“Liverpool is a chaos town”: Matt Willis of Busted describes an encounter in the city that changed his life and will never forget.


The moment Matt Willis’s life changed in Liverpool and will never forget has been told.

The artist, who was a member of the pop punk band Busted, soared to fame more than 20 years ago. The band’s discord in 2005 resulted from Matt’s decision to grow up in the spotlight, and he also courageously disclosed his struggles with addiction in a BBC documentary that aired last year.

But the band got back together in 2015, and Matt revealed to the ECHO in an exclusive interview that Busted is stronger than ever as they get ready for a run of summer concerts. Matt told the ECHO that performing in front of such large crowds with bandmates James Bourne and Charlie Simpson is still an honor. The quartet is scheduled to perform at Haydock Races on July 20.

“It’s not lost on me that twenty years is a long time to be in the music business these days,” the 41-year-old stated. It amazes me that I’m still employed here.

“I’ve got so many mates who are incredible musicians in great bands who have come and gone and for some reason we’re still doing this and it still resonates.”

Recently, Busted started a hugely popular 20th anniversary tour, and Matt said he was astounded by the level of support, with the arena performances selling out in a matter of minutes. The band’s nostalgic appeal, according to the bassist, is the reason why listeners still find the music so compelling.

“I believe there’s something about that period of your life,” he remarked. I can sense it when you can remember a period of your life when you didn’t have to worry about anything except whether or not someone liked you at school.

“There’s something about being able to travel back in time and experience that again. That was the main focus of the 20th anniversary tour.”

Looking back on the band’s legendary career in music, Matt stated all of the members had grown and learned to set aside their differences. “It was an odd time to grow up in that world, from 16 to 21,” he continued.

At some point, I believe we all grew apart, and now that we’re back, we understand what that means. You become stronger through adversity, and the same is true for us.

“At the time, I don’t think we truly appreciated the success because you were always judged by your next single and had to worry about what other people thought of you.” None of that matters to me now.

“All I want to do is enjoy myself and do awesome stuff. And so do the other two. We want to do activities that fulfill us with excitement and significance. Busted consists of four people, as I have always stated. James, Busted, Charlie, and I are all there. We’ve got to look after that person because he’s the perpetually generous offering.”

Matt remarked, “It’s kind of like a weird little marriage,” adding that he will always be proud of his affiliation with the band. I’m still Matt from Busted; that’s my official title, whatever we do. Charlie from Busted is still Charlie, even though he is free to do as he pleases.

“Even when he have little dirty affairs with other things, we’ll still always come back to our home.”

Together with his wife Emma Willis, Matt has expanded his presenting profession from the success of his singing career.

During their visit to Liverpool this week for the Cunard Queen Anne naming ceremony, Matt mentioned how much he always enjoys being in the city. “The people there are just cool,” he remarked. I adore people because they are so awesome and eager to have fun.”

Living in Surrey, Matt recalled many happy times visiting Liverpool in the early days of Busted: “When I was on tour, Liverpool was always one of those places I really looked forward to.” It was the best night out, if I may say so myself.

Matt expressed how much he always loves being in the city during their trip to Liverpool this week for the Cunard Queen Anne christening ceremony. He said, “The people there are just cool.” People are so amazing and ready to have fun, which is why I adore them.”

As a Surrey resident, Matt remembered fond memories of his early days with Busted spent touring Liverpool: “Liverpool was always one of those places I really looked forward to.” I may claim that it was the greatest night out.

But in the end, Busted prevailed because so many of their supporters purchased physical copies of the Greatest Hits 2.0 record. Matt stated he would always cherish the moment he learned of the accomplishment. “It was the one thing we hadn’t done, but we did it,” he continued. Charlie held the top trophy in his hand when we took the stage that evening to play Liverpool.

“I will always remember that particular time in my life. It holds a particular place in my heart and always will since it was one of the nicest experiences I’ve ever experienced in Liverpool.”

Now that he’s added more experience to his strong resume, Matt is eager to start the next phase of his life. The second season of his podcast On the Mend premiered this month, and he will be hosting the UK version of Love Is Blind with Emma when it debuts on Netflix this summer.

In the episode, Matt continues his courageous work of bringing attention to addiction while speaking with inspirational people about how they overcame adversity. Matt claims he has never been in a better place in his personal sobriety journey and is committed to eliminate the stigma associated with getting treatment for addiction issues.

“I will never not be who I am,” he declared. Right now, I’m at a great position with it, but I need to hang onto it. The terrible thing is that the moment I take my foot off the throttle, I accidentally step on the opposite pedal. My level of fear has decreased.

“I don’t feel like I’m as susceptible to drugs and alcohol as I have always been. Working in this field, interacting with people, researching topics, and speaking with experts in the field of rehabilitation has made me feel much stronger.”

Matt explained that maintaining his sobriety is crucial to him because it is the only thing that has allowed him to start again and develop a joyful family life with Emma and their three kids. “Recovery has to come first because without it, everything falls apart,” he stated. Family comes next, and everything else comes last.

I put a lot of effort into my connections, and I’m incredibly proud of them. And it’s what allows me to continue with everything else.

“My kids are the thing I’m most proud of and the fact I’m still married, which is a mind melter.” “How have I pulled that off?” he laughed. She’s much above my pay grade.”


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