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08 May 2009 @ 11:34 am
crashing into walls  
Earlier this week I tried to interview Harry from McFly for Chartblog. Through no fault of Harry's this was a spectacular disaster. The interview (such as it exists) will be up on Chartblog itself soon but my justifying essay was, quite rightly, edited off by Fraser so here is the EXCLUSIVE (ie: not really, given I posted this under a f-lock earlier this week) inside story of what a completely amateur idiot I actually am. Oh and what we talk about when we talk about 'fangirls' and where the gender frontlines in music really are. And koganbot.

The crappy interview is also at the end; I'd appreciate it if anyone who wants to link to it credits Chartblog, though (although the editor might not...) it should be up there within the next few days, so just send a link back there.

Edit: It's now up on Chartblog here.

McFly are a pop group. They were launched as a boy band. They make jaunty pop music. Those are the facts. There are plenty of bands that exist in this way and make a decent living. McFly, though, like the doomed Busted before them, had the audacity to play real instruments and write their own songs, in an unfashionable, sixties-referencing manner. This became incredibly awkward for a lot of people who daringly talked about The Beatles (who, after all, were on every teenage girl of the time's bedroom walls) as the first and best and only credible boyband and so the hate towards them is, even after nearly six years and defense from such credible corners as Roger Daltrey, more vehement than the hate directed at, say, the Backstreet Boys, since they simply fall beneath the radar of guitar fans, whereas McFly are standing right there.

Nearly two years ago now my friend Frank Kogan wrote an article called What's Wrong With Pretty Girls? (Is it that they like the Backstreet Boys?) for the Las Vegas Weekly. Frank's a very, very brilliant man (& much better music writer than me) and brings up a lot of the questions I'm about to discuss here, although he was talking about the Backstreet Boys and I'm talking about McFly, which is a comparison I'm a bit loathe to make most of the time but which happens to fit this framework. He asked why there's such a violently critical reaction to acts viewed as "boybands," why the reaction seems to, half the time, be more directed at the "pretty girls" in the audience than the "pretty boys" onstage and what the heck's really wrong here?

Frank was also talking about sexism within the music industry, with regards to what kind of girls get to make music but it was the part about boybands that I found most interesting. McFly are, essentially, a boyband; they are boys, in a band, who make music that largely appeals to teenage girls. They used to appear in Smash Hits doing interviews about their snogging technique & there are PHWOAR, HAWT!!omgeleven!!!1 posters of them in magazines aimed at teenage girls. This is, it goes without saying, patronising to everyone; McFly are, after all, human beings and musicians not pieces of meat or glamour models.

They never did this to be fancied and although it is, hilariously, the motivation used by several of Britain's most popularly credible bands (Pulp & Franz Ferdinand, for starters) that they started a band to get girls to notice them and McFly probably don't exactly mind being flashed boobs at every concert (again, something popularly credible rock acts like Guns'n'Roses, Pantera, etc. were generally proud of) but when the media starts talking about "fangirls," there's always something difficult going on.

I am, as you can probably tell from my name, a GURL. Admitedly a very tall one with a low voice who can quite frequently get away with pretending to be a boy but still, often found in a skirt and have all my own boobs.** It's very boring to talk about sexism in the music industry, since quite a lot of it's enforced by women themselves and yet any discussion of it tends to come out a bit man-hating, so you'll have to forgive me for the next few paragraphs but there's a conundrum that exists for "pretty girls" who like McFly.

There's a sort of equation that goes on in a lot of people's minds with regards to writing about music: I'm not sure exactly what it is but it basically amounts to the fact that women can gain credibility by selling sex (if Girls Aloud are in a lads' mag, it's alright to buy their album) and thus making themselves accessible to men but if too many girls (who, after all, don't have that many other objects of celebrity lust in the same way that teenage boys can stare at Jordan or Jodie marsh or whoever-it-is these days) fancy a male musician, this undermines them.

Since it is, establishedly, not cool to like music that's "for girls" and McFly make music largely listened to by girls, this makes them not cool. Then at the same time, they make music with guitars in, which is cool but they can't be cool because they're not indie and so they can't be credible but they're playing guitars and ... bugger, this is a mess. Let's hate 'em instead, that's easier. Anyone who's a fan of McFly must be really stupid or else they'd worry about this kind of thing. Haha, look at those stupid pop-loving girls, what bimbos.

McFly don't hate or resent their fans; this much they've made clear very many times. McFly's fans certainly don't hate them; they're very dedicated and as well as covering their walls in posters spend hours learning guitar chords and studying their sound set-ups and working out what pickups they're using this tour. If there are girls who've learnt to play guitar as well as Danny whilst following McFly, they're probably a million times better than any boys who've learnt to play guitar as well as Pete Doherty (not that girls don't like Pete Doherty, obviously) but of course the ancient rumblings of 'well they don't even play their own instruments,' a long-ago chucked out myth, carry on and so of course a girl can't play as well as Danny because by that logic Danny can't play as well as Danny and we're back in the infinite loop.

