The Ryes – singer Paul Canning and keyboardist/songwriter Dan Williams, both 30 – are rehearsing in north-west London with the three other members of the band, guitarist James Singer, bassist Dave Troke and drummer Mark Pusey.
These are the people Chris Evans believes will be "volcanic" and Alex Zane considers to be on the brink of huge success. "If people want to call us an overnight success, that's fine by us," says Williams. "It's the word success I like most. And if it arrives, hey, it'll have been a long time coming."
Like all good overnight success stories, The Ryes' tale has a history. Long before their joyful debut single "How Come Loretta", a witty, poppy reimagining of the Loretta in The Beatles' "Get Back", became the toast of daytime radio, there was death to contend with, depression, and a full decade of slog before anyone deigned to take any notice of them at all.
Williams and Canning met in 1994 in their native Essex. Within a few years of leaving school, they formed their first band, Tomcats, and soon secured a deal with Virgin. They also got a support slot on the Mel C tour (Williams dated the former Spice Girl for seven months). Tomcats' debut single, "Crazy", out at the turn of the century, reached No 42 in the charts. A week later, they were dropped. "We learnt so many lessons about the music industry in that week," Canning says.
Williams relocated to Eastbourne after his mother died of cancer in 2005, and became a care worker in a home for abused children. The time proved redemptive, and he returned to songwriting; his songs retained the ebullience of those he'd been writing for Tomcats, although the lyrics were increasingly dark.
A year later, they anointed themselves The Ryes after Williams's favourite book, The Catcher in the Rye, and they signed to 14th Floor in June. "All we want now," Canning says, "is to go the distance."
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