Exclusive: Live Session with Scoundrels

SO WHAT is the meaning of the lyric, “I’m in this shit to make the bitches love me?” I ask Scoundrels, a cheeky set of blues-loving boys, prior to their release of new album, “are you really in the music biz just to get with the ladies?”

The band erupt in laughter. “I thought we got rid of that! I thought we had to change it!”

After being told that it was cut from the radio edit, singer Ned hastily justifies (read: Lies), “Err, that isn’t from my perspective, it’s from someone elses!”

But has it worked? I ask him, not letting him off the hook.

“Err, no,” he laments and the band all laugh once again.



Rock n’ roll band Scoundrels – Ned, the excitable vocalist, George the dry-witted guitarist, Billy the heavy-metal-inclined bass player and Josh the quieter member of the group who smashes it out on the drums – are full of excitable energy, willingly jumping onto each others shoulders to try and fix a light in the studio prior to an exclusive studio session that they perform for Pillow, and itching to play their instruments.

“The album was recorded last year when we were sent out to live in Louisiana and work also in Chicago with Steve Albini,” Ned explains.


The boys recently filmed the video for Gulf of Mexico – the first release from their new album. “It’s about a busker who is upset with life and pissed off and loads of crazy things happen to him when he’s busking in Covent Garden and he just gets bored of his life and thinks ‘actually sod it’, I’m going to get on a small rowing boat and row 7,000 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. My brother’s the actor in it and we had little cameos in it,” Ned explains.

“We also had a Pop Idol style dance crew called One Love; we had the Britney Spears mics and everything. George very brilliantly came up with a choreographed dance.” The band jump up and start acting out the moves and then enthusiastically show me photos.

George laments: “They’re ten times more likely to make money out of music, rather than Scoundrels!”

So, is Scoundrels’ X Factor audition imminent?

“Yes! The last four years have been building up to our audition. Four years learning instruments, so we can put them down and not ever play them again,” he laughs.

“We were all listening to blues and soul, but when you go  out there it really sends home how good the people on those records that  you love were.”


Scoundrels formed two years ago, after the band that Ned, Billy and Josh were in lost its guitarist and George auditioned. “We’d heard about him on the grapevine, he came with a huge reputation.” Ned explains.

Good or bad? I quip.

“Yeah! A terrible reputation… I’d seen the posters in the police stations…” he laughs.

The band break off and set up to perform two of their songs from the new album – the first single, Gulf of Mexico and an energetic rock n’ roll slice – Hangman’s Lament.

After a raucous rendition of each song, the band reconvene to continue their interview, all chattering over each other and making each other laugh.

I ask them about their influences, which Ned describes as, “Old rock n’ roll records, blues records, even hip-hop,” and George adds: “Old New Orleans ‘50s R’N’B, The Meters, basically anything from New Orleans.”

Ned looks across at their bassist, “Billy likes Pantera, AC/DC…

George starts, “Rip my entrails…”

Billy corrects, “Cannibal Corpse.”

And adds, “I do like heavier music occasionally, but I like Fleetwood Mac, and the softer side of things.

“We couldn’t have sounded more different when I first joined the band. It was very ska-based with random reggae sections in every other song.

George cheekily adds, “Yeah, I saw you guys before I joined and it sounded a bit like a shit version of The Police,” he pauses, “And I hate the Police!”

More laughter and Ned counters, “So a worse version of The Police, one of the worst bands!”



One of the songs, Sniff It Up is about cocaine use, is it about anyone in particular?

“It’s just about people who use it as confidence on tap. There was an article about Daniella Westbrook, and she has no septum. It’s just a funny concept that you can gain confidence just by having a little whiff up your nostrils,” Ned says.

Surely a sentiment at odds with some of music’s finest musicians, so what is Scoundrel’s rock n’ roll claim to fame?

Ned looks over and says, “George had breakfast with [Dire Strait’s] Mark Knopffler yesterday. That’s pretty good.

The band then says something unprintable, which their manager asks me to strike from the interview.

Ned turns to Josh, and says: “You went to a party where people tasered each other in Louisiana, didn’t you? That’s quite rock n’ roll.”

Josh laughs, “I can’t remember that, I think you made that up.”

But Ned persists, “You’ve still got the taser marks, don’t you?”

This summer, the boys are heading out to play festivals, “And then heading to Italy to play at Monza for the Formula One. F1 Rocks, and then we’re going on tour, back up to America, doing the East Coast.”

Ned adds, “We’re playing Feastival. Which is Jamie Oliver’s one in Clapham…”

“I thought we were doing Get Loaded in the Park?” George asks, slightly indignantly.

The boys quickly shoot down this idea.

“Oh,” he retorts. “So, we’re not doing that one. We’re doing Jamie Oliver’s mum’s united. ‘Down those mozzarella salads! And listen!’” he quips.



Ned, brightly, adds: We’ve got a residency at Ronnie Scott’s! We have a room there, and if anyone wants to rent it off us…”

George jokes, “We’re not playing music, we’re renting ourselves out! Tonight it’s the Scoundrels for your entertainment. Five pounds entry!”

Five pounds! Dead cheap! I tease.

Ned explains in a more serious tone, “We play there once a month at Ronnie’s which is awesome, it’s a really good night. It’s open till three.”

And as for the future, the band are looking forward to the chance to play for progressively bigger and better audiences. “Even if it’s
supporting B*witched,” Ned tells me. “Get them to reform first, and then we’ll see what happens.”

You’ll have to rock some double denim, I warn them.

Ned exclaims, “I did triple denim the other day!

“Denim trousers, denim shirt and denim jacket,” he muses, once again bouncing off on another tangent, “Triple denim, dangerous denim. Denim socks, denim pants, denim shoes…

“Triple denim is quite a good pseudonym for a male prostitute. ‘Hey guys, my name’s Triple Denim’…”

Shaking his head, George concludes, “You really, really will make more money than Scoundrels in the rent boy game.”

Scoundrels debut self-titled album is released on June 27th on Blue Horizon. Gulf of Mexico is out now. For more info on Scoundrels, click here.

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