *NSYNC announced they would be leaving RCA/BMG and Lou Pearlman’s Trans Continental Media they were hit with a $150 million lawsuit for breach of contract and under threat of losing the rights to their name.
‘N Sync: Weird Scenes Inside the Glitter Factory By Anthony Bozza (March 30, 2000)
The members of 'N Sync are at their very own Neverland Ranch: the 32,000-square-foot (and growing) lakeside Orlando home of their manager, Johnny Wright, which also serves as the headquarters for his company, the Wright Stuff. The living room is packed with arcade games ranging from Ms. Pac-Man to Mortal Kombat, an old-fashioned Coke machine, a pool table, foosball, two varieties of air hockey (with and without little plastic men) and a sound system bookended by six-foot speakers. Next door, a two-lane bowling alley is under construction in a wing that will also house a dance studio.
Teen-dream décor abounds: a Lucite banister lit from within, a seven-foot glass palm-tree trunk topped by a fern, a dining room dominated by a giant fish tank and a black monolithic running-water sculpture. Outdoors, a sand volleyball court awaits, along with a putting green (with sand trap), a boat and Jet Skis for lake-top frolicking, a basketball court, a tiki bar, a hot tub and a pool with a waterfall. The only thing missing is a ticket booth.
At the moment, though, these diversions are about as important to Lance Bass, Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone Jr. and JC Chasez as extra credit is to a graduating senior. The 'N Sync-ers – who range in age from nineteen to twenty-eight – are gathered in a loose semicircle to listen to final mixes of songs from their second album, No Strings Attached. Wright cues up “Space Cowboy,” a fast-paced party track with a round-'em-up refrain that goes something like, “ya-ya-yippi, yippi-i, yippi-ay.” As the beat kicks in, the band members begin to gesticulate as if onstage, seeming to work out their moves for the number. Chasez, who splits lead-vocal duties with Timber-lake, fibrillates head to toe as the song kicks into the first chorus. Timberlake, meanwhile, sits and sings his lines softly as he head-bobs along. Bass leans back in a chair, his finger moving up and down as if following a bouncing little white ball. Fatone hunches over, singing to the ground, while Kirkpatrick grooves along abstractly.
The song ends, and Wright breaks out gifts for his wonder boys: platinum and diamond 'N Sync pendants to commemorate the diamond status – 10 million sold – of 'N Sync, their debut. A few hoots erupt, and a discussion of the proper chain to hold such a piece ensues. Timberlake looks at his and stands up.
“We are diamond,” he says mock-righteously. “Screw all of you. I’m done. Forget this boy-band thing.”
For his sake, he’d better be kidding. His next batch of time off is scheduled for sometime in 2001.