In the wake of The Wanted splitting up because they couldn't manage to get along properly, we asked Boyzone’s Shane Lynch, 37, to tells us what it’s like being one-fifth of one of Ireland’s longest-running boy bands. Is it really that tough?

"I’ve been in a boy band for more than 20 years. That’s a hell of a long time.

The biggest misconception about boy bands is that people – usually men – just think they’re rubbish. There’s nothing rubbish about them – they’re just not your thing. And maybe the girl you’re seeing likes one of the members. That’s the male ego. It’s territorial.

When I was 16 years old, working as a car mechanic, I fancied a particular girl and I remember hearing that she liked some guy, Robbie Williams. That was the first time I ever heard about Take That. I called him every name under the sun; I was furious. So when guys would get aggressive with me later on, I knew where they were coming from.

It’s often a little bit scary. Imagine being in a nightclub and knowing there are a lot of dudes there who you’ve never met that just don’t like you. You can see the hate. That’s a horrible feeling. I’m not a little fella so I was never that intimated. But some of the guys would stay in their rooms and wouldn’t go out. They developed a fear of people.

It’s sad that some people never realise this and end up getting cocooned. That’s what leads to drink and drugs. And madness. Being in a boy band, you already live in an unrealistic world. It’s a bubble. When you use drugs to get away from it, you’re basically tipping on to an unreality inside an unreality; a bubble inside a bubble.

It’s hard to see disharmony in a boy band because everyone’s so good at putting on a front. There were times in Boyzone when I’d be having a blazing row with the other lads just before a journalist walked in. Then suddenly we’re all high fives and handshakes. You get groups forming in bands like that. Two or three can pair off together. Sometimes you’ll have one member who gets frozen out because no one gets on with them.

If you don’t get on, it can’t show on stage. In public you’ve got to be 100% positive because you’re dealing with a lot of impressionable young fans’ emotional well-being. You have to make everything look lovely and dreamlike because that’s what it is to the fans: a dream. If you’re showing them that one member doesn’t get?on with another, you’re crushing their dream. You only learn that later in life when people tell you they were getting bullied in school and their Boyzone album was all they had. Imagine that: everything someone is relying on for strength could come falling down just because a couple of guys can’t get on with each other.

The key to everything is this: sometimes, no matter what you do, you just need to go home and drink a beer with the lads. If you can keep the friends you had as a kid, they will help you.

They’ll hold you down and keep you sane. Otherwise, when you inevitably come to the end of your career, you’ll crash and burn. You need your friends around to say, “Oi, dickhead. Calm down.”

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