Gay Times March 11 - Issue 390
We give you - in not many clothes - The X Factor manband, THE REASON
More from Gay Times March 11 - Issue 390
It’s a Saturday night in late August and my phone buzzes seconds after four men appear on my television, striding confidently across the X Factor stage. The text I’ve received reads “naked please”.
My phone buzzes again. Then again. All with similar suggestions. Then there are the comments posted on social networking sites that are too crude to repeat (the term plasterer’s radio is mentioned more than once). This goes on for several weeks to the point where, if this were a dodgy made for television movie the protagonist (that’s yours truly, by the way) would hear a chanting of “naked, naked, naked” reaching a crescendo from baying gays.
Flash – literally – forward a couple of months and that’s exactly what’s happening. The shedding of clothes, not gays baying. I can’t move for tattooed, naked men. And they’re not exactly shy of letting it all hang out. In fact, there’s even some helicoptering going on. If you don’t know what that is I’ll leave it to your imagination.
The Reason – the muscled man-band from The X Factor, delivered from my television and deposited in front of me sans clothes in a sauna all thanks to the will power of the gays. Thanks gays.
It seems that us gays might be a little bit more savvy than Simon Cowell, given that he chose to not take the band through to the live shows, instead focusing on two groups he created himself (Belle Amie and One Direction).
“When he put that group together, One Direction, obviously Simon knew that was the group that he wanted to win it, and he was gonna put everything into them,” Marc shrugs.
“Until he made them, we were the ones really, weren’t we?” Scott suggests. “He gave us that huge audition to start with; we were the band he was pushing to start with. Well, we knew from boot camp, didn’t we?”
They all agree.
“We knew we wouldn’t go through,” Marc says. “He came over and apologised to us at boot camp. He said ‘I’m genuinely sorry, I’m truly sorry.’ And he said to come back and audition next year. I was like ‘No chance, I ain’t putting myself through that again,’ because it was an emotional rollercoaster.”
A month or so later and we’ve traded the steam and ever-falling towels of their sauna shoot for a well-known gay restaurant in London’s oh-so-seedy Soho. There’s still several tongues hanging out, however. With The X Factor, at this time, still being on air and the guys having not been a stranger to performing at gay nights, they’re turning a few heads on Compton Street. Even the waiter seems to have eyes on stalks.
And bless ‘em they love it.
There’s Marc. He’s the chatty one. He’s got 1982 permanently emblazoned across his chest (but more talk about tattoos later). Cue lots of post-photo shoot filthy chat where he’s simply renamed ‘1982’. As that tattoo might suggest, he’s 28.
Also 28 is Scott, who seems to be the sensible, down-to-earth ‘leader’ of the pack. But there’s a bit of filth there too. A bit of filth goes down well at GT, as you might surmise.
Nathan’s the cheeky one. He’s also quite filthy. Even though he had to have plasterers radio explained to him (and he seemed to rather like it). His dry sense of humour works particularly well with his self-deprecation. Don’t be fooled. He’s fit. He’s 29.
And Glenn, ah wee Glenn. At 26 he’s the baby of the group and is quite quiet. But don’t fall for it, he’s also the joker of the pack.
Before we meet up (I’m almost shocked to actually see them in clothes) I get to sit in a coffee shop and listen to a selection of their new tracks. It’s one of those times where thankfully you don’t have to do it in front of the artist, just in case there’s that awkward moment where – especially in my case – the face doesn’t lie. But then there’s the other moment, where you’re wide-eyed and slightly slack-jawed that what you’re listening to is damn good. There’s a very “sing-along” feel. In fact, there’s an inkling they might give Take That a run for their money.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say it sounds very American. In a good way.
“Everybody says that,” they chime in unison.
Fret not, excitable dancey gays – their debut single is being remixed by Seventh Heaven. They’ve remixed Kylie and Rihanna too, dontcha know.
If pushed they’d say their sound was somewhere between Take That and The Script, but they admit they don’t really want to be like anyone.
“We have got a sort of American sound, with the harmonies and all that,” Glenn agrees.
Nathan nods. “I think if you could get The Wanted, The Script, Take That and JLS and throw them all in together you’d probably get us.”
Marc thinks for a second. “They’re not quite as rugged though are they?”
Ah yes, rugged. Four straight lads from Southampton, the Reason were all previously labourers, painters, decorators – yes, it’s reading like a Triga movie....
The whole interview, with pages and pages of lovely photos, feature in the latest issue of GT, in shops now...