From Lincoln to La Roux

There are not many musicians out there who have come out of Lincolnshire. However, there was one band, I Was A Cub Scout, who looked set to change that. From playing to crowds at Leeds and Reading to the duo’s quirky music videos on MTV, it was going well. Until they split.

But drummer Will Bowerman, 21, didn’t give up there. Now he has worked with the likes of Panic at the Disco and Babyshamles, and is currently drumming for electropop newcomers La Roux.

Will wanted to be a drummer ever since he was a child. He recalls sitting in his front room listening to a Cream cassette given to him by his dad.


La Rouxs newest member, Will Bowerman, at the Lowlands Festival 2009. | Photo: Martijn Eerens

“Clapton is obviously a great guitarist, but it’s Ginger Baker’s drumming that really took my interest. I had never heard anything so fast and driving before. I had a very mini kids’ toy kit, and I tried to recreate this beat for days and days in a row.

“On my seventh birthday, my parents gave me a vintage Premier set and the rest is history! It’s drummers such as Ginger Baker from Cream and John Bonham from Led Zeppelin that made me really want to play. I loved that they weren’t hidden and they were at the forefront of the band.

“People think drums are just to back up guitars, but the possibilities are endless on a kit, and they should be played to be noticed. And these guys were certainly noticed.”

I Was A Cub Scout, Will’s first professional band, started when he and another musician, Todd Marriott, decided to work together. Marriott was “a wizard with electronics”, as well as writing catchy dance songs, so the pair experimented by adding the live drums, with promising results.

Bowerman managed to get a place at a music college in Brighton, but decided to drop that in pursuit of the band. Fortunately the gamble paid off as they got signed soon after.

“I figured that I would give that a shot instead of going to college, as what’s the point being taught about music when you could be out there learning for yourself?”

The band had many successes, including a memorable gig at a small festival called Pukkelpop, where Will remembers the cheers being “literally deafening!” But this was not to last as on June 5th 2008 the band decided to split.

“When we started the band, we were 16 and 17, and very different people to when we split up a few years later. Musically and personally we wanted very different things. We were very different people from day one, and by the end we just had nothing in common. I wanted to continue playing music professionally so the band splitting up was quite a blow, but in the long run it has worked out in my favour.”

“Luckily, I have been asked to drum for most of the people I drum for which is unbelievably flattering. There are a lot of bands and singers I would have loved to play for like The Joy Formidable, Marina and the Diamonds, and Eliie Goulding, but they clashed with other work I had been doing at the time.

“I have no favourites, as I’ve been fortunate enough to only work with unbelievably nice people, people that I still hang out with now,” he adds.

Will managed to catch La Roux’s eye when he attended an audition to drum with the duo, singer Elly Jackson and synth player Ben Langmaid, and the rest is history.

“I’m playing in La Roux for the next couple of years. It is nice to travel to places like the USA, Japan, Australia, and still play huge theatres as apposed to dingy clubs. It’s good to be touring in buses too with the amount of touring we are doing, as huge tours in vans can get really tiring.

“I went to the USA and around Europe with Cub Scout, but now I am doing more thorough touring in these countries and new places too. It’s so exciting!”

La Roux have been busy promoting themselves, as well as releasing an album with hit singles Bulletproof and In For The Kill. They played festivals such as Glastonbury and the Leeds and Reading Festivals, but on bigger stages to bigger crowds than in the I Was A Cub Scout days.

I Was A Cub Scout did a lot of the smaller stages at festivals like Leeds and Reading, Download, and Latitude. I’ve also done a lot of folk festivals with Jim Moray, which was great fun. Now with La Roux we are doing a lot bigger, international festivals. Festivals are a very good way of promoting an artist, as people that may not usually go to their show may pop a long just out of interest and be converted! So every booking agent wants their band to play as many festivals as possible, and I have been lucky enough to play some of the best.

“The year so far has been intense. My highlight was Glastonbury Festival this year. It was my third show and 10,000 people showed up. It was unreal and very moving.”

Since joining La Roux, Will has finally been able to move to London, something he always dreamed of doing.

Despite drumming for years and holding many memories from before La Roux, there were times when Will wanted to give up, especially during his teenage years.

“During school, I had a phase of not playing at all. I just wanted to fit in and didn’t want to be any different to anybody else, so I didn’t tell anyone that I played an instrument. It was only a matter of time until I realised I was rubbish at everything else and that I should probably keep drumming.”

For a session drummer Will Bowerman has an incredible tale to tell. From humbly experimenting with a popular local band, which unfortunately ended, to becoming La Roux’s newest member, he has proved that drummers don’t have to — and shouldn’t — blend into the background. His advice to drummers is simple:

“Have some fun, don’t worry, and stay in time.”

“The problem with
initiatives like Talk to Frank is they are built on a drug policy
framework that is
hypocritical to the end.”

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