Danielle Hine discovers the dark side of the squeaky-clean lads of pop. Seriously.
Honestly, I tried and failed to hate Westlife when I met them. I concentrated really hard on it, but, dammit, they made me laugh far too much. A lot of people might think they’re about as cool as a Leo Sayer comeback, but when you’re jumping around on a bed with four cheeky chappy Irishmen with knicker-melting accents who are, shall we say, aesthetically pleasing to say the least, I deft any woman to give a shit about whether they’re hip or not. But you can imagine my joy when we gave them a ‘rock’n’roll makeover’ – helped by super stylist and Kylie’s pal, William Baker – with smudged eyeliner, messy hair, and a telly to kick in. But they’re far too polite, un-starry and no-bullshit to give it too much attitude á la Babyshambles. And they don’t need to. They’ve sold 35 million albums – and counting. And like all good boybands, there’s one to suit everyone.
Nicky (27, married to Irish prime minister’s daughter Georgina) is a sweetie and the outgoing. Shane (27, married to Gillian and father to one-year-old Nicole) is the most mature and sensible, and Kian (26, going our with ex-Hollyoaks starlet Jodi Albert) is the cheekiest. Then there’s Mark, 26, who was slightly perturbed at how keen I was for him to become my new Gay Best Friend…
Boys – Franz Ferdinand said they make music for girls to dance to. What do Westlife want girls to do to their music?
Your new album is called The Love Album!
(they all laugh)
Nicky: “We should be called The Shagsters really”
Kian: “It should probably be called The Shag Album”
Nicky: “Yeah, we’re probably the best shags around!”
Any fave tunes for making lurve?
Nicky (to Shane): “What’s that song I always hear coming out of your room?”
Shane (perplexed): “What?”
Kian (dryly): “It’s Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, isn’t it?”
Nicky: “I thought it was Take My Breath Away!”
Shane: (resigned to the piss-taking) “Yeah, that’s it, man.”
The new album is all love song covers but have you ever waned to cover something cooler, like a Razorlight song?
Shane: “I haven’t got a clue who they are!”
Kian: “I don’t know any of the new rock bands because I’ve always listened to the old rock bands.”
Nicky: “I know they’re not a rock band but we did do a version of the Pussycat Doll’s Don’t Cha on tour. We turned it into ‘don’t you wish your boyfriend was hot like us’ with a sexy dance routine and lots of this…” (moves his crotch up and down)
Liking the sound of that! What’s the most rock’n’roll thing Westlife have ever done?
Shane: “Jesus, we’ve had plenty of parties. We like to christen each country we go to.”
Talk me through the christening process
Mark: “We just get really drunk and dance and have a laugh.”
Westlife get shitfaced?
Nicky: “We do like a drink – but the problem is that people like to leave the party before the bill is paid. So one of us always gets stung at the end.”
Shane: “If we go out on, say, a normal Saturday night we’ll probably spend about £1500 on drink. In clubs, especially in London, a bottle of vodka can be £200 and that’s the cheapest!”
Ever embarrassed yourselves at a really swanky celeb party?
Nicky: “The most embarrassing thing was the suits we wore to the World Music Awards in 2004 in America.” (the others nod) “We were in our Rat Pack phase and were wearing these 60s-style suits. They were brilliant but we did feel a bit stupid…”
Shane: “We got our picture taken with Usher and one of the papers said “It’s Usher and his accountants.” We really laughed at that. But when we went out that night we had thought we were looking the dog’s bollocks!”
On to saucier stuff – do your adult female fans wave filthy signs at your concerts?
Shane: “Of course they do!”
Nicky: “It’s stuff like “Come On My Tits, Nicky”; “Nicky Show Us Your Dicky”; “Give Us A Quicky Nicky”.”
Shane: “Quite often you’ll see “Let Me Taste Your Irish Cream”.”
Kian: “Or “I’ll Be Your Horse So You Can Ride Me”.”
Nicky: “And of course, “I’ll Raise You Up”.”
Do they proposition you in person?
Kian: “About six years ago a girl handed me a letter – she must have been no more than 16. It basically said: “do you fancy having sex with me, this is my number, call me”. It was awful being put on the spot by, bless her, this ugly little ginger.”
Mark, you can out last year. How did your fans react?
Mark: “To this day there’s been nothing negative – only support. And I’ve been with my partner Kevin for a year and a half. I’d spent so long wishing I was in this situation and that I had somebody but for loads of different reasons it wasn’t feasible. Then, finally I found someone. So since coming out, it’s been the best year of my life. Ever. I don’t mean to sound soppy but it’s true.”
Myself and Tanita on the NW art desk both want to be your fag hags. How can we achieve this?
(The boys snigger)
Mark: (looking a bit disturbed by my suggestion) “You have to be able to drink.”
Kian: “And be late all the time.”
Shane: “You have to be fabulous to be his fag hag.”
Nicky: “What does fag hag mean – just that you want to hang out with him all the time?”
Yep. Every girl needs a gay best friend. Anyway, what have you guys learnt about women over the years?
Nicky: “Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless you physically see the baby’s head sticking out!”
Kian: “Just: Let. It. Go. Don’t bother arguing back. It makes life easier. Men just want to sit there, watch the TV and relax.”
Nicky: “And fart and scratch…”
Shane: “Women are very rarely wrong. I mean, they might be wrong but I’ve learnt to just go along with it and let them find out for themselves if they’re right or not!”
Lad’s, you obviously know the score.
Right, that’s us won over!
Westlife’s new single is out this month and the Love Album is out next month.