Chances are that the first time you ever heard of the name Scoundrels was in this week's singles round up and if you had a listen to their track 'Hangman's Lament', you would be forgiven for thinking that they were a new American band given the heavy blues and soul elements in their brand of rock music. However, they're actually a lot closer to home than that.
Friends since their school days in London, Ned Wyndham (vocals/guitar), Alex ‘Billy’ Hill (bass) and Joshua C Martens (drums) were bonded through their love of 50s soul and classic rock amongst other genres and, after picking up guitarist George Elliot along the way, formed Scoundrels after it was deemed better than previous suggestion Carpet Lickers. They were soon signed by Seymour Stein, he of Sire Records, and trips to South Louisiana and Chicago followed to lay down the tracks that will form their debut album (expected to be released later this year).
We caught up with Ned in the week of the release of 'Hangman's Lament', their debut UK single, to find out what it takes to become a Scoundrel.
What's your earliest musical memory?
My earliest specific musical memory is of hearing "Do The Bartman" by Bart Simpson when I was about 5 years old. Great tune. Also of listening to my parents' rock n' roll tapes in the car. I remember absolutely obsessing over the likes of Eddie Cochran, Del Shannon, Little Richard and Chuck Berry as a mere scamp of a lad.
If you could hold a recording session with any five artists, who would you choose?
Peter Green, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Lil Bob (of Lil Bob & The Lollipops), Sam Cooke and John Fogerty. Probably quite tough to manage them all at once but once tamed I reckon it'd be a magic combination. Could I choose Peter Grant as their manager?
You want to describe your music to a stranger on the street, who do you compare yourself to?
I'd say we play a kind of rough round the edges soul, rock and blues combination with a bit o' swamp pop thrown in for good measure. Cruddy Blues, Rock n Soul if you will. Like a modern day CCR, Fleetwood Mac (Mr. Green's version), Meters etc.
You are going to live on a desert island for a year, which three albums do you take with you?
Astral Weeks (Van Morrison), 2001 (Dr. Dre) and Below The Bassline (Ernest Ranglin). If I was stuck on an island for a year I'd need some variety to keep sane and these three are perfect for that.
Everyone has a defining music moment, one that lives on in the memory, what is yours?
One of the best moments for us was being signed after a showcase at the Fly. We played our asses off that night and gave everything. The signing was made all the sweeter by the fact that it meant that our dream of moving to south Louisiana to live and record had become reality.
What is the best gig you've ever been to and why?
I've been lucky enough to have gone to some great gigs: the Led Zeppelin reunion at the O2 was amazing, Cream's reunion gig at the Albert Hall was amazing too. However the best for pure raw, sweaty energy and power was seeing White Denim live in the east end last year. They were insanely good, really inspiring to watch and played as if possessed.
If we were to look at your MP3 player, what is the most embarrassing track or album that we'd find?
I'm always partial to a little cheese now and again. Dobie Gray's 'Drift Away' is a favourite, but I definitely have to check that no one's in ear shot before I play it.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Fingers crossed, we'll be well established in five years time. I'd like to think that with a couple of albums under our belts we'll still be putting out good stuff, constantly challenging ourselves musically and all still enjoying what we do.
How would you describe your current single 'Hangman's Lament' to us?
It's a real foot tapper, laden with guitar licks and grooves. It's a kind of tough, trucking tune with loads of dynamic and melodical peaks and troughs.
What's next for Scoundrels?
Next on the agenda is another tour of the UK starting shortly which should be great fun. We're also putting the finishing touches to our album which we recorded out in Louisiana and Chicago earlier this year. Sounding good. There are also a number of very exciting developments in the pipeline which we have to keep shtüm about for the moment. Exciting times ahead we all hope.
'Hangman's Lament' is out now and you can grab a free download of their track 'Fool's Gold' from their website here