Returning for its fourth year, the home of Hampshire Cricket welcomes The Ageas Family Festival on 1st August. Alongside fantastic family entertainment, the Festival will feature the Royal London One-Day Cup – Hampshire v Middlesex, alongside a super special headline musical performance from none other than kings of the UK pop scene, Boyzone.
"After the heroics of the Irish team in the Cricket World Cup, we're glad to be bringing a bit of the Irish craic to the Ageas Bowl on August 1st. It will be the last gig of the Summer for Boyzone so we're all looking forward to a great night.” Say the boys (now very definitely fully grown men).
Fun for all ages, the popular festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before. A whole host of family-friendly activities will be installed onsite and available for use throughout the day. Plus, alongside the exciting cricketing action, the Ageas Bowl will welcome the arrival of the Red Devils (British Army) who will parachute into the ground during the innings interval. Free activities for children will range from bouncy castles to climbing walls, laser quest to a fun fair, with Cricket Coaching also returning alongside an arts and crafts area for all. So there really is no excuse for not getting involved.
Known for hits including ‘Love Me For A Reason’, ‘Words’, ‘No Matter What’ and ‘When The Going Gets Tough’, Boyzone are currently celebrating two decades in the music industry. Within these 20 years, the band have tallied up an impressive 5 Brit Awards, eighteen top 10 hits on the UK Singles Chart, six No. 1 UK hit singles and five No. 1 albums, with more than 25 million records sold worldwide. They released their sixth studio album ‘From Dublin to Detroit’ last year, featuring their favourite songs from the Motown era, including renditions of "You Can’t Hurry Love”, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” plus many more.
Having taken time out since 1997 so they could all focus on their individual career paths, the Boyzone boys, all grown up (Menzone doesn’t have the same ring to it though, does it?) got back together in 2007 for another round but in 2009 the group suffered a tragic blow when Stephen Gately died unexpectedly from an undiagnosed heart defect at only 33 years old. In 2010 the lads emerged with a new album, Brother, a tribute to Stephen and went back out on the road, following this up with 2013’s BZ20 album and subsequent tour. There is no understanding the dizzying heights of success that these Irishmen have achieved over the past twenty years but we were fortunate enough to spend some time with motor-loving, tattoo enthusiast Shane Lynch recently and we attempted to get a bit of an insight, but mostly ended up talking about beards…
We’ve actually met before, you played the Joiners in Southampton with your rock band, must be over 10 years ago now, do you still love rock music?
Ah brilliant, yeah I think when it comes to music in general I kind of do different vanity projects, let’s call them haha, making music that I enjoy. So not necessarily rock specific but just good records y’know?!
It’s no secret that you love cars. You’re actually successful racing driver now aren’t you?
Yeah, I’ve enjoyed the lifestyle for a long, long time. I started around 2000 or 1999 just through opportunities from obviously being in Boyzone where people invited me to come and drive their cars and from there, it went really well. And today I currently drive for a team called Japspeed based in Manchester and I have my big sponsors Lexus Tyres and Monster Energy and I’ve been very lucky to be successful in motorsports, which is something I actually adore. I’ve been blessed for sure.
What’s your dream car?
You know my dream car was a 911 Porsche when I was a kid and I kind of got that when I was 19 and from that point on cars are something I love, but I don’t particularly have a dream car…because I’ve kind of had them all, y’know? I’ve been lucky enough to own and have them all.
Being part of Boyzone must have opened so many opportunities for you. How does it feel to be that successful when you were so young?
It’s a funny world. It’s a funny world of not knowing or understanding what you’re supposed to be doing, other than that you’re in this band and you’re called Boyzone and you’re going over here and doing this TV show and it’s a very enjoyable world. I think sometimes it got a bit confusing for me because there’s no particular reason why you end up being successful in music. There are so many great bands out there, or great singers out there who will never see the world of fame but they’re far better than anyone ever is. You either get a lucky break or you don’t and I’ve just been really lucky in life.
Do you still get just as much of a kick out of performing the songs live? Have they developed over the years?
