Why did you decide to sign up to stake part in an experience as tough as Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins?
I would have been a bit crazy to not jump at a chance like this. I didn't know much about the show before I went on it, but I knew that there was an element of pushing yourself to the limit and I always, always have been about that. When I was younger I was questioning whether I wanted to join the army or not, and I filled in the forms and I got ready to pack my bags. I said, ‘This is what I'm doing’, especially coming from football youth clubs and not quite cutting the grade as a professional footballer. I was kind of lost, so I said to myself, ‘If I don't make it in football this year, I'm going to go into the army’. I obviously didn't make it as a footballer at a young age, professionally, so I was all ready to join the army. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I fell in love with my missus, that changed everything for me and I didn't join up. I was very close. That could've completely changed my whole life. I don't know if I would have pursued music if I had joined the army back then. It was a real sliding doors moment! But I always knew there was an element of me that wanted to test myself beyond belief, and I felt like I had a lot more to give, whether it was in football, music, or joining up with the army. So taking part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins just felt like the right thing to do.
Did you prepare physically for this experience?
Yeah, I've been training at a decent level since I was eight years old, so that's something that was always a part of me, always inside me. That didn't quite change, but what did change was that specific-ness of what I was training for. Once I knew that I was going to be on the show I started training in a way I thought some of the SAS operatives would in order to prepare for it. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, basically, but I tried my hardest to train for it!
So what sort of things were you doing?
I was going on 10k hikes carrying a heavy bag. I was doing sprints with weights on my back. I was doing a lot of high volume training, 100 push ups, 300 sit ups, a lot of work, a lot of body weight exercises. I was trying to make it as specific to the SAS, or more actually, the movies that I've seen! I've got a bit of OCD, so I feel like if I'm going to do it, I'm going to have to go all the way to the end, that’s my mentality.
Was there anything that you were particularly nervous about before you started?
I was kind of prepared for what it would be like physically but I was nervous about being around people I didn't know. I'm definitely a loner type person. I like being in the background. I'm in a band with three other members, and they will vouch for me when we're on tour - I'm definitely not like the person I am on stage. Everyone believes that I'm this loud-mouthed musician, front man, and although I'm like that on stage, when I get off stage, I shrink into my bunk on the tour bus and keep myself to myself. So my biggest worry was how I would be perceived amongst my peers if I don't engage with them, if I'm by myself? I've never considered myself a celebrity. It's not that I turn my nose up at it, it's just that being in a band and keeping my anonymity means I have the best of both worlds. I'm known for the music that we make rather than the way I look or the way I act in front of a screen. Call me old fashioned, but that's just the way I like it. I like going to the supermarket and no one knows who I am. But I've probably blown it by being on this show!
What did you make of the other celebrities when you got out there?
I was pleasantly surprised. I don't judge a book by its cover. I like to give people time to prove what kind of person they are. So I didn't go in there with any preconceived ideas or pretense. I generally don't watch a lot of TV, so I hadn't really got a gist of what their personalities were like. So when I went into the SAS, I just had an open mind, and they were a great bunch, fortunately. We looked after each other and we got through it together. To be honest, that was very surprising for me as that helped me open up.
Did you bond with anybody in particular?
Yeah, I think the people I bonded with the most were Tony and Lauren, funnily enough, the two sports people. I reckon that was probably because I've always been a fan of athletes, people who push themselves to their absolute limits. That's what I gravitate towards, because I've always wanted to jump out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I never trained to be an athlete, but I'll try my hardest to come close. So I gravitated towards them, and I gravitated especially towards Lauren for her calmness. She was just cool, calm, and relaxed. She's a beast, though, don’t let her smile fool you! And Tony, we had so many things in common, which I didn't think we would have. I just didn't think I would find someone in there that I would make friends with for life, to be honest.
What was it like being under the control of Ant Middleton and his staff?
It was a rude awakening! I loved every minute of it. Even through the really low parts in the show, I enjoyed it, I embraced it. I've had problems with authority in the past, but I feel like they've caught me at a good time. I've got two kids, who have matured the sh*t out of me, and increased my patience levels with life, so my tolerance is pretty good right now. I feel like I was able to cope with it.
What would you say to anybody thinking about doing the course next time around?
If you're thinking about doing the course, I truly recommend it. You have to be a bit insane to do it. But it will change your life forever. I believe you learn so much about yourself, about what you're capable of. My biggest fear was heights and I just put that in a box and I said, I'm just going to deal with everything that's thrown at me. So yeah, it will change you and it will change your perspective on everything.