THE chirpy pop quintet had 14 consecutive Top 5 hits and sold 15 million albums before internal squabbles split the group. A decade later, Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans and Ian ‘H’ Watkins reunited for a TV show. Since then there’s been a number one album and a UK tour will come to the Capital FM Arena in April.
Was it a surprise that The Ultimate Collection went straight to number one?
Faye: Absolutely. To tell you the truth, when we first started talking about getting together to support the album and then doing the TV documentary, we thought it might trickle around the Top 20. We never imagined it would go to number one. And then stay in the top ten. We assumed that everyone had everything by us already. The demand is out there and we’re blown away by that.
When you talked about getting back together, did you worry that no-one would really care?
H: It was a strange one to gauge, really, because we had got on with our own lives and we all have our own careers. I was very apprehensive and scared about going on this journey. But you have to remember it was never meant to be this full blown reunion. We agreed to come together for the TV show to talk about things that happened in the past. But then it became a number one album and a sell-out tour. That really has taken us by surprise. It’s just been phenomenal.
One imagines that a lot of your original fans want to relive their youth by seeing you again.
H: And they’re not afraid to say it. Back in the day people were closet Stepsfans but now they are loud and proud, which is amazing.
How real was the TV documentary in terms of the tantrums and tears we saw?
Lee: Very real. There was no script. We had a couple of questions thrown at us and went from there, basically. They filmed that and edited it into a great drama.
What can we expect from the live show?
H: It’s very exciting for us because a lot of the ideas we had ten years ago we couldn’t actually do but technology has moved on so much so things are actually achievable. And more. We’ve been told to think as big as we like.
Claire and Lisa aren’t with you today, so you’ve obviously fallen out with them already.
Faye: Absolutely. We’ve dumped them and we’ve gone off as a three-piece now.
Do you have more control over what you are doing these days?
Lee: We had more control before than people thought. Especially over our tours. We were directors of our own company, we sat in the boardroom and had the meetings to decide what we wanted to do, looked at the financial side of it, that type of thing.
What is the next step for Steps, after this tour?
Faye: Last time around it was such a massive whirlwind. We ended up getting on the treadmill and not really being grateful for it or enjoying it. This time, because we don’t really know what’s around the corner, we want to really sit back and enjoy it. We’re not talking about a new album or new music until the tour is done. We need to gauge what people want and more importantly what we want.
What experiences have you had of Nottingham in the past?
H: I did Joseph at the (Theatre Royal) and there’s a beautiful bar opposite with a funky chandelier. And I did panto. Myself and Stephen Mulhern shared Aladdin. It was amazing. I love Nottingham. I used to go the (Alea) casino opposite the theatre. That was cool. We socialised quite a lot even though the panto schedule was jam-packed. I think I lived in Nando’s for most of my stay.
Faye: The glamour!
H: Yes it’s glamorous.
Faye: And there’s also good shoe shopping in Nottingham.
H: Why do we associate every city with shopping?
Faye: I actually did my first ever musical and opened it in Nottingham in 2004 called Tell Me On A Sunday. So Nottingham is quite an important place for me.