Westlife's Shane on why the band has a bright future

They've just launched their latest sell-out world tour, their last album was a massive success and they have more fans than ever so why are people writing off Westlife just because one member has called it a day?

Since Bryan McFadden quit the band four weeks ago, speculation has been rife it was the end of the road for the Irish balladeers. But according to ladies' favourite Shane Filan, 24, quitting has never been further from the remaining foursome's minds.

He said: 'We're all very positive, we're very determined to show the world we're not like the Spice Girls or Take That. People thought we were splitting up a year and a half ago we didn't. We did a very successful album and now we're doing a big tour on the back of it. The media always try to make out it's going to be over for us it's happening again and we've got to fight it.

'Obviously Bryan leaving was a big shock but now we're going to defy the odds again. That's our plan. We want to stick around for the next five years. We enjoy it too much to stop. Bryan wasn't happy but the rest of us were so there's no point in stopping.

'We feel we've really got a point to prove, to show the world we can do it as a four piece.

Bryan not being there is hard but we've got to get on with it. The tour helped we went straight from the press conference to rehearsals so didn't have time to sit around thinking about it.'

While Shane won't quit the band like Bryan, he does understand why the father-of-two felt he had to turn his back on them.

He said: 'There are a lot of reasons why Bryan left. Just being in a band made him unhappy.

When you're in a band people tell each other, 'We've got to do this or that'. Bryan didn't like that. He wanted to live his own life. He felt he'd done enough of Westlife, he'd done his six years and that was enough for him.

'It's like being in a football team, you have your position on the pitch like we have our positions in the band. Some people hang up their boots eventually, that's just the way it goes. In fairness to him, he was unhappy for quite a few months, he was missing his family and wasn't getting to see a lot of them.

'He thought he should chill out for six months or a year, spend time with his family and maybe do his own thing. We have to respect that decision, we can't hold somebody.'

Shane's empathy for Bryan perhaps comes from his love of his own family he married childhood sweetheart Gillian Walsh, 24, in December at Ballintubber Abbey, County Mayo.

He said: 'Gillian and I have been together for six years. Being in a long-term relationship helps keep your feet on the ground and your head grounded. It lets you concentrate on your work and go back to your happy, normal life. I've always tried to keep life as normal as possible but it's never going to be totally normal because of the fans, success and money we've made.

'But it's not about the money, it's about a happy life. Bryan made a lot of money but he wasn't happy so didn't want to continue making money he wanted to stop and be happy. That's a good way to understand how he was feeling.'

Shane is convinced the stability of his home life is vital to his happiness and helps him cope with the pressures of fame.

He said: 'Being married has been a big help. We've always broken the rules in Westlife if we had girlfriends we said we did, we never lied. If we wanted to get married we didn't hide it from the fans. I think it's very important we did that.

'Gillian is my solid rock. Whatever has happened, whatever may be getting me down, she's always been there for me. I chose to live the one-girl life and that's kept me sane. It kept meaway from all the nonsense you can get involved in. If fans aren't happy with that they just have to deal with it we have to be sane at the end of the day and have to have as much of a normal life as possible for Westlife to continue.

'If that means one of us getting married, if that makes that person happy, then people should support and respect that. It makes us happier as a band and makes the band last longer.'

And lasting longer seems to be Westlife's sole aim. It's clear Shane is fired up for their next assault on the music world.

He said: 'We're in a strong position after the last album. It was a make-or-break record if it wasn't successful we probably would have called it a day. The fact it worked so well made us determined to do another one.

'We're doing the duets album next, working with legends such as Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. That's because our fan base has got a lot older recently we see a lot of housewives going daft at the gigs on a girls' night out. We want to give them the songs they loved when they were younger. It's good to cover all the angles.

'We're already planning dates for next year's tour and if the duets album is successful, we'll do a straight Westlife album after that. We'll keep making albums as long as we keep selling them.

'There is no definite shelf life for us now because our fan base's age group has grown so much. When they stop coming to the concerts, we'll stop making albums.'

It looks like Westlife will be making albums for quite some time -their latest tour's Glasgow dates sold out as soon as tickets went on sale. And while many pop stars moan about life on the road, Shane laps up the lifestyle.

He said: 'Touring is the most enjoyable part of Westlife you get to have more fun. You're doing the same gig every night so in a way you know you're going to go on and do a good show. It's a great buzz to go on stage every night for an hour and a half because you've worked so hard doing months of preparation before it. When you finally get to perform in front of people it's a really good feeling.

'Being away on tour is something we're all used to. We tour for three or four months every year and it's the best part of the year. You get to have every day off and do a gig at night. You can play golf, relax, go shopping, do whatever you want to do during the day.

'Luckily with the likes of Glasgow we get to play six shows so we're there for over a week you get to live in a city for a while and see the sights. You can settle a bit before you move on to the next place.'

And despite their whiter than white image, Shane reveals the boys have good memories of partying in Glasgow and they plan to hit the clubs again. He said: 'We're not mad party animals but we like to have a drink every now and then.

We usually wait until the weekend and go out after the show.

'We try to keep it to twice a week on the first tour we were out six nights a week. Now we realise you have to look after yourself and take care of your voice.

'Glasgow is a great town, it's very like Belfast when it comes to the crowd. They just go daft. We love going to Glasgow, it's a great night out afterwards as well. We're really looking forward to getting up there because the show is the best show we've done so far.'

Shane insists he hasn't considered his future beyond the band even in the wake of Bryan's departure.

He said: 'It hasn't made me consider my own long-term options because you can always go solo but can't always be in Westlife. You can only be in Westlife as long as it's successful and the fans are enjoying it. When the going is good you don't end it you go and do other stuff afterwards.

'Singing is what I'm good at. I've always liked it. If the band does end someday I'd like to keep singing but it's not something I'm thinking about. We're concentrating on the band now more than ever.

'Some day I will have time to sit down and think about what I want to do after Westlife. may want to start building houses or buying property or getting into different areas of life.

'There are lots of other ways of being happy and making a living. Either way, I'll be singing whether it's on MTV or in the pub down the road, I'll be singing somewhere.'