Interview and text by Joey Dizon
Though their rise was meteoric yet sadly short-lived after disbanding five years after their formation in 2000, the English pop-punk trio Busted isn’t one to dwell on the past. But that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate their previous victories.
And celebrate they are, as their recently released collection, Greatest Hits 2.0, whose tracklist features a whopping 25 songs, has fans, both old and new, enjoying every sonic second. Earlier this year, the trio teamed up with contemporaries Hanson and reworked the American band’s signature song, “MMMBop.” Busted also collaborated with the worldwide pop-punk phenomenon Simple Plan on their modern-day reimagining of their 2002 song, “Loser Kid,” and were joined by Neck Deep on “Meet You There 2.0.”
Arguably, fans worldwide went wild when the band teamed up with the Jonas Brothers to re-record their smash hit, “Year 3000,” and announced their now sold-out tour. They couldn’t get enough of the band again! This new collection of songs undoubtedly ignited a pop-punk fire under everyone’s asses, including the band’s members: bassist/vocalist Matt Willis, lead guitarist/vocalist Charlie Simpson, and vocalist/guitarist James Bourne.
PULP.PH was fortunate enough to ask the members themselves a few questions.
PULP: Hello from Manila, Philippines! How has the band been, and what are you currently keeping yourselves busy with?
Charlie: Hello! We’re very good! Busted feels like it’s in the best place right now. We’re in the middle of our 20th-anniversary arena tour around the UK, and we’ve just released our Greatest Hits 2.0 album with 15 very special guests. It’s all very exciting!
PULP: How and why did you decide to get things going again? Was it easy, or did it take a little more effort?
Matt: Twenty years of the band felt like something we had to celebrate. There are a lot of people who didn’t think Busted would still be around 20 years on. But here we are, and we’re having the time of our lives!
PULP: It’s amazing that you still have the same energy and vibe you had back in the day. Why and how do you think you were able to retain that?
Matt: Pure excitement! We’re genuinely loving everything we’re doing right now, and the enthusiasm from the fanbase and everyone who has come to a show or bought an album gave us newfound energy and drive to continue.
PULP: Being that it’s really hard to ignore your single “Year 3000,” did the future turn out to be what you expected, both for the band and in your individual lives as musicians?
James: There’s been all sorts of twists and turns over the last few years, but we wouldn’t change any of it—and it all makes up the Busted story. “Year 3000” has been a massive part of our lives. We’ve just got a few more years to wait to see if our predictions will come true.
PULP: Instead of just re-recording your vintage tunes, Busted re-imagined them with artists like the Jonas Brothers and Simple Plan. How did you choose which artists to collaborate with?
Charlie: We came up with a list of artists that we love. Some, like McFly and the Jonas Brothers, had been part of the Busted story over the years. Others, like Dashboard Confessional and Hanson, are artists we grew up listening to or artists we thought our fans would love. Of all the people we contacted, only two or three said no. Everyone else was really up for it, which was wicked!
PULP: How about that “MMMBop” collab?
James: It was an honor to sing this 90s classic with the band who made it 25 years after its original release! Having them as guests on our tour is special, too, since we’re huge fans of Hanson!
PULP: Are there other artists you wish to collaborate with?
Charlie: There’s a British band called CHVRCHES. Collaborating with that band would be pretty cool.
PULP: Tell us a little about the new single “Good One.”
Charlie: It’s all about the nostalgia of friends not seeing each other for a long time and making the most of the moments you get with each other. It seemed particularly appropriate for us to release it around our Greatest Hits 2.0 tour when we see so many faces that we haven’t seen for a long time.
PULP: You’ve always had these great music videos to accompany your music with. Do you all have a hand in the concepts and execution?
Matt: We’re involved—now more than ever. In the early days, we were very young, and the label would have a big say, but we’re involved in everything these days. We love it! It’s exciting to see these ideas coming to life.
PULP: Can you tell us some fun stories about the making of this upcoming album?
Charlie: We split our time between Los Angeles, where James currently resides, and the United Kingdom, where Matt and I live, so we recorded in both places. James has a wicked house in LA where he hosts ping-pong tournaments every Sunday, so we went to record with him there and got some ping-pong in! Now, we have a table tennis table backstage on tour!
PULP: What has changed for you guys regarding recording and performing? Are things easier now compared to before?
James: We’ve got 20 years of experience behind us now. And we play all the instruments on the new tracks, which we love.
Matt: These versions of the songs are how we play them live, and we love playing them live.
PULP: What else is in store for Busted fans in the near future?
Charlie: There’s lots to come, especially for international fans. We’ll try to bring the show to as many places as possible, so hopefully, we can see you in person very soon!
Listen to the band’s Greatest Hits 2.0 album here.