The McFly singer, 35, on learning when to shut up, I’m A Celebrity excitement and his son being a better lyricist.
What made you get involved with #BetterPhoneFriend?
It’s something that resonated with me and Dougie Poynter, my bandmate. Me and Dougie have been friends since he was 15 and I was 18.
Our lives have been through lots of ups and downs and highs and lows. We’ve realised the importance of being there for each other.
Whenever I need someone at the other end of the phone, Doug is definitely there for me. He’s my go-to when I need to have those difficult chats.
Have you improved at talking about things?
Yeah, I don’t think talking was my problem. I think listening was more challenging. Like a lot of people, I’m pretty good at talking about myself. Knowing when to shut up is the thing I’ve learned the most.
There are different types of listener…
Me and Dougie are quite similar in the sense that we both find ourselves in the middle of a lot of awkward silences.
He fills them with something quite controversial, whereas I persevere with the awkward silence.
It’s really interesting within our band who’s who. Harry Judd is definitely the fixer type. He wants to know every detail and then tries to fix it.
What have you learned from the Samaritans?
I’ve learned how important it is to give someone the floor, to give them their
moment. It’s so easy to slip into, ‘Hey, how are you? Blah, blah, blah.’ Dougie is so good at actually asking you sincerely how you are and how you are feeling.
There have been countless times in the past with us where we all know that there are unspoken things we all should be saying to each other.
Does Dougie have a time of day when he tends to call? Was he mindful of the fact you might be home-schooling three children?
He was completely, wonderfully oblivious to that, which was really nice. Now he’s like, ‘Hey, man, what are you doing? Are you around on Sunday? Shall we go in the studio?’
I’m like, ‘It’s the weekend! The kids are off! Let’s do it in school hours.’
How was home-schooling?
I’m a terrible teacher. I’m pretty good at science and music but anything else I don’t have a clue.
How was lockdown when your wife, Giovanna, was away in a Welsh castle winning I’m A Celebrity?
The hardest bit wasn’t when she was away in the castle, it was the week before. The contestants go through an isolation period where they take their phones away. I had no contact with her for about a week and a half. As soon as
the show was on TV, I got to sit down with the kids every night and watch
Mummy. It made every day exciting.
She was there and present in our lives. But parenting three kids on your own is exhausting, particularly as we’d decided to release our first album in 10 years at I think the exact same weekend as the show started. It was a busy time but, thankfully, we have parents and grandparents that live just around the corner.
How is your sons’ band, Buxy, going since their debut on your YouTube channel?
They are going well. They haven’t done something for a while but there have been murmurings of a bit of a reunion because the youngest member is getting older and more able.
He’s showing a bit more interest now, rather than just being dragged along by his brothers. There might be some new material coming soon. I did hear they were going to change the band name a little while ago. It could have involved some toilet humour. We’ll see.
Have you been writing any songs with them?
Buzz, my eldest, likes to rewrite my songs. Often I’ll show him a first draft
or first idea. You get a good instinct because kids don’t have a filter, which
is brilliant yet terrifying.
Even if he likes it, he still can’t help himself. Often it’ll be the next day and he’ll say, ‘I’ve been thinking about that song you showed me. I think it should go like this…’
He’ll sing this whole new part. It’s very sweet but it makes me question whether what he’s written is actually better than what I’ve written.
He will want a commission…
I know. I haven’t told him about that whole side of things yet.
You’ve talked about how being a dad has made you more driven. Any non work-related ambitions?
I would like to meet comedy actor Bill Murray. When I was a kid I was obsessed with Ghostbusters.
I’ve got a picture on my wall in our music room from Ghostbusters 2. He just seems like the coolest person in the world. I can’t imagine he’s the type of person you could idolise that would ever disappoint you when you meet them.
Tom is working with Three UK and the Samaritans to launch #BetterPhoneFriend – a campaign encouraging the nation to connect and listen to loved ones.