Coming out as a McFly fan when you're over fourteen is a big one. Telling your parents and your friends can often be awkward; my best friend genuinely defriended me for a week on Facebook and said I was disgusting awhile ago because I said the 'Lies' video was one of the best things ever made. As soon as you say 'I like McFly,' the instant reaction of the hataz, despite the fact it really doesn't mean anything to them, is "well you're an idiot who doesn't know anything about real music."

Which leads the McFly fan, locked into a slightly altered universe along with the band themselves, to a desperate drive to justify their music taste: you start saying things like "Shove off, I listen to about fifty new albums a month, I'm a blimmin' music writer" whilst getting increasingly annoyed at yourself for justifying it, since you shouldn't have to and the whole situation's irrational.

As soon as you've taken that step, though, you're locked in pretty much for good. You've said it now: no backing out and so what you end up with is a joyous, punky movement of young women who don't give a stuff what anyone thinks about their music taste, their dubious relationship with spiced rum or gig-centric lifestyle. Young people who genuinely do not care what the tastemakers think, since the tastemaking rarely applies to them; what's new for McFly fans? Oh, look, it's Scouting For Girls. Nevermind, we were busy listening to Mastodon and Kate Bush. McFly fans come from all kinds of musical backgrounds, maybe at first drawn in by these pretty, hilarious and extremely charismatic boys but ultimately held there by the music and the incendiary live performances thereof.

There was the recent (hilarious and utterly biting) South Park episode about the Jonas Brothers where a sinister Mickey Mouse used the band to sell sex to little girls, since their clean-cut image and purity rings prevented anyone thinking it was anything other than good, wholesome fun. Now, for the sake of libel I'm not saying whether I agree with that; it was satire of the deliberately offensive order that South Park specialise in. Trey and Matt were pretty sympathetic to the Jonases themselves, directing the bile at Diseney; the idea, though, that boyband music is clean-cut and gentle, something for little girls with little minds, is something that exists across the media and popular perception.

That isn't what McFly are, though. There's nothing spectacularly wrong with teenpop, even Disney teenpop, aside from a general tendency to patronise the audience but McFly don't do that. They have lyrics about erectile dysfunction, teenage suicide, shagging aliens, shagging Lindsay Lohan, getting so drunk you go mad... I mean, to be fair, Demi Lovato covers a fair few of those as well (well, err, kind of the teenage suicide thing anyway) and contrary to the rumors, pop music isn't insipid pap with no substance but the point is that McFly aren't a pop band because they can't make rock music or because they will eventually evolve into one (which tends to be how they're talked about; gradually progressing to a rockier state when in fact the heaviest song they've ever written is on their second album) but because they have deliberately chosen and want to make pop music. Same way their fans have deliberately chosen and want to listen to pop music. The constant urge to justify yourself, as a McFly fan (and in fact a McFly member; the topic of credibility's never far away in their interviews) turns into this desperate desire to say "I'm not stupid" and a constant, niggling knowledge that people still think you are.

The lack of a pop press backs things further into a corner; McFly fans don't want McFly to be in the NME. The NME's a total rag, for a start and McFly aren't that type of band. There's a reason female pop's dominated recently, though and it's to do with where pop gets its outings in the press: are you ever going to see McFly in a fashion magazine? No, probably not; they dress like students. Not cool students, either, I mean they dress like actual students who rolled out of bed and staggered to a lecture. Are they going to appear in FHM? Probably not, either; that'd compromise the raging masculinity of said publication and they'd look a bit daft in lacy underwear, although I'm sure they'd probably play along.

That leaves the technical magazines and gay magazines. Not that there's anything wrong with either of these- the former are interesting if you like your effects pedals and the latter are some of the best places for pop interviews, quality-of-journalism-wise, since they don't assume their audience are children at least. And then what else? Oh yes, Bliss and Cosmo Girl. And we're back to pretty girls, who must OBVIOUSLY only want to know about Dougie's sauciest snog situation and what the most romantic thing Tom's ever done for his girlfriend is. That's what girls like, isn't it?

This isn't just about McFly, though: this is about an entire demographic who are a significant proportion of music buyers and who aren't spoken to. Teenage girls who like music (who the people who pay upwards of £20 to go to see concerts are) don't want to read Bliss; they read Rock Sound and Kerrang! and they don't need "special consideration" because their fluffy little minds can't handle proper music journalism and just want to think about boys. Not only are they not being spoken to but they're being forced to be associated with conversations that are nothing to do with them. Of course we don't all want to have Harry's babies: we're not "fangirls," we're fans who are girls.

The hilarious (and brilliant) thing in all of this is that McFly's lack of critical credibility stock and the social stigma attached to liking them means that, as you throw your lot in with them, you make a sort of pact to be In It For The Music and subsequently probably work out knowing more about the technicalities and listening to a far more diverse range of music. Precisely by and because of their high-profile and pop stock, McFly have become their own independent music scene (literally, now they've removed themselves from Universal) with fans as deeply attached to each other as the bond between the band members.

And their label move is deeply important; yes, they're a major label pop group who make radio-friendly rock but the McFly question always feels considerably more complicated than that. McFly are mainstream but have hardly ever had a song A-listed at Radio 1. They've had seven number ones and are one of the biggest-selling bands in the UK and they're not taken seriously: that's fine, they don't seem to want to be taken seriously, they're not a srs bsns po-faced band but there's a difference between 'not being taken seriously' (after all, who the hell wants to be James "sour tart" Hetfield, reputation-wise?) and 'being your very own social stigma.'

