Exciting times for refreshed rockers Cast ahead of Sheffield show

Cast are, from left, Keith O'Neill, John Power, Skin and Jay Lewis.

Cast are, from left, Keith O'Neill, John Power, Skin and Jay Lewis.

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Britpop legends Cast are back – “older and wiser” – with a new album, new tour and revised line-up.

Following the departure of bassist Peter Wilkinson, the remaining band members of frontman John Power, guitarist Liam “Skin” Tyson and drummer Keith O’Neill have recruited John’s long-time musical partner Jay Lewis to fill the void.

And John says Jay has given the band a “different feel”.

“We’ve been on the road for more than five months,” he says. “It feels really different.

“This last year, we have worked really hard.

“We have spent a lot of time together as a band, been on the road a lot and done a lot of shows.

“It seems to be starting to grow and people realising we’re actually out there again.

“We’ve been writing and recording, but I think a lot of people weren’t aware we were still doing it.”

Cast enjoyed huge success in the 1990s, with three top-10 albums and seven top-10 singles, including 1996’s Sandstorm, Walkaway and Flying and 1997’s Live the Dream.”

However, they split in 2001, after fourth album Beetroot only reached number 78.

This tour is celebrating the new album and being creative and a working band

John Power, Cast frontman

John says: “We reformed about five years ago, but it was quite sporadic.

“It wasn’t difficult, but there were certain things we had to deal with.

“Pete had different ideas on his mind and that rubbed off on all of us.

“This time last year, we were deciding on a tour and we realised Pete couldn’t commit to it and perhaps didn’t want to be in it.

“If you said to me then that there would be a new album, I wouldn’t have seen it coming.”

However, since Pete’s departure and Jay’s joining, John says the band feels refreshed.

“Since that moment, the band have felt creative again,” he says.

“Everyone was ignoring it and not talking about it and it wasn’t conducive to a creative atmosphere.

“Now we have recorded a new album and it feels great, being in a band again.

“We have enjoyed being on stage and some of the audience reception has been amazing. Everywhere we have gone has been amazing.”

The band are heading out on tour this month, including a show in Sheffied’s O2 Academy next Thursday, April 14, with the new album due for release in October.

“We are on tour and we’re writing and recording new album,” says John. “It’s great.

“We have got a back catalogue which is classic now and live we’re better than we ever were.”

And John is delighted with the new album.

“I know it’s a very good Cast album,” he says. “It feels so fresh.

“To me it feels contemporary, but classic as well. There’s ingrained DNA which is Cast.

“However, we’re all better musicians, we’re older and wiser.

“What I have faith in is we’re going to make a dynamic fresh-sounding album that’s going to be a beautiful thing. If it gets listened to, who knows what it might achieve. On the creative side, it feels really, really, good.”

For now, though John is concentrating on the tour.

“We have done about 40 shows since July/August, but that was celebrating 20 years since our debut album, All Change, that was the reason for making an effort.

“April is all about Cast being alive and performing.

“I did stop playing all those Cast songs for eight or nine years – I did three solo albums.

“But songs like Walkaway and Sandstorm, they feel as fresh as ever. I am singing them and the audience reaction feels great.

“This tour is celebrating the new album and being creative and a working band.”

Cast play Sheffield’s O2 Academy on Thursday, April 14. Support comes from The Swiines and Willow Robinson. For tickets, priced from £18, visit www.sheffieldacademy.co.uk