By day he’s a regular villager, living a quiet life outside Stratford-on-Avon, but by night Simon Fowler and the rest of Ocean Colour Scene are firm festival favourites.
It may be twenty years since the Brit Pop band shot to fame with the release of the Moseley Shoals album, which spawned a number of hit singles including The Riverboat Song, The Day We Caught the Train and Hundred Mile City, but the band are still going strong and will be bringing their anthemic back catalogue to Hardwick Live later this month.
The Birmingham band got their big break after the album caught the attention of Chris Evans, who championed the album on his BBC Radio 1 show and then used a riff from The Riverboat Song as part of his Channel 4 TV show, TFI Friday.
Frontman Simon Fowler said: “It’s strange really because I live in this little village outside Stratford-on-Avon and I just live the life of a villager. I don’t walk around thinking about what I do for a living, I just forget about it, then I get on the tour bus and we’re playing to all these people.”
Simon says the band’s longevity is all down to the fans.
“We were always in it for the long haul, we always planned to do this as a full-time job,” he explained. “But we carry on at the mercy of our fans. Our last tour was actually probably our biggest for 20 years and we played places we’ve never played before. It’s great that people still love it and that those songs mean so much to so many. I think our music really lends itself to that festival vibe.” Speaking about why the music is still proving popular, he said: “I think because the music of that era was about playing live, and modern music doesn’t always strike me as live.”
Like the fans of the era, Simon looks back fondly on the Brit pop years.
“It was fantastic and great to be part of that movement,” he said. “It was the last scene of that type in British music, but I’m glad we did it when we were 20 years younger. I think the record labels got worried about all the debauchery so they invented Simon Cowell, who brought back pop acts who do what they’re told. But all parties have to end and leave behind a stain on the carpet.”
Ocean Colour Scene top the bill when the festival returns to Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield, County Durham, on Saturday, August 19, alongside a line-up including Peter Doherty, Buzzcocks, Soul II Soul, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Gabrielle, and the Brand New Heavies. The festival will also include a performance by tribute act The Bootleg Beatles.
•We’ve teamed up with Hardwick Live to give away three pairs of tickets, worth £98 a pair, to the festival on August 19. To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: which of these is an Ocean Colour Scene song?
A) The Day We Caught The Metro
B) The Day We Caught The Train
C) The Day We Caught the Tram.
Email your answer and contact details to Katy.Wheeler@jpress.co.uk. Alternatively, send your answer and contact details on a postcard to Hardwick Live Competition, Katy Wheeler, Johnston Press North East, 2nd Floor, Alexander House, 1 Mandarin Road, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton, DH4 5RA. Closing date: August 11.