Twenty one years after forming, Boyzone are back and stronger than ever. Katy Wheeler speaks to band member Shane Lynch as they prepare to play Durham.
Theirs is a back catalogue which has become the soundtrack of adolescence for a generation of pop fans.
Love Me For a Reason, No Matter What, Picture of You, Isn’t It A Wonder and Father and Son, were among the top tracks which helped propel five lads from Dublin into becoming Boyzone, one of the most popular acts of the nineties and noughties.
They’ll be taking their fans on a trip down musical memory lane when they take to the stage at Durham Cricket Ground this summer.
After more than two decades in the business – including 21 singles, seven albums and 25 million record sales – band member Shane Lynch says the band are stronger than ever.
“In 2000 we went off and had our break and established ourselves as individuals, so it meant that when we came back together we brought our own influences to Boyzone, and the fans came along with us.
“It’s really fresh and it’s been really fresh for a lot of years, we’re making new records and moving forward.
“We’re household names individually, on TV shows all over the place, and as Boyzone. We’re all honest boys, up there, having fun.
“You have got to rely on nostalgia to some extent, but we built our house on rock and from that we were allowed to come back and release new music. All the cogs joined together.”
Last year, to mark their 20th anniversary, the band embarked on a tour of the UK with latest album, BZ20.
The album, like its predecessor Brother, is also a tribute to band member Stephen Gately, who passed away in 2009.
Shane says deciding whether to continue with the band was a tough decision to make after Stephen’s death.
He had died during the making of Brother and had already laid down vocals for two tracks for the album – Gave It All Away and Stronger.
After the band had taken time to grieve, they headed back into the studio treasuring the vocals that Stephen had recorded.
“That album (Brother) was difficult. But we felt comfortable around each other, it was a shared pain, and that’s why we continued with the album.
“We wanted to be together. It made us realise our strength and just how strong we are together,” Shane explained.
The band’s next album will see them come together in America.
Shane said: “Our next album will be a Motown album which we’ll be going to Detroit to make.
“We’re in the process of sifting through our personal favourites and looking at people to collaborate with.”
With all their individual projects – including solo releases, acting, TV shows and a sporting career – is it difficult for the four band members to find the time to come together?
Shane said: “It would be really difficult to find time to do these things if Boyzone was continuous, like in the 90s, but because it’s relatively spaced out, we can find the time.
“We’re hungry for it, we’re all hard-working men from hard-working families and we don’t like to sit down for too long, We’re always looking for the next thing to do.”
At the peak of their success, the band scored 16 consecutive top five singles.
Shane says there were many highlights for him, especially the band’s collaborations.
“The standout moments for me have been the great people of music we’ve worked with,” he said.
“We’ve done shows with the likes of Pavarotti, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey, there’s no one defining moment, we’ve been continuous from 93, concert after concert, country after country.
“We’re not afraid to work hard and get our hands dirty in Boyzone.”
Shane says the band are looking forward to heading to the North East, which was a regular stop off for them during their regular touring days.
“We’re doing a series of open-air shows, they’re really family-orientated, so they’re a different kind of environment from the tour, we’re excited to be doing them,” he said.
“We’ve done a few gigs like that at racecourses and stately homes and they’re a great atmosphere.
“You can’t really beat the North East crowds, the further up the country you go, the louder they get.”
•Boyzone play Durham Cricket Ground on June 7. Tickets are £37.50 from www.ticketmaster.co.uk.
•We’ve teamed up with promoters LHG Live to give away two pairs of tickets to Boyzone at Durham Cricket Ground.
To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: Which of these songs was a hit for Boyzone?
A) No Matter What
B) No Matter Why
C) No Matter When.
Send your answer and your contact details to Katy.Wheeler@jpress.co.uk.
Closing date for the competition is April 17.