Pop punks: you're Busted!

TAKE note of the name Busted because it's one with which you may soon be familiar. The three piece band are getting ready for the release of their debut album and single and are filling in time performing up and down the country at countless summer roadshows.

By Jo Macdonald

TAKE note of the name Busted because it's one with which you may soon be familiar. The three piece band are getting ready for the release of their debut album and single and are filling in time performing up and down the country at countless summer roadshows. JO MACDONALD caught up with band member Charlie Simpson, who hails from Woodbridge, to find hear all about upsetting neighbours, fancying teachers and rejecting Simon Cowell.

TO reject a record deal offer from one of pop's most notorious and influential men may seem like musical suicide to many rising stars.

After all few could ever dream of having the support and finance of the high-waisted-trouser wearing one laid out for the taking let alone contemplate ignoring it.

But there are those willing to stick to the career path with which they are most comfortable and satisfied, irrespective of who may be trying to convince them otherwise.

There are those like Busted.

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"We went to see Simon Cowell and he wanted to sign us, but we turned him down," band member Charlie Simpson said matter-of-factly as though it is the kind of thing that happens every day.

"It was when Pop Idol was at its peak.

"I guess it is strange, I doubt he gets turned down that often."

The decision to decline the deal offered by the infamous music supremo was by no means foolish, however; the band had another offer far more tempting and on March 4 this year Charlie and his bandmates James Bourne and Mattie Jay became the newest names on the books of Universal's Island label.

They've not looked back since and things are very much on the up in the Busted camp.

"We're in the recording studio getting the album finished. The single is out on September 16 and the album is out on September 30," he said with eager pride, as though the dates are etched indelibly in his mind.

"We're just doing lots of promoting at the moment and loads of Party in the Parks," he continued enthusiastically, speaking at a rate of knots.

"It's all going really, really well and we're getting a good reception from the crowd which is really exciting.

"Our video went on MTV yesterday but we've not had a chance to see it yet. We haven't got time to sit in and watch TV.

"We're getting really good feedback at the moment though and are getting lots of magazine coverage. There's quite a good buzz out there.

"We're really busy and every weekend we're somewhere else. We've been up and down the country and to Scotland and Wales.

"We're always getting up early and heading somewhere else and we're visiting radio stations for interviews wherever we go," he added before stopping to take a breath.

It's little surprise that 17-year-old Charlie is so excited and animated as he speaks. Less than a year ago he was just an average teenager growing up in Suffolk; today he is living his dream.

"I got my first guitar when I was seven and just started playing from then. I grew to love music," he explained.

"I've always wanted to do this.

"It's so weird actually being in videos and stuff now. When I was younger I always used to watch other people's videos and think about being in one.

"I was always thinking 'I'm going to be doing that one day'."

He took the elusive step nearer to that day in October last year when he answered an advert in NME appealing for someone to join a band.

The ad was from James and Matt who had formed the band after meeting at a gig in James' home town of Southend.

"I read the ad, answered, went down to London and here I am," Charlie said as though finding his place in the band was one of the easiest things he has ever accomplished.

"They'd known each other for about a year but they were cool with me when I joined. They were receptive and easy to get on with.

"I just seemed to fit in and we all get on well together."

"The three of us live on our own together in Finchley. We're pretty well behaved and there are never any parties," he continued with a tone suggesting the line about the parties may not be completely honest.

"Do we get on with our neighbours? Not really…well we do I suppose. It's just the guy who lives upstairs who's trying to get us out because we're too noisy.

"I think we're just going to have to keep things quiet for a bit."

Appeasing their irate neighbour should not be too tough a challenge for Busted at the moment as it seems they are spending most of their time on the road as regulars on roadshows all over Britain, performing alongside the likes of Blue, Hear'Say, 3SL and Liberty X.

The latest destination on the Busted summer tour is on Sunday at Pleasurewood Hills and will bring Charlie a step closer to home.

Having grown up in Woodbridge, seen Ipswich as part of his home town and studied at Brandeston Hall Junior School and Framlingham College, Charlie is looking forward to the day when he will perform to a truly home crowd.

"If we could sort out a gig in Ipswich it would be cool," he enthused at the thought of a performance at the Corn Exchange or Regent.

"It would be wicked to play in my home town, even though Ipswich isn't really it. I lived in Woodbridge but Ipswich is the main town so it's where I'd be all the time.

"Whenever me and my mates wanted to go to the cinema that's where we'd go."

"They think it's really cool what I'm doing," he added when asked what his mates think about his music career. "I speak to them all but it can be annoying not having time to see them.

"I haven't seen any of them for a while so hopefully once the single and the album are out we'll get a little break and I'll be able to catch up."

In the meantime, the music releases are the band's main focus with the single, What I Go To School For, their first priority.

As a track about fancying a teacher, it is very much based on experience although Charlie is quick to point out it is not about his Framlingham College life.

"It's about Matt," Charlie stressed. "He used to fancy his science teacher. I don't remember fancying any of my teachers although I probably thought some of them were okay looking.

"I'm sure every kid fancies a teacher at some point."

The album, Charlie promises, will offer more of the same quirkiness, including a track dedicated to Britney Spears and a futuristic look at the year 3000.

It is a collection of songs of which the band are immensely proud having penned them together as a trio, a move which automatically sets them apart from many of their peers. Oh, and they play their own instruments as well.

"It's important we write our own stuff," Charlie explained. "The band formed, we wrote all the songs and then we got signed.

"It definitely stands us apart from a lot of the others."

"Our sound is pop music but it's got a bit of an edge," he continued, citing alternative music as his biggest influence, with the likes of Deftones and Jimmy Eats World currently playing on his stereo.

"I think the other bands on the roadshows are good but personally I wouldn't buy what they do. It's good pop music and although we make pop music there's a bit more to it. There's a touch of Blink 182 there, a bit of pop punk.

"We always have a vision of what we want to sound like when we go into the studio and with this album it's exactly what we wanted. We're very proud of it."

Time will tell what the music buying public thinks but if the buzz surrounding their live performances is anything to go by Busted shouldn't have too much to worry about.

The future looks promising.

n Busted's debut single, What I Go To School For, is due out on September 16, followed by their self-titled debut album two weeks later.

The band are also performing live at Pleasurewood Hills, near Lowestoft, on Sunday as part of the CITV White Knuckle Tour.

Weblink: www.bustedmusic.com

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