Shirley Temple Bar caught up with Paul Cattermole from S Club 7 to get the low down on his career since leaving the pop group
Not a lot of people know this, but the legendary ’90s teen band S Club 7 was originally supposed to be called S Club 8. That’s because back in 1998, along with seven brats plucked from obscurity to be the Next Big Thing, I was offered a place in the band. It was all going swimmingly, and we were reaching for the stars, when one of the production crew (who shall not be named for legal reasons) found my passport and discovered I was, shall we say, not exactly legally 13 years old.
Imagine what it was like for me after that. I never had a dream come true, while S Club 7 (Paul, Jo, Rachel, Hannah, Tina, Jon and Bradley) starred in four award-winning BBC TV series and went on to have four number one singles, one chart-topping album, a string of hits across Europe and America, two Brit awards and sales of over 14 million albums worldwide.
I’m not the bitter type so when Paul called last week to say he was coming to Dublin to star in the Rocky Horror Show and that he’d like to meet up, I smiled and replied, ‘Why Paul, that would be super’. After all, of all the S Club’s he was the one I missed the most when I got kicked to the curb. The rest of them can go to hell in Dolly Grip’s handbag, for all I care.
Hey Paul, love, long time no see! What’s this I hear about you doing musical theatre?
Hey, Shirl! Actually, musicals are what I set out to do originally. I was in my final year of my degree in Musical Theatre in Mountview Drama School in London, when my ex-girlfriend went for an audition for a new pop group. She didn’t get it but when she came home she said “I think you are what they’re looking for,” so I got in touch.
Funny, she said that to me too. But we won’t go into that.
I met with Simon Fuller, who was the Spice Girl’s manager and the man behind the idea for the group. It wasn’t an audition. It was more like a job interview. It was very quick and that was that: I got a place in what became S Club 7.
Oh God, you’re bringing it all back, Paul. Was it everything you expected it to be?
Well, it was much bigger than I expected! I knew there was going to be some success but I wasn’t thinking ‘several number one’s and global TV shows’. Of course at the time, we didn’t have time to think about what was happening. We were straight into the recording studio and then out to Miami to film our first TV series Miami 7. It was a lot of hard work.
Hard work? You had it easy, sweetie. I was left to ply my trade in The George.
The TV show was a massive success – in the UK and in the US – and the single ‘Bring It All Back’ went to number one. It was amazing. And it kept going from there. More TV shows, more number ones – we even had a scenario with ‘Don’t Stop Movin’, where we went to number one then dropped off for two weeks and then we went back to number one again.
Keep reading to find out why Paul left S Club 7.
So why did you leave, Paul? Was Jo O’Meara racist to you?
I’d love to say it was something dramatic, but it was quite a simple business thing. My contract was up and the renewal offer wasn’t good enough for me. I felt there were other things that I wanted to do, so that was that.
I heard you left to join a Death Metal Band…
Haha. Well actually, I had been in a metal band since my college days – just for the love of music rather than to try and ‘make it’. We still do stuff together and last year we finally made an album. But I’ve also been doing voiceover work for commercials as well as singing – and I’ve been involved in the Rocky Horror Show production for the past year.
Nowadays you can’t turn on the TV without some crossdresser telling us how to live our lives. Do we still need The Rocky Horror Show?
Absolutely. Things for the LGBT crowd might have changed for the better but there’s still more to do. And people still want to step out from themselves. That’s something I see every night. The show reaches off the stage and shakes people out of their dull and straitlaced thinking – without being too obvious or crude – and it’s all done with a knowing ‘wink’.
So, now that you’ve done musical theatre as you always planned to, what’s next., Paul?
I’m hoping to be in a straight play, Shirley. I’ve always wanted to be in a classic American drama. Something from Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams. I studied drama in college but I’ve never really had the chance to show that skill off.
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