And thus it is that I write about pop music: when I was younger (not that much younger; I'm only a bit older than Dougie) I liked noise punk and metal and pounding pounding techno and Atari Teenage Riot and industrial and hardcore and basically anything classifiable as a 'bloody awful racket.' Then at some point my parents got a Freeview box and, in my fascination with these new-fangled Music Channel Thingies I got earwormed by 'Obviously' and had to admit that my then-rampant (and unfounded) hatred of McFly was possibly A Bad Thing. That was the revelation; not 'oh man, pop music is for kids I'm going to listen to some Bring Me The Horizon.' Kids like noise; just because something's noisy doesn't mean fourteen-year-olds don't like it. Equally, just because you like McFly doesn't mean you don't still listen to noisepunk and techno and beat'n'click and ambient drone metal and norwegian folk music made by black metallers.

But then how do you explain that in "public" when pretending to be a music journalist who doesn't necessarily know any of that? Well, you shouldn't really; the above is more than enough material for an interview and this, patient readers, is where we come to Why I Couldn't Do A Good Interview With Harry. And where, to my deepest frustrations, I actually let the detractors make me prove them right, in some assbackwards manner: I am stupid.

Consciously aware of being A Gurl, I didn't want to insult Harry by suggesting they'd sent out a loopy fangirl to interview him, despite the fact that I myself am fully aware that girls who like McFly are not all loopy fangirls. Also consciously aware of being one of the minority-female music writers out there, I wanted to prove I was capable of doing a good interview. This was, on many levels, my big shot and I panicked, put my I Are Srs Writer face on and proceeded to ask the most boring questions known to mankind.

Preoccupied with trying not to stare at him in case he thought I was giving him the adoring doe-eyes, I stared at the floor. I failed to listen to what he was saying, so didn't follow on from things he said because I panicked and thought 'Oh god, he must think I'm a proper fool' and plunged myself into the 'god this is awkward' spiral where everything merely becomes more awkward until eventually you cut off a ten-minute interview at under half its length because you are afraid one of you will die otherwise.

Now, I'm not going to blame this all on sexism or credibility crises or indeed, any outside forces aside from the bus that ensured I had to run half a mile to actually get to the interview. As I said before I went off on this epic ramble, this is entirely my own fault, ultimately. However, I had really wanted to score one for the pretty girls who liked McFly and I desperately failed and for that (and for probably freaking out Harry) I am very, very sorry.

Since my audio recording is pretty noisy, the interview having been done backstage, I have taken it upon myself to transcribe the full, boring horror of The Worst Interview Ever, leaving in the bit where I lost my questions and the bit where me and Harry collectively tried to remember the name of a forest. And hopefully, Fraser will one day let me do another interview when I can prove that I've learnt from my mistakes.

Hello Harry from McFly! You're in Oxford tonight, doing a gig as part of your Up Close But This Time It's Personal tour; how's the tour been going?

Yeah, it's been great thanks! We've got ...I think three more shows left? So we're nearly at the end and it's been a lot of fun. Really good fun.

You have been getting a lot more up close and personal with your fans lately; you've all got Twitter accounts now. How is it having that close level of interaction with your fans?

It's actually really cool; I was a bit like ...I wasn't so sure at first because it's quite personal, y'know but it's really nice and I hope it's really good for the fans and entertaining for them- they only get to see us when we're doing tours or if we're on TV or we're doing something like that, so I think it's nice for them to have a daily connection with us. So yeah, it's great!

I noticed Tom at least's been using it to talk to other popstars on it...

Has he been talking to people?

Yeah, he's been exchanging tweets with Demi Lovato.

Did she reply?

Yeah, they had quite a long conversation awhile ago.

Oh right.

Not that I'm stalking Tom's twitter or anything, just researching the interview...

Well it's interesting, yeah.

Hang on, I've lost my interview questions....one minute.

It's alright.

I had to run from my bus stop cus my bus was delayed so everything's moved and...

Were you coming from Oxford?

No, near Reading... hang on. [rummages in bag, expelling biros and tissues onto the floor] Oh, I've found them. You've been sort of touring the world this year- you've been to Latin America, Australia and done your first gig in continently Europe, in Holland. Are you planning another tour on a global scale?

Uhm, yeah, hopefully. We're going back out to South America in a couple of weeks and that's going to be fun-

Are you scared of Swine Flu?

Well, quite, yeah... a little bit. We'll probably be fine, it's probably over-hyped but we don't want to let our fans down and they've been waiting for a long time, so we're gunna go back there and we'd like to do some more in Europe and we went to Japan as well as Australia, so it's been a real crazy year. We've been doing lots of travelling.

And at the moment you're doing the thing for the forestry commission, planting trees with schools and you're doing those gigs in Sherwood and ...somewhere else?

Oh, err... Sherwood and ...uhm. ...Thepford?


Ah, right.

Well actually I don't know why you're asking me but Thepford sounds right, anyway. And you are at the moment flogging -wait, sorry, not flogging, producing- a single and the old tour DVD. Is there going to be a DVD for this tour?

