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S Club celebrate 25th anniversary and open up about Good Times Tour: ‘Paul is very much still in the show and very much still a part of the tour’ [Exclusive]

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Leigh Keily

As they prepare to bring it all back with their 25th anniversary ‘Good Times Tour’, S Club cover the October issue of RETROPOP!

It’s been a turbulent six months for the band with the tragic passing of Paul Cattermole just weeks after their spring reunion announcement, but Jo O’Meara, Rachel Stevens, Jon Lee, Tina Barrett and Bradley McIntosh have banded together and are set to honour Paul and relive their ‘90s heyday on the road this autumn. 

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“We’re all in such an exciting place. I can’t believe how quickly the tour’s come around and all the planning is happening. We’re about to kick off rehearsals which is just so exciting. I think as a band, we’re closer and more together than ever,” reflects Rachel, with Tina adding: “Losing Paul was so traumatic and such a shock, but we held each other up and we are closer for it and stronger for it. We’re doing this in memory of Paul and we’re just trying to keep upbeat and positive. This tour is so much more than it was before and we want to make it the biggest and best show we’ve ever done.”

“Obviously, it’s been horrendous, but it’s made us bond together and look out for each other more so than ever, because at the end of the day we’ve got to look out for one another and celebrate Paul’s life as best as we can moving forward,” continues Jo, with the group set on him being the star of the show. Case in point the rebrand to ‘The Good Times Tour’, a nod to the 2001 album track on which Paul performed lead.

And when you hear him on the record, he’ll be in the show too. “There are bits in the show that are iconically Paul’s vocals,” says Jon, “so we’re not gonna mess with that; he’s very much still in the show and very much still a part of the tour. That was really important for us.”
“It’s a celebration. It’s going to be the best show we’ve ever put on,” beams Rachel. “We’ve got all the memories that we can share with the fans and he’ll be such a huge part of it. It’s brought us closer together and that feels really special.” 

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With four albums worth of material and a treasure trove of footage from the band’s TV projects, there’s no shortage of nostalgia in the S Club camp, as proven in the video for their latest track, These Are The Days, which sees the five-piece looking back on their early years together. But when it comes to revisiting the past, some are more keen than others.

“I can safely say that I’ve had some really bad outfits and it’s been continuous! I’m literally half covering my eyes like, ‘Oh no, what am I wearing and what have I done to my hair this time?’” Tina giggles. “There was a moment where I liked what I wore and liked my hair, but I can’t remember what it was…”

“You do look back and go, ‘What were we thinking?!’ The make-up, the hair… But it was a time and a moment, for sure,” adds Rachel – and, in actual fact, some of those Y2K styles are coming back into fashion all over again. Tina laughs: “I never thought we’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, we were actually – dare I say – cool’!”

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But don’t expect the group to be unearthing any gems from the wardrobe as part of the shows. “Coming back 25 years later, we want to show a little bit of a different side to us as well and we’re going to be pushing it fashion-wise,” Rachel maintains. “We’re all fashion girls, the three of us, so we want to show that side of us as well. You won’t be disappointed, I’ll just say that.” 

And having released their first new single in 20 years, the group are keen to get back into the studio. Technological advances have also altered the way the group records and when they laid down vocals for These Are The Days, producer John Nathaniel dialled in from Canada. “We had him on Zoom while we were in the booth, giving us notes,” says Bradley. “But he was controlling the whole set from Canada, which was very new to us.”It was the first song the band was presented with while selecting a comeback track, with Jo speculating there may be more where that came from. “I’m not sure how many different songs were in the mix, so who knows what other songs there are gonna be in the future – I’m sure there’ll be a few knocking around that will be interesting to have a go at,” she hints.

With the tour set to see the group into the autumn, they have plenty to keep them busy for now, and while there are no solid plans in the pipeline as yet, all are in agreement that there’s a future for S Club into the next five years and beyond.

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“What is really special is we’re all going into it with an open mind and excitement,” smiles Rachel. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. No one does. But we are all going in with such a positive, excited mindset and we’re so open to more exciting things to come and to work on together…”

Tina adds: “The fact that it’s been 25 years, we’ve got back together and there’s love and support from the fans, it’s been unbelievable. We definitely would love to do more and we’ll just see how it goes. We’ve got open minds and we’re at an age now where we’re just really embracing it. It’s like a whole new chapter for us.”

Does that mean more new music too? “I would like to see that happen,” says Bradley, as Jon nods, “Yeah, I’m down for it”, and Jo beams: “Me too. S Club forever!”

Read the full interview in the October 2023 edition of RETROPOP, out now. Order yours or subscribe via our Online Store, use our Store Finder to locate your nearest stockist, or get Digital Copies delivered direct to your devices.

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