How We Met: Steve Cradock & Paul Weller

'I can't remember going to gigs with him. But we're always slaughtered by that point anyway'


Paul Weller, 49, is one of Britain's most enduring and acclaimed musicians. He was the founder and lead singer of The Jam and The Style Council, before moving on to a successful solo career. He lives with his partner, Sammi, and two of his five children in London

I met Steve when he was about 16. It was the 1980s and he used to come down to visit us in the studio we were playing in at that time in Marble Arch.

I guess it must have been The Style Council days, and Steve was a big Jam fan and would come along, this kid, and bug the shit out of us. He was trying to get me to listen to demos of his band. Kenny [Wheeler], our tour manager, who has been with me for donkeys' years, used to kick him out. While there wasn't violence involved, and Steve wasn't a stalker, he would come regularly, until it got to a point when I didn't see him for a long time. It's so funny that Ken used to lob him out of the studio and now we're working together.

I next met him in 1991 when he was with Ocean Colour Scene and they were making their first album back at the same studio in Marble Arch. I walked up to him and said "I know you" and he said he used to come down when he was a kid and the penny dropped. He wasn't embarrassed, but it was weird seeing him all those years later. We stayed in touch and he supported me a couple of times over the next few years.

I always thought he had something; he was a good guitarist and he looked the part on stage as well. I got him to play a track on my album Wild Wood; we got rid of the great big tray of effects and plugged his guitar straight into the amp. And that was it.

He is a magical person. Both in a band and in the studio he's the right guy to have around because he's so positive and optimistic. When he first played with us he had to learn the ropes quickly, which he did. I would say that he's learned from me in terms of the level of playing and approach, and a certain amount of professional conduct, I think, but we've both tried to move on as people and musicians.

We both like The Kinks, The Who, The Small Faces, we both love soul and R&B and are both reggae fans, and we are also into The Stone Roses, The La's and Oasis – that form of British music. Apart from that, I'd always socialise with Cradock, as he's one of my best mates. I can't remember going to any gigs with him. But we're always slaughtered by that point in the night anyway.

Steve Cradock, 38, is a guitarist with Ocean Colour Scene and has played guitar with Paul Weller since the early-1990s. He has performed on all of Weller's solo albums for the past 15 years. He lives with his wife Sally and their two children in Birmingham

I remember going down to Paul's studio when I was 17 and I turned up there because I didn't fancy doing my exams. I wanted to go and check London out and to meet some of my heroes, get out of Birmingham for a couple of days, really. So I did that, met him and played him a couple of my demos. There was an old boy on the door called Arthur who was a lovely old gentleman and he let me in and I was there for an hour or so. And then Kenny gave me the "What are you doing in here" and I got thrown out.

Later, when I was with Ocean Colour Scene, Paul recognised me from being that little mod kid and I think he had a copy of our first single. I bought a scooter off him, I seem to remember, a Vespa, which subsequently got stolen, and then a year or two later he asked me if I wanted to play guitar in his band.

That was amazing. I knew I didn't have the ability as a guitar player but he said he thought I was the right person for the job, which over the years has proved him right. I just thought I wasn't a good guitar player, or didn't have the ability Paul needed to play the right songs.

But he was very supportive. It doesn't cost you anything to be nice is what I've learned from him, and I've learned resilience to drinking and bad language.

We will always go to the pub, though we've both got young families – and he comes to Birmingham if we go out; I wouldn't go down to London. But we were talking about getting a little crèche back-stage in London to look after the kids.

I've been playing with him for 15 years. On 22 Dreams he gave me a free go and I was playing a lot of drums, a couple of different soundscapes on the instrumentals and was basically lucky enough to hang out and see what was going on. It was good to get the insight. When I turned 30 I realised I had stopped worrying about it and felt much more comfortable with it all. But that first meeting with him was certainly a rite of passage.

Paul Weller and Steve Cradock are currently touring the UK. For more information on venues and to book tickets, visit www.paul weller.com. Weller's single "Echoes Round the Sun/Have You Made up Your Mind" is out on 26 May and his album, "22 Dreams", is out on 3 June, both on Island Records

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before