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Kevin Richardson strutted into a Sherman Oaks café for breakfast recently — and none of the preteen girls even noticed.

If this were 1998, things would have been different: As a member of the Backstreet Boys, Richardson was the suave-gentleman type with a mysterious air who tended to hang in the background. He left the group about five years ago but has since performed with it sporadically, and has hinted at rejoining the boys.

In the meantime, he's partnered with local standards-enthusiast crooner Rob Gonzalez to put on a holiday concert at the Montage Beverly Hills on Sun., Dec. 18, to benefit the Angeles Clinic Foundation.

We met the duo in the Valley to discuss the show, a time warp of sorts, featuring them in tuxedos singing Dean, Frank, Bing and Nat tunes. Gonzalez promises an authentic nod to the 1950s — from the arrangements and the Broadway-style choreography to the kettle drum. After hitting on all that, we finally got to the good stuff — Backstreet gossip!

Where were these mysterious Backstreets? They sound pretty rough-and-tumble.

Kevin Richardson: There was a flea market in Orlando, the Backstreet Market. [By the time I joined] they were already called the Backstreet Boys.

Did you ever get territorial around 'N Sync or O-Town?

Well, 'N Sync was created and managed by our management company, and there was a little bit of friction in the beginning just because we thought, “Hey, we thought we were something special …” But before we were successful in the United States, all of us were touring together in Europe. We were on a couple of the same tours together. We got along with those guys great. They're really hard workers. Nice guys.

What was it like being kings of TRL and having 12-year-old girls cry when you walked into a room?

MTV was really the last to come onboard, because at the time there was this huge backlash. You had grunge music that was all the rage back then. Carson [Daly] was a disc jockey at KROQ; I feel like to this day he still has a little resentment because he was such a rocker. Maybe not resentment, but he may have felt a little trapped by that show, by that genre he sort of helped create at MTV.

When we started I was already 24, so having 12-year-old girls screaming was like … [grimaces]. It was surreal and weird. But then there were also college girls and stuff like that.

For more information and to purchase tickets for “Home for the Holidays,” click here.

LA Weekly