FORMING in Wallasey in 1988, the Boo Radleys would enjoy enormous success during the Britpop era with their classic top ten single Wake Up Boo! 

The band, named after a character in the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, would eventually split up in 1999 after releasing six albums but to the joy of fans they announced a reunion in 2020 and have gone on to release two more long players as well as play some ecstatically well-received live concerts.

During the band's long hiatus each member turned themselves to alternative careers: frontman Simon 'Sice' Rowbottom became a successful counsellor and psychotherapist based in Oxfordshire; bassist Tim Brown teaches IT at St Louis Grammar School in Kilkeel, County Down, while Rob Cieka went on to have success as a drummer for hire. Only the band's songwriter, Martin Carr, who declined to take part in the reunion, kept playing music regularly under the guise of Bravecaptain.

As well as touring again this autumn, Sice is going out on the road with his brand-new one man show 'The Secret of Happiness' in which in addition to playing the hits of the Boo Radleys he will discuss his work as a Doctor of Psychotherapeutic Psychology working both in the NHS and in private practice.

Wirral Globe: The reformed Boo RadleysThe reformed Boo Radleys (Image: @theboo_radleys)

"It's about me bringing together the two parts of me," said Sice. "I want it to be entertaining and fun because I want to talk about mental health and obviously that can be a bit dour.

"It doesn't have to be like that - thankfully a lot of people are now talking about mental health but it can be a very complicated area - what I want to do is to simplify it for people so they can understand some key points and have a good night doing that!

"I'll also be playing songs that are relevant - it's a night that's hard to describe but it's certainly different!"

Sice began his medical training in 2007 after a long period post the band's split of not being sure what he wanted to do. 

"I was at home with the kids which was good but I was also kind of lost," he said. "I had therapy around that time and I became fascinated with it. I started training and went to do a psychology degree at the University of Surrey before I started to work in the NHS where I completed my training. 

"Eight years ago I started a private practice and it's been fantastic. I absolutely love the work I do which is why I want to bring this knowledge and understanding to the wider world. Therapy can be a bit mysterious for people and I want to demystify it and talk about what actually goes on."

Wirral Globe: Dr Simon 'Sice' Rowbottom Dr Simon 'Sice' Rowbottom (Image: @theboo_radleys)

Back in the hedonistic mid-90s, the Boo Radleys gained a reputation for a band who enjoyed a drink and unsurprisingly for a group who were label mates with the likes of Oasis and Primal Scream there were plenty of opportunities to indulge.

"I'm now involved with something called the Music Industry Therapist Collective," said Sice. "We're all therapists who worked in the music business so we know that a lot of being in a band or being on tour can be extremely stressful. 

"From the outside it can look like loads of fun and certain aspects of it are but there are others that aren't. It's good because lots of artists are starting to recognise that and some are pulling tours due to their mental health. While that's good we want to see things managed better so artists aren't having to cancel because when they do it's putting more stress on tour personnel who are reliant on the work. We'd like to see a greater understanding of mental health in the music industry and what makes it worse. 

"When I look back I can see what an enormous coping strategy the drinking was for us as a band. It was one of the things we did to relax, unwind, to pass the time and to sleep at the end of the day. When you're on stage there's a lot of adrenalin flowing through so it starts as a helpful thing but then in the long term it becomes a problem.

"You really notice it at the end of a tour and you can't really function without drinking - it starts off exciting and fun and then becomes morose. There were times back then when we were drinking a lot and you look back and think it probably wasn't the most healthy thing to do."

Considering the Boo Radleys will tour again soon and did earlier this year, including a hometown gig at Birkenhead's Future Yard, how has the experience changed for Sice now he is older and wiser? 

"We enjoyed ourselves in a different way," he laughed. "We are all 30 years older and there's no way we could drink like we could back then.

"One of the most enjoyable things was that we could appreciate it more now. Back then it was like you were on a rollercoaster dashing through life. This time around you really get to appreciate what it is you're doing and soak in the love and gratitude in the room.

"We can also tour how we want to and there's no desperation to get in the charts. We only want to do it if it's fun. Back then we could go out and play a gig and if it wasn't sold out we'd be worried about why. We never took the time to enjoy it for what it was but now it's a very different attitude and the pressure has really been taken off."

After the autumn tour with fellow 90s indie heroes Cud, Sice and the band will look at their future plans for recording but it's touring again where the Boo Radleys seem to have really rediscovered their mojo.

"We are really loving it," he added. "I think we might give recording a miss next year and focus on the touring. We've all got individual lives now so part of it is the organisation but we're definitely going to continue because the shows are awesome."

Dr Simon 'Sice' Rowbottom presents his brand-new show THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS at Liverpool's Hope Street Theatre on Thursday, September 21. For tickets go here

The Boo Radleys play the Liverpool O2 Academy on Saturday, October 29.