THE glorious summer weather may be on the downturn by the weekend, but McFly’s Danny Jones will be hoping for more clement conditions than on one past visit to North Yorkshire.
“When we played Dalby Forest [June 26 2009], if I remember right, there was a huge, thick fog all around us that night, and people at the back could hardly see a thing,” recalls the re-grouped London band’s lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist, ahead of Saturday’s post-racing concert at York Racecourse: their first show in 18 months.
McFly, the boy band formed in 2003 by Bolton-born Jones, Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter and Harry Judd, returned last year with album number six, Young Dumb Thrills, after a ten-year gap and a detour into boy-band supergroup McBusted.
Why “Young Dumb Thrills” when Danny, for example, is 35? “I think it’s partly about reminiscing, but you know what, we always say ‘what do we want to do, where do we want to go with our music’, just as we did when I was 17 when I moved down to London, and Dougie was 15, and we thought we knew it all,” he says.
“But when we-reformed and we were making the album, I said, ‘Guys, we’re still young; we could still be a young band starting out’.”
Danny never doubted McFly would return one day from their hiatus that began in 2016. “I knew it was never going to stop. We just needed a holiday; after 13 years you need a break, after 13 years of carnage, you really do, but this way we can come back for 15 more years,” he says.
In the boy-band 2000s, McFly flew to the pop peaks regularly, making chart history as the youngest ever band to have a debut album go straight to number one in the UK, when July 2004’s Room On The 3rd Floor beat The Beatles’ long-standing record, set with Please Please Me in March 1963.
They have chalked up seven number one singles and ten million album sales, and their high-energy York Racecourse set could parade 5 Colours In Their Hair, Obviously, That Girl, All About You, You’ve Got A Friend, I’ll Be OK, I Wanna Hold You, Don’t Stop Me Now, Please, Please, Star Girl, Baby’s Coming Back, Transylvania and One For The Radio.
Saturday’s set definitely will combine past and present, after their 2020 renaissance with the singles Happiness, Tonight Is The Night and You’re Not Special from the number two-charting album Young Dumb Thrills.
They are busy recording again. “Young Dumb Thrills was more ‘one song is this, one song is that’ stylistically; it wasn’t sonically together, but now I’m finding the new album we’re working on is more collective sonically,” says Danny.
“It’s still in the really early stages. We’ve built this amazing studio in West London, where we used to rehearse downstairs, and after the business run by the guy who owned the building didn’t survive, we’ve taken over the rehearsal room to make a recording studio down there with a hang-out space upstairs.
“We’re working with friends and new people to find our new identity for the new record, and it’s kind of ’70s and ‘80s’ rock.”
Why draw on ’70s and ’80s rock, Danny? “We’re working on that line of ‘where do guitars belong in the pop world now?’, and we thought we should be influenced by pop bands who do ‘rock’ really well, like The Who and Oasis, because though we all have such different musical influences, we can agree to pull on Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Van Halen,” he says.
McFly, who had to forego playing Scarborough Open Air Theatre last July in the first Covid-crocked summer, will be returning to York Racecourse after their previous Music Showcase Weekend show in July 2012, having played York Barbican already that April.
Lancastrian Jones is no stranger to the Broad Acres of Yorkshire. “My sister Vicky lives in Leeds and my in-laws are in Malton,” he says.
Should you need reminding, he is married to Malton model Georgia Horsley, a former Miss England, their wedding ceremony having been held at St Mary’s Priory Church, Old Malton, on August 2 2014.
Malton, of course, is synonymous with racing or, more precisely, racing stables. “Behind my in-laws’ house are the stables of a really well-known Irish trainer [although the name escaped Danny’s recollection,” he says. “I’d never seen a racehorse before or seen the veins on a horse close up. Amazing!”
Don’t bet on Danny having a bet on Saturday afternoon. “I’m just not a fan of losing!” he says, but McFly fans will be on to a winner. “You give them what they want. We’re not self-indulgent. If they’re not having a good time, we’re not having a good time, and vice versa.”
That rules out any colts bolting out from the latest studio sessions but guarantees plenty of favourites coming home triumphantly.
Rick Astley plays York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend tomorrow evening post-racing; McFly, Saturday late-afternoon, post-racing.
Tickets for these combined racing-and-concert events are on sale at yorkracecourse.co.uk. As well as free car parking, no booking fees apply, but please note, admission is not available on a concert-only basis; the gates will be closed at the time of the last race.
Copyright of The Press, York