A Licence To Chill

[TOTP - November 1999]

There's only so much partying a pop star can take and that's why FIVE whisked TOTP Magazine away for a spot of laid-back lounging in their swanky city retreat. So pull up a cushion, grab a slice of pizza and relax as the guys reminisce about mad days and even madder nights!

The bit where the guys battle with a boy band or two and Sean meets two Russian spies…
When was the last time all five of you went out together in a gang?
Rich: Germany.
Sean: That was a great night!
Abs: I videoed it and I've got J on this mike talking to everyone, it was so funny. And then Rob, our tour manager, was on the dance floor showing off in front of 'N Sync. (Raising his voice ten decibels.) Can I just say that some of 'N Sync really can't dance and I can prove it cos I've got it on tape.
J: It's true. When it comes to dancing socially with normal music and dropping the routines they haven't got a clue.
Abs: The big one especially, but he was wearing a really thick jumper so he must have been hot. Perhaps that affected his dancing.
Rich: That was the night I nearly had a fight with the lead singer of the Moffatts. He bad-mouthed someone that Scott used to know so I decided to have a right go. I was shouting out, 'C'mon then…'
Sean: (Sniggering like we've never seen Sean snigger before.) I can remember your shirt was open, Rich, and you were sweating all over the place. Your face was all red and you were blowing out of your mouth.
Rich: It's cos I'd been drinking these test tubes full of coloured shots. You stick the end of the tube in your teeth, then go, 'One, two, three…' and knock the drink back.
Scott: It was funny cos the last thing me and Abs did was get a burger and go to bed and then in the morning I hear stories that Rich nearly had a fight with a Moffatt, Sean's having breakfast with a couple of Russians…

Rusians? Who? Where?
Scott: J nearly kicked off with one of them, didn't he? Then he decided not to cos this Russian was actually an alright bloke.
Sean: He'd have broken J's back, that Van Damme geezer.
J: Ha!
Sean: (Suddenly looking v shady.) Don't put this in any German magazines will you, in case Van Damme sees it. I reckon he's some sort of undercover job.
Rich: Sean kept saying, 'He's a spy, that Russian bloke!'
Scott: And he hadn't been to bed so he was being a right pain. He kept on the whole day: 'That Van Damme though, he was so 'ard!'
Sean: Yeah, but he was!
Rich: (In full-on sarcastic mode.) Oh yeah, cos the lighting in our corridor got smashed but it was nothing to do with us lot!
Sean: No. That was Van Damme.
Scott: He's 'arrrrd!
Rich: Oh, don't start again.

The bit where Rich plans his stag do and the guys reminisce about his former superstud days…
Have you ever been away on a laddie stag weekend?
Scott: I missed my brother-in-law's stag do.
Sean: A what do?
Scott: (Patiently.) Sean, have you been on a night where you all get really drunk and then someone ends up tied to a lamppost?
Sean: No.
Scott: Then you haven't been on a stag weekend!
Rich: If I have a stag do and you do anything like that to me you're not coming to the wedding, I promise you.
Sean: You wouldn't be at the wedding either. You'd be still tied to the lamppost!
Rich: My stag night is definitely not happening the night before the wedding, it's very sensibly happening the week before.
Scott: It's stupid when guys do that, though.
Rich: But in the pictures they look all, like, urgh! (Does his best hangover face.)
Abs: Scott's dad got chinned at a wedding, didn't he?! (Laughs.) It all kicked off and Scott and his dad got into a fight with these guys. Can you imagine turning around and seeing your dad getting chinned?!
J: It's just an Essex thing. It's a tradition if you go to an Essex wedding. You have too much beer and you have to fight! (Collapses in fits of laughter.)
Scott: Oi!

Yikes. Change the subject…who's the biggest stud in the band?
Abs: It depends on what part of the world you're talking about. All the Japanese girls love J.
Rich: I was the biggest all-round tart before I got a girlfriend.
Scott: Yeah, big-time, Rich.
Rich: I was a gigolo.
Scott: You were a tart, Rich.
Sean: You get what you can though, don't you?
Scott: We used to wind Rich up about it, but he's chilled out now. A lot!

The bit where Scott and Abs do a table dance but draw the line at stripping…
Have you ever danced on a table?
Abs: When Scott and I went out for a meal in America one time, there was a table-dancing competition. We did YMCA and we won.
Scott: What did they give us?
Abs: Erm, I think we won a dessert or something but we couldn't eat it cos we had to leave.
J: We had some great nights out in South America.
Sean: (Nodding in agreement.) Argentina was good.
J: We went out to that club and it was dead weird cos there was a lingerie fashion show going on.
Abs: Yeah and there were all these girls wandering around in their underwear.
J: It was top! Strange, but top all the same!

What are your views on strippers?
Rich: The roly-poly, old lady strippers are funny.
Scott: (With his 'Now stop it. I'm being serious here' face.) I don't agree with strippers.
J: Me neither. If someone booked a stripper for me it'd be my big-time nightmare. I've only been to a strip club once and that was in America. I sat right away from the stage and I didn't even look at them. I just read a magazine. It's horrible cos you know that most of the women don't really want to up there with these sad guys ogling them.
Abs: Lap dancing's degrading as well. I just think about the woman and what she must be feeling.
J: I wouldn't mind someone doing a dance for me on a one-to-one basis, like if it was a girl I was seeing!

