Interview: Band of Skulls Talk Metalheads, Hipsters and Nirvana

By Brian Ives 

Cool enough for hipsters, heavy enough for metal heads, smart enough for muso snobs, Band of Skulls succeed in striking that oft-elusive aural sweet spot for fans of all stripes.” Katherine Turman hit the nail on the head with this description of the band in New York’s Village Voice. BoS have appealed to a cross-section or hard rockers and indie snobs that few bands of the past decade, outside of Queens of the Stone Age, have been able to grab. 

Drummer Matt Heyward agrees, telling, “You see it at shows, there’s people of all ages, all kinds of backgrounds and everyone’s just having a great time together. Guitarist/singer Russell Marsden chimes in: “Can we say ‘demographics?’ That’s really cold, isn’t it? But: if you look out and there’s a lot of different people and they’re really into the music.”

“We’re not picky about who comes to the shows,” he adds. “We’re thankful that anyone does!”

The soft-spoken bassist/singer Emma Richardson agrees: “Bringin’ people together.”

Another band that was able to appeal to different subcultures was Nirvana, and it turns out they were a huge influence on Band of Skulls. Perhaps surprisingly, the album that hooked them wasn’t Bleach or Nevermind or In Utero: instead it was MTV Unplugged.

“It was on video, and you could actually see the band [playing]. And you could hear the songs stripped own. That video, we all watched it and studied it,” Heyward recalls. “Also, we couldn’t afford electric guitars, and our school’s music department didn’t have electric guitars.” From that, they learned “Acoustics could be cool as well.”

Band of Skulls kick off a North American tour on April 24 in Toronto. Check out their website for all the dates.


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