In Britain, Busted are headlining stadiums. In America, the pop-punk trio are playing parking lots outside stadiums. So which do they prefer? Prepare to be surprised.
"It's awesome at gigs here, because you kind of have to win the crowd over," bassist Matt Jay said recently. "Like in England, it's awesome and stuff, but we could just go 'Bugger!' and they would go 'Yeah!' Which is awesome, but here, you really have to work hard."
"It's nice to kind of see the first-time reaction of the crowds again," guitarist James Bourne added. "It's like it's a little déjà vu of when we started out."
Busted, who started out just three years ago, have been playing their first shows in America this summer in preparation for their Stateside self-titled debut, which is due October 12.
The album contains tunes from both of Busted's U.K. releases, mainly produced by British hitmaker Steve Power (Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue), as well as some material produced by the Matrix, the production team behind Avril Lavigne and Liz Phair's biggest hits.
"It got suggested that we might work well with them, but we were kind of hesitant because they have that kind of 'star-maker' sort of thing on them," Jay said. "We are writers and we really don't want to be forced into doing anything that we didn't want to do, but we decided to go and work with them. And whatever they are labeled as, they are not — whatsoever."
Busted, which also includes singer/guitarist Charlie Simpson, were initially labeled a boy band (with "American Idol"'s Simon Cowell wanting to sign them) before coming out with a punkier sound on their second U.K. LP. Their U.S. label is marketing them as "a pop act not afraid to rock out, and a rock band not afraid to embrace the finer points of pop."
Their first U.S. single, "What I Go to School For," is hitting radio outlets this week but has been available for a few months on a mini-CD attached to fountain-soda lids given away at Sbarro pizza restaurants.
"It's awesome," Jay said, using what is seemingly his favorite word. "But don't put [the lid] in your CD player in your car because I made that mistake and it just swallowed it and ruined the CD player. So don't do that."
"What I Go to School For" was also Busted's first single in the U.K., where it debuted at #3 on the British charts in 2002.
"It's about fancying your teacher ... and she is fit," Jay said.
"And in the video, she is not so fit, but that is all that we could find," added Simpson with a grin.
"In the video we took a slightly abstract approach," Jay explained. "We didn't want the typical sort of porn-star-looking girl. We went for the 'Why would they necessarily fancy that?' [approach]. And that's the different thing you see."
"A bit of sarcasm," Simpson added.