HE may be best known as a 90s pop star but Simon 'Spike' Dawbarn was back in the limelight in October.

The Warrington singer rejoined his comrades from the boy band 911 for a special performance with East 17 at Manchester's Opera House.

Formed in 1995, the chart-toppers racked up 10 consecutive top 10 hits in their heyday, including a number one with A Little Bit More.

They had five boisterous years of fame including four sell-out arena tours and more than seven million record sales worldwide before announcing their split live on Chris Moyles' Radio 1 show in February 2000.

Could this performance be a sign that the band is getting back together? Unfortunately not, it seems.

"This was simply a reunion concert," said Spike.

"We haven't done any new material and we just played the old stuff - our greatest hits.

"We have been asked by a few record companies to get back together but I'm too wrapped up in what I'm doing.

"I see the shows as more of a hobby now but it's a good chance to see my band mates (Lee Brennan and Jimmy Constable) as we live in different parts of the country."

On the subject of reformed boy bands it's difficult to avoid mentioning the staggering success of Take That, who have sold out a forthcoming run at the Manchester Arena.

Spike, 33, acknowledged their success but was keen to point out that 911 beat them to it.

"We were doing reunion tours before they returned but what they've achieved has been amazing," he said.

"In fact, 90s boy bands are becoming a bit of cult thing.

"When we used to perform, it was just girls that listened to us but when we recently did a university tour, lads were coming up to me and saying how good it was to see me."

Looking back, Spike finds it difficult to recollect his time in the spotlight.

"I've moved on and carried on as normal so it's almost like I never did it," he said.

"It's only recently that I've realised what we achieved and I've started to appreciate it again. At the time, you're just going from place to place and you don't realise there are 50,000 people out there waiting for you."

One of the biggest shows 911 were involved with was the Concert of Hope - a memorial performance for Princess Diana featuring other artists like Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow, Boyzone and All Saints.

In the 90s, the band were massive on an international scale and in south east Asia the 911 album The Journey curiously lingered at the top of the charts for 20 weeks.

With all the elaborate dance routines you associate with boy bands it would be natural to assume that 911 had to practice their meticulous moves for the Manchester gig but Spike said he was quite relaxed about the performance.

"When you have done it for that long, you know what you are doing. We had a quick run through of the moves the night before but when it's that imprinted in your mind, it isn't a problem," he said.

Perhaps this is because Spike choreographed most of the dance routines that 911 performed and has since set up an academy called Popskool with his partner Carol Mounsey to help young aspiring stars reach their potential.

Starting from humble beginnings, Popskool was established in August 2004 at Spike's high school, William Beamont in Warrington.

It has swiftly outgrown its roots and developed into a massive success with 20 Popskools nationwide - including five that have recently opened in the London area.

Spike also created his own entertainment agency, Spike's Management.

He said: "I posed the question: What do you do after you have been in a pop group?' "Footballers go into management because they have the background of looking after a team.

"I've been asked to do a few things but my passion is in the management side and bringing kids through into the music business.

"Because of my background, I know who is going to be big. I have that sixth sense and there's nothing better than watching these kids develop.

"I'm kind of living through them - it's the next best thing to doing it first time around."

When asked if the children draw inspiration from him, Spike remained modest.

"If I can do it, they can do it. That's what I say to them!

"Lots of them already have fantastic voices and what I pass on to them is stage presence.

"Mix that with great vocals and they're going to do well.

"That said, not all of them are destined to be pop stars but we give them confidence and focus, and some of the skills they get in Popskool can be taken into other fields.

"When they walk out they look a completely different person.

"A lot of them are developing into teachers and making a career out of Popskool that way."

After 911 split in 2000, Spike also had a brief stint as a DJ on Storm Radio in London but found it was not for him.

"It was boring compared with what I was used to, to be honest," he confessed.

"It made me appreciate my time in the band."

Spike first gained prominence at the age of 21 on TV show The Hitman and Her under the watchful eye of Pete Waterman and Michaela Strachen.

This was where he met future band mate Jimmy Constable as well as Take That's Jason Orange.

He said: "I have some embarrassing memories of dance routines and what we used to wear!

"It was quite nerve wracking as I was quite young when I was on that show and I was surrounded by all these celebrities.

"I'd won competitions when I was a kid but that was my first taste of fame."