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OrlandoSentinel.com

Lance Bass book comes out

He discusses his 'scary' revelation of being gay, as well as the slim chances of an 'N Sync reunion.

Jim Abbott

Sentinel Pop Music Critic

October 23, 2007

There are more than a few exclamation points in Out of Sync, the new memoir from boy-band star Lance Bass, and it's a punctuation that fits the singer's personality.

Whatever the episode -- 'N Sync's legal battles with Lou Pearlman, astronaut training, coming out as a gay man in 2006 after hiding his sexuality for the sake of his career -- Bass is unfailingly upbeat. He talks about learning something from almost every experience.

So what did the singer learn from recounting his life in Out of Sync, ($23.95, Simon Spotlight), which hits stores today?

"It was nice going back," he says in a phone interview. "It felt like therapy, really, bringing back all these stories I haven't revisited in years.

"The biggest thing that I learned about the last 10 years was that the thing that really failed was the communication. We were so busy and caught up in working every day to continue this crazy whirlwind that we didn't really stop and relax, look at how everyone was doing, look at each other to see if everyone was happy."

In the book, Bass states that he would be interested in participating in a reunited 'N Sync, the pop phenomenon that sold millions of records and inspired manic worldwide adulation before taking an open-ended hiatus in 2002. Did the band ever officially break up?

"No one did know that answer until recently," Bass says. "We're definitely broken up. It's not a hiatus. Justin made it clear that he wouldn't be interested in discussing another album any time soon."

'N Sync fans are still out there. They wait for Bass by the stage door each night after he completes his current Broadway stint as Corny Collins in Hairspray. And it's a pretty safe bet that 'N Sync mania will live again at book signings for Out of Sync, including Saturday's event in Winter Park.

"If it's anything compared with what it's like on Broadway, those fans are still there," Bass says. "They're out there every night at the stage door, everyone from 4-year-old girls to 40-year-old dads. You hear those high-pitched screams."

Despite the author's positive approach, Pearlman and Justin Timberlake come off unfavorably in the book, the former for his shady business deals and the latter for abandoning the group for a solo career. Although a recent Vanity Fair piece contained lurid details about Pearlman's alleged sexual advances toward young wanna-be pop stars, Out of Sync doesn't allude to such behavior.

"I never saw anything like that with Lou," Bass says. "Even at 16, I knew there was something fishy about him, but he never made us feel uncomfortable. I wasn't surprised after we left that stories like that would come out about [him] hitting on younger guys."

The main revelation in the book is the singer's mind-set about coming out as a gay man at age 27, which made headlines when People magazine confirmed his relationship with model Reichen Lehmkuhl in 2006.

"It was very scary," Bass says of the experience. "It was a detail in my life I never shared with anyone. Not even my parents knew any of this stuff. I lived a double life, and it felt like I was two different people.

"I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I filled everyone in on my life."

Although that part of his story is likely to drive book sales, Bass thinks it's "ridiculous" that people are so consumed with it.

"Hopefully, with stories like mine, it will become such a norm that it's not a big deal anymore," he says. His friends and family "understood and that was just so refreshing.

"I definitely wanted to get that story out through this book. I want people to see a success story, to see how supportive real and true friends can be."

Jim Abbott can be reached at jabbott@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-6213.