Surf’s up for Kian - so is Westlife...

Kian Egan
Kian Egan
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KIAN Egan is going to have to make a special effort to pop to see his brother once Westlife have called it a day.

For the Foo Fighters-loving crooner will no longer be able to simply drop off the band’s tour to visit teacher Gavin at Catcliffe.

“I probably get to see him more than most of my family because every year I’m up his direction and him and the kids come to the concert. The kids get excited because they get catering, get their merchandise and hang out.

“I go out to the house and hang-out, go shopping, regular stuff you do with your nieces and nephews and brother. That’s obviously not going to happen this time next year.”

Then there’s every chance no-one will see Kian for a while as he plans to go where the surf takes him, wife Jodi Albert and their baby Koa.

“It’ll be nice to do those things,” says the chirpy Irishman. “We haven’t been able to live outside of Westlife. Here we are today on the tour bus, we’re up the road, down the road, there’s no stability to life. It’s not an easy lifestyle.

“I don’t call anywhere home, really, because I don’t spend enough time anywhere to call it home. They’re just properties we live in because it’s where we need to be.

“I know that’s what people do in life, but there’s a part of me wants to live the way I want to, surf as much as I possibly can, get my garage band together and play Foo Fighters songs.

“I want to go to gigs and festivals, tour South East Asia with my surfboard and my backpack, my baby and my wife; do all the stuff I envy other people doing – and I know people envy what I do – but experience new things, life in a different way. Just because I’ve lived the first 32 years this way it doesn’t mean I need to live the next 32 years this way. I want to change, get a zest for it all again.”

Certainly calling time on Westlife – with 44 million record sales and 14 number one singles one of the world’s most successful bands – wasn’t an easy decision, not least after they became the first group to do a full tour of China.

“It was a lovely experience, another notch on the belt,” says Kian, having filled places with such exotic names as the Yellow Dragon Gymnasium.

“Trust me, none of them looked like Kung Fu palaces, they were the same old arenas as everywhere else, with funky names. We played a lot of basketball halls. Basketball’s really big in China, almost as big as in America.

“And nobody has toured mainland China with a concert – we were the first act – and to be playing to 20,000 people a night in a place we didn’t even know we were successful was pretty insane.

“There’s not even a music industry there. Not a record company. It’s internet. You can pretty much download music for free, but they’re changing all of that.

“We asked the same questions and nobody had answers... nobody knows how we got so big in China.

But the promoter was a young Chinese guy and he just knew it would work. He said ‘You could tour for the next 10 years at this level and bigger – you need to realise what you guys have’.

“I suppose when you look at the success it makes you think maybe we are jumping the gun a bit, but then you’ve got to go back down to the fundamentals of why we made the decision in the first place, why we feel the way we feel. Those things don’t change because you’re successful.

“The main reasons for Westlife wanting to call it a day remain. We could go for another 10 years and we’d be doing it unhappy, doing it because it’s successful, for the wrong reasons. That’s one thing we never wanted to happen.”

So Kian, for one, opted to step back and enjoy the freedom being rich brings, tick some personal boxes.

The current farewell tour is proving to be their biggest UK trip yet, and includes three nights in Sheffield, with June 12 completing the hat-trick.

“We’ve been doing this our whole lives. We came at this as four or five young enthusiastic, bubbly guys wanting to take on the world,” says Kian.

“As time moved on we’ve done that; we’ve conquered, succeeded, and now it’s just a case of ‘You know what, we’ve done it’.

“It hasn’t been easy the last few years. Everybody has different styles of life now and trying to get everyone together to do what’s necessary to keep it as big as it is, to keep the boat sailing, it’s just not that easy any more.

“It got to a point where we were on the greatest hits album, the end of our record contract, no deal on the table.

“A load of record labels came at us and we said ‘Do we want to commit to another five years’ and everybody went ‘not really, no’. It’s too much pressure, too much everything.

“We all feel like we need to get away and find out what life is like without Westlife. We’ve never experienced that.

“There’s another side to it as well where you feel like the old chair in the corner that no-one wants. Everybody loves it but really they like a new chair nowadays.

“We started to get the feeling that when you’ve been around so long people forget you’re there. I don’t mean that of Westlife fans because they’re always going to be Westlife fans.”

Apart from surfing, Kian also wants to spend more time with Koa, now six months old, as well as playing covers with his garage band, not least having got the urge to crank up his amp after seeing Dave Grohl’s boys in action last year.

“I went to see them at Milton Keynes Bowl, in the pit like a lunatic, jumping around like nobody’s business.

“I just haven’t had time to turn my Marshall up loud enough for more than 10 minutes. I haven’t been with my mates long enough. We go ‘Let’s learn that song’ and go off and learn the song and get together, play it once, and then I’m ‘Sorry lads, I’ve got to go do this tomorrow morning’.

“The type of band Westlife are is what people don’t understand. If we were the Foo Fighters going into a studio and writing our own music and coming out with an album every three or four years that would be different. But we’re a pop act, a boy band. We rely on other people to write our songs; we rely on people to find the best songs in the world, on a whole host of different set of rules to U2 or Foo Fighters.”