IT seems McFly have had something of a seven-year itch with the music industry.
Nearly a decade after they burst into the charts all fresh-faced and baggy-jeaned with pop-tastic Five Colours in Her Hair, they’re back with an edge.
Seven years after forming, the jeans are tighter and the gelled spikes have been ditched for a more dishevelled look.
Yet the strong melodies and brotherly camaraderie which made them popular in the first place remains – this is still unmistakably McFly.
Tom Fletcher says: “Above the Noise (the band’s new album) is a change in direction for us, but it’s nice to experiment and try new things.
“We worked with Dallas Austin (American R‘n’B super-producer) and Taio Cruz as we thought we’d try something new.
“As everyone gets older their musical taste changes and you experiment, it’s the same for us. But when you’re in the studio it’s horrible if you over analyse things.
“You just make something you like and that you hope will appeal to different people.
“When people see us in the street they used to sing Five Colours in Her Hair at us, but now it’s Shine a Light.” (The band’s recent top five single.)
McFly’s fans too have got older, but they’re still ardent. Dozens were waiting at the gates of our interview venue – the Metro Radio Arena – waiting for a glimpse of their heroes.
The group will be back in Tyneside in March for their Above the Noise tour, the first arena tour in two years. It’s a return to what they love most.
Touring, the band says, is the best bit about being McFly,
“We always try and put on a show,” explains Danny Jones.
“The last tour was pretty impressive because we had a flying stage, but we haven’t started rehearsals for this one yet.
“We’re pretty hands-on though and will give them a wish list of how we want the set to be.
“We’re going to be more shocking than Lady Gaga,” he jokes.
Tom says: “The first night of tour is always a bit scary because in arena tours you have explosions or bits of the stage that move.
“It’s such an adrenaline rush and you never lose that. If anything you appreciate it more when you get older because you know what’s going on
The singer adds: “We’ve been around for seven years now. I like to think that’s because it’s good music, but also because our fans can see how much we enjoy it.
“The main reason bands stop is because they split up, but we love our job.
“A lot of pop music isn’t genuine, but we absolutely love McFly. We are the biggest McFly fans.”
So playing music and the reaction of fans is the best thing about being in the band, but the worst thing, it seems, is people like me. Journalists that is, who ask them questions as part of promotional drives.
In seven years as a band there’s not many questions they haven’t been asked – what’s the weirdest thing a fan’s ever sent you is the most popular, and tedious one, they say.
Turns out the weirdest thing Tom was given was huge box of Stilton by a Japanese fan. (He volunteered that information, I didn’t ask.)
The lads, however, were on top form when I met them: all jokes, friendly banter and hungry for their forthcoming delivery of Subway sandwiches.
Lunch over, the hungry fans outside got their wish when the band went over to sign autographs, talk to mums on phones and pose for snaps.
Mum-of-two Claire Todhunter, 37, from Hylton Castle was one of those to make the trip from Sunderland in the hope of meeting the band.
She did, and now has a signed mobile phone to prove it.
“I found out they were going to be here because Tom put it on Twitter,” she explained.
“So I thought I would come down and see them. They are amazing, they are lovely to their fans.”
Stacie Hartburn, 22, from Herrington Burn, said: “I have loved them since I was 14 and still do. I wasn’t sure about their new stuff, but I love it now. I can’t wait to see them in concert.”
l McFly will play Newcastle Metro Radio Arena on March 27. For tickets, Tel. 0207 009 3333.