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Interview with Boyzone's Shane Lynch

Kelly Ormesher talks to the singer about Boyzone without Stephen Gately, and his new found interest in poker

Published on March 15th 2010.

Interview with Boyzone's Shane Lynch

How do pop stars fill their time when their bands 'take a break'? Solo careers and celebrity fitness videos are popular options. Poker playing and obscure motorsports are less common. But Shane Lynch, known to most as the big, burly, tattooed one in Boyzone, isn't the type to follow the crowd.

I’ve been in the music industry a long time so I’ve got a reasonable poker face. I can deal with happy and sads, highs and lows, weird questions were you shouldn’t be fazed.

During his band's break, he made a name for himself as one of the biggest stars in 'drifting' – a type of motorsport where the car slides across the track. And he's recently embarked on a mission to become a passable, if not professional, poker player. The sponsor of his drifting team, Ladbrokespoker.com are behind this new hobby – they've taken Shane on board as a 'poker virgin' and have vowed to turn him into a proficient player within the year.

I caught up with him at the Ladbrokes VIP poker event which was held at Manchester 235 last Friday night, and got an update on what's on the cards for him and his band over the coming months.

How long have you been playing poker?
This is my first tournament. I’ve played some home games with friends and watched the real games get played but this is my first event tonight.

I used to think the game was very shark based, intimidating and all those wrong things people think about poker, but it wasn’t at all. By the time you get to speak to the players, you realise it’s a cool game.

As my interest grew, I just found myself in this position where I could go on this journey – start out as a novice and finish up at the World Series in Vegas, which is what I want to do this year.

Do you have any good luck rituals before or during games?
Not at the moment – no character. I’m just going to come as me, I have no shades, no nothing. I’ve been in the music industry a long time so I’ve got a reasonable poker face. I can deal with happy and sads, highs and lows, weird questions were you shouldn’t be fazed. I’m banking on my past history of pressure.

Will you be playing with any of your band mates in tournaments?
Not at the moment, but Keith’s a big player. He loves poker. He’s been giving me quite a lot of hints.

How's the new album and tour plans going?
Amazingly actually. We’ve been filming a documentary for the last two years since Boyzone got back together which covers our progress and Stephen passing away.

The album is out on Monday [8 March], so it’s all looking good. The pre-sale stuff is looking amazing. It’s a big journey with everything I’m doing at the moment.

When the band are together, we love being together. I think we are stronger as a unit. In the nineties, when we were younger, we didn’t quite understand what it was to grow up together. Then we left each other and now we’ve come back and we flippin love spending time together. I hate being away from the boys, actually hate it. That feeling confirmed to us that we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road with the album. That’s all we want to do.

Do you have any favourite tracks from the album?
It’s the first album in all my time that I've actually put in the CD player and I’m like ‘I love this record, I love this record’.

Before, for me, it was a job. It was just another record to me, it was just what I do. But I was young and immature. Now, with the participation we’ve had in this album, it’s much more for us.

There are no fillers. We’ve whittled it down from pretty much 100 tracks. If I heard someone sing one of those songs, I’d be gutted because I’d want to sing it.

Who have you been working with on this album?
The main producer is Greg Wells, he’s worked with Katy Perry. Writers wise, we’ve been working with a guy called Gregg Alexandra. It's kind of a U2 meets Coldplay type of sound. More of a live sound.

It’s naturally gone that way because as a band we always lent ourselves highly to pop because of Stephen’s vocals. Now we don’t have that. It’s down to me, Keith and Mick to fill those shoes. Our voices are much more mature than Stevo’s was so our album has gone to a much more mature sound.

That is just how it worked out. So we’ve kept it quite tight, we haven’t wanted loads of producers. We wanted a specific sound and we’ve got that sound.

Boyzone's new album, Brother, is out now.

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