Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Aug 28th 2009 4:00PM by Benjy Eisen
McLean says that his mom was "a major rocker" who turned him onto some of the classics: Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revival. When he got older, he began to explore funk bands like Parliament, Stevie Wonder and Prince. The point is, he didn't grow up listening to what he calls "bubble-belly pop-type stuff."
So during downtime between making "bubble-belly pop" albums and going on blockbuster world tours, McLean sometimes plays gigs in rock clubs as his alter-ego Johnny No Name. But why the different persona? "Johnny is this side of me that can be that rock guy and kind of be more accepted than if I came from a boy band and did a rocker group," says McLean, candidly. "That might be what's in my heart, but people won't look at me that way and really understand or get it. But if Johnny does it, nobody can say anything because it's a totally different person."
Well, not really. They kind of are the same person, actually -- but don't tell McLean that. Apparently, Johnny No Name is British. And McLean has created other differences as well. "There's a whole bunch of things to him that are nothing like me," he says.
Okay, then. It still turns out that the man behind Johnny No Name actually does have a name for himself and, in fact, has sold more than 76 million albums worldwide. That's no joke. Look for that count to go up in October when McLean (performing as himself) and his fellow Backstreet Boys release 'This Is Us,' featuring collaborations with T-Pain, Max Martin, RedOne and more. Strangely, Johnny No Name doesn't appear on it.