Here at VIVA we are versatile with our taste in music and when we were offered to interview Westlife’s Brian McFadden we jumped at the chance (and no we are not sorry!) After leaving the band in 2004 at the height of their success to focus on his family, Brian went on to release songs as a solo artist and had a number one hit in the UK, ‘Real To Me’. Making the decision to join Boyzone’s Keith Duffy in 2016 for a string of autobiographical shows around the UK, the Irish lads are now on their third tour as ‘Boyzlife’ and with their loyal fans in tow, are back taking stages around the country by storm. Here Brian talks about crazy fans, reunion rumours and becoming a Manchester boy…
Hi Brian! Are you excited to be back on tour?
I am, it’s kind of weird for Keith and I because even though we are about to go back on the road on tour we are constantly gigging. Most of those things we are doing are more corporate stuff and festivals, so it is nice to get back on tour again.
What made you come together and do these shows?
This is our third tour, but originally the idea was Keith was going to do a solo one-man show, which was going to be an autobiographical show, telling stories about his life and talking about his career. He heard about me wanting to do my own solo concert in Dublin and he kind of said ‘you know what, the one thing the show is missing is music’, because Keith had never sang by himself before. We just decided that we had the same sort of careers and life, so it was a lot better for us to tell the stories together. The first tour was a more autobiographical show, but the more we go on they are just us performing a lot of the hits. We are now going to do about 20-21 songs.
What will be on the set list for your tour?
Well we have 21 number one singles in the UK between the two bands, so I say that is pretty much going to be the set list [Laughs]. We will let the success of the songs speak for themselves!
Which songs are your favourite to sing from both Westlife and Boyzone?
It changes because we are singing them three or four times a week. The one song from Westlife that always stands out is ‘Flying Without Wings’, it is the one song that even after I left Westlife I would still perform in my solo concerts and it is still for me the best ever Westlife song. From Boyzone I really enjoy performing ‘You Needed Me’, it’s a lovely song. Some of the fun songs like ‘Picture Of You’ I really enjoy.
Are they the songs that get the best reaction from the crowd?
All the songs get a similar reaction, obviously with different songs the audience kind of have their own favourites. I guess it’s the big hits like ‘Flying Without Wings’, ‘Swear It Again’ from Westlife and ‘No Matter What’ from Boyzone which normally get the biggest reaction.
You’re coming to Manchester on the 7th December- how do you find performing here?
I live in Rochdale, so I am pretty much a Manchester boy- the Manchester show’s are pretty much a home show for me now! Manchester crowds have always been great, even from the very beginning of Westlife, when we would do shows around the UK, Manchester was always one of our biggest places to play. I remember the old days, I think it used to be called the NYNEX but obviously now it is the MEN and I remember we used to play there for two weeks in a row and I remember just loving it. I am a big Manchester United fan as well, so it is always special to be in Manchester.
Where is your favourite place to go in Manchester?
Can you recall any crazy fan moments that you’ve experienced in your career?
There has been lots but it is a lot different now because our fans are adults now, they are not like the wild kids they were when I was back in Westlife. I remember being in places like Sweden and it being minus 10 degrees and six foot of snow and having all these fans in sleeping bags in the snow outside the hotel. Boyband fans especially just seem to go crazy I do not know what it is- they lose it a little bit!
How is it different now your fans are a little bit older now?
Well all those crazy girls are now married and have their own kids so they have to be a little bit more restrained at gigs [Laughs].
You have daughters of your own… Will they come and watch you on this tour?
They will, they are in school but when we are in their hometown obviously they will. Molly is in transition year at school so there was talk about bringing her with us to do some work but I am not sure what is happening now.
Have you got any rituals you do on stage before you perform?
Not really, I have changed now because as I have got older and I have given up cigarettes because it has really affected my voice over the years so I have stopped smoking. Before I would not be able to go on stage before I had a cigarette. The team always give each other a little hug before we go on.
Are you still in contact with Louis Walsh and the other Westlife boys?
I speak to Louis now and again. Louis is a great man to get gossip out of, if you ever want to hear some gossip you ring Louis and the first thing he even says before he says hello is ‘wait till I tell you’ and he will always have a story to tell you. I have not spoken to him since X Factor started this year but I am sure I will see him soon.
There has been some rumours that Westlife will be doing a reunion- will you be involved in that or would you like to be?
You know what everyone has been saying to me that Louis has said something but I know nothing about it, it has nothing to do with me! No one in Westlife knows anything about it, the four guys or me, no one has known anything about it. Louis is just stirring the pot as usual! One day I would love to sing with the boys again just for the nostalgia, but I cannot see that happening anytime soon.
Do you or Keith have any plans to release any new music after the tour?
Both of us do. I am just starting a new solo album, which will be coming out next year. Keith is working on a new album for Boyzone, they have their 25th anniversary next year so he is making a record with Boyzone. When Boyzone go on tour for the new album, I am actually going to be the special guest on the tour.
To get tickets to the show, click here.
Link to article by VIVA Magazine, click here.