Wolstencroft was a member of the Patrol, an early incarnation of the Stone Roses, with childhood friends Ian Brown and John Squire. He was also the drummer for Freak Party which featured Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke. In Songs That Saved Your Life, Marr states that Wolstencroft declined to join the then upcoming the Smiths as he did not like Morrissey's voice.
Wolstencroft joined the Fall in time to play on most of the group's Bend Sinister album (on which he was credited as "John' S. Woolstencroft"), and remained in the band for over a decade, occasionally adding keyboards and programming to his role as well as co-writing the group's only self-penned Top 40 single, "Free Range", from their Code: Selfish album. He left the band following a dispute over the recording of the Levitate album. In 1996, Wolstencroft had a daughter, Emily Wolstencroft. Afterthis , he went on to reunite with Stone Roses singer Ian Brown, performing and co-writing on his Golden Greats album in 2000.
From 2014, Wolstencroft was a member of Big Unit. The band was described on the band's Twitter profile as "Take the Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Stone Roses, Beastie Boys and Led Zeppelin and you arrive at... BIG UNIT!". During Simon Wolstencroft's tenure on drums, the band was composed of the following:
- Darren Partington (808 State) - vocals
- Ben Knott (Happy Mondays) - keyboards
- Chris Wilkinson - guitar
- Ian Wild (FOH engineer for The Stone Roses) - bass
- Roufie - percussion
According to the band's Facebook page, Big Unit plays "'Acid Rock', which fuses Acid House and Rock & Roll".
In late 2015, Wolstencroft left Big Unit and joined local Manchester based band The G-O-D.
Recently, Wolstencroft made a guest appearance on drums for I, Ludicrous at the Polyfest festival. He also recorded an album playing on drums for One Manc Banned.
Wolstencroft wrote a memoir, You Can Drum But You Can't Hide, which recounts the episodes that led to his moniker 'the nearly man', including parting ways before the Patrol became the Stone Roses, turning down the Smiths, and the time Noel Gallagher asked if he fancied joining his band. It also recalls an unlikely eleven years spent in the Fall and working with Ian Brown during his solo days. He talked about his book at the 2014 Louder Than Words literary festival.
The memoir is published by Strata Books, whose website features Wolstencroft reading excerpts from the memoir alongside a book trailer.
- As related by Steve Hanley in Hip Priest by Simon Ford, Quartet Books 2003.
- Big Unit
- Big Unit on Twitter
- Facebook page
- You Can Drum But You Can't Hide
- Louder Than Words
- Publisher's website