'We trashed hotel rooms, drank straight vodka on TV & tried to free zoo animals in wild 90s' say Abz, Shane, Dane & Ben

AS chart-topping boyband members of the Nineties, this foursome certainly had their fair share of adventures. 

From screaming fans to wild parties, life as a pop pin-up for Dane Bowers, Shane Lynch, Abz Love and Ben Ofoedu was never dull. 

“We did the throwing a TV out the window and trashing rooms thing,” said Abz, best known for being part of boyband 5ive. “It got to a point where I was going to free some animals from a zoo but I couldn’t make it happen.

“It was that wild I don’t remember much of it. When people start telling stories, I have to ask if I was there!”

The lads have now formed a supergroup, Boyz on Block, a “manband”, if you will. 

And as you might expect, the 40-somethings have matured. 

“These days I keep away from the shots,” said Abz, 42. “My Slippery Nipple days are long gone.”

Welcome to middle age, Abz.

“Although I woke up the other night with a pair of knickers in my pocket and have no idea how they got there,” he added. “They say romance is dead!”

Okay, so they’re not in their slippers and rocking chairs just yet, which is probably a relief to their still-adoring fans. 

“We’re more chilled out now, there’s less panic,” said Dane, who had hits like Freak Me with Another Level and Out of Your Mind with Victoria Beckham. “Our gigs are party sets. It’s not a full blown boyband set. 

“We did one a few weeks ago with Damage and all credit to them, they came out like it was the Nineties still, they were slick. 

“We just go on and play the records we love and the crowd love and it’s amazing.”

I woke up the other night with a pair of knickers in my pocket and have no idea how they got there

There are still some dance moves though. Well, one, anyway. 

“We put our hands up on ‘five’ during Everybody Get Up,” said Dane, 41. “And we can’t even get that right half the time.”

And no matter what their age, the crowds still shriek as much as ever. 

Ben, who was one half of dance duo Phats & Small, said: “You get a group of girls together and they’re transported back in time and they definitely feel there’s permission to scream.

“That’s good for men of a certain age.”

Partied too much to remember

We’re reminiscing about the lads’ wild heyday – all except for Dane, who enjoyed the nineties so much, he can barely remember any good stories. 

He said: “Ben’s the one with the stories. He’ll say, ‘Remember when we did so and so,’ and I’m like, ‘Nope, tell me.’ 

“He had to tell me about the helicopter because I’d forgotten all about it?”

The helicopter?

Ben, 48, who has been engaged to radio presenter Vanessa Feltz for 15 years, explained: “I was in a helicopter with Dane once, on the way to Gatecrasher nightclub in Sheffield, and all of a sudden, the door flung open. Mid-air. 

“The lady pilot was cool as hell and said, ‘Can you just lean over and shut it?’

“So Dane had to risk life and limb shutting the door!”

Take That like to have a goody-two-shoes image, but you know, that wasn’t the case

He also remembers partying with fellow nineties superstars, Take That. 

“It was messy at times!” Ben recalled. “Take That like to have a goody-two-shoes image, but you know, that wasn’t the case.”

For Shane, one fifth of Boyzone, who had five number one albums in the UK, what sticks out in his memory is when their manager Louis Walsh took them to an East 17 gig and their eyes were opened as to what fame could mean. 

He said: “We went to the after show party at a hotel in Dublin and it was just crazy.

“You’re talking about innocent, young Catholic boys and we saw the way the boys behaved and we were just like, ‘Wow!’"

The guys are getting nostalgic because they are promoting the return of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. 

Boyz on Block took part in a live version of the show’s famous Identity Parade outside London’s King’s Cross station on Monday and passers-by were asked to identify the one non-boyband member standing amongst the four.  

The new series, which started on Sky and streaming service NOW on Tuesday (21st) has scored a comedy hat-trick with Taskmaster star Greg Davies hosting and Bake Off’s Noel Fielding competing against This Country’s Daisy May Cooper as team captains. 

'I drank straight vodka on TV'

Ben remembers being a panellist on the show back with original host, former BBC DJ Mark Lamarr. 

He recalled: “I remember they used to give you a cup and you could have anything you wanted in it, so I said, ‘Straight vodka.’ 

“I don’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have a mixer or anything. I didn’t know what was going on. 

“I ended up doing a massive rap with Mark Lamarr and I remember being quite surprised that he knew all the words to Public Enemy’s Rebel Without a Pause.”

Abz has his own special memory of the show.

“I once introduced Omid Djalili in a fur coat and a crown while holding a parrot!” he said. “I was going to come out riding a horse but it wasn’t having any of it.”

'Glad there weren't camera phones'

Ben says the enduring appeal of the nineties is because the music “was kind of groundbreaking, everything was fresh and new.”

He said: “You look back and go, ‘Wow, that was amazing,' and I think that’s why so many iconic tunes came out of the nineties. 

“New things were still being invented in music. 

“Things weren’t as accessible then. There were only so many TV channels, you were on CD:UK or Top of the Pops, and there were only a few shows like those. 

“Now it’s all about social media, and that can be good in some ways, like with our Buzzcocks line up and you’re pushing it out instantly.

“But back then, you had to go to a show to promote yourself, or go to a radio station. You had to go and see your idols.”

As for camera phones, let’s just say Dane is relieved they weren’t around back then. 

He jokes: “Camera phones would have meant evidence!”

Never Mind the Buzzcocks, has returned exclusively to Sky and NOW as a Sky Original and will air on Tuesdays.  For more information, please visit www.skygroup.sky.

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