When Gary Barlow penned the Take That hit ‘Never Forget’ (where you’ve come here from) perhaps he meant to say the exact opposite after controversially branding his home town of Frodsham a place where ‘not a lot happens’.
Gary, who this week revealed he has a part in new Star Wars film The Last Jedi, appeared in a Comic Relief version of Carpool Karaoke last Friday along with fellow Take That members Mark Owen and Howard Donald and host James Corden.
But last week, speaking at an Advertising Week Europe seminar in west London, he jokingly took the mickey out of the Cheshire town where he grew up and neighbouring Runcorn.
He said: “I am from Frodsham in Cheshire. Not a lot happens there. It made me... the lights change now and again but that is just about it.”
“I watched an early Depeche Mode on TV and that is when I decided I wanted to go into music. I started by playing piano. I had a lot of music in my house like The Beatles and The Bee Gees and Elton John. I was drawn to the piano. I had a little keyboard for Christmas when I was 10 and got my first job at 11 playing in a bar every Saturday.”
“I loved playing these great classics and I got better and better,” he recalled and acknowledged the role of his late father Colin and mum Marjorie in supporting him in those early days.
“I started to do more gigs a week and my mum and dad dove me around. When I was 14 I got a job in a working men’s club. It was like a chicken in a basket audience. It was in Runcorn. There were people like Jim Davidson and Ken Dodd and I used to play for them as the band. I did that for about four years and I was starting to sing when I was about 15 and then I started to write songs.
“At 15 I wrote my first batch of songs and it was like that from then onwards.”
He continued: “Music was my passion. When I was 18, I met a manager who was the missing link for me. I realised I could not do everything. I realised I could not find the direction myself and he said ‘I want to put you in a band’ and I said ‘Oh no. Not a band’. I thought I would be taking drums upstairs.”
“He played me New Kids On the Block and I said ‘I like the look of that’ and then we started Take That.”
Reminiscing about when he knew the Take That phenomenon had really taken off, he said: “One night we were in Hull and came out the back door and we got in the van and as it pulled away the girls started to scream and chase the van. We were not even going fast. The teenage hysteria had started.
“From that day on for the next six or seven years it was like that. My mum used to complain, she used to say ‘I am sure it was good but I could not hear a thing’. The ear plugs were good for us.”