The Men They Couldn’t Hang – Interview

The MPO are pleased to announce that the latest special guests to be added to the Gathering 20 are The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

For more information about the band, please see the The Gathering / Special Guests section of

Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers, one half of The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s twin pronged vocal attack, spills the beans on the Alarm/TMTCH connection, record eating dogs and snotty hankies!

1. Despite being around for a similar time and sharing many fans I think this is the first time you will have shared a stage with Mike Peters and the Alarm, so how does it feel to be playing at the Gathering?

I’ve heard a lot about the Gathering from many different people so I know that it’s a special kind of event and I’m looking forward to seeing the Alarm again of course. I can totally understand the big crossover in terms of people who like both bands. There’s an exhilarating energy to the Alarm’s performances and a passion in the music that I think both bands share.  There is also an acoustic element to both bands. The Alarm regularly used to start off their gigs acoustically, TMTCH almost always have an acoustic section in the middle.

I remember being very impressed when they came to see TMTCH play one of our early gigs in Wales – particularly as this would have been round about 1984/5, definitely after 68 Guns anyway.  I had a good chat Mike Peters in the audience and he was very down to earth even though they’d had a top 10 album by then and a couple of top 25 singles.

My brother Jon (original drummer with TMTCH) and Spence (original roadie with TMTCH) went to a lot of their gigs and when the Alarm moved to London we were pretty friendly.  There was one time when Dave Sharp lent me an album of Irish songs that was pretty rare and he asked me to be careful and look after it. I left it at my girlfriends flat while we went out for a drink and when I got back that evening the dog had chewed up the bloody record! The sleeve was in tatters and the vinyl was all mangled!  I was horrified and it wasn’t until I played with Dave upstairs at The Garage in London that I think I finally had the heart to tell him …17 years later!!

2. So Devil on the Wind in 2009 was the last studio album, what have you all been up to since then?

TMTCH have done 2 or 3  UK tours since Devil on the Wind as well as many festivals ranging from Calgary Folk Festival in Canada to a festival on the beautiful shores of Lake Bled in Slovenia and the incredible Avante Festival in Portugal. ‎ Most of us have been working on other side projects as well. Last year Paul Simmonds recorded a very well received album (Tales from the Weeping Willow) with Naomi Bedford.  Paul helped produce the album as well as playing guitar, writing some of the songs and providing some backing vocals.

Cush has been busy in Llandeilo writing and recording his first solo album. The album features guest appearances from TMTCH bassist Ricky McGuire and banjo player Tom Spencer. Drumming and production duties are provided by Sputnik Weazel (also drumming with TMTCH). The album ‘The Brough Superior’ is out on February 13th for download through iTunes, Amazon etc and on sale at gigs. Stefan Cush and the Feral Family will be touring from February and March onwards. Check out

Ricky has his own side project on the go with the Killer B’s – who also appeared on the same stage as TMTCH at the Rhythm Festival last year (TMTCH were given their own stage to program). In 2010 the suited and booted  Killer B’s went into the studio with Producer Pat Collier (who also produced TMTCH’s ‘Domino Club’ and ‘Devil on the Wind’) and captured their souped up Rock n Roll/RnB hybrid on CD  and released the wicked and critically acclaimed album ‘Love is a Cadillac Death is a Ford’. Watch out for a new album release from these dudes early this year. More info here:

I’ve started work on a new solo album which is being produced by the legendary Mick Glossop. Mick produced TMTCH albums ‘How Green is the Valley’, ‘Waiting for Bonaparte’, and ‘Silvertown’ as well as The Alarm’s ‘Blaze of Glory’ and ‘The Stand’. The first track recorded features Paul Simmonds on Mandolin as well as our Australian mates  “Weddings, Parties, Anything” on Violin, Accordion, Percussion, Steel Guitar, Cajon, and backing vocals. This track, ‘The Godforsaken Voyage’ was written especially for ‘Founders and Survivors Storylines’ an Australian multi-media project (documentary series with website, online and mobile downloads, social networking and serious game) which should see the light of day around April. This is WPA’s first studio outing in fifteen years and it’s a ripper!!

I’ve also got other special guests appearing on some of the tracks but need to keep it under wraps until the contractual wrangling is sorted out. Maybe Mike would be up for a duet?

The album (no name yet) will be widely available and distributed through Cargo Records in the Spring/Summer.  As a prelude to this I released  ‘Sunday, Morning, Coming Down’ an acoustic EP last year ( and I’ve had a handful of  ‘Sunday, Morning, Coming Down’ mugs made up especially to sell at the Gathering.

3. Like the Alarm, TMTCH never experienced huge commercial success but have maintained a cult following over the years, what is it about the band that keeps that going?

Other than exhilarating energy and a passion in the music  it must be our rugged good looks and trend setting stylishness ….probably.

4. So what plans do the band have for 2012?

Apart from plans with our various offshoot projects TMTCH are talking about a new studio album for 2012 and/or possibly an acoustic album. The acoustic album is something we’ve had in mind for a very long time now as it would be a way to present some of our songs in a much more personal way. One possible idea is to go into the studio and record acoustic versions of our most popular songs, after all  even songs like ‘Iron Masters’ and ‘Shirt of Blue’ were written on the acoustic guitar so it would be a chance to kick up a storm …but just a little more quietly!

Another other idea is to do an album of new material. Even though we’ve been working on other projects we have plenty of stuff up our sleeves …and I don’t mean snotty hankies!

If you want to know anymore come and have a chat with us at the Gathering and you can also keep up to date with what’s happening though our Facebook, Twitter and

Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers