FOR years McFly were mainstays at the top of the charts, scoring seven UK No1 singles and releasing a string of hit albums.
That is, of course, until it all stopped.
When their two-year stint as supergroup McBusted ended in 2016, the four members of McFly drifted, with band jealousies creeping in until it looked like they would never work together again.
Miraculously, tomorrow they are back with new song Happiness — the debut single from their first album in a decade, Young Dumb Thrills, out on November 13.
But it’s something which has taken blood, sweat and plenty of tears for Harry Judd, Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones and Dougie Poynter, who had to admit they were each “broken” before they could start to rebuild the group.
In an exclusive Bizarre interview Harry said: “We have all been through a lot individually in the past four years.
“It got to a point where once all the talking was done, we had one therapy session and things were said. We’d seen each other broken, desperate and sorry enough to each other to be like, ‘Right, OK, we can move on now.’
“It’s not just like a married couple. There’s four of us, so there’s a relationship between each and every single person. It’s a complicated thing.”
The struggle to regroup stemmed from jealousies over what they were doing away from the group — Dougie launching an acting career and playing with other bands, Tom becoming a best-selling author, Harry winning Strictly Come Dancing and appearing in stage shows and Danny releasing solo music and joining The Voice Kids as a coach.
And the time away from the band was hard for drummer Harry, who said: “When McFly wasn’t happening it was quite exposing to your entire set-up in life. I felt happy as a kid then I went straight into a band, which was an amazing experience.
“Then I was turning 30 and the band was taken away from me. You suddenly don’t know what to do and have this identity crisis.”
The lads finally regrouped for a one-off show at London’s O2 Arena last November after their manager booked the venue without telling them, in a last-ditch attempt to kickstart the group.
And the strategy seemed to work. Singer Tom said: “I feel like music is therapy. Most of our problems came from the fact we weren’t together and as soon as we were together making music, everything was easy. As cheesy as it sounds, we were meant to be in this band making music together, and four years away felt like an eternity.”
The boys booked two months in a studio at the beginning of the year, writing and recording their upcoming sixth album.
‘With fresh energy’
Tom continued: “We were like little kids being in the studio again — it was the best time and it just felt like nothing had ever happened.”
Danny added: “To have a break, looking back, was one of the best things we have ever done. We are back now with fresh energy and new respect for each other, because we’ve talked about it and we’ve dealt with it.”
Harry added: “We didn’t know what the sound was going to be but we went for it and it went really well. The single Happiness was one of the first that came about. It just felt like the right song to lead with, and no one had any disagreement on that.
“We’ve always doubted ourselves in the past and procrastinated so momentum has been the key for us in the past year.”
But recording was very different this time, as they were determined not to pander to what they thought radio stations would play, as they did on 2010 album Above The Noise.
Danny said: “That was all about getting on the radio and there were no guitars anywhere. We have never been the band to conform to that.
“We’ve always been the band that said we would stick to what we know, what we like and not follow the trend. And I think we fell into it a little bit there.”
And the six kids they now have between them also made a difference when making this record.
Harry said: “We were very different back then, with no children. The studio experience then was through the night and involved other things going on. It was a very different time.
“This album was like, ‘I’ll be able to get to the studio for 9.30am but I need to be finished by 5pm to pick the kids up.’ ”
In 2011, Dougie checked into rehab with alcohol addiction — and he still has to focus on his sobriety.
He said: “That’s almost ten years of it being a priority and shifting gears and changing the way you think and live. Things like therapy and group meetings have become a bit of a norm.”
But above everything else now, McFly are just thrilled to be working together again.
Harry added: “What we’ve realised from our four years of not being in a band is that being in one is the best job ever.
“So as long as we put ourselves in a position where we can write and record music and tour, then for the foreseeable future that’s happiness for us.”
I HAVE to say, I’m surprised McFly are so eager to get back out on tour given they have such gorgeous wives and girlfriends at home.
Dougie is dating British model Maddy Elmer, while Tom is married to author Giovanna Fletcher, Harry to Escala violinist Izzy Judd and Danny to former Miss England Georgia Horsley.
Asked if their partners are keen for the guys to hit the road again next year, Harry joked: “They’re like, ‘Get out!’ ”
Now the McMovie
FANS could soon get even more of an insight into McFly’s big comeback, because the boys have been filming every second of it.
Harry said: “We have documented stuff. I don’t know how and when that is being packaged. But we’ve tried to get it because it might be interesting.
“Then again, it might be boring – who knows?
“It’s a load of footage of us p***ing about and laughing, probably.”
But Danny said it could even be the basis of a documentary on the band.
Asked if there was the prospect of a one-off special, he added: “There could be, but at the minute we’re just using it because you need content these days.
“At the moment it’s just for us really. But it allows you to see how hard we work and what the process is like and the challenges we face – the happy times and the sad times.
“I think it will be really interesting, whatever it will be.”
Dan dumps solo plans
DANNY has shelved his solo career now that he’s back together with the band.
He released his debut single Is This Still Love in 2018 and performed a sold-out gig in London but only felt like he had to because the band were in the doldrums.
Danny said: “That was just because I didn’t know what else to do when the band wasn’t doing anything.
“I was like, ‘Well, I kind of do music as a job so I’ve got to carry on somehow.’
“I was actually trying to write for other people at the time.
“But every time I tried to get a good song out, I always had to revert back to what I’d been through and it turned out the songs were for me and I hadn’t realised.
“So when we came back to McFly I felt more open to be like, ‘Let’s get some escapism’, rather than the deep stuff.
“That was just something that I did while the band did nothing.
“The boys are happy for me to drop a tune every now and again anyway.”
Tricky for 1D reunion
IT has been hard enough for McFly to get back together so they reckon it will be even tougher for their pals One Direction to reunite.
They wrote a handful of tunes for the world-conquering band and toured with them in the US, but claim the 1D lads were never as close as McFly and didn’t even share dressing rooms.
Harry said: “With bands like 1D, they get so massive that they just split off and then they come together to do shows and split off again.
“We were always just the four of us together. We always shared a dressing room, we were always together the whole time. We did everything together.
“So we have the unique set-up for sure – 95 per cent of our time in this band is spent being friends and having fun and the rest is semi-serious.”
Going for the Glynne
JESS Glynne releases her first song of the new decade tomorrow with Brit electro duo Snakehips.
But it sounds like she’s got involved in some dodgy dealings on Lie For You, which features Afrobeats star Davido and US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.
On the track, which I’ve had an exclusive first listen to, she sings: “You call baby, I run. Don’t need to know what you’ve done. See you holding that gun, I don’t need to know.
“They come running for you, but I know it ain’t true. Swear I’ll cover for you.”
And in the catchy chorus, she says: “Oh I’d lie for you, I can be your ears and eyes for you. Oh I’d do time for you, and even if I couldn’t, I’d try for you.”
Here’s hoping there’s not too long to wait for an album to go along with this.
- GEMMA Collins has a warning for anyone going on a staycation this summer. Recalling a trip to Southend as a child, she said on her BBC podcast: “Be careful with a stick of rock, guys, because I bit into this stick of rock and my two teeth came out. There were little stumps left.”
- LORDE, Sia and Sir Elton John have added their signatures to an open letter by the Artist Rights Alliance demanding that politicians stop using their music without permission. The Rolling Stones started the petition after US President Donald Trump used their songs at his rallies.
- STRANGER Things star Millie Bobby Brown has landed the lead role in a new Netflix film, The Girls I’ve Been. The movie – based on Tess Sharpe’s novel of the same name – is due out in January. Millie will play con artist Nora O’Malley, who is taken hostage in a bank heist with her girlfriend and ex-boyfriend.
- JARED Leto has confirmed his band 30 Seconds To Mar are back in the studio working on their sixth album. The Suicide Squad actor tweeted a picture of himself recording vocals in the US and asked his fans for ideas for the name of the record, which will be a follow-up to 2018 release America.
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