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Why Click Five clicks in Manila

By Cheryl Tiu
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 18:29:00 06/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines?The first thing you will notice about the Click Five's music video for their single "Happy Birthday" are the throngs of adoring fans that go through great lengths just to see and be with the band. That, in fact, is merely a snippet of the shrieks and shoves that take place every time the Boston-based power pop band is in sight.

The Click Five has an extremely large following, especially in Asia, and it is easy to see why. The group is composed of five extremely talented and good-looking guys: vocalist Kyle Patrick, drummer Joey Zehr, keyboardist Ben Romans, guitarist Joe Guese and bassist Ethan Mentzer.

In 2005, the band released their first album, "Greetings from Imrie House" (then with former frontman Eric Dill), which landed a #15 spot on the Billboard 200 Charts immediately, making it that year's highest-charting debut from a new rock group.

Apart from the memorable singles "Just The Girl" and "Catch Your Wave," the band also toured with the likes of Ashlee Simpson, Jesse McCartney and the Backstreet Boys.

In 2007, they released their second album, "Modern Minds and Pastimes," which features the chart-topping singles "Jenny," "Happy Birthday," "Empty" and "Flipside."

Just eight months after it had performed in Manila as part of its Asian promo tour, the quintet was back recently for a larger show as part of its "Modern Minds and Great Times World Tour 2008."

It's easy to dismiss them as "just a pretty boy band" with their stylish demeanor and catchy, sing-along melodies. But after their energetic concert at the Araneta Coliseum last May 30, where each band member performed extensive and intricate instrumental solos, there is no doubt that Click Five is a group of very dedicated musicians who exhibit pure talent and dexterity, fine-tuned from their years as students at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

2bU had the chance to chat with them in an exclusive one-on-one interview at Crowne Plaza Galleria the night they arrived in the country. Even thought they were dead tired from their flight, they were friendly, accommodating and down-to-earth. They goofed around with each other, amicably introduced themselves (and made sure they got your name right), and politely apologized whenever there was some form of interruption-even if it came from a third party.

What was the creative process behind "Modern Minds and Pastimes"? How is it different from "Greetings from Imrie House"?

Ben: The second album was over a much longer period of time. We had to choose from about 80 songs [for the second album]. The first album was written kind of in a mum-it was very quick. Also, [the second album] came from a lot of traveling, a lot of ups and downs as a band. And when you go through all that stuff, it's a little stronger as a product.

What did you learn about yourselves while creating the second album?

Ethan: I think we had a better idea of what we wanted our band to be and sound like. We did have a new member but it definitely felt like we were more cohesive than ever. We're just more grown up so as you spend time together, you learn the ins and outs of each other and that comes across more in the record.

In your video for "Happy Birthday," you featured clips from your adventures/ tours in Asia-why did you decide on that?

Kyle: I think that's what we were doing at the time; we just came off that tour and probably had one of the best experiences so far playing to big crowds here and getting wonderful responses from them. We were so enthralled with the spirit of Asia as a whole that we wanted to do something with it.

Being in Asia a lot, what has fascinated you the most?

Ben: Every single day that we're here, even if it's a long day, we know that we're going to have the best dinner in our lives-that night. I'm serious, it's fantastic. So are the massages and the hospitality, especially here in the Philippines. [You guys are] very warm people.

Joe: I think the fact that it's a growing area in the world, it's the most exciting, it seems like it's ever-expanding and it seems like there's no limit as to how far it can go. That fascinates me.

Have you tried any exotic dishes?

Kyle: Sisig.

Did you like it?

Kyle: I actually thought it was okay.

Joey: Which one is this?

Kyle: Sisig... pig face and ears.

Joe: I didn't like it.

Joey: I think we actually ate it before they told us what it was. I had some of it and I thought it was okay. I thought it tasted more like seasoning, like shredded pork.

The first time you were in Manila, what struck you guys the most?

Ben: That you can drive against the traffic.

Kyle: The first time we were here... the first show we did was at a mall. We walked in and in the atrium of the mall there was an opening, four storeys, there were 10,000-15,000 people waiting there for us. And just seeing that, it being our first time in the Philippines and having that many people interested in us coming and performing there 'cause we were playing in the malls that time and we just showed up for sound check and all these people were already there. It was mind-blowing. People that just wanted to talk to us, want to say hello. Absolutely amazing. Fans have been amazing here, they sing along, they love the music so we love being here.

You guys have been touring non-stop. How do you keep that interesting?

Ethan: What gets us off onstage is enjoying it and liking what we hear. It's the level of quality and the new ideas that come out and new events that can take place.

Do you have any rituals before a show?

Kyle: I scream a lot to warm up. I have a distinct warm-up that I do before every single show for 33 minutes. It's really more of a mind game but doing that routine in a comfortable spot puts me in the right headspace.

Ben: I've been watching YouTube before performing onstage a lot recently. I'll search "Keith Richards" and see what comes up and it's really inspiring.

I saw on your official website [] that you guys have Facebook, MySpace, Friendster and Bebo. Do you read or answer any of your messages?

Kyle: I think that Facebook is a great way to stay connected with friends and fans. That's why we started Facebook and Myspace and all that to keep in touch with friends-and now, even family. My parents have Facebook and MySpace.

Joe: I have MySpace. But the reason I got it was after I broke up with this girl and I used it so I could reconnect with girls. [Laughter from everyone]

Ethan: Facebook is also great because you know which fans to look out for. At the hotel lobby, you can see them and you know that they posted 1,300 messages on your wall. Some of them may be threats. [Laughter]

What can fans expect from you guys within the year?

Kyle: Hopefully a new record. Right after this tour, we plan to get to the studio for the second half of the year. We have a lot of songs, we just have to hash them out.

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