Upbeat TV talent or chart topping, pop-music celebs? It's hard to know how best to tag this Brit Group of Seven. But does it really matter if it's the hottest product of the UK since fish'n'chips?
Not since the '60s sensation The Monkees (kinda like The Beatles...but not--ask your parents) has there been a British phenom quite like S Club 7. Voted Best British Newcomer at the Brit Awards 2000 last February, Spice Girls-creator Simon Fuller's latest success just released its second album 7, while their new series, S Club 7 In LA debuted August 31 on MuchMusic. (The group's first album S Club enjoyed gold and platinum sales in Australia, New Zealand and Canada last year and the original series Miami 7, is now in its third run of repeats on Much.)
We talked to Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole, Jon Lee, Bradley McIntosh, Jo O'Meara, Hannah Spearritt and Rachel Stevens about some S Club gossip, a couple of crazed-fan experiences and one or two other titillating tidbits.What: What question do you hate most in an interview?
Hannah: (laughs) "What does the 'S' stand for?"
Jo: "'Are there any relationships within the band?'"
(W: Skipping right along to question 3...)W: What's different about this season of the TV show (which revolves around--no surprises here--an enthusiastic pop band trying to make it)--aside from that it's now based in LA instead of Miami?
Tina: "It's basically gone up a notch. We've got our own apartment, so we're not cleaning at a hotel anymore--we're sort of going out and getting our own, independent jobs from the band to pay rent and stuff. And the characters are more developed in the second series. They're less cartoon-like--they're slightly more human. But it's still the comical script that's there as well. The tongue-in-cheek humour. The whole look of it is a lot better."W: The third season is rumoured to be in New York. Is that true?
Rachel: "We heard that but we're not quite sure yet. It could be...but...nothing's been said yet."
Hannah: "We would like it to be."W: We've heard some interesting episode rumours. Did Bradley actually fall asleep when he was supposed to be acting asleep?
Hannah: (laughs) "Brad has to fall asleep in so many scenes and nine times out of 10 he will fall asleep 'cuz that's Bradley."
Rachel: "He wants to feel the scene."
Hannah: "Yeah, Brad, let's get into character, you know?"
Tina: "It's happened a few times."W: In one episode, Hannah, you apparently had a brief fling with film star Tommy DeWitt...
Hannah: (laughs) "Yeah, that's true."W: ...but he's not your type.
Hannah: "Absolutely not--that is 100 percent true! He was really sweet...but, you know, he's not my type. But then, not many blokes are."
Jo: "You do like blokes, don't you?"
Hannah: "Not really. I used to...not much anymore. I get bored very easily."
(W: Hear that, guys?)W: And in another, we heard Paul fell down the stairs.
Hannah: (laughs) "Yeah, and that happens quite often. Paul loves doing things like that and it'll always turn out so much more dramatic than it started out and he'll always end up hurting himself... I think that was one of the funniest points of the whole thing--"
Jo: "Because he came down head first, down the stairs. And they used that one."
Hannah: "So you see him at the top and he just flies out of the frame. And you can tell that he really hurt himself when he did it--and it was actually the one [take] they used!"
Jo: "I was in tears when I watched that. You know when you just hit the rewind button and you just rewind and play--me and my mom did it about 20 times and we were just in tears, laughing."W: And apparently there was a bomb scare during the filming of one episode?
Jo: "Yeah! That was mad! We weren't allowed out and they didn't want to tell us. They didn't want to get us all panicky."
Tina: "They had the FBI outside, and 200 police..."
Jo: "Pretty big scare."W: Let's talk about your new album--7. It sounds like there's a bit more variety on it, compared to your debut.
Rachel: "We've got such different tastes in music and [with] the second album we had a lot more time and a lot more input into it and we just wanted to get that across. I think it's gotten a bit older as well--the sound's a bit older than the last one. And Bradley got to write a song on the album."W: Do each of you have a forte when it comes to musical styles?
