With his new Fisher-Price CD “A Father’s Lullaby,” Nick Lachey found a way to combine two of his greatest loves: music and his son, Camden. But his latest solo project and his 8-month-old baby aren’t the only projects keeping him busy these days: He’s also readying for a summer tour with the reunited 98 Degrees, hopping state-to-state with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block for an arena tour appropriately dubbed “The Package.” On top of that, 98 Degrees have just released a new album, their first in more than a decade. We caught up with Lachey before he started rehearsals for the summer shows.
We hear you’re gonna bring Camden on the road with you this summer.
I am, yeah. I don’t wanna miss anything. He changes so much and I don’t wanna miss a moment, so selfishly I’m gonna bring him on the road. We’re all gonna tour as a family. [My brother] Drew and I are gonna share a bus. My family will be out for a while and his family will come out for a while. The cool thing about doing it with the group again is that we’re at different times in our lives. We get to share it now with our families and with our kids, which is cool.
With all those babies, is it gonna be a gigantic, kid-friendly party on the bus?
Well, between the three bands on this tour we have about 30 kids combined. There’s gonna be quite a few kids and quite a few nannies running around.
When you reunited with the group, was it easy to pick up where you guys left off?
It all kind of felt like it just fell back into place. It was really natural and it almost seemed like it was yesterday. That felt good. It’s been a lot of fun, and as long as we’re having fun the rest is easy.
You guys will be dancing, we hope.
We will be dancing. Some people call it dancing. Other people may call it convulsing. The music’s changed a lot over the course of the last 12 years. With this new album, I think we’ve done a good job of changing with the times but also staying true to who we are. It’s a lot more up-tempo stuff on this record because that’s kind of where music’s at, but we’re excited to introduce everybody to it and we’re excited for people to hear the record.
So kids’ music is not the final be-all, end-all of Nick Lachey’s career?
[Laughs] If that were gonna be the case, I’d be fine with that. I loved making that record, but no. It’s cool to be able to do different things. The lullaby project was very different from the 98 Degrees project and very different from other solo projects. Each one has their own vibe and their own process and they’re all fun in their own right.
Did you and your fellow bandmates keep in touch while you were on your hiatus?
Oh yeah, we talked all the time and we saw each other quite a few times. I saw Justin a lot more because we all live in Cincinnati. We all remain very good friends. As far as the reunion goes, we always kept the door open on that. [With] timing and fitting everyone’s schedules, I think now is the time that makes the most sense.
So there was always a plan to keep a reunion on the books?
Well, we were very careful to never say we were broken up or quitting. It was just a hiatus. I think we all knew in the back of our minds that this day would come. We just didn’t know exactly when.
Are we gonna see some shirtless singers on this tour?
I would go out on a limb and say at some point, someone’s shirt will be off. We’re very competitive so if everyone else is taking shirts off, we gotta show what we got.
Last time the New Kids hit the road, they teamed up with the Backstreet Boys. Will you and NKOTB team up for some songs?
We’re all gonna perform our own sets, but there’s still some discussion and decision-making to be done in terms of when we do a collaborative moment between the three groups.
Is your songwriting process different nowadays, being married to someone not in the music industry?
Sure, it’s different, but my wife was very much in the music industry in terms of being on “TRL” for years. It’s not something that really crosses my mind very often.
Let’s talk about your lullaby album. How did it come about?
When you find out you’re pregnant and you have all these emotions and stuff going on, music’s always been the place for me that I’ve channeled all that stuff. And I hadn’t really ever heard of a guy, a dad, doing a lullaby record so I was interested in exploring that. I did some research and found out that Fisher-Price and Mood Records had done a lullaby project with Jewel so I reached out to them to see if they’d be interested in collaborating with me on it, and they were and here we are.
Is Camden a good sleeper?
I’m not just saying this for the benefit of my record but he is literally the best sleeper I’ve ever heard of. He goes to sleep at 7:30, wakes up at 7:30, sleeps 12 hours straight every night, he takes great naps — we’re really lucky with him. He’s been a great sleeper for about the last four months.
Do you play the record for him?
Well, when I was recording it in the studio I’d bring home demos and kind of test them out on him to see which ones he responded to, but now I just sing the live version to him. One in particular is a song that I actually used to hum to him while he was still in the womb and it’s called “Sleepy Eyes.” Now that’s the one I sing to him every night before he goes to sleep. He knows when he hears that it’s time to wind down. He’ll start smiling, he puts his hand on my face, it’s just a really sweet moment for him and me.
Is bedtime your favorite part of the day with him?
I do put him down sometimes, but a lot of times Vanessa puts him down and more often than not I wake him up. So, that’s been our time. We’ll have the morning time together. I change him and get him his bottle. We eat breakfast together and hang out for a little bit. It’s kind of like the guys’ time. He, I and the dog read the paper and have some coffee and all that good stuff.
So you’re on diaper duty too — how’s that going?
Oh yeah! That’s the easy part. You do them for a week and you become a pro at it. I have the diaper thing down, that’s no problem.
You had some practice when Drew’s babies were born.
I actually managed to not change any diapers with my niece and nephew. I did that pretty good, but I couldn’t dodge that bullet with Camden.
Sounds like you’re right in there in the thick of it getting the full fatherhood experience.
I’ve wanted to be a dad for a long time so I don’t wanna miss out on any aspect of it, even diapers.
Did anything really surprise you about becoming a dad?
I think, if anything, just the fact that it changes everything in your life. You know your life’s gonna change but I never expected everything to change. It just affects everything you do in every possible way, which is a good thing. I just wasn’t expecting it to be so broad sweeping, if that makes sense.
If you go
The Package Tour: New Kids On The Block With Guests 98° & Boyz II Men
May 28, 29, 31; 7:30 p.m.
Mohegan Sun Arena
June 2, 3, 7 p.m.
June 1, 7:30 p.m.
Long Island, New York
June 16, 8 p.m.
June 13, 7:30 p.m.
East Rutherford, N.J.
June 15, 7:30 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro