Pete Ellard, (seen here on the left), drummer with English pop rock band, Scouting For Girls, chats with Kevin Cooper about the anniversary of their debut album Scouting For Girls, their most amazing gig at Rock City, the group’s ten challenges to raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association, and their Autumn tour of the UK.

Pete Ellard is the drummer for English pop rock band, Scouting For Girls, named after the 1908 Scouting Handbook of the same name. Along with Ellard, the band consists of childhood friends from London, Roy Stride on piano, lead guitar and vocals, and Greg Churchouse on bass guitar.

Having formed in 2005, they signed to Epic Records in 2007 and they released their self titled debut album that September, which reached number one on the UK Album Chart in 2008 and sold over 1 million copies in the UK.

A second album Everybody Wants To Be On TV was released in April 2010 and peaked at number two in the charts. This was preceded by the single This Ain’t A Love Song, which went to number one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks.

Scouting For Girls are official ambassadors for the children’s charity, Wellchild, and have raised over £20,000 for the charity by cycling from London to Brighton on children’s chopper bikes in 2010. In 2017 to celebrate their Ten Year Anniversary the band are undertaking ten challenges to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. The events include the London Marathon.

Whilst having a break ahead of the Festival season and a tour of the UK, Pete Ellard had a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Hi Pete how are you?

I’m not too bad thanks Kevin, I’m just on my way to Telford which is really exciting (laughter). How are you?

I’m very well thank you and let me just thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

It’s no problem whatsoever. My pleasure.

And just how is life treating you other than a drive to Telford (laughter).

I have to say that life is good. We are currently getting ready to get ourselves back out on the road in time for the festival season. So life at the moment is pretty good.

Have you got many festivals lined up for this summer?

Yes we have, we will be very busy pretty much from now until the end of August really. So we are nice and busy.

That’s a nice position to be in don’t you think?

It is, absolutely.

Does your set list change when you go from indoor gigs to large outdoor festivals?

(Laughter) not really, not with us. We have literally just this week been going through some of our past set lists and I have to say that they are all pretty much the same, as they have been over the past ten years since we have been going (laughter). Joking aside, at certain festivals we will change things up and we will slip a few covers in there to get everyone going.

When you play an indoor gig on the whole it is all Scouting For Girls fans, whereas whenever you play a festival there is a large selection of the audience who are there to see someone else. Does that change your outlook at all?

No not really. We just put on the same show as we do at indoor gigs. Most people have heard of the band and mostly at festivals everybody has had a little more to drink, and it is usually sunny so they are happy either way (laughter).

This year you are celebrating the tenth anniversary of your debut album Scouting For Girls. Where did those ten years go?

I know (laughter). If you think about it it’s like the fastest ten years ever. I simply cannot believe that it has come around so quickly. For the band to get to this point we really are so chuffed. It really is unbelievable.

When you originally wrote and recorded the album could you have ever believed that it would stand the test of time as well as it has?

That’s a tough question. To be honest with you it all happened so quickly. We all had jobs before we got signed and we signed our record deal on the Tuesday, quit our jobs on the Friday and we were recording the album the following Monday (laughter). We then spent six weeks in the recording studio and then we were straight out on the road touring the album. So it is only really now that we have been able to sit back and start taking things seriously (laughter). We honestly never had the time to think whether the album would stand the test of time or not. We just had all of these songs, we put them onto record and then we were out touring. But I would say that luckily it has.

I played the album this morning and I have to say that in my opinion it still sounds as fresh as it did when you recorded it ten years ago.

Oh thank you for saying that, it’s always nice to hear it when you are told that your work sounds good regardless of how old it is. I think the reason that the album still sounds fresh is down to Andy Green the producer. At that time Andy was working with Keane and The Feeling, and to be honest he really is a great producer. He really does know just how to capture a moment. All of his stuff sounds fresh, it’s great.

Putting you on the spot now, do you still listen to the album?

(Laughter) no of course not (laughter). Honestly, I do listen to it every now and then and Keep On Walking is one of my all-time favourite Scouting For Girls songs production wise. I always find myself going back to the album and in particular that song. However, being honest with you I really do try not to listen to any of our albums (laughter).

Are you all proud of the album?

Absolutely, I am so proud of it. It has given me a ten year career so far. Nothing has slowed down during that ten years so if I didn’t have that album, if I didn’t have those songs then I would probably be doing something else, badly (laughter).

You will be touring the UK towards the end of this year when you will play the album in its entirety. Are you looking forward to that?

Yes we are, and yes I am, I really can’t wait. We will be playing the entire album back to front and all the way through plus we are going to be re-releasing the album. There will also be a live version of the album available together with a couple of new tracks and as you say we will be touring throughout October, November and December. It is going to be so much fun.

You will be here in Nottingham at Rock City on 1st December. Is Rock City a must play gig?

Yes it is and we are all proud to have played Rock City, The Royal Concert Hall and the Arena up there in Nottingham. We love it and the city has such a great music vibe. The last time that we played at Rock City it was a pretty amazing gig. It was one of those unforgettable ones which we will always go back to and say ‘yes, that was one of our best gigs’. It is right up there in our top ten gigs of all-time. The venue is amazing; it is such a great place.

You recently played an anniversary gig on February 14th at London’s Bush Hall which was the day that you got signed. How was that?

It was great. We played the entire album together with a few songs that we hadn’t played for a very long time, and I have to say that it was really nice to get back to playing all of the album. We had a great time and so did the audience.

You mention that you are to re-release the album, do you have anything else special planned to mark the tenth anniversary?

(Laughter) well we did have a bit of a party on the 14th which was very good. The whole tour is going to be one big party and we are currently working out what we are going to do now so expect the unexpected (laughter).

On the subject of the re-release I have to ask, why are you releasing it on cassette?

(Laughter) well, we will be releasing the album on vinyl for obvious reasons and to be honest we are all still thinking about the cassette version. We actually have no idea as to why we are releasing it on cassette (laughter). I personally would love to see the album released on cassette, but I have nothing to play it on but I would just love a cassette (laughter). Everybody has got a pile of old dusty cassettes; I have even got a pile of VHS tapes that I still have not got rid of. I can’t get rid of them because they all have something on them that I don’t want to get rid of (laughter). I think that it is just one of those things. Scouting For Girls are bringing cassette tapes back (laughter).

I was recently speaking to the boys from Feeder and they have recently released their latest album on cassette.

Oh really, and what answer did they give you for doing that?

They said that ‘it looks funky and retro in the shops’.

That’s a great reply, I think I am going to use that (laughter). Most of the people will look at it and think what the hell is this thing? The thing that I found funny with tapes was that when you went to see a band playing live, you realised that the songs were always slower because the tape had stretched and played so fast that you could hardly recognise the song (laughter).

2017 is going to be a very busy year for you but do you have any thoughts on a new studio album?

Yes we have and we are always working on stuff. We are together almost ninety percent of the year and are all prolific writers so we have had a few things that we have been doing so stay tuned. We are always writing new stuff and new things so hopefully we should have a new studio album ready for release sometime soon.

To help celebrate the Ten Year Anniversary of the album, you have undertaken ten challenges to help raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. How are things going?

(Laughter) well we are all injured at the moment because we recently took part in the London Marathon. That was the biggest challenge out of the ten that we have agreed to undertake. The others are more sedate such as cupcake days, small walks and stuff like that (laughter). We have raised almost ten thousand pounds already which we are all pretty pleased with.

So what times did you all register?

Well the three members of the band did it together with our manager and tour manager. First came our manager who did it in three hours fifty-five minutes. Our tour manager did it in four hours. Roy did it in just over five hours and me and Greg did it together in about six hours and fifty minutes, we were the worst (laughter). The highlight of the day for us all was overtaking Ian Beale from EastEnders (laughter).

Is it something that you will be doing again?

No, I am never doing it again (laughter). In fact none of us are ever doing it again. It was fun but we really hadn’t appreciated just how hard it was going to be.

What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?

For me personally so much of the past ten years has been a highlight. We just constantly get to do things which ten years ago were simply beyond our wildest dreams. We have played at both Glastonbury and the V Festival so many times. Thinking about it, I would have to say that one highlight has to be appearing on Emmerdale (laughter). There have been so many highlights that there are lots that I have actually forgotten. I could never pick out one single thing.

Who has musically inspired you?

We all just love good pop music from the 1960s and 1970s. This will get me a shed load of grief but I actually do love Phil Collins; you can’t beat a bit of Phil Collins (laughter). His Serious…Hits Live! album is one of the best albums ever made in my opinion. We have all been inspired by the really great pop bands who we have seen over the years and that is why we wanted to be involved in the music business. We just love really well sung songs.

What was the first record that you bought?

That would have been a Now That‘s What I Call Music but I’m not sure which one it was, without giving away just how old I am (laughter). I think that the manufacturers were at that stage still in single figures (laughter).

Who did you first see playing live in concert?

The first band that I saw playing live was Ocean Colour Scene at The Docklands Arena which isn’t there anymore in 1994. That was my first ever gig.

What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?

I don’t do crying (laughter). You will never find a song that has made me cry. I have nearly cried on stage a few times when there has been a key change but other than that, I don’t cry at music, ever (laughter).

On that note Pete let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today. Have a great summer and I will see you at Rock City in December.

You take care Kevin and we will see you in Nottingham. Bye for now.