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The Backstreet Boys on fighting, being a family and Vegas comeback

The Backstreet Boys are back on stage with a show in Las Vegas.

The band has sold 130 million records worldwide since its start in the 1990s. The "boys" are now men and their devoted fans have made their "Larger Than Life" show the fastest-selling residency in Vegas history.

Vladimir Duthiers of our streaming network CBSN caught up with the band at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, where three nights a week, they arrive in five floating screens to perform all their hits from the past.

 "And helping our fans relive some of the history with us," added Howie Dorough.

"Does performing the moves make you feel your age? Or does it take you back to being a kid?" Duthiers asked.

From left: AJ McLean, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson, of Backstreet Boys, perform on Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Carson, Calif.  Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

"Me personally, I've had two knee surgeries. Kevin had knee surgery. One of the many things I think that has helped us kind of stand the test of time is that we are performers. We're a bunch of hams," said AJ McLean.

"We're gonna keep dancing until we literally need walkers or, like, wheelchairs and we just can't do it anymore," he said. 

The Backstreet Boys first got together in Orlando, Florida, back in 1993. Kevin Richardson was the oldest at 21; Nick Carter was just 13.  

"But I just remember how hard it was, being in a warehouse, where all these blimp parts were stored. There was no air conditioning in there," Carter said.
"We didn't get the lottery ticket. We got a chance to have a lottery ticket. And we worked really hard to make that dream come true," Richardson explained. 

Their music was slow to catch on. It was the early 90s. Grunge overshadowed pop music. So the boys went to Europe — and the girls went crazy.

In 1997, "Quit Playing Games" became their first hit in America. It climbed to No. 2 on the charts and ignited Backstreet fever.

The Backstreet Boys in their heyday: performing in Vina del Mar, Chile, on Feb. 14, 1998. AP

Those girls who once screamed and dreamed of a close encounter are now grown up and showing up in Vegas.

Their show is selling out. The world's best-selling boy band is now better equipped to handle the trappings of stardom that once seemed too much, too soon. In 2001, after nearly eight years of constant touring, AJ McLean revealed he was addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Through the years, McLean has been in and out of rehab several times.

"I'm sober today, that's all I can say. It will always be a constant struggle no matter what. I have an awesome support team with my wife, my family, with my work family," McLean said. "I do hope that, and I do think at some point I will string together many, many years. And that's just me being completely honest."

Brian Littrell is opening up about his struggle with a condition called muscle tension dysphonia. Triggered partly by stress, it causes the muscles around the voice box to constrict, impairing his vocal range. Littrell tried to hide his condition from the group. He secretly entered therapy.

The guys learned about it two years ago when Littrell shared his problem with the crew of the documentary, "Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of." 

When asked what it was like to learn about Littrell's condition from the documentary, Carter said, "We were sitting in there crying in the theater. Just affected."

"It's been happening for, like, six years I want to say and if I had gotten it earlier, you know, I might be doing better today. But I think I'm onward and upward. I'm moving forward," Littrell said.

The documentary depicts a lot of the fighting that has happened within the band, much like a real family would. 

According to Carter, they've had a lot of fights over the years that were never publicized. Some even got physical. 

"Oh yeah. Him and I have had the most physical fights, " McLean said, pointing to Carter.

At the end of the day, though, they consider themselves a family — and their family has grown. They're all married with eight kids between them. And, no surprise, the Backstreet babies are growing into fans.

"My oldest is a total performer just like her dad. And has a big, big crush on this one," McLean said, patting Littrell. "Every time she asks, 'Daddy did you do this today?'" he said, miming a signature Backstreet move. She also asks, "Where's Brian, where's Brian?"

The Backstreet Boys plan to release a new single this summer. 

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