Busted: 2002 – 2005

Saturday 14 January, 2012

Seven years ago today, the hearts of many teenages and teenie-boppers alike were left broken and shattered by the terrible news of Busted’s break up.

Jesus. That was seven years ago? That’s almost ten years! I was at 6th form College when they broke up.
…This train of thought makes me feel old. Let’s get back on track.

Yes. The split up of Busted. Britain’s number one boyband that was bringing back the instruments back to the pop charts. Came to an end because of what’s since been revealed as tension in the band between members Charlie and James, with the artist-formally-known-as Matty Jay caught in the middle.

I’ll be honest, I was a huge fan of Busted when they first released What I Go To School For, but by the time they split up, I was finding their teeny-bopper pop appeal unbearable. Thunderbirds Are Go, for example, is worlds away from Year 3000, Sleeping With The Lights on and even Crashed The Wedding. And apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

If what has been said is to be believed (consistency is a muddled game of He Said, He Said) then that’s exactly what caused the tension in the band in the first place. Charlie hated the “pop shit”. So much so, I don’t even think he liked Busted’s better songs.
Now, seven years on, Charlie is the front man to Fightstar, and a solo artist. When you listen to the songs he’s written since leaving Busted, you can understand why he was so frustrated with Busted’s overall sound, and you can actually tell which Busted songs Charlie managed to get involved with.

A couple of years ago, I was on a forum when Fightstar were doing a live forum chat. I asked three questions which were along the lines of this:

1) Are you free to be as progressive as you like, or do you still have to work within marketable limitations?

2) What venues would you most like to play?

3) Do you still face the post-Busted fan feedback? For example, the positive of widening old busted fans genre horizons vs the negative of those who still compare Fightstar to Busted?

I didn’t think I’d get any answers. It wasn’t as insane as some life forum chats, but the thread was very busy by their standards and the forum was struggling to stay afloat with in ratio page loads and extra refreshes. I especially wasn’t really fussed on that last question, but so many other people were talking about influences and future plans without mentioning Busted that I thought, why not! In my eyes, Busted was a starting point in it’s own way.

That was the only question of mine which got an answer. Omar, Fightstar’s lovely, lovely drummer answered it with basically this:

People who still compare Busted and Fightstar need to stop living in the past. Fightstar is different and they’re uncomparable now for various reasons.


He’s right, of course. But there’s one thing I’d like to say in reply to that answer, and it’s not to cause an argument, just to share an opinion…

Would Fightstar be as good, involve all the people it involves, even have the name they do, if it weren’t for Charlie’s desperation at that exact time and place to do something better, more fulfilling for him, than Busted?

And that’s all I’m going to say about Fightstar. I’d hate for it to appear as though I am not a fan. I am. I’ve even seen them live!

James Bourne, then. What’s he upto? Well, there was Son of Dork for a while. They ended in a spectacular fashion… Then he was a touring solo artist, which I think went well, but I didn’t see him, nobody I know went to see him so it’s a bit like that old Tree in a Forest situation. Was there any impact?

There were rumours of a Matt/James Busted Revival, but that didn’t happen… It might happen in the future but I’m not convinced.

And now… James Bourne has written a musical. I’ll be honest, I had no idea about it until The-Artist-Formally-Known-as Matty Jay retweeted a tweet from James about it.

From what I’ve read up about it, it’s based on Son of Dork’s album “Welcome To Loserville”, about a teenager called Michael Dork who is bullied for being a social outcast in a very Stereotypical Americanised Way and wants to leave his home town for greener pastures. Then he meets the girl of his dreams and decides he wants to stay.

It sounds like Wizard of Oz meets Back to the Future and Napoleon Dynamite with just a hint of lemon Problem Child.

I’m amazed and befuddled at the same time. He makes it hard to admit that he was twice my favourite member of Busted because of the arrogance that sometimes shows through when he plays the Blame Game but at the same time, he’s just written a musical that makes references to either classic 80s/90s films or films which reference the classic.80s/90s films.

And then there’s The-Artist-formally-known-as Matty Jay. He is now known as Matt Willis, which is his real surname. I’ve never figured out why he went by the name of Matty Jay in the Busted days. It might forever remain a mystery.

He is doing ridiculously well for himself! He was in the jungle a few years ago, he cleaned up his act when his drinking got a bit out of hand, he is happily married with two children and, and! He has a career in acting in West End Musicals.

That’s why I’m not convinced there’ll be a Two-Man Busted Revival. Matt might still have love for the (good) Busted days and want the chance to sing the music again, but he has a wonderful career and he seems pretty happy with it. It would be more of a step backwards, surely, to try and recreate something which can’t actually be recreated to the exact.

James might find Busted to be better without Charlie, but to follow it through might seem more like a gloating parade than a celebration of the music they once produced. More importantly, would the fans want to listen to Busted without Charlie? They broke up instead of carrying on back in 2005 because they said the three of them Were Busted. Going on without Charlie would be out of the question.

What would have changed? Time healing wounds? Water under the bridge settled? Or a sea of jealousy sparking James to try and show Charlie exactly what he’d be missing should Busted2 hit all the right marks?

Seven years on and it feels like James Bourne could still be setting himself up for the same recipe for disaster.

Of course, ruling out a Busted Revival doesn’t mean them working together in some way is impossible or implausible. Think about it: James has written a musical.

Matt acts in Musicals.

Matt might act in James’s musical.

Yeah… They’ve come a long way in seven years (some a longer way than others…) And I hope they continue to be successful over the next lot of seven years, and more. I can’t begrudge them all for moving on to bigger and better things when it makes them happy.