Born on the 22 August 1969 in Solihull, Steve Cradock is the distinctive lead guitarist of the much loved English rock band Ocean Colour Scene. The band was formed with fellow band members Simon Fowler, Oscar Harrison, and Damon Minchella.
Ocean Colour Scene went on to sell millions of records worldwide. With a total of 13 albums, the band remain as strong as ever. July gig dates in Leeds are fast approaching for the 20th anniversary of their iconic album Moseley Shoals. Saturday, July the 23rd sold out of all 6,000 tickets in 15 minutes, and a second date has been added for Sunday the 24th with special guests again including Shed Seven and The Bluetones. Limited tickets are still available for the Sunday (Click Here). As well as writing and performing his solo work Steve has also played in Paul Weller’s backing band and worked with various other artists. A massive influence over many British guitar bands, Steve’s knack of incorporating his idols influences (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Paul Weller, and The Small Faces) with his and the band’s work has resulted in hit singles like The Riverboat Song, The Day We Caught the Train and his fabulous solo track Sheer Inertia and that’s just to name a few. A busy year ahead entails for Steve with collaborations with PP Arnold, touring The Songbook Collective with Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene dates in July and joining The Specials for their November UK tour. Known as one of the most hardworking artists from the UK we caught Steve for a quick chat!
Can we start right at the beginning? What inspired you to form your first band The Boys?
Before that band, I was playing working men’s clubs 3-4 nights a week from the age of 14. We would also play youth clubs and the occasional pub. I loved the whole lifestyle. I was into Otis Redding, Booker T and the MG’s, Aretha Franklin, The Jam, The Specials and UB40.
You played support with The Boys for Steve Marriott at the Irish Centre in Digbeth, can you tell me about that night?
I also supported him at Wimbledon Town Hall in 1988 with Boys Wonder and The Clique. We were playing with who I really liked. Stevie gave me my first spliff he was great, complimentary, and spoke about getting together with Frampton.
The Jug of Ale Moseley was a venue that OCS played, along with the Irish Centre what was it like going back to the Centre? What a shame the Jug of Ale is now a curry house!
Albeit an amazing curry house, it actually has prayer rooms! The Jug was our HQ, a real community centre. We recorded something for the ONE show up there a few weeks back and it was great. I kept thinking about Trish from Broadcast a lot; Who even though I don’t think she liked OCS, I had a lot of time for her.
Pictured in 2007, the former Jug of Ale pub on Alcester Road, Moseley where Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene used to play
How did your friendship with Paul Weller develop?
We were the last band to record at Solid Bond Studios. The sessions for our first album with Jimmy Miller, also Brendan Lynch was in a small back room mixing The Young Disciples album which I really thought was amazing. We then supported the Paul Weller movement @Southampton and the Kilburn National in 1992, then I got a call in August 1993 to go to London for an audition. The rest is history!
How did you get the nick name chopper?
I hope it was the way I played guitar….
Any new bands around today who you’re a fan of?
Cupids from Oldham, they are great.
Your touring with the Specials how did that gig come about?
They phoned me after Roddy left, I put the phone down thinking it was a wind-up. I really love playing with the Specials, every song. Lynval is so lovely, Terry is really a one off – love his voice. Sir Horace is an amazing bassist and a great artist too. I have to pay respect to Brad whom I really liked, great dark sense of humour. He was so into the Specials and northern soul well life really.
Can you tell me about the Paul Weller band tour The Songbook?
The Songbook collective came about after the Weller Tour finished at the end of last year. I think we were all thinking we were going to be bored not playing in the first half of 2016, so Sally my wife put some dates in for us. We have played with Weller together for 10 years I think and collaborated on each other’s solo projects, so thought it would be a nice idea to actually play them live together. Playing a few tracks of each of our solo records and Andy Lewis will DJ before and after the show to make a night of it. I think some are sold out already. If it goes well, we’ll perhaps add more dates in October.
The Moseley Shoals 20th Anniversary Tour, in Leeds is coming up this summer was that your idea? Are you looking forward to the gigs?
A group effort with our agent Mick Griffiths, they will be amazing fun. It really is incredible how people love that record and the way it maps that period of their life, who would have thought it.
Going back to 2009, your 1st solo album was Kundalini target with your wife Sally. Which track stands out the most on that album for you?
Are there any plans for a 4th album to follow Travel Wild Travel Free?
Simon was in an “I’m not writing anymore mood “ so I really had to have a think about what I was going to do. It was Sally who told me to get on with it I suppose! It was recorded at Black Barn Studios; it took only 5 days. I play everything on that album, bar Sally singing and PW playing guitar on Paint your picture and BV’s on Still Trying, I love The Apple, On and On, Running Away, Still Trying haha. I think it is a great album. We are working on a 4th Album for hopefully a 2017 release.
Sheer Inertia is a track that blows me away where did the title come from and what is Inertia?
I robbed the title actually, off the La’s compilation album – the one with the snare drum on the front cover. Inside the journalist describes their sound as Sheer Inertia and straight away thought gotta write a song with that as a title.
(Sheer Inertia taken from the Travel Wild Travel Free released in 2013)
What are you working on right now?
PP Arnold album, I am at the moment recording an album with PP, she came to live with me in my place in Birmingham in 1998. In the evenings we’d record stuff and write stuff. Anyway, forward 18 years and I find the reel to reels of this stuff, and it sounded so good that I contacted PP and played them to her. We have been recording in my studio and have 12 tracks in the can and it sounds BRILLIANT!!!
WEAPON OF CHOICE – (Instrument)
GIBSON ES 335
FAVOURITE SMALL FACES TRACK –
AFTERGLOW OF YOUR LOVE
MANOVEURES – (Next gig)
SONGBOOK COLLECTIVE @THE CAVERN, LIVERPOOL/ SOLO GIG @TORQUAY FOOTBALL GROUND
BASE – (Hometown)
FOOTBALL – (Team supported)
GUILTY PLEASURE – (Cheesy tune)
ALLENTOWN BILLY JOEL
HERO – (Inspirations?)
Don’t have Hero’s
AT THE BAR –
IN THE KITCHEN – (Favourite food)
Anything my wife cooks
GIG YOU WISHED YOU’D BEEN AT –
NIGHT OUT WITH ANYONE – (Anyone in history)
Sally my wife n Bessy
FILM – (Favourite film)
THE GODFATHER TRILOGY
SOUNDTRACK – (Best OST in your opinion)
The Piano-Michael Nyman
TOP 3 TUNES OF ALL TIME – (Favourite songs)
Impossible too many
FUTURE DUETS? – (Anyone you’d like to work with)
TOP OF THE POPS – (Opinion on current music)
Still lots of great stuff out there
THREE WORDS –
LOVE LOVE LOVE