How we met: Steve Cradock & Bradley Wiggins

'Steve shoved a guitar in my hands. The next minute, I'm being dragged on to the stage…'

Steve Cradock, 44

After co-founding Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene in 1989, the guitarist (left in picture) enjoyed significant success with the band's second album, 'Moseley Shoals'. He has toured with Paul Weller's band since 1992, and has released two solo albums. He lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham

I was made aware of Bradley about three years ago, before he became "Wiggo", through a mate, Eddie Piller, the managing director of Acid Jazz Records, who'd been singing his praises ever since he met him. Cycling isn't my thing, but I caught up with it like the rest of the country last year, during the Olympics and the Tour de France [when Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour, and then the time trial at London 2012]. I noticed he had the same sideburns I had in 1998.

I was friendly with Scott Mitchell, the Sky [cycling team] photographer, who's done a couple of books now on Bradley, and he kept me in the loop on what Bradley had been up to. And when Paul [Weller] and I were playing a charity gig at the Hammersmith Apollo in London last year, Bradley came to that. We got him on stage for the encore and he played [the Jam's] "That's Entertainment" on my guitar. Though the people there loved Paul like a demi-god, when Wiggo walked on stage I never felt such noise and euphoria from a crowd before; it was incredible. I kept trying to get him to sing, but he wasn't having any of it.

After the gig my wife drove us both back to the hotel and I took him to my bedroom to show him my guitar collection. He asked if he could have one of my guitars, but I told him I used all of them. He replied, "But [the Stone Roses guitarist] John Squire has just given me one; surely you should, too." So I did, of course; a decrepit-looking Danelectro of the sort [Pink Floyd's] Syd Barrett used to use. We spent all night playing loud Northern Soul music together until security came and broke it up at 4am. He played fantastically.

We discuss scooters endlessly, we chat music and clothes, Weller, Small Faces and Mods. Funnily enough, he's more rock'n'roll than I am: I'm far too old now, while he's very outgoing and he's always had a drink inside him, except on the race track.

If the wheels ever burst on his biking, he could definitely join a band: he looks a bit like Paul, he has a sharp dress style and every time I see him he's wearing a different suit; you can see being a Mod is a big thing for him. He's even got a place in his house where he sits and rehearses. He's thinking of coming down to Manchester with us soon and maybe playing "Town Called Malice" with us.

He may have caught some grief for that last race in Florence [when he failed to finish the Road World Championships], but there's nothing wrong with getting a bollocking: that's very Mod. You have to dust yourself down, re-find your focus and start again.

Sir Bradley Wiggins, 33

Wiggins began his professional cycling career on the track, winning his first Olympic gold in the individual pursuit in 2004. After two golds in the individual and team pursuit at the 2008 Olympics, he refocused on road racing, joining Team Sky in 2010, with whom he won the Tour de France last year. He lives with his wife in Eccleston, Lancashire

I'd been aware of Steve for years. I was a huge Ocean Colour Scene fan before the band went mainstream and I remember, as a young lad, seeing him support Paul Weller, too. Until recently he didn't know who I was, but for me he was the best guitarist of his generation, though an unsung hero.

We started messaging on Twitter last year after other people in his circle started whispering about this Mod who cycles. Then Paul [Weller] invited me down to this charity gig at the Hammersmith Apollo in December.

I was backstage during the performance, chatting with [musician] Miles Kane, who had been supporting Weller. And then when their set finished, Paul and Steve came off-stage, and me and Steve caught each other's eye and he recognised me instantly, which is a weird way to meet. It was like we'd known each other all our lives, and we hit it off straight away.

A few minutes later they were ready to go on for an encore. Steve shoved a guitar in my hands and I was like, "Nah, I've not played for a while." The next minute, I'm being dragged on to the stage. Steve tried to get me to sing, but I'm not a great singer, though in the end I put a few vocals in there. It was a huge deal for me; one day I think I might drag him on to a push-bike and see how he does.

Being a Mod for me is like a code for everything I do in life: having style, always being well turned out, keeping in touch with music and having the freedom to not give a damn what people think – and it's the focus of what we talk about.

I have to pinch myself a bit when I hang out with Steve now, as you'd never believe how successful he is by talking to him; recently he was saying what a nervy time it was, as it was his kid's 11-plus exams. This is a man who's on stage with Paul Weller, who's one of the best guitarists of his generation: it would be easy for this guy to be off with the fairies. I think it's family that grounds both of us.

Though Steve is a genius in his own right, he's been happy to support Paul [Weller] and talks about him with such admiration; it's humbling, as many people would say, "I'm sick of this," and that's how bands split.

He keeps it low-key when we're out. Once we were in a hotel bar in London, having some drinks with a few others. There was a jukebox in the corner so I put on some Ocean Colour Scene and we started singing along, and half the bar joined in. He was so embarrassed, he was just saying, "Get it off, man!"

Steve Cradock's new album, 'Travel Wild, Travel Free', is out now (stevecradock.com)

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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering