Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – 5ive
In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: the funk-dunkin’ boyband take the ultimate test
1Which song did a pre-fame Russell Brand perform when he auditioned for 5ive?
Ritchie Neville: “I don’t know, but I’m gonna go with something like East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’?”
Scott Robinson: ‘Thunder’ by East 17?”
Sean Conlon: “Something by Thin Lizzy?”
WRONG. He sang ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme.
Scott: “Agggh! That was on the tip of my tongue but I didn’t know it was out then. We saw some videos of his audition and you can tell it’s him.”
Would he have slotted into the band well?
Scott: “Er… no.”
Ritchie: “With all the problems he’s had over the years that are well-documented, I think he would have fitted in just fine!”
2When 5ive won Best British Pop Act at the 2000 BRIT Awards, where did former member Jason Paul “J” Brown say he was going to put his award?
Sean: “Up Chris Moyles’ arse.”
CORRECT. In his acceptance speech, he said of the DJ: “Chris Moyles I will come over to your table shortly and insert this where the sun does not shine.”
Scott: “I wish he’d just thanked the record label rather than saying that.”
Ritchie: “[Laughs] I don’t know. I liked it when there were controversial things happening at the BRITS. Everything’s so safe these days! Bring it on! I don’t mean I want a BRIT Award up my arse, just to clarify. It’s got that fork, which is quite sharp!”
Sean: “We never had a problem with Chris Moyles as a band. That was something between J and him.”
You opened the BRIT Awards that year with a performance of your chart-topping cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, featuring Brian May on guitar and Roger Taylor on drums….
Ritchie: “Being around them was amazing. My mum owned a pub and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was always on, and then suddenly you’re releasing a song and playing audiences with Brian and Roger. One of my favourite memories is jamming ‘Hey Joe’ by Jimi Hendrix with them. I still pinch myself.”
Talking of potential ‘fights’ with Chris Moyles, boyband Blue once said that 5ive used to “kick the shit out of each other” before going onstage….
Scott: “Things happened. Me and J had a ruckus backstage at Top of the Pops and it was bad. We had to go on straight afterwards and it was awkward because the host Jayne Middlemiss introduced us with: ‘Fights backstage but harmonies on it: here’s 5ive’s ‘Got the Feelin’’. I remember trying to wind J up on camera ‘cause I thought: he cant get to me!”
Ritchie: “At the MTV Europe Music Awards, we performed ‘Everybody Get Up’ and I remember a band member – who will remain nameless – running behind me whilst I wasn’t looking and booting me like a football as hard as they could off the stage. There were a few violent moments.”
3Who presented Scott with the Best Haircut Award at the 1998 Smash Hit Awards?
Scott: “That would be the amazingly talented Meat Loaf!”
CORRECT. You beat Jennifer Aniston, Lee from 911, Ronan Keating and Posh Spice to the title.
Scott: “Rest in peace, Meat Loaf. One of the things I’m most gutted about is that I didn’t actually speak to him there. I ignored him a bit. I apologised to him later on in my career because I was caught up in the moment, but he was an absolute legend.”
4Who headlined your day when you performed at 2001’s Rock in Rio festival?
Ritchie: “Britney Spears and NSYNC.”
Scott: “Well done, Ritch!”
Ritchie: “I was there, Scott. I might have been quite drunk, but I was there! That was the pop night, and then there was a rock night with Guns N’ Roses and Oasis.”
What was it like hanging out with Oasis?
Ritchie: “Liam [Gallagher] was an absolute legend and Noel was a prick. We were massive Oasis fans. We landed at Rock in Rio and were supposed to have five days of press all day, but we had been worked like dogs for years and were stressed and worn out, and said we weren’t going to do it. We’d play the show and just get pissed for five days instead. We went to the pool and Liam was sat there with a big bucket of beers and recognised us and was like: [Adopts a Manchester accent] ‘Alright lads, grab a beer if you want to’. And one beer led to 20!”
Scott: “We ended up playing [’90s handheld game] Bop It! with him in his room and he was getting increasingly frustrated because it was his game and he wasn’t winning. It was funny.”
Why didn’t you get on with Noel?
Ritchie: “I remember playing a show with them in Venezuela after we’d made friends with Liam. We got on and he wasn’t judgemental. We’re a pop band and they’re a rock band – but Liam didn’t give a shit. He took us at face value. Noel had more of an ego about it and said: ‘What are you hanging out with the boybanders for?’ Liam actually went: ‘What are you talking about? They’re sound lads travelling around having a laugh!’. And Noel was like: for fuck’s sake!”
Ever kick it with Britney and NSYNC?
Ritchie: “You’d bump into them at various places. We played a show with NSYNC once and their backstage area had loads of different rooms with names like: ‘NSYNC – Rest and Relaxation Room’, ‘NSYNC– Vocal Warm Up Room’. To take the piss, we printed off things like: ‘5ive – Drugs and Hookers Room’.”
5In 2016, which Cambridge punks covered 5ive’s 1999 chart-topper ‘Keep On Movin’’ as part of an all-star Bands4Refugees gig series?
Scott: “You’re telling us a lot of stuff we don’t know about ourselves! I couldn’t even half-guess!”
WRONG. It was Bloody Knees – replete with synchronised dancing. Who’s been the most unexpected person who’s turned out to be a 5ive fan?
Ritchie: “Years ago, Sacha Baron Cohen was photographed in LA wearing a 5ive T-shirt – evidently he likes the band! I always found it amazing when people like Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon would recognise me.”
6Which three tracks were removed from the US edition of 5ive’s 1999 album ‘Invincible’?
Scott: Not a Scooby! ‘Mr Z?”
WRONG. It was indeed ‘Mr Z’ and ‘Battlestar’ – but you missed out ‘Sunshine’.
Sean: “Those tracks should have been removed from the British one!”
7What was Ritchie’s ‘safe word’ when he appeared on the Katherine Ryan-starring ITV2 gameshow Safeword in 2015?
Scott: “You’re in trouble if you can’t remember your safe word!”
Ritchie: “[Laughs] I can’t remember! Was it Red?”
WRONG. It was Anal Autograph – a reference to your pre-5ive band, who were called Anal Beard…
Ritchie: “Growing up, I was massively into grunge, so we sounded like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc, mixed with a bit of metal. But it was just an excuse to make lots of noise with guitars and amps and kick over chairs [Laughs].”
On the subject of metal: 5ive once recorded a version of Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me‘ (which went unreleased). Any other memorable unreleased covers in the vaults?
Scott: “There were a few – our ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ version was amazing. Simon Cowell wanted us to do a cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ with [producers] Stargate, but we never released it. We toyed with The Who’s ‘My Generation’ and Duran Duran’s ‘The Wild Boys’.”
8What unusual item replaced a missing Sean in 5ive’s 2001 ‘Let’s Dance’ music video and what stood in for departed member J at your 2013 G-A-Y performance?
Sean: “I was replaced by a cardboard cutout in the ‘Let’s Dance’ video.”
Ritchie: “And at G-A-Y, J was replaced by a sex doll.”
CORRECT. Sean was struggling at the time, and it was during a period when there was less understanding of the toll being in a band can take on your mental health…
Sean: “It wasn’t the best. I was already feeling down and being replaced with a cardboard cutout was like a dig in the ribs. There wasn’t the awareness then there is now. Back then, if you said you had problems, there wasn’t any sympathy. You were told: ‘You come from a council estate. We’ve given you your dreams. Why are you moaning?’ But Simon Cowell and the team learned their lessons from us and treated One Direction very differently.”
Scott: “As much as we can laugh and joke about the cardboard cutout now, something like that would never be allowed to happen in today’s climate – and it shouldn’t have happened back then.”
Ritchie: “We could have done with group counselling to sort out our dynamic and a more sympathetic schedule to give us a moment to catch our breath. We were working 16-hour days with no days off.”
Scott: “We started at 15/17 years old and I think record companies should have a duty of care written into your contract, because there are so many documented cases of young artists losing the plot. I was drinking to escape the pressure, but any time I said I was struggling, the response was: ‘Get on with it’.”
9A member of which Bradford rap collective once recorded a version of ‘Keep On Movin’’?
Scott: “No idea!”
WRONG. It’s Bad Boy Chiller Crew.
Ritchie: “I’m going to have to catch up on this!”
Any rappers ever admired 5ive’s flow?
Scott: “I met Chip at a gig once and he told me loved 5ive back in the day and that’s what got him into rapping.”
Ritchie: “[Joking] Jay-Z’s always on the phone! It’s a fucking nightmare!”
105ive’s ‘If Ya Getting Down’ reached Number Two on the UK Charts. Who beat you to Number One?
Scott: “Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’.
Scott: “It was his second week at Number One. We were Number One on the midweeks and went on TV and opened champagne with Ant and Dec celebrating topping the charts. And the next day we went in at Number Two, which was mortifying!”
Tell us about your new album ‘Time’, 5ive’s first new record in 20 years…
Scott: “We always said we wouldn’t do new music, which came from a fear of competing with our former selves. But when the pandemic hit and all our live dates were cancelled, the timing felt right. We’re really happy with it and from my personal view, it’s the album I’m proudest of.”
The verdict: 5/10
Scott: “Well, that’s the perfect number, isn’t it? We couldn’t have planned that score better!”
– 5ive’s new album, ‘Time’, is out now.