Simon Fowler, frontman of Ocean Colour Scene, has recalled being outed as gay by the tabloid press in the 1990s. In a recent interview, Fowler spoke about British newspaper The Sun revealing his sexuality in 1998: “I don’t think it was a big deal,” he began. “It was noticeable that our third album [1997’s] Marchin’ Already went to number one and knocked Oasis’ Be Here Now off the top spot – which is when Noel Gallagher sent us a plaque: ‘Congratulations to the second greatest band in the world'”.
Fowler went on to ponder the possibility that The Sun‘s actions affected the group’s album sales: “The album didn’t end up selling anywhere near as much as its predecessor, Moseley Shoals, overall. Whether that [The Sun’s outing] had anything to do with it, I don’t know. I suspect it didn’t. It certainly didn’t affect our concerts”.
He added: “Looking back now, it seems absurd – and I don’t think anybody gave a toss even then. In fact, when it happened, the first thing Liam Gallagher did was come up and kiss me on the lips! [Laughs] Everybody knew – apart from my parents. But now, I’ve been with my partner, Robert, for 34 years, and my parents have accepted him into the family”.
Elsewhere in the interview, Fowler remembered touring with Oasis in 1995, following the release of Ocean Colour Scene’s breakthrough self-titled debut. “It was just as you’d imagine,” he began. “I don’t know why we bothered to order bedrooms because I don’t think anyone went to bed for about five years. They were fantastic”.
Fowler continued: “When it was the two of them friendly to each other together, they were hilarious and had a banter relationship that only brothers can have and it’s a bloody shame – in my book – that they had the world at their feet and scored an own-goal. I think: I wish I could have had that with my brother”.
Ocean Colour Scene will be performing at this summer’s Victorious Festival alongside Sam Fender, Paolo Nutini, and Stereophonics, who are set to headline the Southsea Seafront from August 26th-28th. The headliners will be joined by the likes of Primal Scream, The Libertines Anne-Marie, Editors, Amy Macdonald, Example, White Lies, Suede, Inhaler, Turin Brakes, The Subways, Andy C and Hot Chip. Tickets are available here.