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“I have wanted to play the 100 Club for twenty years,” Busted’s Matt Willis explains down the phone.
It’s the morning after Busted made their live comeback at the 350 capacity central London venue and the vocalist/bass guitarist of the platinum-selling pop-rock band is in a buoyant mood after achieving one of his life dreams. “I’ve had a picture of John Lydon playing that venue in my house since I was about 16,” he says.
After an original five-year run which included two No.2 albums and four chart-topping singles, Busted made one of the most exciting pop comebacks in memory in 2015. A huge reunion tour filled out arenas across the UK before the band headed into the studio to work on new music.
Night Driver was released in November 2016. The band’s first record in thirteen years saw a departure from the pop-punk sound that made them a household name in the 2000s, with a move into the realms of synth pop.
Now, in 2018, the band are gearing up for the release of their fourth studio album Half Way There. The record, due for release on 8 February 2019, was produced by the legendary Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Pixies) and the band have promised it will be more sonically in line with their earlier sound. In March 2019, the band will hit the road in support of the album.
Here’s Matt on new record Half Way There, the upcoming UK tour and why he’s never enjoyed being in Busted more.
The new album
“We purposefully made a fanbase record. We went into the studio focussed on making the most perfect Busted fan album. I’m a Busted fan, so I knew what album I wanted to make. With Night Driver we really made an album just for the band, a lot of fans loved it, but for a lot of fans it wasn’t the Busted they knew or really wanted. But this album is.”
Working with Gil Norton
“He’s a bucket list producer for me. I mean, he produced Foo Fighters’ The Colour And The Shape. When I first saw the video for Monkey Wrench it blew my head apart. I must have listened to that album more than any other record in my life. Working with him was a dream. He’s a real taskmaster, he doesn’t use computers and wants perfect takes. The single Nineties I must have played thirty-eight times.”
What fans can expect from Busted’s upcoming UK tour
“It’s going to be an amazing, large, sweaty rock show. We wanna bring things back to Busted. To be honest, we wanna be people’s favourite band again. I want people to go away thinking “that was the best Busted gig I’ve ever f***ing seen.” We’re gonna pick a setlist of songs that everyone wants to hear. There’s no self-indulgence in this tour, it’s all for the Busted fanbase.”
Home comforts on the road
“I bring a coffee machine everywhere I go. I’m one of those coffee d***heads. That and a gym membership. If I’ve got those two things I’m happy.”
How much he appreciates Busted the second time around.
“People always tell you, you never really know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and there was times in my life after Busted where I really used to look back and think “f***ing hell man, I loved being in that band.” And I never thought I’d have that back. So I make sure that I cherish every moment of it now because I understand what it’s like not to have this band. I really do make the most of everything. I want people to know that they should be a fan of Busted because we give them everything we can. I love being in this band and I want to be in it forever.”
Half Way There is out on East West Records on 8 February 2019.
Busted head out on the Half Way There Tour in March 2019. Here are the dates:
23 March 2019 – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
26 March 2019 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
28 March 2019 – Manchester Arena, Manchester
29 March 2019 – Birmingham Resorts World Arena, Birmingham
30 March 2019 – The SSE Arena, Wembley, London
How to get Busted tickets early
Tickets for all five Busted shows are available now through a Ticketmaster presale.