WESTLIFE’s Brian McFadden and Boyzone’s Keith Duffy have joined forces to form the duo Boyzlife. Brian tells EDWIN GILSON about the bond between the two men and why reports of a full reunion are misleading

How did you and Keith come together to form Boyzlife?

Well, originally I was going to do it with Ronan [Keating] but we tried it out for a few days and it didn’t work. I’m only joking. Keith and I have been friends for a long time.We’re pretty much like family now. We spend every day together, play golf together, do everything together. We’re quite similar characters.

What does a Boyzlife show consist of?

It was never going to be Boyzone and Westlife back together, it was always just Keith and I doing a show and talking about our lives and careers. But at the same time we want to have a musical party. A lot of the fans are missing the hits; there were 21 UK number ones between the two bands.

Kian [Egan, from Westlife] said there were plans for a full reunion between the two bands.

No, that was never the plan at all. We did an interview with a journalist and then he went to the Brit Awards and got a little drunk and didn’t write the article himself. He passed it onto someone else who wrote it as if we were forming a supergroup. So that’s where the confusion started.

It must have made you angry that you were misrepresented?

These things happen, you know. It didn’t take long for people to realise what we were doing. It happened and you move on.

Kian was annoyed about the Boyzlife plans. Have you made peace with him now?

I never really spoke to him about it. I understand why he made those angry comments, because it did look like we were trying to say it would be all the members of Westlife and Boyzone together. His anger was justified. We were angry ourselves. He’s fine now.

Looking back at the start of your career, was it strange to join a band through an audition process?

Westlife had a band and kicked out two members before auditioning for new members. It wasn’t thrown together, that was really it. It was the same with Boyzone – they had a group already and then auditioned for people.

Young people are more into One Direction than Westlife and Boyzone these days. Do you see any younger fans at shows?

The audiences range from teenagers to our older loyal fans. The people who were there at the start are still there, still getting us to take pictures with teddy bears and stuff.

Do you worry that Boyzlife is just a nostalgia act?

That’s what it’s about. We’re singing songs from the last 25 years. There’s nothing worse than when you go and see one of your favourite bands and they only do songs from the new album and none of the hits. We want to make sure that the fans get what they want, and the fans want the hits.

It’s billed as a Christmas show. Will there be any festive songs?

No, there won’t be any of those. It’s not Karaoke. You don’t see Bono doing jingle Bells, do you?

There were some stories about you cutting short a gig in Bridgwater earlier in the year. Can you clarify what happened there?

There are two things that came out of that event. It was wrongly sold to us. We do a lot of smaller corporate gigs where we just do 30 minutes. That’s not our full concert. The show was sold to us as if it was that kind of show. But they sold it to the public as if it was an official Boyzlife show, so people were expecting the full performance.

Some people were also trying to say we were drunk; we weren’t drunk, we came straight from a charity event and went back to it after we performed. It was a big misunderstanding. But the main problem was that the promoter sold it as an official Boyzlife show.

Were people satisfied by that explanation?

No, nobody wanted to listen. Everyone had their say before we had a chance to have our say.

It must disappoint you when your fans react like that.

We don’t care. If that’s how our fans are going to react when we give an explanation then I’d rather not have fans like that. I don’t have any interest in that. Real fans would wait to hear an explanation and not go on Twitter and read newspapers. As far as I’m concerned, they aren’t our fans. We like to look after our real fans who come and support us.

Does doing this with Keith make you miss being part of a bigger boyband?

Not at all. I loved being solo for the last 14 years. Since I’ve been with Keith it’s been nice to have somebody to be on the road with and share experiences with.

What are the differences between being on tour with a full band and as a duo?

We only need to take one taxi everywhere we go.

You must need to give each other space sometimes, though?

We don’t really. If we’re not on stage we’re on the golf course, if we’re not on the golf course we’re in the nightclub. We very much spend all of our time together. We’re best mates and close to each other’s families, too. People have this idea that people in bands automatically hate each other. Keith and I have been in this business for a long time and we’re long in the tooth. We know how not to push each other’s buttons and keep everything rosy on stage. That’s why the show works. We have a laugh at each other and banter together on stage.

Do you have any plans to revive your solo career?

I’ve started to write a new solo album. I’ve always been a writer ever since I was in Westlife. At one point writing became a chore. But now I have that buzz back.

Boyzlife, The Old Market, Hove, December 8, 7.15pm. For tickets and more information visit theoldmarket.com or call 01273 201 801