About boy bands: They come and go like a good night’s sleep, leaving a dull fogginess of whether you actually liked them or if you were just infatuated with them for a short period of time. After a surge, in the ’80s and ’90s, of sweet-faced boys banding together in matching outfits, singing about unrequited love and broken hearts, and dancing synchronized routines — N’SYNC and The Backstreet Boys most notably — boy bands pretty much disappeared, breaking hearts of millions of teenage girls and a comparable amount of gay guys. For teenage girls today … and some gay boys, there is a new light on the horizon; a light to hit Salt Lake City on Feb. 2.
Out of the land of Brits is an up-and-coming new kind of boy band called The Wanted. This five-member group formed in 2009 after a grueling nine-month audition process … so the band was born more than formed.
Bandmate Jay McGuiness, 21, said that at times when they got down to the five winning people, it wasn’t a right fit and so they would re-audition.
“They would cut it down to 30 people, then 20, then 18,” recalled Jay, the self-proclaimed loon of the group, “then 12 and then down to the final five. But then back up to 12 and then 18 again. It was really stressful. I didn’t know anyone, it was just me and new people straight away.”
The final run of auditions brought together five boys, who started out as strangers and quickly turned into friends, to become The Wanted. Along with Jay, the tall curly-haired boy with a dancer’s background and a hot, geeky sexiness, the other mates that make up The Wanted are Max George, 23, the smoldering one with a footballer’s physique; Siva Kaneswaran, 23, the statuesque model, Nathan Sikes, 19, the cute, boy-next-door type; and Tom Parker, 23, who has the face of a “‘Gillette: The Best A Man Can Get’ model.”
The “stressful” audition process appears to have panned out; The Wanted, in only two years, have released two well-received albums and several chart-topping singles, including “All Time Low” and “Glad You Came,” the song that Jay attributes to the feeling that “things are changing for us, getting bigger.” Their success, according to Jay, stems also from not taking themselves too seriously.
“When it comes to music, you have to take it seriously,” Jay said. “The politics with record labels and management can be stressful, so we can’t take ourselves too seriously; we try to make each other laugh. I think that’s what gets you through the day.”
Having shared a flat in London for 10 months could possibly be attributed to their success as well.
“We lived together though we weren’t required to,” said Jay. “And now we know each other better than our own families. We know all the amazing stuff and all the horrible stuff.”
Jay said he’s grateful for Max, Nathan, Tom and Siva. “I have four new … well, not really new anymore, best friends,” he shared. “I lost a few friends when I started this, but I think your best friends are always your best friends no matter what you do or who you are.”
Though there are rumors already swimming the Internet about who in the group “is the next Lance Bass,” Jay said that being part of a boy band means that you “have to be ambiguous about your sexuality.”
“You can’t get offended by it,” said Jay, referring to the rumors of homosexuality. “You just have to roll with it.”
According to masculine but affectionate Max, who appeared naked on the cover of the British gay magazine AXM, for its 2008 Naked Issue, none of the bandmates will face the issue of being rumored as gay. Although, research on the web has alledgedly revealed that Max’s favorite band is Queen and his favorite movie is Brokeback Mountain. And Nathan, the youngest member, said he is proud that he looks like a feature on the website lesbiansthatlooklikejustinbieber.com.
Though they’ve been to the U.S. before, Jay said they are excited to return, this time to “try and sell themselves” to the American market.
“We do have fans organically but now we want it to change a bit,” said Jay.
Touring and promoting their second album Battleground, a very different piece of work than their first, Jay said they hope the show will be interactive.
“We want the crowd to get involved,” he said. “I mean if a person jumps on stage we’re not going to shove them off. We get very excited about our live shows and we jump around on stage like we’re rock stars. We are actually shaking backstage after each show. We act like fools, so if fans come expecting a perferct routine, they might be confused.”
The Wanted play In The Venue at Club Sound, 219 S. 600 West, on Feb. 2. Tickets are $12.50 in advance and are available at smithstix outlets, smithstix.com and at 801-467-8499.