Members of the high-energy pop trio EYC were teen idols when the Backstreet Boys were practically in grade school. They’re still teen idols, especially overseas, but they haven’t had those big Backstreet Boys sales numbers. It’s not like they haven’t tried.
“We came together at a young age,” singer Trey Parker said recently of partners Damon Butler and David Loeffler. “We’ve been friends for 10 years. The group’s been together for eight years. When we started off back in ’93, Americans were into gangsta rap and grunge music, so they weren’t really hearing pop music at all.”
The group’s first album, “Express Yourself Clearly” (on Gasoline Alley/MCA), didn’t utter a word on the U.S. charts in 1993, but the trio didn’t give up.
“We were lucky enough to get an opportunity to open for Prince overseas,” Parker said, “and, of course, we took full advantage of that. Through that tour, Whitney Houston’s people offered us a tour all over Europe for two-and-a-half-months and that’s what really broke us in Europe.
“We just stayed over there. We lived there for three years, based out of London. We did well. Unfortunately, we were burned out and wanted to take some time off. We missed our families. Gasoline Alley got refinanced and they went under, and now they’re called Red Ant. When all that was going down, we said, ‘We’re taking some time off. We’ve been on the road for four years straight.’
“What do you know, as soon as we take some time off, Hanson, Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys break America wide open. We weren’t upset, but we were like, ‘Man! If we would’ve not stopped and kept going, that’d be us.’ It was bad timing.”
EYC is getting back into the swing of things with its Red Ant debut album, “I Feel It,” featuring the radio-friendly “This Thing Called Love” and “Only a Dream,” and it recently joined 98 Degrees, Monica, B*Witched and Tatyana Ali on Nickelodeon’s summerlong “All That Music & More” tour.
“I Feel It” sports EYC’s third-flavor feel, Parker said, showcasing their love for pop, hip-hop and R&B.
“We had recorded a second album when we had decided to take some time off,” he said. “With some of the music that’s out right now, to not sound cocky or anything like that, I really believe that at that time we were ahead of our time. We were writing some really cool music three years ago that we were able to use now. We took some of the stuff off that album and did about six new songs and meshed it together.”
“This Thing Called Love” was released as a single in March. Even though it won a rave review in Billboard, it failed to take off nationally.
“It was frustrating,” Parker said, “but you roll with the punches, because if you don’t in this business you collapse. We felt it was a great song and we got some great reaction.”
EYC has high hopes for the next single, “Only a Dream,” Parker said, and they plan to tour as long as it takes.
“We love to perform for people and it really comes across,” Parker said. “Singing, dancing, we do acrobatic stuff. We just love to entertain. Our live show shows off every aspect of what we have to give. We told our record company, ‘Put us on the road, and we don’t want to come home till we break.’ “
BWF (before we forget): Express yourself clearly on the Web @ www.eyclive.com.
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