Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls are an English rock band from Southampton, consisting of Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals), Emma Richardson (bass, vocals), and Matt Hayward (drums). 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.

Band of Skulls
Guitarist Russell Marsden (front) and bassist Emma Richardson (back) in 2014
Background information
Also known asFleeing New York (2004-2008)
OriginSouthampton, England
Years active2004–present
LabelsElectric Blues Recordings/PIAS UK(UK)
Vagrant Records(US)
MembersRussell Marsden
Emma Richardson
Past membersMatt Hayward


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 21 February 2012 in the US, and 20 February 2012 in the UK and Europe.

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 13 October 2012, Band of Skulls played the 11th Annual Austin City Limits Music Festival. The show was briefly interrupted by a rainstorm that soaked the front of the stage, including Russell's pedal board, prompting the band to leave the stage while crews dried and moved the affected equipment. The band was able to return and complete their set after about a 10-minute delay.

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'

Band of Skulls shared new track 'So Good' on 28 April 2016, releasing it on Spotify the same day.[15]

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.[16]

On April 10, 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.[17]

Musical style

AllMusic's James Christopher Monger called the band's music "gritty, ferociously heavy indie rock & roll out of the mist of blues history",[18] while Jon O'Brien of the same website observed a "scuzzy garage rock sound".[19]


Studio albums

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
  • Released: 31 March 2014
  • Label: You Are Here Music/Band of Skulls (UK), Psycollective/Kobalt (US)
By Default
  • Released: 27 May 2016
  • Label: BMG
Love Is All You Love
  • Released: 12 April 2019
  • Label: SO Recordings

Extended plays

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

Live albums

  • 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" 116 Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
"Death by Diamonds and Pearls" 138
"Friends" Friends EP
2011 "The Devil Takes Care of His Own" 20 45 Sweet Sour
2012 "Sweet Sour" 86 28
"Bruises" 187
"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)

Media usage

  • "Light of the Morning" was featured in a commercial for the 2011 Ford Mustang V6,[24] and a trailer for The Hangover Part II.[25]
  • "I Know What I Am" was included on the soundtrack of Gossip Girl's 4th season first episode.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used for the PlayStation 3 video game MLB 10: The Show.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in Degrassi: The Next Generation.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in a Swatch TV ad aired worldwide titled "Swatch Colour Codes".
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in Season 4 of the television series Friday Night Lights, soundtrack.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in an SBS advert for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in episode 3 of season 1 of Terriers, "Lost Girl".
  • "I Know What I Am was used in episode 6 of season 1 of Second Chance
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in episode 1 of season 1 of Fairly Legal.
  • "I Know What I Am" is also playable in the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in a Nissan Micra commercial on Australian TV.
  • "I Know What I Am" was used in commercials for the NatGeo show "Swamp People"
  • "Death by Diamonds and Pearls" was used in a commercial for Britain's Next Top Model, Cycle 6.
  • "Death by Diamonds and Pearls" was used during the opening scene for episode 3 of season 8 of CSI: NY, "Cavallino Rampante".
  • "Death by Diamonds and Pearls" was used during the end credits for the Channel 4 programme, Pete Versus Life.
  • "Death by Diamonds and Pearls" was used in Season 1 Episode 2 of the E! network series, The Royals.
  • "Patterns" was used in the second season, episode 16, of Castle, a TV show starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic.
  • "Patterns" was used in a spot for Swatch advertising a watch collection called "New Gents".
  • "Patterns" appears on soundtrack for the video games Gran Turismo 5 and Tony Hawk: Ride.
  • "Patterns" was used in a season 3 episode of Australian prison drama Wentworth.
  • "Cold Fame" is featured on the soundtrack for the 2010 film Going the Distance.
  • "Honest" was used in episode 5 of season 4 of Skins as backing music to the "Next Time" segment and end credits.
  • "Blood" was featured in episode 1 of season 3 of United States of Tara, a television series created by Diablo Cody.
  • "Blood" was featured in episode 10 of season 2 of True Blood, a television series created by Alan Ball broadcast on HBO.
  • "Impossible" was used in the end credits of My Soul to Take.
  • "Impossible" was used in MatchStick Productions ski movie The Way I See It, Eric Hjorleifson skiing the Catcher's Mitt at Bralorne B.C.
  • "Impossible" was used in the film Detention of the Dead.
  • "Friends" is featured on the soundtrack for the film The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
  • "You're Not Pretty But You Got It Going On" was featured in episode 7 of series 18 of Top Gear, on BBC.
  • "You're Not Pretty But You Got It Going On" appears on the soundtrack for the 2012 video game Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
  • "You're Not Pretty But You Got It Going On" appears on the soundtrack for the 2016 video game Forza Horizon 3.
  • "The Devil Takes Care of His Own" was featured in season 1, episode 13 of The Secret Circle.
  • "The Devil Takes Care of His Own" appears on the soundtrack for the video game NHL 13.
  • "The Devil Takes Care of His Own" was used in a commercial for Miracle Whip.[26]
  • "Navigate" is used at the end of episode 2 of Reign.[27]
  • "Close to Nowhere" was featured in episode 2 of season one of the television show, The Following.
  • "Asleep at the Wheel" appears on the soundtrack of Asphalt 8: Airborne (added via 1.3.0 update), MLB 14: The Show, and EA Sports UFC.
  • "Asleep at the Wheel" is used in the soundtrack of 2015 video game Guitar Hero Live.
  • "Heaven's Key" was featured in episode 18 of season one of The CW television series The Originals.
  • "You Ain't Lost" is a non-album track that appears exclusively during the closing sequence of episode 2 of the HBO docuseries The Jinx.
  • "Hoochie Coochie" is used on the soundtrack of Forza Horizon 2.
  • "Sweet Sour" was used in episode 6 of season 3 of iZombie.[28]


Independent Music Awards 2013: "Sweet Sour" - Best Rock/Hard Rock Song[29]


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  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". MusicWeek.
  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 2014-07-12.
  9. "Band Of Skulls Smoke SXSW – The Interview | Live4ever Ezine". 23 March 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  10. Padgett, Ray. "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". 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. 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. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  16. "Band of Skulls Facebook". Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  17. "Band Of Skulls' "Love Is All You Love" Video Premieres On Billboard". Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  18. James Christopher Monger. "Band of Skulls - Music Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  19. Jon O'Brien. "Sweet Sour - Band of Skulls - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  20. "Band of Skulls | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  21. Ryan, Gavin (4 June 2016). "ARIA Albums: Flume Has Australia's No 1 Album". Noise11. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  22. "Canadian Active Rock & Alt Rock Chart Archive: Alternative Rock - December 13, 2011". 13 December 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  23. Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  24. "The New 2011 Mustang V6. 0 to 60 Fast. F to E Slow. (Extended Version)". YouTube. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  25. "The Hangover 2 | trailer #2 US (2011)". YouTube. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  26. "Miracle Whip and Proud of It: Jim's Artichoke Dip". YouTube. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  27. "Adelaide Kane Web — Reign 1.02 Snakes in the Garden Music". 25 October 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  28. "iZombie S3E6 soundtrack". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  29. "THE 12TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED". The Independent Music Awards. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
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