Boyzine – celebrating the forgotten boy bands of the 90s

November 9, 2008

The girl band who were boys

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Kate Perris @ 9:21 pm

Austin Drage’s departure from the X Factor makes this a good time to revisit the Honeytraps, the band he fronted as part of the reality TV show Boys Will Be Girls. The show’s premise was that former boy band members would form a supergroup but the obligatory twist was revealed early on in that they would have to pass themselves off as a girl group. Then 19 year old Austin supposedly qualified for this due to having been in a boy band called 5boyz although they don’t seem to have ever been signed and he achieved more as an actor (like most people who have passed through stage school in Britain, he had appeared in the Bill and Casualty.) Nevertheless, it’s not hard to see why they would be willing to overlook the obscurity of his boy band past: the other two (Russ from Scooch and Martin from the Fast Food Rockers) were too rough to pass as women, especially Russ who requires the full bag of digital tricks in the above video to hide his rugged jawline, instant 5 o’clock shadow and trucker physique.

Nevertheless Russ managed to make a comeback to go on to brief fame as part of the Scooch reunion for Britain’s 2007 Eurovision entry. Here again Russ is upstaged by a more camp rival who gets the “would you like something to suck on during landing?” line.

Martin from the Fast Food Rockers’ previous career high was being upstaged by a moonwalking blue velvet dog in the group’s only hit, and again, he didn’t get the line about sauces. He returned to his bar job after the show.

Austin (perhaps being younger and without the history of fixed grins and primary colours of the other two) was less game and refused to stop going to the gym and give up his manly physique so as to look better in frocks. However, it was inspiring to see that overall, no one was threatened by appearing as women and that they all got behind the project.

In addition to producing the above video the band have to appear live at a holiday camp and convince holidaying families that they are in fact a girl group. This seemed unlikely however it has to be said that the performance did take place in a very darkened room and that the band were at a considerable distance from the audience of not very critical families. Nevertheless they pull it off and maybe some of the dads had their minds broadened after the reveal.

The video was shown to 3 music business types to see if they noticed anything about the video and while when pressed harder to identify anything unusual 2 of the 3 did raise the gender issue the experiment was judged a success. Austin failed to weep copiously at the Honeytraps’ achievement (apparently this had not yet become his trademark). Perhaps while in drag he learned to hold back the tears as truly waterproof mascara isn’t a reality just yet.

It was great to see a band set a realistic goal such as convincing a few people that they were girls instead of a less realistic goal such as extended careers (although the single did reach no 24 in the download chart on its online only release). Austin’s X Factor comments about Wembley suggest unfortunately that his personal ambitions may not be so modest but whether he achieves them or not hopefully his role in this vastly entertaining TV show won’t hold him back.


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