Leave it to the men?

Clearly, Joe Fatone is out of his mind. As the corpulent father of "Big Fat" star Joey Fatone of 'N Sync, Joe would probably best serve the public by respectably obeying his self-imposed retirement and living off the fat of the ham.

But that would be no fun, would it? Instead, Joey Sr. is doing just about the most tragic thing a dad can do and is painfully imitating his son as the hood ornament to his own middle-age boyband attraction called NSB2 (which stands for Not So Boy Band "squared" -- geddit?).

So, Mr. Fat-one, why the embarrassing afterlife?

"About two and a half years ago, Doc and Johnny, who are morning-radio DJs, had and idea to put a group together," he spins. "And what happened was, they decided, 'Well, we're tired of the young boybands. Let's get a group that's not such a boyband.'"

Get that press kit out of your mouth!

"Well, I don't know, 35 or 40 people came down for the audition, and then they started cutting," he prefabs. "You had to do some dance, and you had to do some vocal. They also put you in a room with three or four different people to see how you would handle an interview under pressure."

Like this one? Is it true that your son's penis is so large that he gets faint upon arousal? Is his relationship with Lance Bass natural? Are you insane?

No, no, no. Tell me more about NSB2. I'm just dying to know.

"Eventually, they weeded it down to about eight guys. Those eight guys had two weeks to put together a presentation that we did in the RDV parking lot up in Maitland," he loiters. "I think they thought it was gonna fizzle at that minute, but they got a little bit more audience response from the radio, because it was a live broadcast."

Eventually, the men-to-boys were whittled down to a quartet: owner of a lock and security company, a private investigator, a maintenance worker and our wealthy retiree. Ladies and gentlemen, all hail the new Village People. The other participants had to get real jobs. Novelty duly wearing and a frightful television appearance trying to choreograph Regis and Kelly far behind, why aren't you hiding under a rock?

"What happens is, you end up with a management team. And for instance, one of the things we've had was we went on tour with 'N Sync," he nepotizes. "We did like 35 major shows. Now anybody that knows anything about the record industry, especially tours, if you don't have a hit single yourself, it can be quite expensive. It could definitely run well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Which you have, apparently.

"If we had got great nibbles out of the song while we were on the road, it might have had a specific release date. However, what has put somewhat of a damper on the choices that we've had, is that, unfortunately, some of the people who are out there in the record business are not really sure if they want to take a chance on what it is we do."

It's called taste.

"So basically, everybody pats us on the back and says, 'This is unbelievable!'"

he waxes delusional. "But, they don't really know where to sell our products. Not that we're bad."

Oh, yes, you are bad.

"It's like being a pair of brown shoes in a tuxedo shop. You could wear' em, but where does it work?"

It doesn't. You throw away the shoes and count your losses.

"Unfortunately, sometimes the best plans that are laid out ... " he trips over his 30th cliché. "Basically, it's a problem of monetary adjustment. You can only pump so much into a specific project. We have a couple of shows in October. We're supposed to do one at Lake Eola on Oct. 6, that's basically for one of these major conventions that's coming to town. We're able to facilitate that type of thing."

But are you able to grasp that it's not a major convention at all? But rather a nausea-inducing rally for depression called "Rock Your Blues Away," replete with a candlelight vigil for mental illness at sundown? Oh, fate's fickle finger. It's tickling me as we speak.

Let's talk about Joey.

"At one point in my life growing up, I had aspirations of doing what Joey did. Unfortunately, the best laid plans ..."

Oh, them again.

"At first he said to me, 'Are you out of your mind?'"


"Then he said to me, 'Listen, if that's what you wanna do Dad, don't turn back. Just get out there and do it, but make sure that you're healthy enough to carry out what those guys do.'"

"Basically I did the same thing that he did," he lies.

But what you're doing now is plainly different, and even less entertaining than Bob Dole peddling Viagra.

"You know, the trends change every 30 to 60 days," he rationalizes, absolutely context-free. "There's a new voice, a new style. You don't see it 100 percent happening that fast, but as entertainers you have to change your style. People cut their hair and their music changes."

Brown shoes, anyone?


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