Will Crewdson is a London-based guitarist/writer/producer. Scant Regard is his brainchild, and he occasionally is the guitarist for Rachel Stamp, Adam Ant, and Johnette Napolitano, amongst others.
tribe4mian: Will, with Scant Regard you strive to fuse raw electronic beats and moods with the smooth, soaring sounds of Morricone’s biting guitar –scapes. How did you come up with this idea? Would you consider Morricone your main influence?
WILL CREWDSON: The sound was developed pretty organically. I always thought the sound of twangy, surfy guitars mixed with electronica worked well when I used the idea on other people’s tracks so I decided to maximise it and incorporate it into my own recordings.
I see Morricone as a good reference point more than a major influence. There are many moods on the album that echo the atmosphere of the classic Spaghetti Western soundtracks and since he was the ultimate composer in that genre it follows that he should get a reference. A large part of the sound is pure electronica though which obviously adds a different flavour.
tribe4mian: At one point, Rachel Stamp became the only unsigned band to sell out the London Astoria. What happened to Rachel Stamp? They had several record deals, the biggest of which was with WEA. How many releases did you have with this band?
WILL CREWDSON: Rachel Stamp suffered from bad management and useless record company input – the usual story. We had a great live following and were really proud of everything we achieved on an independent level. We were actually more successful once we’d been released from our deal with Warners, which says a lot.
We released two studio albums, ‘Hymns for Strange Children’ and ‘Oceans of Venus’. Our debut album was never released although we recorded it for Warners. We also had one live album, ‘Stampax’ and a load of singles.
tribe4mian: You also played gigs with, among others, Iggy Pop, Korn, No Doubt, The Tubes, and Cheap Trick. How did you feel the first time you opened for a rock star? Were you nervous, or were you thinking, “my big time is coming”?
WILL CREWDSON: Well there’s loads of times early in your musical career where you think – this is it. Signing a deal, your first headline gig, etc., and we were really thrilled to have opened for all of those bands. It’s often the case that you are breaking through to a bigger audience as we were on several occasions, but without the managerial know-how and, sometimes, money behind it to capitalise on those moments. It’s hard to keep momentum up and really take the whole thing to the next level.
tribe4mian: Scant Regard’s first release, “The Excommunication EP” is already out featuring guest vocals by Grog from “Die So Fluid“. How did this collaboration come about and what was the result?
WILL CREWDSON: Grog and I have known each other for years. Her band, “Die So Fluid”, used to play the odd gig with Rachel Stamp and I’ve also done session work with her. Originally I wanted vocals on the Scant Regard tracks and, as we got on so well and seemed to understand each other musically, we agreed to try out a collaboration. The three tracks came out really well.
We also both work with Director Tom DiCillo – the man behind “Johnny Suede, Living In Oblivion” and the recent Doors documentary “When You’re Strange”. He has a studio project called The Black and Blue Orkestre which we’re both involved with. Those tracks should be coming out really soon.
WILL CREWDSON: I had numerous bands before Rachel Stamp, all with unmentionably bad names! I also did the odd session thing. The first one I got was with Malcolm McLaren at Air Studios in London. That was the title track for the extremely ill-fated “Carry On Columbus” film and was a pretty scary experience. I don’t think he looked me in the eye once. He just shouted “give it some bollocks my son!” whilst conducting an imaginary orchestra. Surreal.
tribe4mian: What are some of the notable differences for you between being on stage alone and playing with a band? Do you sometimes miss the “group” feeling with Scant Regard?
WILL CREWDSON: I guess you can’t beat the feeling of a full-on band slamming it out on stage and I do love that. When I do it alone it’s entirely different. I have to become a front man but I’m not singing so it’s a strange position to be in. I like strange positions though. I’m still working on my stage “patter” but I think it’s getting there. I get something out of every gig, though, whether it’s solo or band. It’s the main reason I do music really for that instant reaction from an audience.
tribe4mian: I don’t know Adam Ant personally, so I’d like to ask: Is he an easy person to work with? Are you still touring with him?
WILL CREWDSON: Adam is a great guy. He was and will always be one of my favourite all-round performers. Adam and the Ants were the first band I ever saw live and I grew up with his back catalogue etched into my brain so it was very natural for me to play all those great songs. His mental problems are well documented but at the end of the day they make him what he is as an artist and the end result was always a killer show. This year I’ve been working more in the States with Livan doing several tours but I’m still up for working with Adam if I’m around and he needs a guitarist. I did a one-off charity gig with him recently for Sea Shepherd, the anti-whaling guys, which went extremely well. We did a load of covers on the HMS Belfast.
tribe4mian: Would you like to name your gear and which guitar and sound effect do you like using most?
WILL CREWDSON: My main guitar is an 80’s Rickenbacker 250 El Dorado, which is definitely the most versatile and reliable of any guitar I’ve had. I’ve also got a 60’s Teisco Spectrum Del Rey, which I use for most of the Scant Regard stuff as it’s got that Duane Eddy twang right down and it looks like it’s made of LEGO, which is a plus in my book. I have a custom pink Gordon Smith GT-60 and a DeArmond Starfire semi-acoustic as well as a 72 Reissue Telecaster Deluxe. The Teisco is my favourite because it just looks like it’s out of The Jetsons and it sounds amazing.
The pedals I’m using at the moment are a Fulltone OCD Overdrive, Providence Anadime Chorus, a George Dennis Wah/Vol, MXR phaser, Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter Tremolo and an Electro Harmonix Memory Boy. I think I like the Fulltone the best because it makes any amp sound great, which is invaluable when you turn up somewhere and don’t know what you’re gonna be playing through.
My main amp is a Carvin Bel Air combo.
WILL CREWDSON: It’s definitely a lot more experimental and electronic than some people might expect from me.
When I play live, the guitar becomes more dominant but there are tracks on the album where the guitar parts could only work with the arrangement that’s going on behind them.
I’d like people to hear it and create their own film in their mind using it as the soundtrack.
I think the film would cross genres from western to horror to comedy in equal measures.
tribe4mian: You teamed up with Johnette Napolitano (LA’s Concrete Blonde). How did this happen? Could you tell us which releases you have together and will you do something new in the near future?
WILL CREWDSON: I met Johnette completely by chance in a record shop in Fulham about 14 years ago. I was a massive fan of her and the band’s and was pretty star-struck to meet her in a tiny, empty shop. Anyway, we kept in touch and I think she asked to hear some new instrumental tracks I’d done and instantly offered to do some lyrics and melodies over them. We ended up doing a whole album called, “Scarred” and it came out about four years ago in the US. Got some great reviews but it didn’t really get the exposure it deserved. I think it’s actually out of print already but I’m very proud of that album and it was a thrill to work with someone who has an almost supernaturally powerful voice and presence.
Not sure if we’ll be working together again as she’s tied up with Concrete Blonde again now and that’s a really good thing. Something special happens when her voice is combined with Jim Mankey’s amazingly original guitar playing.
tribe4mian: What role does music play in your life? Do you feel it is an adequate means of expression and could you / would you live without music?
WILL CREWDSON: No, I totally thrive on it. I can’t imagine doing anything else and I don’t want to. I’m such a massive fan of music too. I still get excited at gigs and really disappointed if things get cancelled or I have to miss them for some reason.
tribe4mian: Once again, you are about to go on tour with Livan, opening for Alice Cooper.
I remember last year you played with Livan in Athens, supporting Aerosmith. How was it?
Can you give us the dates and places for Cooper’s tour?
WILL CREWDSON: That was fantastic. I’m such a big fan of Aerosmith and the set they played was like a dream.
I couldn’t believe Steven Tyler’s enthusiasm. I swear he was everywhere.
Even before they went on while we were sound checking he was checking every inch of the stage and all the equipment to make sure everything was to his liking.
I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him sweeping up the stadium afterwards. That’s the way to do it.
Here’s the dates for the next leg of the Alice Cooper tour:
|November 27||Huntington, WV||Albee Theater|
|November 29||Verona, NY||Turning Stone Casino|
|December 2||Atlantic City, NJ||House of Blues|
|December 3||Bridgeport, CT||Klein Memorial Auditorium|
|December 9||Merrillville, IN||Star Plaza Theater|
|December 10||Erie, PA||Warner Theater|
|December 12||Cincinnati, OH||Taft Theater|
|December 13||Atlanta, GA||Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center|
|December 14||Orlando, FL||Hard Rock Live|
tribe4mian: If you had the chance to be born again as a historic personality, which one would you choose?
WILL CREWDSON: I think I’d be a cross between Jack the Ripper and Robin Hood. I wouldn’t murder those ladies, I’d try and liberate them and get them jobs in Sherwood Forest helping me to rob the rich.
Either that or Zorro – he was real, right?
tribe4mian: Thank you very much for this interview, Will. We wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors and journeys.
WILL CREWDSON: Thanks a lot.
If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to catch Will’s upcoming gigs:
Friday, 11 November, 2011
Scant Regard presents … End of Days
Plus live sets from Plasma 9 + Pet Iguana with DJ sets from Ben Hell + DJ Nihil
Ryan’s Bar, 181 Stoke Newington Church Street, Hackney, London (MAP)
Saturday, 12 November, 2011
Scant Regard Live at the Adam and the Ants Convention 2011
The Fiddler’s Elbow, 1 Malden Road, Kentish Town, London (MAP)
Craving more? Here you go!!!
Download Scant Regard, “Burnt Pop Cycles” … HERE
Scant Regard at iTunes … HERE