Race against time

A day at the races: McFly have two gigs in one day lined up
A day at the races: McFly have two gigs in one day lined up
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OF all the sure bets at Doncaster Racecourse tomorrow McFly drummer Harry Judd says they will guarantee a return.

The posh skin-beater knows the boys-to-blokes band will be playing to a huge crowd that might be more into nags than pop but reckons they’re still on to a winner.

“We’ve played a few racecourses before and they’re good fun,” he says.

“There’s often a good chunk of hardcore fans, but what I enjoy about these gigs is there’s often a lot of people who wouldn’t necessarily come and see a McFly concert. They go away, nine times out of 10, having enjoyed themselves.

“We always try to put on a good show. I think that’s where we excel. Mums and dads take their kids and end up enjoying it themselves. We’re confident in our abilities as a live band so we enjoy these kind of gigs.”

Then McFly have had to get used to evolving audiences down the years. Seven UK number one singles and five top 10 albums later they are still pulling similar sized crowds to when they were teenagers - and a sweep of their Motorpoint Arena gig in March revealed a varied demographic most bands would envy.

“I presume that happens when you’ve managed to stick around for a while,” says Harry, who doesn’t believe having such as spread of ages has held them back from being a little more rock ‘n’ roll.

“Fact is, we’re really appreciative we can still play in arenas. That’s really how we judge it. We’ve been really lucky in terms of our creative control over the years with what we’ve wanted to do on albums and as a live band, we’ve been really fulfilled. The last thing we want to do is complain.”

Certainly McFly not so much broke the mould as raised the bar for other young acts, emerging eight years ago when Tom Fletcher decided to turn his song-writing pen from Busted to his own quartet.

Since then the lads have grown physically and, to an extent, musically having found arena filling an easy vocation. They’ve managed to avoid getting stuck in a creative pop ruck, putting in twists and turns along the way which have kept the loyal hordes interested as well as lured new fans.

“That’s often the challenge for a band, but the beauty of McFly is everything has come from us; McFly is the four of us, not songwriters writing songs for us. It’s not people telling us how we should be or behave. What the fans see is the genuine article. People get what they see, basically.”

Most recent album Above The Noise was arguably a record they needed to do, a kind of graduation badge for a young man band who can still spin out youthful chart-tickling melodies, but with less sherbet.

“Whether we’re successful in the future or not I’m convinced Tom and the guys are some of the most talented songwriters in the country. I believe that and that’s how a band remains successful.”

McFly even managed to throw in a bit of a clichéd rock ‘n’ roll drama when bassist Dougie Poynter sought rehab for stress over his split with The Saturdays’ Frankie Sandford.

“It’s a stereotypical thing, but we’ve all been through a lot in the past eight years,” says Harry, who admitted to a fling with train wreck actress Lindsay Lohan.

“We’ve grown up together being in a band. It’s been an interesting upbringing.”

And while early favourites such as 5 Colours In Her Hair and All About You sound a tad twee in 2011, the lads have tried to beef up their approach, along with some of their stage props, amid slightly less high-pitched yelling.

Harry denies frustration being at the back unable to flaunt it like the other lads when the screaming was at full volume. “Definitely not. I’m very happy behind the drums...I get enough attention. The guys are brilliant at what they do. I’d be crap up the front, so I’m perfectly happy in my job.

“But my drum kit has got bigger over the years. I recently acquired LEDs and I’ve had all sorts of crazy drum risers and stuff. One could say subconsciously that’s because I want more attention, but we try to put on a good show, so that’s how I justify it.”

This weekend the thing the band will need most is for traffic to be light. With plenty of outdoor shows booked, tomorrow they’ll be giving Burnley 45 minutes before rushing to South Yorkshire for a further 90 minutes.

“Two gigs in one day is pretty intense but we’re ready for it. Often it’s quite interesting doing something weird like that. We’ll enjoy the challenge.”

And after their summer excursions? The lads are planning a writing trip before returning to the studio.

In the meantime, are they likely to have a punt on the gee-gees tomorrow – or maybe even look to invest some of their fortune in bloodstock at Town Moor?

“Danny likes to have a go, but I’m not a gambling man,” says Harry. “And I can’t see a racehorse happening any time soon... there are so many other things we’re passionate about that require a certain amount of financial investment.”