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Nicky Byrne relives the bar room bust-up as he tried to get truth about McFadden's solo career and why he reckons his pal's marriage was doomed to fail Exclusive

WESTLIFE'S Nicky Byrne squared up to former bandmate Brian McFadden in a bar over his former bandmate's decision to go solo.

Nicky pulled up McFadden - who topped the charts recently with solo single Real To Me - as they downed pints together in Norway.

When the subject turned to Brian's solo career, the tipsy Westlife star demanded to know the real reason behind his pal's decision to walk out on the million- selling group.

Nicky admitted: 'When he quit he told us he didn't want to go solo. Then I met him in Norway recently. By then he'd already launched his new solo career.

'We were having a few drinks and I brought the question up.The fans want to know the truth and so do I.

'I said, 'Come on, man.You told us what you told us and we all went with it. Yet a couple of weeks later you've got a solo record out'. I wasn't being aggressive but I was determined to get it out of him.

'But he stuck to his story, saying, 'Nicky, I swear to God I wanted to go home and be with my kids'. He told me: 'I knew I'd probably go solo at some stage in my life, but in 18 months or two years. I didn't know I was going to go solo so soon.

'I just knew that I couldn't carry on in Westlife when there were the four of you to think of all the time and I couldn't make the decisions I wanted to make'.

'He was very honest and I suppose he made sense in the end. He felt his solo career meant he could cancel promotion to go home and be with his kids and it would beon his own head. He wouldn't have to p**s his bandmates off.'

McFadden has recently split from his 24-year old wife Kerry, who has moved in with her mum to look after their young two daughters Nicky is convinced McFadden was being naive to expect to hold his marriage together after launching a solo career so soon after Westlife.

'If he had chilled out for a year he probably have benefited in his private life but it would have been harder to come back,' Nicky told me. 'He felt he had to strike while the iron was hot. It was one of the biggest decisions of his career and he was naive to think that he could go solo and see his family.

'I don't really think Brian realised he was being naive.

'If he really wants to be a major success, he has to put more work in now than he would if he was in Westlife, because he is starting all over again.'

THE band have put paid to the persistent rumours that they are on the verge of splitting by lining up a 2005 UK tour which includes a Scottish date at Glasgow's SECC on March 10.

On Monday,Westlife release a download track Ain't That A Kick In The Head, while their latest album Allow Us To Be Frank, is released on November 8.

The Rat Pack themed album features classics performed by Sinatra and his legendary colleagues as well as Fifties classics such as Nat King Cole's When I Fall In Love.

Nicky shrugged off claims Westlife are copying Robbie Williams, who enjoyed phenomenal success with his album Swing When You're Winning in 2003.

He insisted: 'We're known as crooners in our own field because we are a boy band who do ballads and get a certain amount of female attention.

'And although we'll never be the real and authentic Rat Pack, we also have a ball on stage and travel the world.

'It doesn't matter to us that Robbie Williams did this. He is just one person and, yes, people have accused us of copying him.

'But there are plenty of people who have done these kind of albums in the past and people like Michael Buble are doing it now. There'll be people wanting to make this kind of music in the future.

'Robbie did it well and we tried to make sure that we also did our best.

'We put a 75-piece orchestra together and I'm not afraid to say that these boys are as good and probably better than the boys who played originally. That's how confident we are.

'This is our version of these songs and the feedback so far has been one hundred per cent positive.'

Of course, the question has to be asked, which one of Westlife could hold his drink like Dean Martin, whether one has connections to rival Frank Sinatra, or the comedic timing of Joey Bishop, for that matter the playboy charm of Peter Lawford or the nifty footwork of Sammy Davis Jr? With a nervous laugh, Nicky admits: 'There have been a few jokes like that. But none of us has said 'I'm going to be Joey Bishop or Sammy Davis Jr'.

'But we all got into character, did the twang and took what we could from all of them.

'Frank being the chairman of the Rat Pack, we picked the cheeky title Allow UsTo Be Frank.

'But it isn't just Rat Pack songs on there. We had a lot of fun recording Clementine for example and the likes of When I Fall In Love.'

He added: 'Look at Rod Stewart. He has had a fantastic career doing original music and he's packing arenas out in the States.

'It's what people want. If they didn't want it he wouldn't be as successful as he is.

'We have met Rod a few times.We're always playing with him in the soccer sixes.We know that at some point we will do a duet with him, depending on the timing and the song.

'In the meantime, hopefully, this album will be successful and we can go back and do Rat Pack II.'

Source: Dailyrecord

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