You may not have heard of The Churchills, but if you happen to watch TV you’ve undoubtedly heard one of their songs. Their songs have appeared on everything from Scrubs to The Sopranos to MTV shows galore; they run the gamut. But, if you’ve only heard one of their songs on a tv show, and haven’t seen them live, you’re missing out on the real magic behind it all. The band (Ron Haney on vocals and guitar, Bart Schoudel on vocals and bass, Jed Higgerson on guitar and Tom Cottone on drums) have amassed a diehard group of loyal followers by touring the country from coast to coast a few times over. Anyone that has seen them once has inevitably gone back for more (usually a lot more).
Their latest album “The Odds Of Winning” boasts insightful lyrics with infectious power pop riffs that have to bravely step up to the plate to compete with the band’s spot on harmonies. Anthemic choruses, gut-wrenching ballads, and pure party songs…The Churchills leave no song unturned. If you need more proof, check out their video for “I’m A Sucker For A Girl In Uniform’” which is dedicated to strong women everywhere. Girl Power!
Seriously…what’s not to love? We dare you to find something.
Interviewed by: Laura DiBetta | February 2007
Why the name “The Churchills”?
While Bart and I were over in London we stopped by the former Prime Minister’s House. The unseemly details that followed and subsequent detention by British authorities are what led us to memorialize the occasion with the good Sir’s name.
The Churchills have gone through several lineup changes. When did the band first form and how has it changed over the years?
Bart and I met while working in film production in the late 90’s and formed the first incarnation of The Churchills. It’s true that there have been many lineup changes. I guess the only constant has been the two of us. There has been a different drummer for every record. In a way we wish we could have found the right people to become the official third and fourth members and have that kind of full band chemistry. But, this is the hand we were dealt and this is how we played it.
Your songs have been featured on many popular tv shows, including Scrubs and Spin City. Now Sometimes Your Best is the theme song for MTV’s latest reality show, Juvies. What impact has this kind of exposure had on the band?
It certainly gives us a bit of a broader platform to perform from. It’s great when you are able to reach an audience that may not otherwise have heard of you and make a few bucks while you’re at it. Seriously, it’s been an excellent tool for us to expand our fan base. It’s always satisfying when you’re on a show you actually watch and like.
One of the rumors listed on the band’s Myspace page is that Juvies was inspired by Ron’s real life experience. Yet many of your lyrics allude to a wilder past. Are your songs inspired by your own life experiences?
I think most songwriters use some composite sketch of their own experiences to paint a visual image in their music. By and large, listeners respond to truth in song and that would be hard to achieve if the singer wasn’t being honest. With that being said, we don’t know what the hell we’re singing about.
Was there anyone in particular that inspired Sucker for a Girl in Uniform (besides the staff of TWRY, of course)?
It was mostly the TWRY girls! It was meant to be an homage to strong women everywhere and who better fills that bill than you?
Sucker For a Girl In Uniform – The Video
Sucker for a Girl in Uniform got a lot of radio airplay thanks to WEQX in Vermont and Upstate New York. But with Clear Channel and The Jack taking over more and more stations, how does the future look for independent radio and for artists like The Churchills?
Bleak. I don’t know what part radio will play in the future of independent artists. Being that the music business tends to be cyclical, maybe acquiring music online will ebb and radio will reclaim it’s position. For now, most people I know get their music online and appreciate the freedom of internet radio. When popular radio ceases being so formulaic and starts taking more chances, people will follow. Then bands like us will benefit.
You’ve had the chance to play with some big name bands, like Ok Go, They Might be Giants and Nada Surf. Do you have a favorite?
We absolutely love Nada Surf. They write such beautiful songs. Ok Go is getting some much deserved attention now. They are a great band. I would have loved to play with Jellyfish when they were still a band or the Smiths. We have diverse tastes in the band. I know Bart would love to play with Crowded House and Jed would want to play with Collective Soul.
What was your worst gig?
I don’t remember. There are varying degrees of bad. The worst ones are when you are doing a favor for someone….playing a party or something….and you get constantly bombarded with requests to do System of a Down songs.
The Churchills trying to exorcise the demons out of Spooky
Ron and Bart, you also run a production company. What current projects are you working on?
The Ruling Party record is almost done. We are doing some more single-oriented stuff with them now. We are doing the new Crayons record which is going to be great. We are just wrapping up the Lexington Down record too. We have lots of other solo artists and cool songwriting projects too.
Ron, we hear you recently wrote a song with Alicia Keys. How did that come about?
Well, I did a couple of sessions on guitar and she is super amazing. We just kinda jammed on some stuff and one of the things came out really great. I hope it makes her record. Steve Mostyn from The Ruling Party is her bass player. When Alicia heard the guitar stuff on The Ruling Party songs she really liked it. So she told Steve she wanted me to come in and lay it down.
Is there anyone you’d really like to work with?
Paul McCartney. The Flaming Lips.
You really take the time to talk to fans at shows and through your Myspace page. How important is it for you to maintain that personal connection with your fans?
It’s the most important thing. It’s flattering to have people reach out to you and let you know they like what you’re doing. Since Myspace affords us the opportunity to have the purest interaction, it would be unconscionable to ignore that.
We’ve been hearing some great new material at live shows. When can we expect a new record?
We are recording now. We’re not really in a rush. Bart and I were thinking sometime around mid-summer.
Please choose one – and only one!
Producing or playing live?
Scrubs or Juvies?
New York or New Jersey?
New Jersey for a change.
Myspace: blessing or curse?
Baseball or running?
Running on a Baseball diamond
These guys are the real deal! Take some time and get to know them, you’ll be glad you did!