Boyband, 911 had one reason to form a pop group….women!
Dancers Simon ‘Spike’ Dawbarn and Jimmy Constable were already minor celebrities with a regular slot on the Pete Waterman show The Hit Man and Her.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow dancer Jason Orange, the pair started the search for their lead singer.
Jimmy says, “The sooner we can find some vocal talent the sooner we can get on the road and find some women, that’s all we were in it for. “
They recruited singer Lee Brennan and four years later the trio hit the big time with their hit single ‘Bodyshakin’.
Lee adds, “Our manager always said, ‘This is your image as a clean cut boy band.’ And he did tell us no girlfriends and all that stuff at the start, which obviously we ignored. Jimmy was naughty, Spike was the naughtiest, he was a dirty one!”
Spike adds, “We were just up all night with the women and drinking.”
Jimmy admits, “I was like a walking hormone. There’s been many occasions where we woke up thinking I don’t know what went on last night, all I know is there are two women in my bed, I don’t know who they are, what their names are but I’ve just called a taxi for them.“
After one particular raucous night of partying in strict Muslim country Bahrain the trio were almost arrested and faced deportation from the country.
Spike explains, “(The authorities) ended up taking us to the stage, putting us on stage and then driving us straight to the tarmac of the airport and deporting us.“
However, their hectic working schedules and partying were beginning to take their toll and whilst they were topping the charts, behind the scenes the trio were struggling to cope.
Spike reveals, “We had about ten days off in three years. Looking back then it was basically like being in prison.”
Jimmy adds, “It was getting ridiculous. We were getting to photo shoots and it was like, ‘How can you put me in the magazine when I can’t even open my eyes?’ The pressures of fame do affect you and no matter how good the friendship is eventually the music business will take over you.”
Lee confesses, “I remember crying and just saying, ‘I can’t cope with it all.’”
Jimmy also admits he was beginning to feel resentful of Lee’s ‘front man’ status.
He says, “Even though you know you have a lead singer for the band I think I started to think, ‘I wouldn’t mind a bit of this.’ I probably was resenting him and wanting a bit more of the action I suppose. We did some promotion out in America in a radio station. I remember walking out this kind of corridor and he (Lee) said something and basically I lost it. It almost turned into a brawl but Spike calmed it down.”
As each of the band mates battled their demons, Lee and Spike decided that their Greatest Hits tour would be the end of 911.
Jimmy admits, “Spike and Lee decided to drop this massive bombshell and I was completely gob smacked and gut wretched. I think I went to my room and usual thing, got the Jack Daniels out.”
Spike reveals, “We knew we’d reached our peak and we were kind of that little decline and we thought, ‘It’s best getting out at the top.’”