5: Not 'The Spice Boys'
(LAUNCH, 07/27/1998 2:00 PM)
By Craig Rosen
(7/27/98,12 p.m. PDT) - What's the latest pop sensation from the U.K. to storm the U.S. charts? The answer to that question is Five, a male vocal group whose debut single, "When The Lights Go Out," climbs into the top 10 this week on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart.
When myLAUNCH caught up with Five a few weeks ago, the group's members were bumming that their fellow countrymen in England were eliminated from the World Cup, but the lads were happy to be in America. "I love America so far, but it's weird for us," admitted Five member Scott Robinson, "because our album's at No. 1 in England. It's really different for us to come over here and not be known...So we're trying to forget about England and take it from the beginning again."
Since Five is not a household name in America, the group's members are prepared to deal with the endless comparisons to the Backstreet Boys, Take That, New Kids On The Block and even the Spice Girls.
"People were comparing us to the Spice Girls in England, because our management [Bob and Chris Herbert] put the Spice Girls together," Robinson said. "People were saying, 'You must be the Spice Boys' and stuff. The way we got over that was by doing nothing apart from bring out a record and letting people hear it. Once they heard it, they knew immediately that we're nothing like the Spice Girls, New Kids On The Block, Take That, the Backstreet Boys, or Boyzone."
Robinson understands that journalists and music fans like to categorize new acts. "But we haven't got a tag," he explained. "We haven't come out with 'Lad Power' or anything like that. We're just normal lads, and everyone is trying to tag us. We just listen to it and laugh."
So what exactly is Five? "We're a boy band, we don't deny that, but we are bit different from the rest." As Robinson explained, Five, which also includes Sean Colon, Richard Neville, "Abs" Breen and "J" Brown, was manufactured. "Basically, we auditioned in March 1997 and we got moved into a house and offered a six-album deal after our second audition."
The group's self-titled American debut, which was released July 14, differs from the U.K. release. "It has 12 tracks on it and the English one has 16, but the record company in America thought 16 tracks was too many," Robinson said.
As for the group's sound, Robinson said it's nothing but pop. "You hear some boy bands say, 'We've an R&B feel to our music, we've got hip-hop touch to our music, we're not pure pop, we're a vocal harmony group.' But we've always said from the beginning that we're a pop band, singing pop music to young kids for entertainment. Our music hasn't got an R&B flavor. It's pop rap, it's not exactly any hard, meaningful lyrics or anything like that. We're not trying to kid anyone or ourselves."
Since the group is signed to Arista Records, it's had the pleasure of meeting legendary Arista president and hit-maker Clive Davis. "Everybody in the industry treats Clive Davis like he is untouchable and you can't go against him. We just listen to him and he listens to us. We don't look up to him like he's a legend, we just think, 'There's Clive Davis, he's a nice geezer.'"