FORMER Take That rivals East 17 are on the comeback trail too. Tony Mortimer tells our Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr why.
BACK in the day, Take Thatís biggest rivals were East 17.
It was the Oasis vs Blur of the boy bands production line.
Take That, of course, have come back bigger than they ever were in the 90s and now East 17 are on the revival trail too.
But while TT have just sold out four nights at the Stadium of Light, East 17 will be back in the region for one night only Ė at Newcastleís O2 Academy2!
They kick off their tour there on July 14 and no-one is happier than founding member Tony Mortimer.
East 17 circa 2011 consists of he and fellow original member Terry Coldwell and John Hendy plus new recruit Blair Dreelan, who replaces Brian Harvey.
Theyíve tried reunions in the past, all of which have failed, but Tony is confident this one will work.
"A lot has happened in those intermittent years, but not anything that has got me anywhere as I am back here again!" he laughs.
"We got on really well except for wee man (Harvey) who didnít get on and he just didnít want to do it any more.
"Weíd obviously tried it several times and we were left with a decision to make. Do we just give up and forget about East 17 now because Brian doesnít want to do it, or do we go out and perform what are my songs anyway and crack on and see what happens.
"This has been the most successful it has ever been and probably the happiest we have been since about 1993. That was when the cracks started to show.
"Iíd never worked with Blair. Tel (Terry) rang me last year and suggested going back into the studio to see what happens. We went to one of his mateís studios, neutral ground, and he was mates with Blair. We recorded, ate kebabs, had a great time and Blair is a really funny guy.
"We had been thinking of having a female vocalist Ė we canít replace Brian with another guy Ė just to make it different. Blair said he would do the stuff until we sorted out a singer. But we were having such a laugh and his voice sounded so great we decided to give it a go.
"We ended up getting a record deal, at 40 years of age I didnít expect that, and we now have a single coming out which Terry wrote with Blair, so Iím thinking this is the most successful it has ever been and there is a lot of pressure off me and I am enjoying myself.
"We canít go too young as we are too old and we canít go down the jazz route because no-one would be interested. We are trying to hit somewhere in between Tinchy Stryder and Take That.
"We talk about things if there is a problem now and discuss it rather than let it boil under, we are mature enough and can talk about it. We are having fun and thatís what it is about this time.
Itís about nostalgia really.
"Life is too short Ė it is so quick. One minute you are in a pop band as a teenager and the next you are 40 doing a revival. What??"
The band reformed in 2010, and have recorded a new album with top-line production team Tinman Productions, consisting of Sparx and Jo'90' Lawrence, and are now signed to FOD Records worldwide.
Founded in 1992, the group's name came from the postcode for Walthamstow. East 17 notched up some 18 Top 20 singles and four Top 10 albums, and were one of the most famous acts in the world during the early to mid 90s selling some 20 million records across Europe as opposed to Take That's 19 million!
In contrast to the wholesome boy band image, East 17 were seen as a grittier and more 'real', blending rap and pop in songs such as House of Love and Steam, and also tackled political issues with tracks like Let It Rain.
In 1994, they scored a UK Number 1 single with Stay Another Day, which remained at the top for five weeks.