James Bourne is the hit-writing, former Busted member, former Son Of Dork member, genius behind the album, Welcome To Loserville. Elliot Davis is the super-talented musician who has worked with James to develop Loserville: The Musical.
After a successful stint with the Youth Music Theatre in Bracknell, the show has got bigger and better and will open at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds later this month (running from 18 June – 14 July).
A musical mash-up about dating, binary and staying true to your dreams, the show stars Flecking favourites Aaron Sidwell, Gareth Gates and Chris “Lil’ Chris” Hardman.
The class of 1971 have reached their senior year. Michael, Lucas, Francis and Marvin are about to revolutionise the world when a new complication enters their life… girls. When the brilliantly clever and stunningly beautiful Holly arrives in town all of Michael’s dreams seem to be coming true, but arch nemesis Eddie has his sights on stealing Michael’s perfect girl and taking all the credit for his world changing ideas.
We caught up with James and Elliot to find out about the show, their solo projects and to determine just how cool/nerdy they really are…
How did you guys meet?
James: We met on a tennis court. He was playing tennis – I didn’t know them, I wanted to play tennis, so I walked over to the tennis court and watched them play tennis, hoping they would let me play tennis.
And did you let him, Elliot?
Elliot: [joking] No! James lived in the same block that I lived in, and in the grounds there are tennis courts, so we played tennis – and we knew all the same people in the music industry.
So how did the musical come about?
James: Elliot had the idea of doing it and we’d spoken about it a few times. We met with John Bromwich from YMT (Youth Music Theatre) and he put the show on for us.
Elliot: Once we had an opening night, we knew we had something to aim for – we knew we had to get it written for that opening night. We put the best team together, which has stayed with us to here, and those are people who have worked on big movies [like] Mamma Mia – Martin Lowe, Steven Dexter… really good people in the industry – so once we put the team together we knew we could do the show and then we opened it in Bracknell.
Give us the gist of the plot.
Elliot: It’s about a kid in 1971. He gets two school computers and he has a dream: If I could just send a message from one computer to another, I could change the world. Well, we know that’s email, but back then it was like time travel – it didn’t exist. People laugh at him because he doesn’t know how to talk to girls, he’s into computers and he’s weird, but he stays true to his dream.
Was it difficult writing a plot that incorporated the songs from the Welcome To Loserville album?
James: It was a challenge. I prefer not to start with the songs – we’ve figured that one out now.
Does it include all the songs from the album?
Elliot: No, we didn’t do it like that. The album was the inspiration, the foundation …
James: The beginning!
Elliot: We actually said that if the songs aren’t right, they get cut and we write new ones. There’s the same amount of new songs as there are album songs.
James: No, there’s more – We’re Not Alone wasn’t on the album, but it’s in the show.
What’s the message of the show?
Elliot: Don’t predict the future… invent it!
What were you like at school? Were you cool? Were you nerdy?
Elliot: I was geeky, happily geeky. I played the triangle in the orchestra so I didn’t have to march up and down dressed as an army boy.
James: I was friends with everyone. I was friends with the geeks, I was friends with everyone.
Quite a cool kid then?
James: Well, I didn’t just hang around with the cool kids. I was like the go-between, I got on well with everybody.
What about in terms of hobbies?
Were you quite sporty?
James: Yeah, sport and music.
What about now?
James: The same.
[To Elliot] Do you still play the triangle?
Elliot: [laughter] No, I started out as a musician…
James: He’s a great musician!
Elliot: … I was a keyboard player in the West End doing all the shows and I started to write myself. Now, I’m much more sporty than I was at school, I really enjoy it. I’m really active – skiing, tennis… our big thing is table tennis. We’re table tennis mad.
Who’s better at it?
Elliot: I think I am.
James: I am!
Elliot: We are actually really close. He can beat me, but I can beat him.
James: Why don’t we get one set up here?
Elliot: When we did our last show, Out There, there was a table tennis table and we’d just play and play and play during rehearsals. We liked that.
James: Can we get one set up here?
Elliot: Let’s get one.
How are the rehearsals going?
James: Great! We’re on track. They’re going very very well.
Have you got a good cast?
James: A great cast!
We were so excited when we read the cast list!
Elliot: Who specifically?
We love Gareth Gates, we interviewed Aaron Sidwell a couple of years ago – he was so much fun! And Lil’ Chris is our guilty pleasure! Along with you, James, that’s everyone we loved in our teens.
James: That’s pretty much what it is!
Elliot: That’s cool. We did auditions and they went on for a long time – a long time – but everyone on the team deserves their place and they really wanted the parts. There’s some great talent on stage.
Are you planning on working on anything else together?
Elliot: We’re going to write another musical next year, but we don’t know what it’s called.
James: We’re just gonna write one.
Elliot: We know what the subject is, but we don’t know what it’s called yet. So that will happen next year.
Are you working on anything cool individually?
James: Yes, loads. Elliot is doing loads of things, I’m doing loads of things. Elliot has a movie happening with the BBC.
James: Yeah! [to Elliot] Tell them about that, it’s amazing!
Elliot: I’m writing a big feature film that the BBC are developing, and I’ve got another show in London. We’ve got Out There together, another show that we wrote. I’ve got another show in London at the Soho theatre. James has got his album project and Future Boy.
James: I’ve got a video game coming out on Facebook. Space Travellers! The album is completely done – it’s been ready for a year, I’m waiting to release it. I’ve got my first solo EP coming out, which I’m excited about.
You never seem to stop working!
James: Because I love it!
