Warming up before a gig, the band members of Ocean Colour Scene (OCS) like to indulge in their own collective rendition of Booker T & The MGs’ Green Onions.
“It really gets us in the mood,” states OCS’ frontman Simon Fowler. “It’s just something we’ve always done and we never tire of it.”
This classic song, with its slow-burning, organ-led instrumental groove, epitomises ‘60s soul and is the perfect anthem for OCS, whose own guitar-riff driven River Boat Song summed up the Britpop explosion in the mid ‘90s.
“Chris Evans, did do a lot to popularise that song,” comments Simon, about the former Radio One breakfast show host, who also used the track to introduce guests on his television programme TFI Friday.
The Day We Caught The Train, a top-five hit from OCS, also left an indelible print on the zeitgeist of the mid-’90s; and the band’s 1996 album Moseley Shoals stayed in the UK album charts for 18 months. Their follow up album in 1997, Marchin’ Already finally knocked Oasis’ Be Here Now off the top spot, prompting Noel Gallagher to send the band a plaque engraved with the inscription: “To The Second Best Band In Britain”.
“Music is all that we’ve ever wanted to do,” enthuses 44-year-old Simon. “I think part of the trick to ‘being creative’ is actually getting off your arse and bothering to try and do it.”
The band celebrates its 21st anniversary this year and the key to its longevity lies in its pedigree of musicians. Guitarist, Steve Craddock’s distinctive ‘60s retro-style playing has also appeared on all of Paul Weller’s solo records. Oscar Harrison’s drumming style has been likened to Keith Moon’s of The Who. And Simon, a former journalist for the Birmingham Post, is an observational wordsmith with the band’s lyrics.
“I grew up listening to Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel,” explains Simon. “My dad used to listen to Gilbert and Sullivan and my mum would listen to Radio Two. I now live in a small village in the Cotswolds and I tend to write the lyrics while out walking my naughty, ten-year-old dog Barney. I just write what I see,” explains Simon.
OCS have just released a new album, Saturday, which was recorded in the legendary Welsh recording studio Rockfield, just outside Monmouth.
“There was a lovely pub nearby,” jokes Simon. “Seriously though, this is our best collection of songs since Marchin’ Already.”
Ocean Colour Scene are in concert at The Alban Arena on Thursday, March 4, 7.30pm. Tickets: 01727 844488.