THEY say never meet your heroes – the insinuation being that the stars we most idolise are, in fact, pretty unpleasant.

Chatting to John Power proves the adage to be a lie. Cheerful, affable and endlessly chatty, the frontman of Cast and former bassist with The La’s is not only an indie-rock legend but a thoroughly good bloke.

And having just reassembled Cast, he is taking the band out on the road for a crowd-pleasing Greatest Hits show, which reaches Oxford tonight.

“This will be a new experience for everyone,” he says in his broad Liverpool accent, taking a break from rehearsals in the city.

“I think it will be great. We balance out the show with some new material, with two new tracks, but to be honest we are going out to play the hits. We have never before set out to play all the songs we have released but we are looking forward to it.

“We have a hell of a lot of great tracks. I still haven’t decided what we are going to open with but I know what we are going to end on!”

The tour follows the recent release of their new album Greatest Hits 1995-2017.

Formed in 1992 from the ashes of The La’s and Shack, Cast released four albums, three hitting the top 10 and the second, Mother Nature Calls, going platinum. All Change became the biggest selling debut album of all time for Polydor Records.

They also racked up ten top 10 singles, before disbanding in 2001. Hits included Alright, Sandstorm, Walk Away, Free Me, Fine Time, Guiding Star and Beat Mama.

And while John kept busy, releasing solo albums and even rejoining the La’s for a shortlived comeback, it took until 2010 before they got back together. He takes to the stage at the O2 Academy Oxford tonight with Liam ‘Skin’ Tyson, Keith O’Neill and Jay Lewis.

It comes after he settled his differences with The La’s and that band’s eccentric frontman Lee Mavers, acknowledging the There She Goes star’s formative experience on his musicianship, despite their tumultuous time together.

“You can be a La’s fan and a Cast fan – you don’t have to nail your colours to the mast,” he says. “My musical heritage is entwined in both bands. The La’s were a major part of my career though at one time I didn’t want to talk about one band when I was in the other.

“I have made my peace with it now, though, which is amazing. It is a big part of my DNA and I was shaped by being in an iconic band which never went on to do what it should have done. I feel very close to both bands.”

The only band occupying his thoughts now though, he says, is Cast.

“We are close and tight and performing at the top of our game,” he says.

“You have to earn the right to be in a band for 20 years, but I feel we are a better band than we ever were 20 years ago.”

He goes on: “Things are really good. The house of Cast is a great place to be. We split, got back together, and musically know where we all are. When you stop trying too hard, things happen. Music ebbs and flows; it’s dynamic. And while we have a history, we sound as fresh as a daisy.”

So why did they ever break up? “ It was down to me,” he admits. “It was the high-intensity Brit-pop era. I was writing songs and singing and the pressure was fully on my shoulders. And it came to a point where the dream was over.

“You get to a point where you’ve had enough of yourself, never mind your bandmates.

“There comes a point where you Walk Away – no pun intended.

“I didn’t have it in my heart; I couldn’t feel it. But suddenly it came back. Also, I’m really aware of our heritage. A song has its own history and these songs have been with people for 20 years. They’ve been on their own journey and sometimes they stir up emotion.

“There are sad songs, joyous songs and love songs. People remember where they were – they are the soundtrack to chapters of their lives. I don’t know about their circumstances, but they feel the relationship with the songs and me. A lot of these songs are chapters of my life too and come from my own experience. They stay with us.”

And does he have a favourite? “Walk Away,” he says “Because of the relationship we have with the audience and the length of time we’ve been around. It’s a special moment.”

  • Cast play the O2 Academy Oxford tonight. Tickets from