Paul Cattermole was the endearing wild card in S Membership 7’s peppy pop pack | Michael Cragg

In the post-Spice Ladies pure pop growth, the all-singing, all-dancing S Membership 7 got here to epitomise a sure flip of the millennium optimism. Their songs have been peppy, sugary and loaded with gleeful generalities about reaching for the celebrities and forgetting about your cares. For almost all of their lineup, and for many of the pop stars on the time, touchdown a spot in a pop act was the fulfilment of a childhood dream, or the proper probability to flee an earthly job. S Membership member Bradley McIntosh, for instance, was working in a Pizza Hut when he received the decision. For Paul Cattermole, the band’s most enigmatic member, who died on 6 April aged 46, there was no clamouring for an audition. He was scouted at his musical theatre faculty – at a time when his first rock band have been enjoying small exhibits – and thrust into the world of pop.

Even within the group’s official guide, 7 Heaven, launched in 2001 after the band had scored seven Prime 3 singles in a row and starred in three vastly profitable CBBC TV exhibits, Cattermole’s description of being picked for the band is matter-of-fact: “I used to be requested to audition for the band and I received in – it’s so simple as that!”

Pieced collectively by Simon Fuller (the S within the identify refers to him), whereas the svengali was nonetheless licking his wounds following his sacking by the Spice Ladies, every member of the band had a task to play. Whereas Jo O’Meara and McIntosh dealt with the vast majority of the vocals, Cattermole’s function – exterior of being a roguish Smash Hits heartthrob with a goatee – was to be “enthusiastic”, as he put it in a 2019 interview with the Guardian. The restrictive nature of the pop machine would typically rub up towards Cattermole’s want for one thing extra: “Prime of the Pops journal, Smash Hits, all this type of stuff was large: ‘So Paul, what’s your favorite color?’ Please! Ask me in regards to the idea of relativity!”

Described in 7 Heaven as “a little bit of thinker”, he was typically the one who cared in regards to the band’s notion. After the superb, disco-tinged Don’t Cease Movin’ earned them a slither of credibility – helped by Cattermole, McIntosh and Jon Lee being arrested for smoking weed in central London, resulting in copious “Spliff Membership 7” headlines – it was Cattermole, realising the possibility the band needed to transfer past DayGlo kid-friendly pop, who pushed for the follow-up single to be equally as thrilling. He didn’t get his means.

Talking to me for a guide in regards to the pop of the period, former Smash Hits journalist Hannah Verdier informed me Cattermole cared greater than most of his friends in regards to the business across the band: “After they did Don’t Cease Movin’, we have been on the TV present CD:UK and Paul was telling everybody it was behaving like a No 1 document. He was going into the mechanics of it.”

Paul Cattermole in 2019.
Paul Cattermole in 2019. {Photograph}: David Levene/The Guardian

Maybe it was inevitable that, in 2002, after three albums in three years, two Brit awards, the spin-off TV exhibits and the spin-off mini-me band S Membership Juniors, Cattermole hopped off the S Membership 7 conveyor belt. Eager to concentrate on his pre-S Membership nu-metal challenge Skua, he informed the Solar he needed “a change musically”. Sadly, success was fleeting and Skua break up a yr later, just for one other reunion in 2014 to be scuppered by the return of S Membership 7 and a subsequent area tour.

The cash constituted of that tour, Cattermole revealed in 2018, was used to cowl his spiralling money owed. He additionally revealed he’d tried to promote each of his Brit awards on eBay. After dabbling in radio, theatre and tarot studying, Cattermole was on account of reunite with S Membership 7 once more later this yr for a sold-out area tour marking the band’s twenty fifth anniversary.

It generally appeared that Cattermole felt his life had been overly outlined by S Membership 7. “It was 5 years of my life,” he told The Guardian in 2019. “I undoubtedly thought, after I was 20, that by the point I used to be 40 it might be a executed factor. And it’s not … I’ve been answering S Membership questions for 20 years.”

However because the band’s unknowable entity, there was one thing magnetic about him. Vibrant on stage however quiet off, cheeky but in addition lethal severe, he performed each nice pop band’s greatest function: the wild card. “It’s so essential to recollect how nice so many issues in regards to the band have been,” he mentioned in 2019, conscious of the nostalgia he instilled in a era of younger pop followers now all grown up. “That point in folks’s lives. That optimistic time.”

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