They're already the band on thousands of lips, even though their first single isn't due for release until next spring. Somewhat strangely, McFly have already had their first taste of the Number One spot - in November, when they joined labelmates Busted on the flipside of 'Crashed The Wedding', for a fiery romp through 'Build Me Up Buttercup'. But we all know Busted wouldn't put their stamp of approval on a band who couldn't triumph with their own material, and the sound McFly make is really unlike anything else you've heard all year, a thrilling melting pot of musical reference s which recall the finer points of rock and roll history and throw in a unique 2003 spin. Let's meet the boys...
Harrow boy Tom Fletcher grew up listening to bands like the The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and finds a fascinating charm in 60s music. "I've always loved the fact that there's a really unique quality to sixties music," he grins. "Everything from the chord progressions to the melodies themselves - and they still sound amazing today.” These days the 18-year-old slots CDs by acts like The Thrills in among those older discs and if you’ve heard Busted’s second album you’ll already be familiar with Tom’s work – many of the tracks were co-written by Tom with the rest of Busted, just as James from Busted has lent his own hand to many of McFly’s own tunes. Tom loves Katie Holmes and hates bananas.
17-year-old Danny Jones is the band joker. He was born in Bolton's Royal Infirmary and went to a school whose brown uniform earned its pupils a rather unpleasant, and unprintable, nickname! He loves The Who, The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen as well as blues legend John Lee Hooker, and is an obsessive fan of live music. In today's pop scene Danny is perhaps unique in his support of Bolton Wanders (though he's pretty nifty with his own feet) and he admits that life back home often has a bit of a Phoenix Nights vibe going on. The rest of the band are constantly amused by Danny's insistence that anyone with any sort of accent is automatically from Bolton. He recently claimed this was true of an Italian tourist.
Dougie Poynter is McFly’s youngest member. He grew up in the historic Essex town of Corringham, some parts of which date back to Saxon times. Dougie’s own history doesn’t go back quite so far – he was only 15 when he joined McFly. Now 16, he loves clothes (“at least, I prefer them to being naked”), and lists bands like New Found Glory and Blink-182 among his favourites. Tom describes Dougie as “one of the most quirky people I've ever met. He comes across as being quiet and shy when you first meet him – but you soon find out what he’s really like!” One of Dougie’s particular habits, the rest of the band will tell you, is to pepper everyday occurrences with his own sound effects. Adds Dougie: “He never complains and he never gets angry. Mind you, he does have the smelliest feet in the world.”
Cricket-mad Harry Judd is 17. He has lived in Essex (which is, he claims, "pure quality") all his life, and was educated at posh school Uppingham. “He's so determined,” says Danny. “But he’s a really good friend. He’s the one we can all turn to for advice, and he’s got lots of common sense.” Adds Tom: "Harry can be brutally honest at times - but you know he'll always give it to you straight. We wouldn't want him any other way." Harry's first record was Oasis' '(What's The Story) Morning Glory' - and his favourite bands include Dashboard Confessional and Led Zeppelin.
While the final member only joined the band in August, the McFly story dates back to 2001 when Tom saw an advertisement in NME - a band were after one final member, and he fancied his chances. He got down to the final two but when the final place in that band - Busted - went to some guy called Charlie, Tom began his own deal with Busted’s managers own production label and McFly was born.
Tom stayed in touch with James and the pair started writing together – in fact, the name McFly was inspired by one of James’ early songs, Year 3000.
Before long a lot was happening and the arrival of Danny Jones as Tom’s partner really cemented things. The band was taking shape and it wasn’t long before the McFly pair were performing for people all over London. They continuted to write with James of Busted and recorded a number of their songs – eventually playing them acoustically for key major labels and signing with Universal.
The final step was to advertise for more members with the help of adverts in the NME. The auditions found Harry and Dougie - who was so nervous that he literally threw up minutes before his audition. Finally the lineup was complete. The band now have that final NME ad framed on their wall at home: for Tom and Danny it was the first time their band had been in print, for Dougie and Harry it was their doorway to McFlydom.
Before long, the boys moved in together, into the house they still share. The steep social learning curve was a bit like the first few days of Big Brother, they explain. But beyond the scents of boydom, and the lads’ habit of living almost entirely on takeaway pizza, the bond they’ve made seems unbreakable. “We soon found out that when you’re living with each other there’s no room for secrets,” Tom laughs, “but then we found out that we didn’t want to keep secrets anyway.”
Since the summer the band have been ferried around in Tom’s dilapidated Fiat Punto between home and rehearsal studios. Which brings us to the songs - and you'll be hard-pushed to find anything more catchy this side of the England cricket team's 'How To Field In Five Easy Steps' DVD. (Which doesn't actually exist.) These songs are sparky, bouncy and packed with kooky observational hooks which set McFly apart from your average songwriting pop loons. ‘Five Colours In Her Hair’, for example, was inspired by a scene in Channel 4 teen soap As If. “I quite fancied the character," Danny explains, "and then a few days later I saw the actress being interviewed out of costume. I realised that she looked better with five colours in her hair. And a lip ring.” So he and Tom wrote a song about her. ‘Surfer Babe’, meanwhile, was written by Tom and James Bourne after a lengthy Beach Boys listening session while another stunner, ‘That Girl’, the first song written for McFly by Tom and James, was brought to life at a later date by a stunning solo from Danny, and includes the memorable line "We spoke for hours, she took off my trousers". Think the songs sound great on record? Wait until you hear them live.
"We enjoy being on stage so much," Tom gushes. "One thing that separates us from a lot of pop bands is that we can just walk into a room, pick up some instruments and bang out one of our songs." Being in McFly, each member will tell you, is less about the haircuts and more about getting up on stage. Want some proof? It's coming to an arena near you soon when McFly take to the road as the main support on Busted’s forthcoming arena tour. The prospect of hitting the road is a thrilling one for the lads - even though, as any BackTo The Future fan will tell you, where McFly are going, they don't need roads.