Hannah: "I think we do, yeah. Jon would prefer to sing the ballad-y type, Bradley prefers R&B and Paul would prefer singing more rock-y kind of music. And girls..."
Rachel: "'Natural' [is] an ideal song for me to sing (on 7)."
Jo: "I quite like ballads or R&B."
Hannah: "And I wouldn't sing R&B. What I'm used to is singing musical theatre. Pop."
Tina: "I prefer more upbeat...R&B."W: Aside from Bradley, do any of you help with the songwriting?
Rachel: "We co-wrote 'Bring It All Back' (on S Club) and we wrote a lot of the B-sides."
Jo: "The third album, we're going to definitely get more involved. Everyone's capable of writing."W: What new directions are you planning to take for number three?
Rachel: "There's no planned direction with us--it's just whatever direction we take it in."
Hannah: "Whatever we come up with--we all go into the studio separately."W: What's something fans might be surprised to learn about each of you?
Rachel: "I wear contact lenses."
(W: Uhhhhhh...not quite what we meant...)
Jo: "I have two teddy bears that come everywhere with me: Donald and Gus. They're 21 years old."
Hannah: "I eat huge amounts of cheese. And that's why I have really weird dreams."W: Because of the cheese?
Hannah: "I think so, yeah. Apparently cheese gives you dreams."
Tina: "I'm half South American... I don't think many people know that."
Jon: "I have a birthmark in the shape of a little bat."
Paul: "I am cultivating this kind of squeegee--" (exposes belly).
Hannah: "Oh, I was going to say that! That's my belly!"
Paul: "Like Hannah's. It's the fashion."
Hannah: "It's the fashion to have a podgy belly. Mine's my little comfort blanket."
Brad: "I've got a tattoo. It's a lion."W: What's one guilty pleasure?
Jo: "Chocolate. Anything with chocolate in it and I'll eat it."
Paul: "Excessive spending on, like, a car. Not that I have...but I would if I could."
Tina: "Lying in [sleeping in] and not doing anything."
Hannah: "You don't feel guilty about sleep!"
Jon: "Being lazy...and spending too much money. A lazy spender."W: Have any of you ever had a weird- or crazed-fan experience?
Jon: "I've had one lick my face. She gave me one of these bead things [power beads]--a red one. They all have meanings and I said, 'What does it mean?' and she said, 'It means sexual energy', and she licked my face."
Tina: "I had one in Thailand that [asked] me to sign her arm and then she said, 'I'm gonna get it tattooed tomorrow'...and she did. She got my name tattooed on her shoulder."W: How are you most like your TV character?
Jon: "I have the same name, and I look quite similar."
(W: Ahhh...a wise guy.)
Jo: "Tomboyish. I'm not the most feminine of women."
Paul: "We're both complete, clumsy oafs. And that's it--that's the joining jigsaw puzzle...it's that thin thread that joins us together."
Hannah: "I think maybe the boy thing for me. I'm a big flirt in it... I don't think I am so much anymore... But I used to be a bit of a flirt in my 16-year-old days."W: And how are you least like your characters?
Tina: "I'm not as bossy. You know, getting everyone together to rehearse."
Rachel: "My character's a bit overly sensitive. I mean, once we thought that we'd lost Bradley and I started crying."W: So you wouldn't cry if you lost him?
Rachel: "I would. 'Course I would."
Jon: "Mine's always reading encyclopedias and contracts and quoting the law and stuff... I don't know the first thing about the law."
Hannah: "(In) one episode there were ants in the kitchen and I was so worried about setting them free...where in real life, I'd just stamp on them. She kind of thinks about little things a lot but in real life, I just kind of go--" (shrugs).W: Do you plan to tour the US and Canada at all?
Rachel: "I think there will be a tour at some point but we don't have anything planned."W: What about the rumblings about an S Club movie?
Brad: "It will happen but we haven't seen our scripts or a storyline yet."
Tina: "We're looking at next year..."W: Okay, now some personal gossip. Hannah--we've heard you're the partier?
