The not-so invisible band

Undated Handout Photo of Travis. See PA Feature MUSIC Travis. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Travis.

Undated Handout Photo of Travis. See PA Feature MUSIC Travis. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Travis.

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After being together for two decades, Travis hid themselves away for a couple of years. Andy Welch finds out why the famous Scottish foursome needed to rediscover themselves as people.

With their seemingly never-ending stream of hits in the late Nineties and early Noughties, Travis were one of the biggest bands in Europe.

Festivals all over the continent were defined by crowds singing along to the likes of Why Does It Always Rain On Me and Driftwood, while the albums from which those songs came, 1999’s The Man Who and 2001’s The Invisible Band, sold almost four million copies between them.

In the pre-Coldplay world, Travis were kings.

A few more albums followed, then, suddenly, nothing.The group who’d named their third album The Invisible Band, because they felt their songs were famous, not them, disappeared without fanfare. “We toured the last record, An Ode To J Smith, for two years, and then all went our separate ways,” explains Travis frontman Fran Healy.

“We did it so we could hang out with our families and our kids.” He points out that since he, Andy Dunlop and Neil Primrose formed the band in 1990 (bassist Dougie Payne joined in 1994), they’d spent virtually every day together.

“It’s like you become a quarter of yourself, or take on a quarter of the other three’s personalities,” he recalls. “These past two-and-a-half years, we all caught up with ourselves, so when we did come back together, we needed to get to know each other again.

“We had to spend time catching up with the people we hadn’t been able to become when we were in the band together.”

Healy and his family moved to Berlin; all four band members are proud parents.

Travis released their new album, Where You Stand, on Monday, August 19