The Moffatts were a band of long-haired guitar-playing Canadian brothers signed in the wake (sigh!) Hanson. Except they were obviously born a long time before, so it's not really their fault. They were older brother Scott and triplets Bob, Clint and Dave.
They first performed aged 1990, and as kids released country albums "It's A Wonderful World" in 1995 (featuring helium-voiced renditions of songs like "Dogs Is Dogs" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy") and "The Moffatts" in 1996 ("When God Made You" and "Caterpillar Crawl").
As teenagers, the group were blessed with a couple of mighty bits of luck. One, they all turned out to be hot, and two, another band of talented, guitar and piano-playing American teenagers had just set record companies on the lookout for the "next Hanson". Before you could say "teenage wank fantasy", the brothers had been snapped up for a major label debut, and the clunkingly-titled "Chapter One: A New Beginning" (the title baffling to all but those owning their two obscure earlier albums) emerged in 1998.
Above: The Early Years
The Moffatts were a rawer, slightly more exciting alternative to Hanson (and there were more brothers to cream yourself over. And no ugly one). Like a before-time McFly, they were wild and edgy in concert and authentically live - Scott on lead guitar, Clint on bass, Dave on keyboards and monkey-like Bob on drums. "Chapter One" sold two million copies, and the singles rattled off it - Scott bellowed and screeched through "I'll Be There For You" like a teenage lad in desperate, desperate need of a shag (which of course he probably was - but not for long), "Miss You Like Crazy" and "Girl Of My Dreams" were almost cloyingly saccharine ballads in the traditional boy-band mould, and "Crazy" was a delightfully rocky anthem and debut single in the UK. Put short, the Moffatts were like Hanson except more likely to take their tops off. "Wild At Heart" made it obvious what was on their minds: "I never think about when/I only think about where".
Like Hanson before them, the Moffatts were championed and supported by a strong Internet fanbase. In particular, they were favourites when it came to fan-written "slash fiction" (pornographic) articles. Pairings with the Hanson boys or even incestuous encounters with each other weren't uncommon, as the following extract demonstrates:
Having been successful in America, the Moffatts tried to crack the UK with the release of "Crazy" as a single in February 1999, accompanied by a few days of Saturday morning TV promotion. A Number 16 placing was obviously deemed poor, as in June the "Chapter One" album was re-issued with a smarter, more sophisticated cover and a combination of some of the old songs and some new ones, like "Misery" and the jangly "Until You Loved Me". Both those songs were great, but flopped in the UK as singles before the year was out, and the boys were gone from our shores forever.
Meanwhile in America, they underwent a disastrous image make-over, adopting a tougher, more "mature" look - long girly hair and cute boyish faces were out, pearcings and hideous little beards were in. The girls (and probably quite a few boys) tuned out, and it looked to all the world as if the band had vanished up their own arses. A move to a rockier, less commercial sound had always been on the cards anyway (the untitled hidden track on "Chapter One" was a Grunge-like moody lo-fi strum by Scott in which he moaned "There's no windows in this place/if you could see my weary face"). There were unfounded rumours that Dave Moffatt was working in (or perhaps simply working) a gay bar somewhere.
Which is why it's such a shame that no-one bothered to listen to second major-label album "Submodalities" in 2000, as despite the pretentious title it's actually a great pop CD. Lead single "Bang Bang Boom" was as catchy as hell, and if titles like "Antifreeze and Aeroplanes" suggested the group had broken free of better-knowing management and exerted creative control, the likeable tunes certainly didn't.
In August 2001 the band split, deciding they had had enough. Dave Moffatt "came out" that year, commenting: "I'm out and cool with it all. Although it was never said, I think most of our fans knew when I was in the band."
Above: How To Destroy Your Career
After breaking up, Bob and Clint joined a group called Pusch, performing at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Excerts from "The Fuck Song" by Scott Moffatt floated around on-line.
Scott briefly joined The Boston Post, before putting songs from his solo album "The Allegory of the City" on-line this year - it's due for release shortly.
Dave now pursues an acting and modelling career, as well as hosting karaoke nights at "Desire", a gay bar near to his current home in Winnipeg, Canada. He also appeared on "Canadian Idol" in 2005 and finished 32nd.
In 2004, Bob and Clint (the two least popular ones) performed under the name "The Moffatts" for the Canadian Pacific Railway's "Holiday Train" mobile fundraising program. However, both later relocated to Ban Phe in Thailand and started a duo act called Same Same. Bizarrely, they have since topped the charts in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Same Same's debut album "The Meaning Of Happy" was released in South-East Asia in the Spring of 2006.
Scott in 2006 (left), "Same Same" (right), Dave on a stroll round his garden, possibly (bottom)
Moffatts.com is still on-line, but unfortunately now it's a chartered accountants website.