Hannah: "I...uh...yeah... I do like to pop out every now and again. I'm not an early-to-bed person. It doesn't have to be going out, but socializing in general...basically I just like to be kept busy."W: And you have a hard time making up your mind about men?
Hannah: (thinks awhile) "When I meet someone, I suppose, it takes me a long time to work out whether I really want to be with them, I suppose, yeah. For me to be in a relationship it has to be bloody good."W: Rachel, you're a shopaholic?
Rachel: "I like shopping... I suppose I sort of bring it on myself, 'cuz every time someone says, like, when you you asked me 'What's your guilty pleasure?' I always say shopping, but...everyone brings up shopping like that's a thing with my character but it's not, you know? I love shopping but... I'm not like, I have to go shopping otherwise I'll go ill or anything. Yeah, I think it's about time I lose the shopping thing."W: Brad, you're the ladies' man.
Brad: "Yeah, I might as well just say 'Yeah'. I will not get into a relationship unless I know that she's the one... I'm young, I'm free, I'm happy. I've got game."
Hannah: "He's a player!"
Brad: "Even if it ain't true, I'm good at making the full-out story... (then adds later) I do have total respect for women."
(W: And we're Teen People.)W: Jo, we heard you're very unselfish.
Jo: (laughs) "Um, I'm sure I do have selfish moments but I would give my last pound or my last bit of money to anyone who really needed it. But if I was eating ice cream--then I am very selfish. I will give you anything you want but don't come near me if I've got ice cream or chocolate. If there's anything I hate it's if someone goes, 'Oh, let me have a bit!' It makes me feel sick."W: Jon, you have a dog named Molly?
Jon: "Yeah."W: And you've been known to talk to her on the phone?
Jon: "That's true."W: Were you once sent 12 Valentine's cards from 12 different girls?
(W: Nice talkin' to ya, Jon!)W: Tina, you used to be a dancer.
Tina: "Mmmmm, yeah."W: And you own 40 pairs of shoes?
Tina: "Probably more, now."W: Paul, you love to play pranks?
Paul: "I do...but I don't play pranks within the band... I used to put buckets of water on top of doors, and things."
Hannah: "I used to throw eggs at peoples' houses!"
(W: Somehow, we're not surprised...)
club hoppin'Favourite band or musician
Jo: "Michael Jackson."
Paul: "Travis...David Gray."
Hannah: "I like Travis a lot."
Jon: "Tori Amos."
Rachel: "I don't really have one."
Brad: "Joe and D'Angelo. And Beanie Siegel."
Rachel: "Joe as well, and Maxwell."
Tina: "Beastie Boys."Favourite American TV show
Tina: "Frasier...Jack and Jill."
Paul: "VH-1 Behind The Music."
Brad: "Martin Lawrence and X-Files."
Rachel: "Dawson's Creek...and Party Of Five... You know what I used to love? The Wonder Years was my all-time favourite..."
Jo: "I used to really fancy Fred Savage when he was in that."
Rachel: "...and Blossom."One word that best describes you
Jo: "Misunderstood. People sometimes get the wrong idea of what sort of person I am when they meet me 'cause I can come across quite moody and bitchy sometimes...but then I'm not really."
Hannah: "Mad. Weird."
Jon: "Changeable. 'Cuz then I can be anything I want to be."
Jo: "You're just priceless, Brad."
Rachel: "Not just one thing can describe me."The cartoon character you would be
Jo: "Donald Duck."
Hannah: "Who's that little bear that eats the honey?"
Paul: "Yogi Bear?"
Hannah: "Winnie the Pooh!"
Rachel: "Alvin the Chipmunk."
Paul: "Tazmanian Devil. Or Popeye."
Jon: "Bart Simpson."
Hannah: "I'd be a monkey."
What: Which monkey?
Hannah: "Well, there's a monkey in The Lion King. He gets up, he eats...he goes to sleep."