LET'S go back to the year 2000. My formative high-school years.
Think velcro satchels, one-too-many badges, frayed bootcut baggy jeans, family sized tubs of hairgel, Walkmans, Tony Blair, Live & Kicking, a cumbersome Nokia 3310 and a crumpled Smash Hits magazine.
Brit pop punk bands Busted and, later on, McFly were ruling the world.
The name of our next album would be 'Cock Broth'.
When Busted split in 2005 it was as poignant as Ginger walking out of the Spice Girls in 1998. A turbulent time.
Of course, it was McFly that continued flying the flag for buoyant pop-punk for the past ten years. 2014's news that McFly (Tom, Danny, Dougie and Harry) and Busted (Matt and James without Charlie) were to unite and form 'McBusted' has got some of us feeling all nostalgic.
It is the era of noughties band reforms, after all (911, Five, Atomic Kitten, etc. Now if only N*SYNC could merge with the Backstreet Boys...)
Not all have been this successful, mind. McBusted sold out 35 arena dates back in 2014, and now will be touring with their Most Excellent Adventure Tour this year.
I meet McBusted in the Manchester Arena before they perform in the city on 21 March. They all crash in with their answers like six unsteady toddlers on a mission to headbutt each other. It’s chaotic and a little silly. As the last person to interview them they're restless and also hungry. So I winged it.
If we could sack this interview off and go eat right now - where would you go in Manchester?
Tom: That Italian place, Rosso, is really good.
James: [Shouts] Let’s just go to Reds True BBQ, right now.
Matt: So the best place for a burger is either Solitas – or Reds True BBQ?
Danny: Solita is really dirty though. Are they the ones that put crisps on everything?
James: I have to say, Manchester is one my favourite places out of London.
Reds True BBQ, it is...
Guys, since you're now a supergroup, if you could fuse with another band to become a super-duper-group, which would you choose?
Dougie: The Beatles.
Harry: We’d be too starstruck with The Beatles - and they’d be so pissed if they had to play one of our songs.
James: [Sings a Busted, Beatles mash-up] Air Hostess (yeah, yeah, yeah) I like the way you dress (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Danny: I think it would be good to have some female energy in the band.
Maybe go for something different? Run DMC are fans of rock fusion...
James: You know what we need? A bit of toughness, a bit of street klout. We need a bit of Linkin Park. Or Limp Biskit. McBusKit
Tom: McBustedFighters – you know, the Foo Fighters?
If you could fuse with an animal - become a superhuman - which would you choose?
Matt: So not like Spiderman, but half human half animal - with animal parts?
Danny: Like Nicki Minaj? She has the bum of a spider.
Matt: No it’s more like when you draw a cock. Like her backside looks like comedy balls.
H: She has a nice tush. I was surprised when I first saw her pictures.
H: You know what I would fuse Dougie with? I would keep his bottom half and the rest would just be a horse. Then we’d put a hat on top. A Centaur.
T: James head poking out of a tortoise. Or Giraffe’s neck.
Dougie: (To Tom) Your limbs would be Daddy Long Legs, legs
OK, let's get serious...
Has joining this group got you feeling all nostalgic about the early noughties?
M: At the beginning yes. I remember the first day rehearsing with you guys. Dougie was ill.
Dougie: I threw up and Matt gave me a t-shirt that I wear to bed. He gives me all these t-shirts I wear to bed - and all really offensive t-shirts. (Whispers to Matt)
M: Yeah, it said something about Satan.
M: But yeah, I felt nostalgic playing the songs I hadn’t played for 10 years. I probably should have been practicing. It was good. We have had a bit of nostalgia but I think we’ve moved on from that.
Six people is a lot in one band. Have you suffered with any 'too many cooks in the kitchen' moments?
M: We tried to write as a six piece and it didn’t work. We broke up into little groups and fucked around.
D: Too many cocks spoil the song.
D: It becomes a cock broth.
J: The name of our next album would be 'Cock Broth'.
Were you surprised with how well you've been received as 'McBusted'?
Danny: We didn’t expect to do another tour, or another album and here we are.
J: It exceeded all our expectations. We did expect a few people would want to see it, as it’s the two bands together and there’s a lot of hits between us but it got to a level that we didn’t think possible.
M: If we had sold out those eleven dates and that was it we would have been super happy. But it carried on.
J: A good idea that we were nervous about became a very good idea.
Do you feel your fan base has split into two camps: Busted and McFly - or have they all come together?
J: There are some McFly fans that would wish I’d go away.
M: "I wish those Busted motherfuckers were dead."
J: So yeah, it's mainly a McFly fanbase.
To: But you’re popular in Japan aren’t you James?
J: I was voted the second most popular solo artist and I wasn’t even a solo person. Avril Lavigne was number one.
Dougie: I think they think you look like Monkey...
M: He was a TV character in the 70s who was a fucking huge deal and he looks like fucking James.
So are you McBusted for the forseeable future?
J: Is McBusted FORVER do you mean?
H: Forever sounds like purgatory and that’s not a fun thing.
J: Why is it that people have to know if this is forever or not? Nobody knows what will happen, and you shouldn’t know the future.
Let's stay in the present then, what can we hope for this Most Excellent Adventure Tour?
Matt: If they came to the last one they’re going to like this one. It’s got an arcade theme.
Harry: [laughs] Is that all you have to say?
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