Band of Skulls

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Band of Skulls
Guitarist Russell Marsden (front) and bassist Emma Richardson (back) in 2014
Guitarist Russell Marsden (front) and bassist Emma Richardson (back) in 2014
Background information
Also known asFleeing New York (2002–2008)
OriginSouthampton, England
Years active2002–present
MembersRussell Marsden
Past membersMatt Hayward
Emma Richardson

Band of Skulls are an English rock band from Southampton, consisting of Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals); Emma Richardson (bass, vocals; 2002–2022) and Matt Hayward (drums; 2002–2016) were previously members. The group formed after meeting in college, although Marsden and Hayward have been friends since high school. Band of Skulls have released five studio albums, their most recent being Love Is All You Love in April 2019.


Initially, the group played at night clubs in the Greater London area and recorded some demos under the name of 'Fleeing New York' before changing their name briefly to 'Skulls'. Summer of 2008 found the band in the USA where there was already an American band with the same name. In November 2008 they became ' Band of Skulls '. The band's original demos were recorded in Hayward's father's shed-studio.

Band of Skulls' debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, distributed by Shangri-La Music, was released exclusively on the iTunes Store on 6 March 2009, followed by a general release on 20 March. The track "I Know What I Am" was chosen as iTunes' free Single of the Week to coincide with the digital release. The song was also featured in the soundtrack for TV series Friday Night Lights, Volume 2, which was released on 4 May 2010.[5] The song also appeared in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Another track that was not actually on the album, "Friends", was included on The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack in November 2009.[6]

On 23 March 2010, Band of Skulls released Friends EP, which includes the studio-recorded version of "Friends", a live version, and a music video of the song.[7]

Band of Skulls played at the SXSW Festival in early 2010 and toured the Midwest in March in support of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The band appeared on the French TV show Taratata broadcast in March 2010, where they covered the song "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones with the band John & Jehn.[8] In April 2010, they toured the U.S. and Canada followed by England in May 2010, including a sold-out show at the London Electric Ballroom. On 28 June 2010, Band of Skulls supported The Dead Weather at The Roundhouse in London.[9] In July 2010, the band covered Goldfrapp's "Strict Machine" for Australian radio.[10] They were also one of three bands who opened for Muse on 4 September 2010 at Lancashire County Cricket Ground.[11] In October 2010 they also toured to South Africa to play at the annual Rocking The Daisies festival.

On 26 October 2010, Band of Skulls released a live album called Live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, containing an in-studio performance from KCRW radio's Morning Becomes Eclectic program.

On 5 October 2011, the band released "The Devil Takes Care of His Own"—the first single to be taken from the new album—with an accompanying music video.[12] The second studio album Sweet Sour was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales. It is produced by Ian Davenport (Supergrass, Badly Drawn Boy), who also produced their debut album, and was released on 20 February 2012 in the UK and Europe and 21 February 2012 in the US.

On 12 April 2012, Channel 4 broadcast a short documentary starring the band. They discuss the formation of Band of Skulls through to going from working the bars of their hometown to playing music in front of expansive crowds of adoring fans across the globe. It is a rare and intimate insight into the world of Band of Skulls, focusing of their success and achievements over the years.[13]

On 20 March 2014, Band of Skulls performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers. The band played "Asleep at the Wheel".[14]

On 22 September 2014, Band of Skulls performed on Later... with Jools Holland playing the title track from their recent album "Himalayan".[15]

Band of Skulls shared new track 'So Good' on 28 April 2016, releasing it on Spotify the same day.[16]

In January 2017, it was announced via social media that Hayward had left the band.

