The Birmingham band’s story is already the stuff of legend: a rip-roaring rock ’n’ folk odyssey set to a backdrop of over 20 years of UK pop culture at its very best.
Ocean Colour Scene have notched up eleven albums, three of which went Top 5 – 1996’s Moseley Shoals, 1997’s Marchin’ Already and 1999’s One From The Modern – and a run of nine successive Top 20 hit singles commencing with 1996’s The Riverboat Song.
OCS supported Oasis at their massive Knebworth shows that same year, and two years later helmed the biggest arena tour of any UK band to date. Their achievements have been nothing short of phenomenal.
Today I caught up with the ‘Big Star‘ himself, lead guitarist and all round sound fella, Steve Cradock…
JPD: Thanks for your time Steve. So, new music on its way, big tour – it must feel great still doing this, right? Steve: Yeah man for sure. We feel honoured, we’ve got a very loyal fanbase and we’re so lucky and thankful for that.
JPD: The last few years its been about touring the previous albums, what can fans expect from this tour? Steve: We’re making this one a little more interesting, we’ve got Oscars son playing percussion, my lad playing guitar, we also have the two Mead brothers playing keyboard & bass. We’re also going to play some new songs, a little acoustic bit half way though – and just smashing it really. We’re really looking forward to it – its going to be great.
JPD: The new lead track from the EP ‘Another Bard May Chant’ A lot more politically driven than other OCS tracks – it sounds like its about Tony Blair? Steve: I wrote it about 5 years ago and it was about Blair I guess at the time, having blood on his hands. Its also about people being full of shit in general to be honest. (Laughter)
JPD: Musically, it sounds like its going to be huge when its played live. Have you played it anywhere live yet? Steve: We haven’t actually, we’ve just recorded them as songs. But yeah I think the first and last tune will sound great live ‘Standing in The Place’.
JPD: ‘Standing in The Place’ – Generously given to you by Paul, is that correct? (Weller) Steve: Yeah, I was at his studio, again a few years ago, he’s always got poetry in his books, half finished songs and he just gave me a few verses of this poem. I already had the other parts of the tune and it just seemed to work. Nothing more than that really – it just seemed to work. The words are great in that too, as you’d expect from Weller.
JPD: I noticed the songs are shorter this time round, purposely or just how things ended up? Steve: Simons two songs are shorter yeah, ones a minute and a half (laughter) but thats just how he wrote it.
JPD: In terms of your approach to writing, has anything changed in the past 7 years or indeed in the past 30 years? Steve: Errm, we kinda have to force it a little bit really, Simon hasn’t really written a song in 6 1/2 years so you kinda forget how it was like anyway, but you don’t think about it really, Simon wrote those, I did the music, some of the producing and thats that really.
JPD: Are all four songs going to feature live on the tour? Steve: I dont know really, we’ve not discussed that yet – we’ll definitely play a couple. Whether to play 4 new songs, I dont know – is that a good idea? JPD: Hmm, well its been close enough to 7 years since fans got new OCS music, collectively the four tracks are are about 7 minutes, how longs your set? an hour and a half? Like you say, you’ve got a loyal fanbase and I dont think they’d begrudge you for indulging in new music – do it man, yeah! Steve, Yeah its a fair point, we’ll see, we’ll definitely play some.
JPD: Both Manchester dates sold out, its a great venue, the Albert Hall, played there before/looking forward to it? Steve: No we’ve never played it, I dont think, but yeah its incredible that its sold out – really looking forward to it, man. JPD: Happy days, hoping to catch you there.
JPD: A few of ‘Shit Questions‘ which no interview would be complete without…
JPD: Who’d you rather tour with Paul or the lads? Laughter (far too much silence for an interview) – thats tough man, think my heads gonna explode – Ocean Weller Scene… (Laughter)
JPD: Rum n Coke or Dirty Jokes? Neither, Well I dont drink and I’m not in to Jim Davidson. (Laughter)
JPD: Moseley Shoals or Marchin’ Already? Errrr Both! JPD: Cop-out!
JPD: 100 Mile High City or Riverboat? Errrr Both! JPD: Cop-out!
JPD: Simon, Oscar and Ray: Go for a none alcoholic drink, go to a gig and who’d you let punch you in the face? (Laughter) Errrm I’d let Simon punch me in the face, I’d go for a drink with Ray because he doesn’t drink and I’d go to a gig with Oscar, because it would be some great fucking dub music or something, man! (Laughter)
JPD: Thanks for your time, Steve – I’ll let you go crack on. Steve: Hopefully I’ll see you man, come say hello at the Manchester show.
Due to huge demand OCS will return at the end of this year to play a series of Christmas shows with very special guests Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. They are two of the best live bands around and these are nights not to be missed!
New EP Tracks – Read the Flick of the Finger Review here
1 : Another Bard May Chant
2 : Be With You
3: Because You`re Mine
4 : Standing In The Place That You Used to Do
The 4 Track EP is due for release on 16th November 2018, it will also be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music and a 10” Vinyl is exclusive to the tour with limited amount on sale.
The Christmas Shows 2018
Friday 30 November – Albert Hall, Manchester SOLD OUT
Saturday 1 December – Albert Hall , Manchester SOLD OUT
Monday 3 December – Villa Marina , Isle Of Man
Wednesday 5 December – O2 Academy, Leeds
Saturday 8 December – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Sunday 9 December – O2 Academy, Newcastle SOLD OUT
Monday 10 December – 02 Academy , Newcastle EXTRA DATE
Wednesday 12 December – The Olympia Theatre , Dublin
Thursday 13 December – 02 Academy Birmingham EXTRA DATE
Friday 14 December – O2 Academy, Birmingham SOLD OUT
PHOTO CREDIT: © Jason PD / Flick of the Finger