The bit where the boys partake in some rather weird toilet talk…
When you're in a club do you ever go to the loo in pairs, like girls do?
Abs: Yeah. Sometimes one of the guys will come with me and we'll have a pee and have a chat at the same time. (In a whisper.) Scott actually sits on the loo and takes ages. He makes you sit there and talk to him.
J: If you're at a table and you want to talk about some of the people there, the toilet's the best place to do it without them finding out.
Sean: I can't ever remember saying to my mates, 'Coming to the toilet?'
Rich: Guys still do say it to each other, Sean. You know, 'Are you coming for a pee?'
Abs: Ha, I've just remembered when Sean guffed while he was having a pee. He apoligised to the guy next to him and the guys goes (in very plummy accent): 'Better an empty house than a bad tennant'. That was a strange one. Later on the guy came over to talk to us and wanted to take us out.
Sean: He was weird!

The bit where Rich is led astray by some strange Swedish tramps…
Do any of your nights out end in total disaster?
J: Sean came close to disaster when we were drinking Sambuca (hardcore liqueur). Sean didn't realise you have to set the drink on fire and then put the fire out before downing it. So he plonks his straw in it and starts sucking and the straw's on fire! (In fits of giggles.) If the straw hadn't melted the idiot would have drunk it, flames 'n' all!
Scott: There's always gonna be something that goes wrong on our nights out, like J will set off a fire alarm or Sean will giddily fall down and break a chair or a light in the hotel lobby.
Sean: I'm just having a laugh though.
Rich: We're the only rock'n'roll boy band in pop and Sean and J are the terrible two. On a night out you can guarantee there's gonna be at least on bloke they'll want a fight with.
J: That's cos you always get an idiot who thinks we're dead soft just because we're in a pop band. I'm a normal 23-year-old lad who'll have a scuffle if someone starts on me.

Do you ever end up losing each other when you're out for the night?
J: We always lose Rich. He gets hammered and then staggers off somewhere. At least if you lose Sean, all you have to do is look outside and you'll find him eating a burger, talking to some tramp.
Rich: I got lost that time in Sweden when I was sick on my clothes. Somehow I ended up walking along this road with no money, nothing. I ended up talking to these two tramps and they started walking me off the other way cos I'd asked them where the hotel was. I turned around and ran for it.
Abs: Whenever we've been to posh dos Rich has always ended up in a really bad way.
Rich: In the old days, yeah.
J: We'd lose you for hours and then you'd suddenly turn up with all your hair stuck all over your bright red and sweating face! Then you'd disappear off somewhere else!

The bit where J dreams of a mullet hairdo…
Have you ever gone to an all-night party?
Abs: Loads of times. When we first started out J and Sean would absolutely go for it every night. I'd be in bed sleeping. I just couldn't understand how they did it but then one night J and Sean took me out and I haven't stopped since!
J: It's always me, Abs, Sean and our tour manager now, all the time.
Abs: But it's J who can drink everyone under the table.
So are Scott and Rich the lightweights of the band then?
Abs: Yeah but I don't mean that in a nasty way. They're all loved up so they hardly ever come out. (To the party poopers.) You're missing out majorly.
Scott: You're always saying, 'Oh go on, come out, blah blah…' But I don't, so you're probably all upset with me.
J: But you are missing out!
Scott: I'd rather upset you by not going out than upset you all by being all moody the next day.
J: Well, Rich is a lightweight full stop! He says he needs things to stimulate his brain but he's just going through some weird phase. He's a lovely lad but a bit of a lightweight.
Rich: I've had enough of mad going out. There's nothing interesting about going to a club. I've done it.
Sean: Nineteen and he's done it!
Rich: No, I don't mean that I'm superior. I just don't think I'd find anything fulfilling for me in a club.
Sean: I'm a lightweight.
Rich: Ah c'mon Sean. I get drunk the easiest cos I'm not a big drinker. (To Scott.) Mind you, I suppose I can stay up for ages whereas Sean would probably pass out and go to bed.
Scott: I fall asleep quite early too. I like staying in and playing my PlayStation and having a meal in my room. We have a laugh. (In mock old lady voice.) Ooooooh, we have a laugh!

Are you over the whole largin' it thing now?
J: They might be but I'm not! I won't ever stop partying. I'll be one of those really ungraceful OAPs with my sad, mullet hairdo trying to disco dance when I'm 60.

The bit where Five describe their ideal weekend…
Abs: I like fishing. That's a great way to relax. I wouldn't take anyone with me. It's something you can do on your own.
J: I love the countryside. It's dead peaceful, all those hills and stuff. I'd take a young lady with me and we'd have a nice meal and enjoy plenty of conversation.
Scott: I'd like to go on a murder mystery weekend.
Rich: I'm getting into golf so I might wanna do a golfing weekend.
Sean: I think golf's crap.
Rich: Well don't come then. I'd invite Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix to spend the weekend with me cos they were rockin'!
Sean: I'd chill out with Marvin Gay, me. That'd be cool. I'd have a conversation with him for an hour and then do one…