Uhmmm... I don't think so; we did a DVD for our last arena tour that went with the album -the tour we did in December- which was like a bigger version of what we're doing now; this one's like a scaled-down version.

Oh right, so it's still very much the Radio: Active tour?

Yeah, pretty much but it's on a much more personal level and we're playing a couple of new songs and a new cover song.

So it's not exactly the same?

No it's not exactly the same cus I think that'd be harsh -we like to keep it fresh. Really, we saw the DVD the other day cus it's just coming out and everything and we're really happy with it, it's got a documentary on it and stuff so it's great.

So will that be the end of the cycle for Radio: Active?

I think so, yeah. 'Falling In Love' is gunna be the single that's promoting the DVD and that'll be it, yeah.

So, after that there'll be new stuff?

Yeah, we've already done some recording and there'll be some more recording this summer. We were in Australia doing some recording and definitely more recording this summer; there'll be the forest shows like you said and we've got a load of festivals and things.

Which festivals are you doing?

Well, I know Isle of Wight's confirmed but I don't know if I'm allowed to say anything about any of the others.

Oh right, ok; so there might be others...

Might be others, yeah. And there'll be the other summer shows and things so ...yeah, gunna be a good summer.

Busy summer! Well that'll probably do [checks dictaphone, realises has only used just over four minutes]...oh.

After the interview, I watched a gig where a theatre full of people (many of them, in actual fact, male) stuck their fists in the air and declared that we didn't care and one of the best bands in Britain played one of the loudest gigs I've ever been to (and I've seen Mogwai several times) and had an absolutely brilliant time. There no theatricals, no pyrotechnics and no gimmicks (aside from a bizarre metal cover of 'The Promise' which can be classed under 'pleasingly insane') but the crowd was absolutely transfixed and sang every word back at the band, unselfconsciously. There was every kind of person there, from the twelve-year-olds in front of me to the bearded man across the row from me, to ageing rockers in Motorhead t-shirts, to teenage girls to people like me, in their early twenties. People from all social backgrounds, as Tom From The Enemy attempts to flaunt as some kind of concept unique to his band. And at the end of the day, it was and is all about the music.

And then I went home, felt very, very stupid and wrote this.

McFly release Falling In Love and the Radio: Active tour DVD on 11th May.

*Which generally clock in at 'at least half a week after any final deadline.'
**Actually tbh that doesn't really gender me either, does it?

EDIT: Apologies for not replying to anything here, I've just moved to a house with no internet access for a little while.
Current Mood: *chews nails*
Current Music: McFly- Corrupted
Ficklebunny: Harrymmiia on May 8th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
aww, don't be so hard on yourself :) that's probably not the world's best interview but it's certainly not the worst either!
and gotta hand it to you cos I would just be jizzing in my pants if I was sitting next to The Harry Judd 8)
piratemoggy on May 8th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is, as soon as I met him I was just like 'God, you're short 0_0 and why are you so normal?' and it was just as I walked away that I was like '...and ridiculously attractive.' I think some kind of internal psychological defense mechanism might have kicked in before that.

I'm steadily getting over it. It's the fact of the chance blown more than anything else. Plus I'm a neurotic writer so feel the need to be melodramatic about things. *shameface*
nova: The Beatles Fab4 have you read the newsnovafairy on May 8th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
I totally love your writing-style. I could have read on and on and on. Very good. And I so have to copy and paste that to everyone who is bothering me about McFly. BUT. Luckily I (also 20-something) live in Germany and noone really knows here about them (yet). So it's "easy" for me...

Re: The interview. Don't be so harsh with yourself. Now you know what to do in a different way the next time. - And hey you got out of him that there might be other festivals. ;)
dangerous and lazy girl with no soul: bianca beauchamppiratemoggy on May 8th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
Heh, thank you- I never really think I have a writing style apart from an addiction to using semi-colons but I'm glad you enjoyed reading it; I'm proud of the essay. :)

Objectively, it's not bad; just boring. There's a bit of me that dies inside when I think about actually having done it, though.
novanovafairy on May 8th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
It's witty, it's easy-going. It all goes so fluently.

addiction to using semi-colons
Punctuation = ♥

Next time you'll have all the kick-ass questions down pat. :)
Clairedaisychain_xx on May 8th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
You sat and spoke to the man for over four minutes?
I can't speak to him for four seconds!

You've done amazingly well, be proud of your achievements!
It's not the worst I've ever read...besides, you've posted it unedited...I doubt things ever go as smoothly as is printed in the magazines.

Oh, and just to let you know;

"Coming out as a McFly fan when you're over fourteen is a big one. Telling your parents and your friends can often be awkward; my best friend genuinely defriended me for a week on Facebook and said I was disgusting awhile ago because I said the 'Lies' video was one of the best things ever made. As soon as you say 'I like McFly,' the instant reaction of the hataz, despite the fact it really doesn't mean anything to them, is "well you're an idiot who doesn't know anything about real music."

