DESPITE enjoying the quiet life in an idyllic West Midlands village, a rock star is ditching the pub, books and BBC Radio 4 to head north as part of a festival tour with his bandmates of almost three decades.

At the age of 52, frontman Simon Fowler is continuing his long-established career with Ocean Colour Scene – the British band which earned a name for itself in the 90s with hit albums Moseley Shoals and Marchin' Already.

Although not playing as hard as they used to, the rockers are still working, and as part of their travels this summer will stop off in Sedgefield, County Durham, to headline Hardwick Live.

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Speaking to The Northern Echo, Simon, who is taking a break from his now settled life near Stratford Upon Avon, says festival-goers could expect a "lot of hits, a laugh and a sing-a-long".

Having started out in October 1989 in Birmingham, the band will have been together for 28 years this autumn and Simon is one of three of its original members, as well as Steve Cradock and Oscar Harrison.

"We've all grown up together and I think we're a better band. It's been our life really," says Simon. "I don't think many bands could ever tell you that life is smooth sailing with what we do.

"The highs are great and the lows are rubbish. I think we've had more good times than bad times for sure."

Among the highs for the lead have been playing Top of the Pops, performing at the Royal Albert Hall, writing a No. 1 album in Marchin' Already and playing with Oasis to 125,000 people at Knebworth.

But the singer/guitarist refused to be budged on the lows – claiming he couldn't recall them due to a lifetime of smoking so-called "adult cigarettes".

"I've forgotten them all," he says. "I've got very little memory at all actually. My memory has been smoked."

During their heyday the band, perhaps like any other, admit to having played hard when it came to drink and drugs.

"It was just as you imagine," Simon continues. "All the stories you've heard are all true. It was brilliant and great fun. It's all part of growing up and being British."

Now the musicians have left that behind and according to the frontman, he is the only one who will even have a drink.

He says: "Everyone is very very sensible now. It's just a choice that they've made. Growing up and having families. It's a bit like middle-aged men trying to dance, you have to be respectful of your age."

In fact it is only in latter years that they have come to realise their impact on listeners of the time.

"We were really really busy as a band. We really did put in the hours – god knows how many gigs, interviews and TV shows, and radio shows we did.

"And we were too busy to really realise how big that album (Moseley Shoals) was. It's sort of years later when people go on and on and on about it and say it's the soundtrack to their school or college days that you realise how important it was."

The old pals lead a different life nowadays but remain dedicated to Ocean Colour Scene.

Simon says he hopes to write another album and record it in the next year, with a view to releasing in early 2019.

Having penned 75 per cent of the band's tracks, the former Birmingham Post journalist will write them once again before handing them over to be "turned into Ocean Colour Scene".

With no interest in computers and little understanding of the modern music industry, he continues to draw influence from the Beatles, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

A better singer, and as better players, fans can expect more of their signature traditional folk rock blues with classic rock and roll feel.

Ocean Colour Scene will headline Hardwick Live at Hardwick Hall Hotel, Sedgefield, on Saturday, August 19. For tickets and more information, see the website hardwicklive.co.uk