Monday, April 15, 2024

Pop Group 5 Seconds of Summer Burned in Interview: Attacks Justin Bieber, Alludes to Wild Sex Parties, Features Heavy Drinking, Sex Toys


I can think of at least two times pop bands were badly mangled by Rolling Stone: a piece by the intrepid Lynn Hirschberg on Hall & Oates, and the fictional story by Patrick Fugit’s William on Billy Crudup’s band Stillwater in Cameron Crowe’s movie “Almost Famous.” The results were devastating.

Now we can add Patrick Doyle’s take down of Aussie group 5 Seconds of Summer. Doyle throws them on the ‘barbie and lets them grill until they are so overcooked there may be no coming back. 5SOS’s manager Matt Emsell also allowed the four lads to be photographed for the cover of Rolling Stone naked– yes, naked, in their birthday suits.

For a band whose bread and butter ticket sales is teen girls, young teen girls, this has set off fireworks on the internet. 5SOS, it seems, has been snookered into saying horrible things about girls, their fans, Justin Bieber, and just about anyone else you can think of.

Doyle: They were wildest on their early tours, when they’d go to bars to mingle with fans after shows. “When you put four young dudes on a tour bus, playing theaters, then arenas, you’re going to have sex with a lot of girls, I guess,” says [heart-throb Luke] Hemmings. “We had a good time.” Multiple girls in one night? “I feel like I shouldn’t say,” he says with a smirk. “You could say the possibility of that is high.” Multiple girls at the same time? “The possibility is high,” he says again. He cracks a devilish grin. “The possibilities are endless.”

That the manager of this group hasn’t been fired, or sued, for letting this article happen is unbelievable. Doyle’s entire story is pitched to make 5SOS seem like Spinal Tap — idiots who lucked into something, are living a life of debauchery, and are soon to be returned to their native Australia. They drink and smoke through the entire episode, and one of them– Clifford– reveals that he suffers from severe depression and has tried to go home without much luck.

Among the revelations less salacious but kind of interesting: they are now managed by Modest, the same London company that oversees rivals One Direction. Indeed, according to Doyle, One Direction has a 50% stake in 5SOS. The original manager, who sold out his share, recalls a calculated master plan to make the boys famous in a year. (Seems this naif was conned in this story, too.)

The portrayal of Hemming’s girlfriend, named Arzaylea, a 21 year old trust fund groupie, is beyond hilarious. Doyle: As Hemmings talks in my ear, she keeps her hand on his pants, rubbing his leg. They met at a get-together in L.A. three months ago. The party was “really bad,” but Hemmings was impressed when she told him her favorite band was an Arizona emo group the Maine. He invited her to 5SOS’s house around 3 a.m., and they’ve been together ever since. He tried to keep their relationship secret for weeks, getting out of cars separately to avoid the paparazzi, but tonight it seems like he’s given up. “It’s hard,” he says. “One of the weird things is you want it to be a secret, but you don’t want it to be a secret.” 

And then there’s the Bieber episode. According to Doyle, Capitol Records has put 5SOS in a Bel Air mansion a la “Entourage,” party central. When they occasionally leave, they get in trouble.

Doyle: Clifford and Hemmings hit their friend Nick Jonas’ party, then crashed one thrown by Justin Bieber at their favorite bar, the Nice Guy. They didn’t talk to Bieber – “I think he hates us,” says Clifford – but they had a good time. “It was fucking crazy, people standing on tables and shit,” he continues. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but he had his own album on loop for, like, two or three hours.” Clifford ended up in Beverly Hills at the Weeknd’s house party, which was so exclusive that the pool area had its own bouncer. Drummer Ashton Irwin – the band’s oldest and perhaps most responsible member – had been there earlier but left shortly after he was jostled up against a wall as Diddy and his crew pushed through the entrance.

Bieber — not exactly a member of Mensa himself — responded on Twitter of course, immediately.

bieber 5SOSWhat happens next? Twitter is also burning with comments from teen fans who are disappointed and confused. In one swoop, 5SOS has eviscerated its core audience. They didn’t want to be called a boy band, or appeal to young girls. Now they may have to find a whole new group of adoring fans.

So where was management? Where was a publicist? Who was minding this store? Rolling Stone, now lacking editorial integrity after their University of Virgina rape story debacle, must be thrilled they got this story.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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