Ocean Colour Scene star feels ‘blessed’

Ocean Colour Scene star feels ‘blessed’

Ocean Color Scene singer Simon Fowler feels “blessed” to have performed at the Knebworth show in front of 125,000 fans.

The two-day event in August 1996, hosted by Oasis on both nights, was the Woodstock of the Britpop era.

Back then, Ocean Color Scene, who headline Monday’s Music Hall in Aberdeen, were one of Britain’s biggest bands.

The classic album Moseley Shoals and the hit single The Day We Caught The Train both topped the charts in the summer of 1996.

Many Oasis and Ocean Color Scene fans from Aberdeen and the North East will have traveled to Hertfordshire for the event.

Simon admits he was nervous ahead of the band’s biggest show – but those quickly passed.

Ocean Color Scene were one of the biggest bands in Britain when they played Knebworth in 1996. Photo by Tony Briggs

He said: “I can remember two moments about Knebworth. One was the beginning because I was so nervous.

“Steve’s (Cradock, guitarist) father Chris was our manager and he had a film camera. I had a brainwave. I went to the front of the stage and started filming the crowd and they went hysterical. My nerves were gone.

“I also remember at the end we played The Day We Caught The Train and 125,000 people put their hands in the air.

“At the time we did Knebworth we were the second biggest band in Britain at the time after Oasis. And Oasis fans tended to like us too. I am blessed to have had moments like this in my life.”

From Knebworth to village life

While Oasis imploded in the 2009 dispute between brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, the Birmingham-based Ocean Color Scene is still going strong.

Since the kinetic Britpop era, however, the pace has changed.

Chart-topping Britpop legends Ocean Color Scene will headline Aberdeen’s Music Hall. Photo by Tony Briggs

Simon, now 57, said: “I have a very quiet, happy life in a village outside of Stratford Upon Avon. I spend my time with the locals, reading the newspapers in the pub.

“I have a Jaguar on a gravel road. I always wanted this as a boy, but I never thought I would be able to do it. I am no more important to village life than the people who run the local butcher or the pub.

“Also, unless you’re Ozzy (Osbourne) or Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath guitarist), you can never really be a Brummie superstar.” I lived next door to Tony. I walked the canal with my beagle and Tony with his three rottweilers at the same time.

“The hounds of the devil,” he laughed. “I once asked Tony if you were alright?

“Eh, not really, he said.”

Reflections on a life and a career

From this idyllic country life, Simon looked back on a career in one of the biggest bands of the ’90s.

He has written One For the Road, a book in which he reminisces about his life and career.

Released earlier this month, it was co-written by lifelong friend and award-winning author Daniel Rachel.

Simon said: “Daniel is one of my oldest friends. He introduced me to Damon (Minchella), our original bassist, and was in elementary school with Steve (Cradock).

“Daniel also introduced me to my partner Robert, who I have been with for 34 years. Without Daniel I wouldn’t be with Robert and I wouldn’t be with Ocean Color Scene.

“In the book, we take a song, talk about it for a few paragraphs, and of course that leads to more interesting avenues.

“We met up at my house in the morning for a couple of hours and coffee. Then we went down to the pub and I guess that’s where the better stories come from.

“It became a story about friendship. Not just me and Daniel, but Damon, Steve and Oscar and the whole story of our lives.

“It contains hundreds of photos and handwritten text that Daniel saved.

“A lot of things I’ve done that were exciting I probably couldn’t remember the next day, let alone 30 years later.

“As far as I can remember, everything is there. Our adventures with Oasis and Paul Weller, although without their help we could get ourselves into trouble.”

Strong bond with Aberdeen fans

Aberdeen is one of only two Scottish dates on Ocean Color Scene’s UK tour, Edinburgh is the other.

Simon is looking forward to returning to the Granite City for the sold out show.

He said: “We’re really looking forward to playing against Aberdeen.

“Scotland was almost a haven for us in the early years as we didn’t really get along with our first London record label.

“So we thought, where can we get furthest from London? Aberdeen.”

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