I’m only going to ask because a lot of people on Twitter have insisted I do so, they want to know if there’s going to be a Busted reunion – I already know what you’re going to say!
James: [laughing] How do you know?
Because you always say the same thing!
James: I don’t know! I don’t think about it, there are other things happening. Charlie [Simpson] is playing gigs and stuff, I just did a tour.
I love that you and Matt [Willis] have both ended up involved in musical theatre.
James: Yeah! But I don’t wanna be in musicals, I just wanna make them. I’m gonna be an artist and I’m really looking forward to getting music out. I’ve done a lot of sessions over the years, compiling some of the songs I like the most.
James, we hear you’re going to be busking in Leeds on Wednesday.
James: Yeah! I’m doing a gig in the street.
That will be funny – people who don’t know what you’re doing will be walking past thinking: How many number ones did he have? Where did it all go wrong?
James: They’ll probably be thinking: Who’s that kid?
What kind of music are you going to be playing?
James: Busted – stuff I’ve written – McFly, Son Of Dork, Future Boy, solo stuff and obviously music from Loserville, because that’s the reason for doing it – to spread awareness about Loserville.
Ok, salesman style, why should people go and see Loserville?
James: Because, there are too many reasons to come and only one reason not to come – because you didn’t know it was happening.
James: But really, if you want to see something class and you want to be blown away and leave thinking ‘what the hell did I just see?’ in a good way, come.
Elliot: It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s a new story, it’s cool.
James: Just to give you a little insight, we’ve written the show and we sit in rehearsals like this [James drops his jaw in amazement]. So people that don’t know what it is, they’re going to be entertained. Even if you don’t like it or it’s not your thing, you’ll still have a good time. It’s like that.
And finally, to determine if you guys are cool or geeky… we have a quiz! We have “cool” questions and “geeky questions” – you can answer as a team.
Who won the last World Cup?
James: Oh my God!
Elliot: Was it Spain?
Elliot: Did I get that right? My brothers are going to be so proud of me, that is unbelievable.
What is the current number one in the UK singles chart?
James: Is it… [James starts singing fun.’s We Are Young]. That’s it, right?
That is correct.
James: I love that song! Do you know what? I didn’t have a clue, I guessed it because that’s the best song out at the moment.
Elliot: Who sings that?
James: fun., they’re incredible.
Bonus point if you can tell me how they write their name… minus points if you say with a pen.
James: With a full stop.
Elliot: I would have said P-H-U-N.
James: It’s like that restaurant, Eat. They have a full stop after it. I want people to know that fun. are a great band, but they should check out Steel Train, because fun. come from two bands, The Format and Steel Train. Steel Train have a song called Black Eye, and it’s one of my favourite songs ever. So, iTunes, Steel Train, Black Eye.
There have been eight X Factor UK winners to date – can you name them. I’ll accept four.
James: This is probably really easy… Will Young.
Elliot: No, he was Pop Idol.
James: OK, Michele McManus?
Elliot: No, she was pop idol.
James: Steve Brookstein!
James: Leona Lewis.
Elliot: Joe McElderry. That other kid, Olly Murs? No, he came second…
James: Leon Jackson.
Elliot: What happened to Leon Jackson?
James: Nothing, man. Nothing.
Elliot: That’s a shame. JLS? They didn’t win? One Direction didn’t win… Who’s the guy who sang that lovely song? He’s got a good voice.
James: From the One Direction season, who is that guy?
Elliot: He sang that song… I really like him.
The guy with the hat?
Elliot: Yes! Tell me his name!
Elliot: Matt Cardle!
James: That’s who I was trying to think of – he was the most recent?
Most recently, a band won.
Elliot: Oh, the girls!
James: Little Mix! [surprised] They won?!
James: That’s so weird.
Do you know who Miley Cyrus is currently dating?
Elliot: Miley Cyrus is dating… Justin Bieber?
[James laughs a lot]
James: Steve Rushton! It’s Steve Rushton!
It’s Liam Hemsworth.
James: I thought it was Steve Rushton!
Geeky questions! How many times did Buffy die in the TV series?
Elliot: [confidently] Every episode.
I’m told it’s two…
Elliot: Two, that’s what I meant.
What is the symbol for gold on the periodic table?
In Star Wars, what do imperial ships do before jumping to hyperspace?
Elliot: Go into warp speed… Go into hyper drive!
[James laughs a lot]
James: Can you say the question again?
In Star Wars, what do imperial ships do before jumping to hyperspace?
James: Imperial ships…
I had to talk to some very nerdy people to get these questions…
Elliot: Are you sure they don’t go into hyper drive? Go on, what do they do?
They dump their rubbish.
Elliot: I’ve never heard of that…
James: I think hyper drive is more accurate.
Can you name all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
James: [immediately] Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael.
That was fast!
You got more “cool” questions right, that makes you cool.
James: And we answered them with more depth.
Elliot: But what makes us geeky is that we think we got the Star Wars one right – we’re more geeky than the geeks.
James: They go into hyper drive! They go to warp speed!
Not many people get that one right…
James: I’ve got a bit of a general knowledge question for you! Do you like Dumb and Dumber?
What does it say on Sea Bass’ hat?
Oh! [We draw a blank!]
James: Wine ‘em, dine ‘em, sixty nine ‘em. In Back To The Future, who is the man who grows pine trees?
I haven’t seen that film since I was really young…
James: Old man Peabody!
I’m due a re-watching of that one.
James: You’re always due a re-watching of that one.
Tickets for Loserville can be reserved by calling West Yorkshire Playhouse Box Office on 0113 213 7700 or by visiting www.wyp.org.uk.