Which leads the McFly fan, locked into a slightly altered universe along with the band themselves, to a desperate drive to justify their music taste: you start saying things like "Shove off, I listen to about fifty new albums a month, I'm a blimmin' music writer" whilst getting increasingly annoyed at yourself for justifying it, since you shouldn't have to and the whole situation's irrational."

It's like that. I'm almost 24 and I get laughed at for it.
dangerous and lazy girl with no soul: dougie & harry if this aint lovepiratemoggy on May 8th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
I made the poor bloke sit on a fire-escape, too, so he was probably grateful it ended a bit early...

I'm glad people think what I said here is true; I was a bit worried in case this was me being an overreactive music writer but it is just ridiculous the stigma the band have and how much stick you can get for saying you like them. I figure if I can't do an interview to make the fans proud then at least I've written that essay.
Clairedaisychain_xx on May 8th, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
It is true, and it shouldn't be.
My dad says that he honestly can't work out the difference between McFly and the likes of Snow Patrol...coz they're all guys in a band with guitars.
I don't even care anymore.
I love McFly and I'm proud xD

Thanks for writing that though :)
Amycelticwelsh on May 8th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Forget McFly. After reading this I'm fangirling you.
piratemoggy on May 8th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
Blimey, thank you ♥ I am so relieved people like what I wrote.
Bottle Fairysilverferret89 on May 8th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
okay, I've read this probably.. too many times now, but it's really very well written and makes me want to just read it again, because. Well, because you really grasp the whole problem that's following mcfly. Even if I don't really like calling it so, it still kind of is. and well. most obviously, I love the way you write.
Yea, so what. the interview might not have been the best, but dude? you got it, and now you have some sort of experience and hopefully you'll be able to apply that for other situations like this.

(I'm personally just amazed that you didn't.. do anything crazy like. or that you were actually able say anything else but "wow. you're like. real", cos that's probably what I'd done.)
dangerous and lazy girl with no soul: Things to dopiratemoggy on May 8th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥ That's the thing; it's difficult to describe it as problematic, since it's obviously not to us and when we're all having a big conversation about ~whatever to do with the band, it's fine. Then you sort of go back out into the real world and think 'my friends would actually feel personally offended if I played the music of one of my favourite bands to them' and just ...why?

Haha, I did have this awful "NOES DO NOT THINK OF THIS ICON" moment when they said I'd got Harry. ;)
Kelly: mcfly >> fludd the earthurawrd on May 9th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
That was a really amazing to read, and I identified with it so much.

I'm in college at the minute, and everyone in my group knows that I'm a McFly fan. They ridicule me for it, but I -- I don't really care? The way I see it, they make music, and I enjoy it. And yes, okay, I wouldn't kick any of them out of bed, but I listen to their music almost every day. It makes me happy, it makes me dance, and it perks me up. That's what I love about them. Also, being a McFly fan has actually helped me, in a way. You see, I also love bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, etc. My college group also know about that, but they aren't fans, so they immediately tried to typecast me as 'emo', or whatever the cool label is nowadays. When they first did it, I just looked at them and went "...yeah, but I also like McFly, Busted and S Club 7," (who doesn't love S Club?), and they all immediately shut up. It was awesome.

Er. Sorry for going off on one there but honestly, don't beat yourself up about the interview. I've definitely read worse, and there were some interesting things in there, too! And this, overall, was a fantastic piece of writing. Thank you. ♥
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)

sorry it's taken me ages to reply to this; I moved house & lost my internet access shortly after I posted the interview and am now stealing access at work but I'm really glad you identified with the piece. Although I'm still annoyed at myself about the interview, I'm kind of glad it gave me the opportunity/impetus to write the essay cus it's been something I've wanted to write for awhile and I'm really glad it seems to be something that's playing true for quite a few people.

I think the tendency for people to characterise music tastes by a few simple tickboxes ('oh, she likes MCR therefore she's an emo and also likes FOB, A7X,') is a really unfortunate thing for musical criticism to have picked up on; whilst I understand that everyone tends to specialise along certain sonic lines, the amount of stuff that can fit someones profile crosses all kinds of genres; John Peel was one of the most respected musos of the 20th/21st century precisely because he ignored genre lines and yet at the same time, as soon as you deviate a bit from the supposed 'real fan' genre lines, people turn around and say 'oh well you must just not be a real fan of [x] genre.' It's deeply frustrating.

Hurrah for S Club tho; it's true that there aint no party like theirs.

('scuse any typos etc. am having to be sneaky during my lunchbreak)
Racheldovedale on May 9th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
Wow, you really hit the nail on the head. My favorite bit is where you said that it's not because McFly can't make rock music, that it's because they deliberately make pop music. I love that and it's so true.

I really think that people are starting to realize their talent though. I think leaving Universal was such a good move for them. I feel like now they are free to move in the direction they want to move in and I'm glad they are taking control and are doing it. This year has been crazy for them but this is exactly what they need right now.

I don't know.. I'm blabbing. But seriously, thanks so much for writing this and sharing. You did an excellent job! I love reading stuff like this.. it really reminds me why I love this band so much.

