Busted: Pigs Have Flown

Busted PigsThis time last week I was so excited. It was an excitement that was 12 years in the making.

I was going to see Busted.

Now, those of you who know me will know that my love for Busted knows no bounds; they will know that I will and do defend Busted to the hilt (I recently took down a body builder with my words because he dared to laugh at them); and you will also know just how very heartbroken I was on January 14th 2005 when Busted held a press conference to announce that they had split up. It was a dark day.

You see, there is always that one band. For my mum it was Bay City Rollers (a lot more influential on punk music than you would think). For my sister it was Take That (she called the helpline that was set up on the 13th of February, Robbie Williams birthday, when the band split up) and for me it was Busted.

Busted didn’t get the best reputation when they came out but you have to ask yourself why? Prior to Busted’s first release of What I Go To School for in September 2002 the charts had been filled with novelty pop such as Scooch and Fast Food Rockers. Suddenly a group of young lads came along, jumping around to pop music with a rock edge and lo and behold, Busted made pop good again.

But there were haters.

People questioned why they jumped around when playing guitar. That obviously made them terrible musicians. However, if they looked at other bands in the pop rock oeuvre such as Green Day and Blink 182 (to name only two) they would have seen that those bands were doing that too. Why was it ok for one and not the other?

People said the music was simple. As much as I hated this assessment, I can see where the nay-sayers where coming from. Musically, to begin with, Busted songs were based on a three chord progression which by rock standards is pretty basic…but was not that the same for the Ramones early music? I’m in no way comparing them both. To do so would be comparing goldfish with curtains. It just isn’t possible but it does show you how it is the audience who dictate whether a band is good or not and not the merit of the music upon which it should.

Furthermore, Busted wrote all of their own music and lyrics. If you look at the album sleeves it will tell you who has the writing credits: Bourne, Simpson and Willis, that’s who*. So what more can a band do?

Busted Close Up

Sing live, you say. Oh but wait, they did that. They released a live album and a DVD of their concert.

Yet Busted never really go the respect that they deserved. Personally, I think that part of the problem was that they songs that they released appealed to a younger audience. What I Go to School For, Psycho Girl and Thunderbirds are more appealing to younger audiences than some of their other songs. However, if you listen to some of their other songs such as Better Than This, Meet You There, That Thing You Do, Fake, Falling for You – they are all much more grown up in context and you can see a massive development in their musician skills.

It always bugged me that people would be so quick to judge without giving Busted the full time and attention that they deserved. They didn’t have to like them afterwards but they probably would concede that they were musicians and not novelty pop.

Someone once said – and I am genuinely sorry that I cannot remember the name of the music critic that said it – that Busted did more for the modern day indie scene than Oasis, Blur or Pulp and he was right. Without Busted, the likes of The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, etc., wouldn’t have had the wide audiences that they have today. Busted made guitar music cool again and their fans grew up to be indie fans. I can say this with some certainty because I was one of those people.

Nearly twelve years later in the Liverpool Echo Arena, myself along with my friend Clare from A Book and Tea remembered what it was like to just plain love a band. It was twelve long years but by god it was worth it.

Mine and Clare’s dodgy Busted Selfie

* You will also find Fletcher, as in Tom Fletcher from McFly. You will also find James Bourne’s name in the McFly album notes as songwriter.



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