Essex Style Mag — 14 March 2013

For readers of a certain generation, music didn’t come much cooler than Five. They were huge! After more than a decade away, the boys are back, so Essex Style Magazine grabbed an exclusive interview with member of the band, Scott Robinson, for all the lowdown and gossip.

Sixteen years ago, five young lads from all across Britain were brought together by an up and coming music mogul called Simon Cowell, and launched into mega-stardom almost overnight.

Scott Robinson, Jason ‘J’ Brown, Abs Love, Sean Conlan and Ritchie Neville came to be known as Five.

Their attitude and edge was just what their record label had been looking for, with their off-stage antics attracting front page headlines in all of the tabloid newspapers. Cowell couldn’t believe his luck.

The boys were an instant success, with their début single, ‘Slam Dunk (Da Funk)’ entering the charts at 10, and their following single, ‘When The Lights Go Out’, making themselves a name in America.

Five’s incredible success continued for another four years until, when seemingly at the peak of their careers, they dropped the biggest bombshell of all; the band were splitting up.

“We could have easily released another album, done another world tour and could have made huge amounts of money,” admitted the band’s Essex boy, Scott Robinson.

“We were number one at the time, we were probably at the pinnacle of our careers, and I think we could have gone on to do a lot more.”

Now as part of a new ITV2 series, The Big Reunion, the band are trying their luck at a comeback.

A previous attempt to do just that failed in 2006, and this one is already courting controversy, with J deciding at the last moment that he did not want to be part of any reunion.

Essex Style Magazine caught up with Scott at The Gun in Bowers Gifford, one of his regular haunts, where he admitted he was confident that this comeback was the real deal, and that he couldn’t wait to get back on stage with the lads again.

“The timing felt right,” he said, as he laughed at pictures of himself in a programme from Five’s Invincible tour of 2000.

“Everyone’s head is in the right place – no one is walking around depressed and upset, everyone’s found themselves as human beings, and we’re all ready to put our all into it.

“The first time (2006) was never going to work. At the time, I was the only one who had my head focussed for it.

“I’ve been trying from very early on, since we split, because I always felt that it was partly my fault, even though Sean had already left.”

Indeed, it was that feeling of responsibility that has driven Scott to bring the band back together. When he was approached by ITV to get involved in the show, everything seemed right.

With all of the band members now in their early thirties, the four piece Five are almost like a completely new band.

Rumours that they would be changing their name have been dispelled, and the plan to add a new fifth member has been rejected.

The problems that proved to be their ultimate downfall in the early ‘noughties’ are now behind them, and the returning members seem to have turned a corner.

Scott said: “At the time of the break-up there were quite a lot of problems, and I had tried to leave on a number of occasions, but each time they just kept putting a plaster over the problem. No one was actually addressing the real problem.

“I personally was struggling to get on with other members of the band. Put simply, what Sean and J were doing was bullying.

“I mean, I’m 33 years old now, and I don’t care about those things any more. If someone’s going to have a go, then let them.

“I’ve come back with both barrels, a very strong minded person, and I just won’t be pushed around anymore. I’ve got an opinion on everything and I like to be heard, so it’s a tricky one, but I think it’s better for me this way.”

Five have been joined on The Big Reunion by a number of other chart-topping bands from the late nineties to early noughties: 911, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, the Honeyz and Liberty X.

The television show documented the rise and fall of each of the bands, before going behind the scenes for their two weeks of intensive training.

On February 26, all the bands came together at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, to complete the big comeback.

Now they are all working hard, rehearsing for a UK tour, which includes a date at London’s O2 Arena in May – a venue that none of the bands got to play in during their heyday.

“I’ve never played at the O2 Arena,” Scott said. “It’s going to be amazing – one of those spine tingling moments.

“It’s incredible to think that my sons are going to be sitting in the front row. They’re so excited, they just know me as their dad, and not a 90s popstar who has sold 20 million records, but they’re still my biggest fans.

“And it’s also great for my wife, Kerry. She was a rock for me and stuck by me through the tough times, when most women would probably have left. I don’t know where I would be without her, to be honest.”

Quite where Five will stand once the tour is done and dusted this summer is still very much open to debate.

Many viewers will just pass the reunion off as being something for the cameras, but Scott is determined not to be just another flash in the pan. He believes this can be the launchpad for Five to get back towards those glory days.

He said: “We’ve been talking about that quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. For the moment, we’re going to sing and dance a bit to some of our old songs, but we’re also going to listen to what the public want.

“If it’s looking like they would love us to make new music, then that is what we will do.

“We’re happy now to go on and be a proper band again. If it turns out that the gig is all the fans want to see, and the tour is all they want, then we will do that. The page is open.”

Scott told ESM that he, personally, would love nothing more than to get back into the recording studio with new material – just as Take That did when they made their comeback.

“I think they’re a better band this time around,” Scott admitted. “The beauty of what Take That have done, and it wouldn’t be a bad path to follow, is they’ve embraced all their old music.

“Whenever they do a tour, they do it as Take That of old, and Take That of new. Certainly when Robbie rejoined the band, they did a lot of the old stuff, and they even let him do some of his solo stuff.

“It was very clever. I think we need to embrace what we did before, which is where we went wrong with the first attempt at a reunion.

“Let people listen and see us performing ‘Keep on Movin,” ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘If Ya Gettin’ Down’ – and when they want to see something new, we’ll let them have it.”

Of course, parallels can also be drawn between the success that Five had, and that which we are seeing with One Direction today.

Both bands owe a great deal of gratitude to Simon Cowell for their success, and like Five, the former X Factor contestants are making a global name for themselves.

Scott can see a younger version of himself in the One Direction boys, and whilst not wanting to sound like an old bore, he does have a word of warning for them.

“It would be hard to give them advice on how to handle their careers, because they’re doing so well,” Scott admitted. “They’re amazingly massive in America at the moment, and in England.

“I could give them advice in terms of telling them, don’t forget who you are, don’t forget where you come from, and above all, try to enjoy it.

“The thing is, it’s very easy to look like you’re enjoying yourself, but when you’re in your hotel room at night going, ‘I actually just miss my girlfriend,’ of course it can be tough.”

Indeed, there is no doubt that Five can take tips from One Direction too. After all, Harry Styles and co. are enjoying their success in an era that is remarkably different to that which Five had theirs in.

“You cannot underestimate the power of the X Factor these days,” Scott said. “Millions of people watch that show, and it is a real coup for any act to perform on their Sunday night show as a guest.

“I do hope that Simon (Cowell) will be on the end of a telephone very soon, and you never know, we could be on that stage towards the end of this year.”

Scott has a lot of respect for modern musicians. At our launch party last year, he played a number of Ed Sheeran covers.

He also refuses to rule out the possibility of him competing in reality television series, and that he would love to take part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

“I’d love to do the jungle,” Scott said. “I think it would make brilliant television, because there’s not much that I like to eat. So it would be even funnier if I did it.

“If they said I’d got the choice of eating a salad cream sandwich, and I hate salad cream, or a donkey’s dick, I would choose the donkey’s dick every time!”

On a final note, however, it is Five that he is concentrating on for the time being, and he’s confident the band will soon be back in the charts.

He said: “At the moment it’s going really good. The big reunion show is bigger than we ever thought it was going to be.

“The response to it has been fantastic, and the actual response for Five has been brilliant as well.

“I just can’t wait to get back on that stage and on tour with the lads again.”