Yeah I get more of a kick I think now because, back in the 90’s all the great songs we did the ‘Love Me for a Reason’, the ‘No Matter What’s and all that stuff, we were so used to singing them all the time so there was nothing particularly special about it but the first time going back to the live gigs, there’s great memories of all those gigs. Y’know not only for the people who buy the records and came to those shows but for us too. It takes me back to the place where I was in the 90’s, travelling the road thanks to those records. And I wouldn’t give any particular one song as my favourite either, I just think that different songs take me back to different times and different places and different emotions. And I guess that’s what music is meant to do.
You’ve been fortunate enough to play some of the world’s most legendary venues throughout your career, is there anywhere you’d still really like to tick off the list?
I think when it comes to venues, we’ve played the greats. I think Wembley was one of them old school venues, to say you’ve played Wembley was pretty awesome and we did. I think when it comes to the new acts and bands, people dream of playing the O2 and we’ve played that more than enough times. And also the Royal Albert Hall, what a great venue and we’ve had the pleasure of playing that a fair few times. Yeah, I’m pretty satisfied with playing the awesome venues that we have!
Your latest album is a collection of Motown covers, what prompted you to go back to covering classic songs?
All the time when it comes to music, you and the record company have to strategise and you’ve gotta feel what you wanna do and they said this is something they’d really like for us boys to do. And yeah, I thought about it and I really like a lot of Motown stuff and when we started to go through the records just realized how many amazing, classic songs there are out there and it was a great idea for us to do. We loved making the album.
Do you think there will be more themed albums from Boyzone in the future?
When it comes to themes, it’s hard to get it right sometimes and we all have to be in the position of understanding what kind of music it is that we’re gonna make. I don’t think it’s something we would turn away from. It’s just opportunities and coming together with the record company and the band agreeing that something is a great idea.
What’s it like being on the road with Boyzone, now you’re all older and you’ve got kids, etc?
It’s nice, actually. It’s really, really nice. When it comes to backstage, when the kids are around it’s nice to see all those kids looking after mine. Y’know Keith Duffy’s kids one is 19 or 20, a big grown man and they go all the way down to my little 2 year old so there’s a fair old stretch of 20 years of all the kids. It’s an interesting room and everyone’s well looked after, let’s put it that way…
It must be quite a big family atmosphere backstage…
It is! It’s great and it’s nice to know that all are kids are hanging out and doing their own thing.
Do you think there’ll ever be a time when enough is enough for Boyzone?
Enough is enough when people ain’t turning up and you’re standing on stage playing to yourself and that’s about it y’know? I think for a band like us, it’s not like we were ever the flat out singing, dancing, performing band. If you go to see New Kids on the Block or Take That, they’re always more energetic than we ever were. We’re more of a ballad type band and lucky enough I think now, 20 odd years later being a ballad style band allows you to continue being just that and we don’t have to come off stage all sore and stuff from leaping around! I mean every now and then it’s nice to throw in a routine that we used to do, but it’s always just a couple of signature hand movements – and the crowd love to see them and do them but we don’t have to jump around too much!
You guys were just teenagers when things really went big for you. Do you ever look back at anything you wore / said / did and cringe?
Yeah loads of things! But that’s just as people, I think when we go back to our family photos and you look and think ‘wow, you see how I had my hair that time? Wow, that’s interesting…’ and I think that’s nice because it shows growth, it shows movement. And yeah, there are some things out there where I think ah man, what a bad situation or why did I say that but when it comes to the clothes and stuff I don’t really mind because most of my stuff has always been a bit off the radar. Most of my looks in Boyzone days, I always liked to look different and still do, to be fair.
I was going to ask you about that because you were recently sporting quite an impressive beard [yes, I admit it – HUGE beard fan – Zan]…
Yeah I had a big old beard for a good year or so and I currently don’t have that. It has now left my face. More for a movie I was doing recently, I had to take it off so I was a little bit sad to see it go but nonetheless it’s gone and I’m fresh faced and blond now, so I change my look all the time.
Well I’m sad to hear the beard is gone but at least you can grow a big, impressive beard…
Oh really? Well I can! I really, really can! I always wanted to do it and I said to my wife about a year ago, right that’s it, I’m growing a beard and luckily for me, it happened to fall in and be uber-trendy at the time. So it all worked out perfectly to plan.
He's best known as bassist for heavy metal heroes Iron Maiden, having forged the path for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal for the past 40 years but Steve Harris has been making waves of another kind recently with his side project British Lion.Read more