We Spoke to B4-4 about Bullies and Blowjobs

B4-4 was one of the few Canadian boy bands that I can remember from that time because they had a hit song called “Get Down” that was unquestionably about going down on girls and then getting blowjobs in return. They play in Vegas now, so I gave them a...

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Apr 16 2013, 3:11pm


O faces from a forgotten era. via.

Remember boy bands? Those groups in the late 90s and early 2000s that were weirdly sexualized, made annoyingly catchy songs and existed only to stoke the hormonal fires of puberty riddled teen girls? They were the product of a time when major label executives swam in pools of ill-gotten gains from $20 CDs that only had one good song on them. Boy bands were an overwhelmingly American and British phenomenon—but that doesn’t mean Canada didn’t try to cash in on all the (again, weirdly sexualized) teen flesh. Remember B4-4?

B4-4 was one of the few Canadian boy bands that I can remember from that time because they had a hit song called “Get Down” that was unquestionably about going down on girls and then getting blowjobs in return. The video was just as memorable—since it featured a kid who finds a magic ViewMaster that gets him laid at the beach, makes him dominate the basketball court, and then becomes a pimp while the members of B4-4 stare at the camera like they’re about to coerce you into a hair gel filled fourgy. Remember, this was all aimed at teen girls.

Anyway, last week I gave Ryan and Dan Kowarsky a call, the twins who made up two of the three spiky haired weirdos in B4-4. They’re currently writing, producing, and performing in Las Vegas with Shania Twain under the name RyanDan. They were so optimistic about everything it was almost sickening. I couldn’t tell which twin I was talking to at any point (strangely, much like the ATL Twins) so for ease of reading I’ve converted their two voices into one voice: RyanDan.

VICE: So let’s talk about B4-4, because that was pretty crazy.
RyanDan:
Yeah, that was a crazy experience. Do you know Lou Pearlman?

Not personally, but he managed every pop singer in the 90s right?
Yeah, we were signed to Lou Pearlman. He did Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync and Britney. Lou was very big on saying, “Little girls are never going to stop loving the guys.” It’s always like that, exactly. He’s now in jail for 25 years. It was a big ponzi scheme he got caught for.

Cool.
Yeah, we were with him right before he got arrested and put in jail so we weren’t involved with any of that stuff. But the whole B4-4 thing was a great experience for us. It was a learning experience.

How did B4-4 get started?
We were in our car and we stopped on the side of the road and we asked a taxi driver, “Where is Sony Music?” We didn’t know anything, we just knew the name Sony. It’s a big name so why not go there? So he ended up giving us the address, we walked in there, ended up singing for the top engineer and the vice president at the time and they brought us in to sing for the president and we got a deal, like, the next day. It all happened overnight. We released our first single, “Get Down,” and then we went triple platinum in Canada.

Let’s get this straight. "Get Down" is about blowjobs, right?
The record company was quite scared back then. They didn’t want to release “Get Down” first. And they also wanted to make sure that in interviews we didn’t say that it was about sex. We said it was about the give and take in a relationship.Looking back at it, the song is about sex. The song is about oral sex, obviously, there was nothing to hide. You know, that’s something that we do regret, it’s better to just be honest and say what the song is about and be real.

We had mothers not so happy because their daughters were singing, “If you get down on me, I’ll get down on you.” The truth is they were probably right to a point. I don’t know how good that was to have all those young kids singing lyrics like that.

Well it must have been a blast to sing that live all the time, wasn’t it?
Yeah, it definitely was. The crowds went crazy and it was just so much fun to get up on stage and do that.

My friend Julia said she saw you guys when she was nine, and you were performing in a Walmart parking lot.
I remember those days. We did a Walmart tour. They would set up a stage outside of all these different Walmarts and there were thousands of people who would come out to all these little events that we did. It was a lot of fun.

Really? The Walmart parking lot tour was fun?
Yeah, we had a blast. It was crazy. We had a great time.

That’s pretty optimistic. There must have been some bad shows, weren’t there?
We did a school tour in Germany. That was one of the worst periods. Some of the guys in those schools in Germany were throwing things on stage, they would say nasty things, they would boo. That was the most negative. But you know, there will always be negative people who will try to bring you down.

Didn’t you come across a lot of negativity like that?
For the most part it was pretty positive. I had one bad experience—I’ll never forget it—in a movie theatre once. Some guy came up to me and said, “I love your music, nice to meet you. Can I have an autograph?” I said yeah, I gave him an autograph and he took the autograph and he crumpled it and ripped it up and threw it in my face.

That’s pretty harsh.
I was upset. Ryan got a little more upset. (Ryan: It hurt me and upset me when Dan called me and told me that.) Listen, there are bullies out there and people are cruel and try to show off in front of their friends. I truly think it’s insecurity in somebody to do that. They don’t feel good about themselves and need to bring other people down. So, you know, these things happen.

Let’s change the pace a little. Did you guys have a lot of groupies?
Yeah. Girls would camp outside of our houses. I remember one time in Germany we went into our hotel and into our hotel room and there were two girls in the shower waiting for us. So we’ve had some crazy experiences with that for sure.

Do you still get groupies now?
We do get some groupies now, especially with the whole Shania thing. It’s calmed down a lot though, for sure.

You’re performing as RyanDan in Las Vegas with Shania Twain. How’s she doing?
We’ve become really close to her. We’ll have some drinks and we’ll sing until 3, 4 o’clock in the morning in her hotel room or in her dressing room. We’ll just sit and talk and sing together. We have a lot of in depth, deep conversations with her. She’s very down to Earth. It’s a dream to be here. Elton John is here as well and we’re all on the same stage, Jerry Seinfeld is also here for a few days.

Tell Jerry I say what’s up.

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