They don’t have a record deal or release date for their album yet, and their name still isn’t even a 100% firm, but a new “supergroup” featuring members of the Heartbreakers, Elvis Costello’s Imposters, Toad the Wet Sprocket and others has taken shape in Los Angeles and will likely be heard from this year.
Tentatively known as the Scrolls, the octet is comprised of keyboardist Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Faragher from Elvis Costello’s Imposters, Nickel Creek’s Sara and Sean Watkins, Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips, fiddler Luke Bula from the Blue Merle Band and multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz.
Phillips tells Billboard.com that the group has recorded 16 tracks with producer Jim Scott and hopes to have an album ready to release in the fall. “We cut the whole album with eight people, live, all of us together,” Phillips reports. “It’s old school. [There are] four lead singers, great songs, amazing players. It’s just been an amazing experience.”
Phillips describes the sound as “classic American music — with more chords. Benmont jokes about how it will prevent him from getting Alzheimer’s. It’s all pretty much song format and a combination of Americana and rock and strangeness. It’s very real, if that makes sense.”
The group plans to release the album on its own, according to Phillips, but is open to a licensing it if the situation is right. “There hasn’t been an A&R guy, hasn’t been a manager,” he says. “We’ve been left to our own devices, and it’s been great.”
It remains to be seen how visible the group will be outside of the studio, however. All of the members have busy schedules. Sara Watkins, for one, is working on a new solo album that Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones is producing. Phillips, who tours with both Toad and as a solo act, has started another side band called Plover and has just put out a new EP, “Secrets of the New Explorers,” via his web sit that shows off another side of his music.
“I’m a Peter Gabriel and Talk Talk fanatic,” Phillips says. “It’s kind of this other side of what I do that’s different from the more pop and folk stuff.”