U.S. drummer Julian Dorio filled in on drums for the group's live shows in August 2018.[17]

On 10 April 2019 Band of Skulls premiered video for their song "Love Is All You Love." The video is the third installment in the trilogy ("Cool You Battles" and "We're Alive") using the same central characters as they lose themselves to the music.[18]

Musical style[edit]

AllMusic's James Christopher Monger called the band's music "gritty, ferociously heavy indie rock & roll out of the mist of blues history",[19] while Jon O'Brien of the same website observed a "scuzzy garage rock sound".[20]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
  • Released: 18 September 2009
  • Label: You Are Here Music/Band of Skulls (UK), Shangri-La Music (US)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Sweet Sour
  • Released: 17 February 2012
  • Label: Electric Blues Recordings/PIAS (UK), Vagrant Records (US)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
14 35 53 60 138
  • Released: 31 March 2014
  • Label: You Are Here Music/Band of Skulls (UK), Psycollective/Kobalt (US)
21 24 84 55
By Default
  • Released: 27 May 2016
  • Label: BMG
41 54
Love Is All You Love 30

Extended plays[edit]

  • Friends EP (23 March 2010)
  • Electric Blues EP (2012)

Live albums[edit]

  • KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic (26 October 2010)
  • Live at Brixton (7 December 2012)
  • Live at Southampton Guildhall (8 November 2014)


Year Song Peak chart position Album


2009 "I Know What I Am" Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
"Death by Diamonds and Pearls"
"Friends" Friends EP
2011 "The Devil Takes Care of His Own" 20 45 Sweet Sour
2012 "Sweet Sour" 28
"You’re Not Pretty But You Got It Going On"
2013 "Asleep at the Wheel" 33 Himalayan
2014 "Nightmares"
2016 "Killer" By Default
"So Good"
"In Love By Default"
2019 "Cool Your Battles" Love Is All You Love


Year Title Artist Album
2019 "Remains of Nothing" Archive 25 (2019)


Independent Music Awards 2013: "Sweet Sour" – Best Rock/Hard Rock Song[28]


  1. ^ Coplan, Chris (6 October 2011). "Video: Band of Skulls – 'The Devil Takes Care of His Own'". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Band of Skulls biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour review". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  4. ^ Jones, Rhian. "Band of Skulls manager and label on unique financial backing". Music Week.
  5. ^ "iTunes Store". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Friends by Band of Skulls Songfacts". 20 March 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  7. ^ "iTunes – Music – Friends – EP by Band of Skulls". 23 March 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  8. ^ "TARATATA N°381 | MyTaratata" (in French). Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Band of Skulls Smoke SXSW – The Interview | Live4ever Ezine". 23 March 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  10. ^ Padgett, Ray (18 August 2010). "Band of Skulls Cover Goldfrapp Song about Joyful Sex Rats » Cover Me". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  11. ^ "MUSE: NEWS – Extra Tickets for UK Dates Released". 24 May 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Watch: Band of Skulls Return | News | Clash Magazine". 5 October 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  13. ^ "4Play – 4Play: Band of Skulls". Channel 4. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  14. ^ Francis, Bronya (21 March 2014). "Watch Band of Skulls perform 'Asleep at the Wheel' on Late Night". Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  15. ^ "BBC Two - Later... with Jools Holland, Series 45 Live, Episode 2, Band of Skulls - Himalayan". BBC. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  16. ^ Sklinar Green, Kimberley-Marie (28 April 2016). "Band of Skulls share incredible new track 'So Good' ahead of new album and tour". Never Enough Notes. Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Band of Skulls Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Band of Skulls' "Love Is All You Love" Video Premieres on Billboard". Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  19. ^ James Christopher Monger. "Band of Skulls – Music Biography – AllMusic". AllMusic.
  20. ^ Jon O'Brien. "Sweet Sour – Band of Skulls – Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards – AllMusic". AllMusic.
  21. ^ "Band of Skulls | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  22. ^ Ryan, Gavin (4 June 2016). "ARIA Albums: Flume Has Australia's No 1 Album". Noise11. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Discography Band of Skulls". Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  24. ^ "Discografie Band of Skulls". Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  25. ^ "Band of Skulls Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Alternative Rock – December 13, 2011". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  27. ^ [1] Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "THE 12TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED". The Independent Music Awards. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.

External links[edit]