If someone told us back in 1993 that when we grew up, we would be interviewing someone from one of Britain’s successful boybands with six No. 1 UK hits and five No. 1 albums – we would have laughed at them.
Little did we know that in years to come – that would be the case! For HEY. Bloggers and Browse, Ashton and I had the pleasure to chat to Keith Duffy on the phone, on behalf of Browse Magazine, and get to know more about his upcoming tours; Boyzlife – a duo act with Brian McFadden from Westlife, before reuniting with Boyzone as part of their 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour which will be at the Bonus Arena on 21st and 28th January 2019.
Chatting to the ever so charming Keith, we find out what the audience will be expecting on both tours, plus plans for the future – and his thoughts on Chip Spice!
What material will we be expecting to see at the Boyzlife gig?
Well, to be honest, myself and Brian McFadden have been touring now for nearly two years and what we do is kind of organically growing into a concert show of Westlife and Boyzone songs. Between Westlife and Boyzone, we’ve been working out that we’ve just over 20 UK number one hit songs, so we’re not short on material to be honest. We do an array of Westlife and Boyzone number one songs and it’s great fun.
Have you guys produced or looking to produce some new material?
Yeah, we are. This all started about two years ago and it’s just got bigger and better than we ever expected, so we’re looking at getting into the studio next May and recording our first studio album together, so that’s very exciting. We’ve all sorts of ideas rolling around in our heads at the moment, but we won’t know anything until we get closer to May next year.
What is it that you’re looking forward to the most about the Boyzlife tour?
Myself and Brian, we’re just two crazy guys. We just enjoy life, you know what I mean? We sing the songs and that part of the show is very structured, but when you put the two of us on the microphone and we start setting each other up and having a bit of fun and we get involved with the audience – the venues we’re playing are very intimate venues, we’re up close and personal with the audience – so you never know what you’re going to get. There’s never two nights the same. We get the energy from the crowd and we try to involve them as much as we can, and we get down into the audience and get the audience to help us sing the songs on the microphone, which is great because you get some very confident people then you get some very, very shy people.
You and Brian have been working together for two years but have been friends longer. What is it that makes you both work together so well?
I think we both understand the business well. I mean, we’re not children any more. We’ve both got grown up children. Brian’s got two teenage daughters and I’ve got a 22-year-old son and my daughter’s 18, and I think when you work with anyone, it’s a relationship. It’s all about give and take. There’s a word I’m looking for. What’s the word? You know that word I’m looking for?
Compromise! That’s the word I was looking for. It’s all about compromise. It’s like a good marriage or a good friendship – any kind of relationship is based on compromise. Everybody has got to be able to compromise, and me and Brian understand that and work very well with that, you know? We give each other our dues, we respect each other and we’re such good mates that we’re able to set each other up on stage and the crowd are thinking we’re going to fall out, and then we walk off stage hugging.
Boyzlife isn’t the only tour you’ll be doing this year (and into next year) as you’re also touring with Boyzone. How do both the tours compare or differ with each other?
With myself and Brian, we’re doing the real intimate venues. We’re doing the venues that Boyzone would have done back at the start of their career back in the 90s. It’s great to go back to those venues and see the familiar faces in the audience again, and we’re a lot more confident with what we do now so we don’t feel as exposed on stage now. We actually enjoy our time on stage. When you’re working with Boyzone and you’re playing in big arenas, it’s a much, much bigger audience and they’re so much further away from you. It’s not a personable. I mean, it’s great fun. It’s very energetic, you get all the bells and whistles and it’s a great show to go to but y’know, it’s a different type of show. This is more up close and personal. I enjoy doing both, but a change is good as the rest, as they say. It’s always good to kind of shake things up.
Have you ever been to Hull before?
Yes, I’ve been to Hull many times! Boyzone performed at Hull 25 years ago. And when Boyzone are coming back with their tour, you’ve got a brand new arena in Hull that we’re playing in January?
Yes, we had a tour around Bonus Arena [with HEY. Bloggers] before it officially opened, and you’re going to love the facilities at the venue.
Yeah, we’re looking forward to it. I mean, that’s the thing. When Boyzone were performing the first time round back in the early 90s, there was a lot of places didn’t have their own arenas so they had to go to the nearest town we were playing in, but now Hull has its own big arena, Boyzone will be there January, and Boyzlife are coming to a smaller venue [in October at the Welly Club].
So because you have been to Hull before, is there anything you recall that you particularly liked about Hull? The people? Or the food?
Do people in Hull have different food to people in other places in the UK?
We have Chip Spice!
You’ve got what?
It’s a salt which you put on chips but with paprika-
Oh yes! That didn’t originate in Hull, by the way. You can’t claim that’s your own dish! That’s been done for years in India.
Well Chip Spice is not well known in the UK – many places down south are often curious about it!
[Laughs] Well you can claim it as your own then!
Have you tried Chip Spice before?
Well I’ve tried salt and I’ve tried paprika, and I love both of them so I’m sure I’ll love it!
When you guys come to Hull we’ll get you some Chip Spice to try!
Ah, you’re very good! Thank you.
Finally, what is your favourite song to perform?
Believe it or not, my favourite song to perform is not actually a Westlife song, and it’s not actually a Boyzone song. There are two songs that I like to perform. When I’m on stage with Boyzone, my favourite song to perform is actually a Ronan Keating song. It’s ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’. Boyzone have kind of adapted that as their own when we’re on tour because it’s such a great tune, and I love performing that song on stage. If I’m out in Dublin with my mates and we’re at a family function or whatever, my party piece is ‘The Piano Man’ by Billy Joel. I love performing that song. That’s kind of like when you’ve had one or two too many pints and somebody asks you to sing a song and you get someone on the piano. I enjoy singing ‘The Piano Man’ by Billy Joel, so they’re like my two little songs that I like to perform!
It was a pleasure to chat to Keith, and thank you to Browse Magazine and Keith’s PR company for arranging this.
Who’s going to see Boyzone at Bonus Arena in January? Comment below!
Until next time,