I wanted to say more but now my head is all jumbled up with thoughts. Just.. thank you ♥
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
sorry for the slow reply, i lost internet access shortly after i posted this and am now having to be crafty in my lunchbreak at work and hope no one notices this isn't data entry...

i'm really glad that this seems to have touched a chord with so many people; when i was writing it i wondered how much i was just rambling in a totally nonsensical fashion and/or reading too much into things but i'm really amazed by how many people are saying its something they can identify with so much. definite silver lining to me dying on dictaphone.

i wish i'd spoken more about the label move/independence; as you say, the fact they've left gives them so much more opportunity to recognise their fanbase for who they really are, rather than a supposed marketing demographic which (and i try not to be too 'ooh all major labels are evil moneygrabbers' but they kind of are) is what universal tended to act according to. here's to a lot more of mcfly's own special weirdness, really.

I I R I S: jwalk pörröiiriz on May 9th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC)
you are an amazing writer! I really enjoyed reading this and agreed with your points. fantastic! don't worry about the interview! :-) there are more to come. I don't think I would have succeed to sit with him calmly even for a full minute so..

piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
sorry for slow reply, haven't had internet access & am now sneaking a bit in my lunchbreak

heh, he was very, very normal in a slightly unnerving way. it felt a bit rude occupying his time somehow, since he seemed so much like just a normal guy.

and thank you :) i'm really glad people liked this piece.
(Deleted comment)
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
thank you, dude ♥
mcminor_mad on May 9th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
That was a great blog! Totally agree with you!
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC)
thank you :)
emmacl on May 10th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
This deserves to be published. Not only because you've basically hit the nail on the head with the whole "McFly problem" but because this is an incredible piece of writing.
I really hope a lot of people read this.
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)
sorry for the slow reply, have been internet-deprived & now typing sneakily at work

heh, i'm not sure it deserves to be published but thank you :) it's really awesome to have so many people say that this describes how they feel about the "mcfly problem" -i feel really proud in a weird way.
ext_186849 on May 10th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
lets talk music.
i admire you for keeping sane through that interview! it wasnt the best but i have heard worse!
i just wish when people interview McFLY they would be more serious and ask about their musical abilities etc. i once read an interview in 'Guitarist' magazine and they asked really good questions about the music, inspiration and what the band hope to achieve etc etc.
its about time they started gettting taken seriously as musicians and not just young heart throbs for adolescent girls to blush over. as you mentioned, they play their own instruements, write their own songs and always sing live which is out standing in its own right. however, after seeing McFLY a good few times, i have noticed just how talented they really are. their guitar playing skills are awesome, i have seen Danny doing some tapping,Tom displaying some fast and furious riffs, Dougie walking up and down that bass and Harry putting so much energy into every song its like he isnt human!
thats my rant over, thanks for reading if you did!
Ashley McCraw
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
Re: lets talk music.
sorry for being so slow replying to this, i haven't had internet access until now, when i'm sneaking a bit at work so excuse any typos etc.

i agree; it's depressing that the best interviews with them, musically, are in the technical magazines not because there's anything wrong with technical magazines but because they tend to be a bit dry, as opposed to the kind of interview that you get with them on their DVD documentaries, where you actually get discussion of them as a band; the type of interview that "normal" bands get in the "serious" music press or even girls aloud (who i love but are not ~technical~ musicians in the same way that, say, mastodon or arctic monkeys or mcfly are) get, when there's discussion of their songwriting process etc. it's difficult to say exactly what isn't being asked to mcfly but there's definitely a disparity between the interviews with them and the interviews with bands who have more critical respect and it's so frustrating.

i'm not even sure that makes sense but basically: i agree with you. :)
if_i_fell1986 on May 11th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
"McFly have become their own independent music scene (literally, now they've removed themselves from Universal) with fans as deeply attached to each other as the bond between the band members."

This bit is completely true. Not only is McFly an amazing band, they're also really awesome social networkers. I flew over to England from America to see them live for the first time and I met some amazing people that I am determined to stay in contact with. I'm 23 years old and my friends have no clue why I traveled so far to see a pop band. My answer was simple: I love this band. I love the music, I love their cheeky antics, the whole package is complete.

We don't have anything like McFly in America. We have pop bands who scoff at the word "pop" and claim that they are rock or punk or anything to get away from that description. But in the end, is the word "pop" really that bad? I love pop, it's my favorite genre of music. Always has been. It's just a label, but, like you said, if girls like it, it's automatically considered fluffy and vapid and shallow and has absolutely no merit in the "real music industry." Listening to McFly's music, hearing Danny's guitar solos, listening to Tom, Danny, and Dougie do three-part harmonies, it all makes me wonder how this band is so confined in its fan base. Their fan base is very loyal, it's true, but it's also fairly small. I often wonder why they are not popular here in America. The Jonas Brothers are really the only huge all-male pop act that we have here in the States and, as loathe as I am to lump McFly in with them (they're not bad-I'll even admit to having a couple of songs on my i-pod because they're so darn catchy-just a little on the young side for me), it would make sense for McFly to be marketed over here as a slightly older, more grown-up version of the Jo Bros (also, major props to you for including that South Park episode in your essay, it was hilarious). But, we have the same problem, the Jo Bros are marketed to young girls, therefore, they automatically suck because young girls have no taste or sense of what "real music" is.

