ONE thing Max George prefers about his new job with boy band The Wanted over his old one is being able to celebrate.
In fact, the former Manchester City player is sounding husky when we speak – from rehearsals for the first UK tour that concludes in Sheffield City Hall on Sunday.
“It’s a bit of both if I’m honest,” he admits when asked if a crafty beer was involved.
“We’re trying to work as hard as we can to put on the biggest show possible because we’re not a dancing band, we’re a vocal group more than anything, but we still want to put on a show.”
Manchester-born Max says the band, who scored major hits with All Time Low and Heart Vacancy, says they’ll be enhancing they’re credentials by getting instruments out.
“I’ll play guitar because we do like to play but don’t get the chance most of the time. It’ll be nice to incorporate that,” says Max, who is particularly looking forward to Sheffield. “I am. I had a couple of mates who went to uni there with my brother and I’ve been to stay with them.”
Max arrives this time alongside Tom, Nathan, Jay and Siva as one of the biggest new names in pop, but it could have been very different.
He was with City for two years alongside the likes of Ched Evans, now of Sheffield United, until injuries ended dreams of the big time, on the pitch at least.
“I was gutted the second time I was injured. I tried another stint at it, to get myself fit again, but in the end, because I knew I wasn’t the player I was or was gonna be, I didn’t feel that bad.
“I just thought ‘I’m not good enough any more’. My discipline wasn’t the best off the pitch, anyway. I always struggled with it which was part of my downfall.
“The injury gave me an excuse but I don’t know if I had my head screwed on right anyway to have made it. The boys that have are so focussed, all the time.”
Max had already been involved with music before The Wanted, playing in a touring act called Avenue, and returned to music after football.
“To be honest I was just bumming around, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I tried college and lasted three months. Then I tried singing with a mate of mine and thought ‘I like this’. I haven’t looked back since.
“We did three or four years doing pubs, clubs, just learning the trade. It was horrible a lot of the time but it was all part of the fun.
“I love being in a band but if you said what’s your passion, football would be and always has been. This I love every minute of, though, and I can also enjoy myself after I’ve finished.”
And he’s found plenty of time to do that living in a flat with his band-mates as The Wanted broke through, working with writers who’ve put spin into the likes of Blunt, Aguilera, Spears and Lott.
“We go out quite a lot. We’ve got a ping pong table and table football, watch films, usual stuff, like being at uni,” he says.
“It’s not like being in an office where you get on with your job and get on with the other people there. We live in each other’s pockets all the time, but we were all after the same thing; we all wanted to get to the top. That drove us. First and foremost we were all driven and there were no personality clashes.”
Certainly the methods worked as their début single went straight to number one as a huge fanbase grew behind the scenes.
“I couldn’t believe it. We worked hard but you don’t see the fanbase building even if it is. You’re oblivious to it because you’re so busy.
“I remember turning up outside a radio station in London after we’d finished a schools tour and had been away for three months. In Leicester Square there were hundreds of fans waiting. There was police and security there and we were ‘What the hell’s going on here?’
“I thought Justin Bieber was there or something. That was the first time we’d seen it and the first time I realised we might have something.
“So I was fingers crossed we could get a top 10. We would have settled for that but to go to number one... I couldn’t believe it. It was an amazing feeling.”
Once the band have got the tour and City’s visit to Wembley out of the way, The Wanted will be working on new music.
“We’re all writers and we’ve definitely got more of a say on the second album. There will be songs with us as individuals; hopefully we can get that across. We did try that vocally with a couple of songs on the first album.”