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Band of Skulls: Bones Spur

Originally published in Guitar World, 30th Anniversary 2010 issue

The U.K.'s Band of Skulls sits down with Guitar World to explain their unique sound.

Vicious as a rabid dog and gentle as a kitten—both descriptions suit the music on Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, the debut album by the U.K.’s newest buzz trio, Band of Skulls. It’s one of those rare, megahyped albums that lives up to its promise.

Comprising guitarist Russell Marsden, bassist Emma Richardson and drummer Matt Hayward, the scruffy gang from Southampton has been attracting boatloads of attention recently. In addition to winning accolades, Band of Skulls earned a spot, alongside Death Cab for Cutie and Muse, on the newly released Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack.

“How we suddenly became this buzz band is all rather strange,” Marsden says. “There’s really no magic formula for how it all happened, though, other than we put in a lot of time and hard work. Things don’t happen by accident; you have to be prepared.”

Band of Skulls apprenticed by playing dingy clubs and parties, but it wasn’t until they set up their own pub and played residency gigs that people started to take notice. “If anything, we made our own luck,” Marsden says. “Plus, I think it’s our sound. I sing, as does Emma, so you get a nice balance of voices, a sweet-and-sour kind of thing.”

Add to that a raging chainsaw guitar attack, heard on blazing songs such as “I Know What I Am” and “Fires.” Says Marsden, an admirer of both Billy Corgan and Jimi Hendrix, “I think I get a bit of my guitar style from a lot of American acts. I like guitarists who are daring, who take chances and play ‘outside the box,’ as it were. When you listen to Hendrix or those early Smashing Pumpkins records, you can’t not be influenced. Play with your heart, not your head, I say. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.”

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