There are times where I wish other music credits would take the giant sticks out of their arses and actually give McFly a chance. Then, I think that if McFly hadn't had to overcome all this nonsense of "pop acts suck" that has been thrown at them year after year, they wouldn't be the same band.

Thank you for writing this article, I think you've managed to articulate what most of us feel regarding our love of this band and the reactions we always seem to get. I shall stop rambling now. Thanks again! :)
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
sorry for the slow reply, haven't had internet access and am now sneakily replying during work lunchbreak, so excuse typos etc.

There are times where I wish other music credits would take the giant sticks out of their arses and actually give McFly a chance. Then, I think that if McFly hadn't had to overcome all this nonsense of "pop acts suck" that has been thrown at them year after year, they wouldn't be the same band.

i agree with this; it's difficult to say how much the adversity has had a positive effect on the band, as much as i dislike the fact it exists. it's an interesting paradox that they're so successful & have gained such a dedicated fanbase despite all the rubbishing they get.

i'm really glad i managed to write something people can identify with; much as i'm annoyed at myself about the interview still, i'm glad it's had a positive effect in the sense that it gave me the impetus to write this. and thank you for your comment.

Frank Kogankoganbot on May 11th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
This is a great thread. Just want to let you know that Hazel is moving house and has temporarily lost contact with the Internets, which is why she hasn't been responding to the last several posts.

Also, when she's online, she and a number of others of us hang out at poptimists, if you want to take a look.
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
werk internet steelin, shurely not
thank you for letting people know i was away, frank- i should've put something in the post but didn't really have time to think anything through. (also thank you for the linkback on your blog)
(Anonymous) on May 12th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
thanks so much for this, its exactly what im always trying to explain to people!
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
Re: mcfly
thank you, i'm glad i managed to write something people can identify with ♥
death_fury: ITALYdeath_fury on May 16th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
i read your article in Chartblog and it's very amazing...am amazed! it's funny.. you're great.. nice! You are the luckiest person, that is..
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
Re: wow...
thank you ♥ i'm glad it was something you could identify with
angelforangelfor on May 16th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
Hello!! Imust say you article about McFly is just AMAZING!!!!!! Can I take it to my site? I'm also planning to translate it in Russian, if it's not a problem)) Credits are guaranteed!!
Thanks in advance!!
(Anonymous) on May 16th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
Well, I do agree with what you're saying; I am a huge McFly fan, have been since their first single, and still am, even now at 21. I love their music, but I also love them, and not just because they are all gorgeous (and I've fancied all of them at one point!), but because they are funny and lovely! But if their music wasn't good, I wouldn't have stuck with them for so many years. As I've gotten older I've begun to appreciate their music more; the fact that they are so good at playing all their instruments, and that they really care about the music they're making; especially Tom, he is so so talented. But I don't really like the way you're saying it; it's like you're apologising for even writing this blog. Don't put yourself down all the time; writers are meant to sound confident with what they're saying, but adding bits in like saying someone is probably a better music writer than you, just annoys me. You need to sound as though you are 100% sure that what you're writing is correct, otherwise it sounds weak. And whilst I want to appreciate this blog because I agree with what you're saying, it has ended up annoying me because you sound overly apologetic.
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Hmm...
hrmm, i think i tend (like a lot of music writers) to verge on the neurotic about my own writing, especially since i'm not particularly professional and am still very young. frank kogan's a very famous music writer (as well as one of my friends) and so it'd be fairly ridiculous for me to suggest that, as a young, unpaid writer i was better than him, especially since in my opinion i'm certainly not.

i am conscious i maybe allowed the post-interview embarassment of having to submit something i felt was, if not inherently bad, then simply not something i was proud of, to my editor. i do tend towards either excitable shouting in capslock or self-deprecation in writing and it bothers me on the level that music writing shouldn't really be about me, so i do appreciate what you're saying and understand why you think it comes across as overly apologetic. i might try to do a re-edit at some point from a more ...i guess positive angle. it was difficult for me to do anything other than facepalm and die a bit inside when i thought about the whole thing at the time.

but thank you for writing a comment & i'm glad you agree with the content. :)
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
you're welcome to translate it; i'd be grateful if you could link back to this post & the original chartblog article if you want to use it, since technically the interview is copyrighted by the BBC. :)

and thank you for saying it's amazing, i'm really amazed by how much people like it! ♥
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
Great blog!
Absolutely brilliantly written. Everything you said is so true. I've been a fan of McFly since Busted (I was/am a fan of them too) introduced them in 2004. In 2006, I created a small website of McFLY for other fans and started to receive positive responses, until one or two people wrote very nasty and snide comments towards me in my guest book. One in particular got me rather upset. I won't post all of what was said, but here's the gist.

''You. Are. ****. And. So. Is. Mcfly. Now go find a band that actually knows how to write songs, and be creative. Wearing girl clothes, and licking your toungues together is not creative, and it just shows how **** you really are. Some 12 year old girl makes a tripod site about McFly? So it's not like some random person would come up to me, and say "Hey check out this site!" I found it while looking at google images of Mcfly so i could edit them with funny captions and show my friends how *bleep* McFly is. Stop looking up to a band that you will never meet and is only in it for the money. Why else would Danny be in a big movie? Not for his fans, but only for the money. They wouldn't care if he saw this site because there are probably about 100,000 site exactly the same out there. So stop wasting your time on making sites like this.''

