Yes, Steven Gately, Mikey Graham, Shane “The Eyebrow” Lynch and Keith Duffy will likely be hitting a stage together sometime in the future. But this time, they’ll do it without their raffish front man, Ronan Keating, who says he’s concentrating on his solo career.
Since the breakup of the band — which, at the time, was not very convincingly termed “a year off” and “not the end” — the Boyz have experienced varying degrees of solo success. Mikey opened a talent agency in an effort to put together his own pop band. Stephen, who “came out” during the band’s final year, recorded an Andrew Lloyd Webber Song and toured briefly in a musical. Shane gave a new meaning to close shaves (yes, we’re obsessed with the eyebrow thing) by wrecking his car while pursuing a career in auto racing.
The band’s success stories are front man Ronan and the quietly hunky Keith Duffy. Ronan has chased the elusive dream of American pop stardom, getting his teeth capped and his manly chest hair airbrushed out of photos so as not to alarm sensitive stateside fans. Keith, on the other hand, wisely diversified during his ‘Zoner days, and gathered lots of experience as a TV presenter. He’s now better known as an actor on the British soap “Coronation Street” than as a singer.
Ronan’s refusal to consider doing a reunion tour has led to plenty of bad blood in the ranks. The blond pixie insists that he has to spend all of his time concentrating on his solo career, although the only movement of late has been his fiery and public bust-up with former manager Louis Walsh.
The Boyz have been off the scene for almost 30 pop years at this point, so if they hope to fill concert halls and stadiums, there’s no time to waste. It should be interesting to see how much of a draw the slimmed-down line-up will be. After all, in the eyes of teenyboppers, these guys are ancient. And we suspect that college-age fans will consider them, like, totally naff. Hey, life is a rollercoaster, as Ronan would sing (alone, naturally). But we suspect the other Boyz will ask us to love them for a reason — and let the reason be . . . well, you know the song. You don’t? Yikes. It’s been longer than we thought.