I, perhaps regrettably, wrote a comment back to this person's website, telling them to leave me and other McFly fans alone and asking why they bothered to waste their time finding a mcfly site and posting a snide comment that really didn't press their argument in a sensible and adult manner (especially when they said that they found it while looking for pictures of them to make fun of). More rude stuff was replied after that on their own site. I won't go on. That was in 2006, and their site has gone, wheras my McFly Mania site is still going strong. Perhaps they have realized they were the childish one and are now fans themselves.

I'm now 20, and I still love them. Their music is everything to me, though I do listen to a relatively large range of music which has grown since they started out. I was lucky enough to meet the boys at a signing last year (sadly only for a few seconds, though I managed to tell Harry that I owned a small McFly fansite called McFly Mania, and he said he had seen it! So ha to that person!) Those few seconds just reminded me how down to earth they really are. They are talented in their own right. It's a shame how some music comes across in the media.

And, I thought the interview with Harry was rather good!! =)
piratemoggy on May 18th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Great blog!
i'm really sorry you had to have someone write something so nasty on your site; it is extraordinary the way internet anonynimity allows people to say such horrible things. especially when, as you say, you weren't forcing them to read the site. the extent to which people think it's ok to make fun of mcfly fans is just ...well, quite disturbing, really.

i assume it's because mcfly touch some deep nerve but i'm not sure why a band of charismatic, funny young men making basically fairly innoffensive music can appear to be something so many people take as a personal assault. hate is a funny thing.

but thank you for your comment, i'm really amazed how much people identified with this article and i'm very grateful for all the comments and how much people have written in response. ♥
(Anonymous) on May 18th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with you! I'm 16 and a girl and a massive McFly fan but I always get made fun of for liking them. It's like stop being so ignorant and listen to their music, its actually really good. And they're amazing live! They don't get the respect they deserve.

I understand how you feel about the interview, its not even that bad anyway! I went on air the other day when McFly were co-hosting with Reggie, to ask Harry a question and I didn't mean to but when i listened back to it on the iPlayer I sounded soo stupid and insulting to Harry! i was like omg no! I was just really nervous about sounding genuine and normal I ended being stupid!

Anyway, good essay! And you live near Reading? Where abouts? Because thats where I live!

Céline xxx
piratemoggy on May 19th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)
Re: McFly!
I live in west London now, actually, since I had to move house suddenly for a job. I used to live in Woodcote, which is really a village just outside Reading but it was easier to just say Reading.

I listened to that earlier actually; were you the girl who asked what his favourite song to perform was? If so, I don't think you came across too badly at all! It was probably the best question of the lot.

& thank you for your comment, I'm still really amazed people like this essay. ♥
(Anonymous) on May 19th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: McFly!
Ah cool, I live just outside Reading in Lower Earley :)

Yeahh!! That was me! Thanks, that means a lot! I was so nervous!

Yeah it's a good essay, I can relate :)

How did you get your job by the way? Because I'd looove to do a job like yours!

Céline xxx
piratemoggy on May 20th, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
Re: McFly!
My actual "real" job is as a data entry clerk, sadly. I only do music writing on an unpaid, part-time sort of basis although I might soon be getting paid for something which is v. exciting. I started doing music writing just through refusing to shut up about it on my blog I guess and stumbling into a few of the right places at the right times. The only thing I'd advise is to start a blog and write as much as possible in it, I guess. You could apply to do work experience at places like Popjustice, too. :)

(Anonymous) on May 20th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: McFly!
Wow cool. Hope that thing coming up works out :)

Thanks for the advice!! :)

Céline xxx
(Anonymous) on May 18th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Well done!
I just loved it!

Found it today literally by accident and didn't have time to read it so I printed it and flicked through it while getting to the university. I'm almost 20 and I'm a huge fan of the boys. I live in Warsaw, capital city of Poland. It's a funny thing when people come to my flat, see all the pictures, CDs, singles and stuff all over my room, they ask "Who's that?", then I say "McFly, an English boy-band". I get replies like "Never mind, they look like they were gay" mostly. Then I play them their music, and they're like "wow! amazing!". All my friends know I love them, they have changed my life, I went to Wembley to see them live last year, got a tattoo of four stars on my foot, used them as an inspiration to write a book. it's almost finished now! They're with me since January 2007 and I would exchange them for nobody else! Hope this issue you wrote about will stop, or make them fight for the true meaning of pop music.

Bless you!

[is he really short? ;) don't be so tough to yourself, I wouldn't manage to say a word to him I guess ;)]

piratemoggy on May 20th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Well done!
He is quite short, yes; depends on your definition of short I suppose. He's definitely shorter than me but then again I am about 5'10".

Thank you for your comment, it's really interesting to hear that there's this bias against 'music that girls like' even in countries where the bands in question aren't well known (or at least, not as well known as they are here) -people really are extraordinarily biased.

I'm really glad you enjoyed the article and thanks so much for your comment!
(Anonymous) on February 22nd, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
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