interviewed for the BBC Somerset Website
BBC Somerset: "So, first off - who
are The Mangledwurzels?"
"I am Hedge Cutter (aka Kev Caroll) the lead vocalist
and percussion player. This is Seth Pitt (aka Dave Sampson)
who plays guitars and bass drum - at the same time, and
backing vocals. And finally we have Jethro Tool (aka Frank
Blades) on keyboards, and backing vocals. And
Seth and Jethro both get a song or two to sing lead on at
most gigs. Sorry - I can't stop them!"
"How did you get together?"
day Jethro and me wuz muck-spreading down on the farm, and
Jethro says 'Seth, why don't we'z form a band to impress
the milkmaids?'. I said that this wuz better than muck-spreading,
an' so we decided to ask the local village idiot, Hedge
to come along too. And the rest is local history..."
"Not entirely true, but reality is only slightly different.
Dave and I weren't really muck-spreading; Dave was trying
to teach me to play guitar; and I was trying to cover up
the fact that I hadn't been practicing – and the idea
of a Wurzels tribute band came up in the resulting conversation.
To complete the line-up, Dave borrowed two members of his
blues band Dressed To Kill. Things didn't work
out with the drummer, but vocalist Kev (a prime candidate
for Village Idiot, should a vacancy come up!) proved to
be a natural. The band's debut was on Friday 13th May 2005,
and the rest really is local history...
would you describe your music?"
"Hedge Cutter & The Mangledwurzels is a three-piece
Scrumpy & Western tribute band celebrating the works
of the Bard Of Avonmouth, Adge Cutler and The Wurzels. The
Mangledwurzels play Wurzels songs, old and new, blended
with self-penned titles and pop standards 'Mangled' in true
did the band get its name?"
Seth: "The original Wurzels took their
name from a 'Mangold-wurzel' a root crop used for cattle
fodder; the word coming from 'Mangold' meaning beet (from
Middle High German mnegolt) and 'Wurzel' meaning root (although
in German, a 'Wurzel' has also become a nickname for a vagabond
or tramp). So, using a variation on 'Mangold-wurzel' seemed
a good starting point, and as the band are also happily
mangling songs in true Wurzel style, calling themselves
The Mangledwurzels seemed doubly relevant."
"As for our own names, Hedge Cutter is a clever spoof
on the name of The Wurzels’ founder Adge Cutler, while
Jethro Tool is a much less funny play on the name of Jethro
Tull, the 17th century English agricultural pioneer (rather
than the rock band of the same name!). Seth Pitt is a reference
to that important part of the rural sewerage system although
Seth insists he was so named because - like him - the waters
are still, dark and run deep. Incidentally, we have discovered
a baseball player from East Carolina called Seth Pitt -
Seth has since gone on to write a song about the Mangold-wurzel,
which now closes the band's set, as well as both of their
are your musical influences?"
"Obviously the music of Adge Cutler and The Wurzels
are at the core of everything the band does. The band members'
own tastes - which between them cover most musical genres
– and which influence the music they write and play.
It's surprising what sort of songs have proved to be easy
to ‘Mangle’; the prime considerations tends
to be a good thumping beat, a catchy chorus, and the ability
to add ‘scrumpy’ and ‘cow dung’
into the lyrics, giving the desired effect which goes down
well with almost any type of audience."
is your most memorable gig so far?"
"Me most memorable gig would ‘ave t’be
at the Charlton Inn in Shepton Mallet. It is only a mangold
throw from the house so I wuz really pleased that the band
went down well on my own doorstep. We'd been getting changed
in the skittle alley and we had no idea 'ow many folks had
turned up 'til we strolled into the bar and the whole place
erupted with cheering and clapping. We knew we couldn't
fail that night; the place were packed and rocking all night."
Seth: "For me, I think it was the
performance at the Farrington Gurney Memorial Hall in March
2006. Apart from being the village where I was born and
raised, the audience contains a lot of people who I had
grown up with - old schoolmates, my Sunday School teacher
and my mum! There was even a fellow who had been in The
Scrumpy Bashers - my first band that I joined while I was
still at school and who performed original Adge Cutler and
the Wurzels songs in those far off days before the current
Wurzels had achieved their chart success! It was nice to
disprove the adage that a ‘prophet not being received
in his own land’ because we went down brilliantly
- especially when I sang the song ‘Farrington Gurney’
which I'd written specifically about the village."
Jethro: "I would say that our first
proper Mangledwurzels gig at the Somerset Wagon in Cilcompton
was probably my favourite. We had played a couple of times
before but only short sets supporting other bands; this
was the first headliner for the band; and the first time
we played as a three-piece. And we went down a storm - the
audience really wouldn't let us go; the encores went on
for a good half hour. And we also had the now legendary
crowd-dive incident. Normally the band would dive into the
crowd, but we had one old chap who managed to fall headlong
into the band - probably due to the cider! And despite keyboards,
mic stands and band members flying in opposite directions
– we managed to keep going. The whole incident was
captured on mini-disk and we still use this as part of our
As the band has played hundreds of gigs since this interview
was recorded, I suspect this might all me a little out of
would you most like to play?"
Hedge: "Anywhere there's a crowd who
is ready and waiting to have a night of fun; and someone
willing to book the band! The new Wembley Stadium? Madison
Square Gardens? Maybe we could be part of the half time
interval entertainment at the American Super Bowl! If they
calls us we'll give ‘em due consideration."
Seth: "I suppose the obvious one is
the Glastonbury Festival - Hedge and I have played there
in 2000 with another band - but it would be nice to go back
as The Mangledwurzels. We have already performed at Worthy
Farm at the newly renovated Pilton Tithe Barn which is next
to Michael Eavis' new house, ‘Eavis Towers’
– so it’s the next logical step to play at the
Jethro: "While playing Glasto would
be cool, I would like to play one of the local folk festivals
like the Trowbridge Village Pump or the Priddy Folk Festival.
I have always considered Adge Cutler’s songs to be
proper modern Somerset folk music, not just joke songs to
be laughed at. It would be good to perform his songs (and
a few of ours!) in front of a discerning folk audience."
Althought the band has played hundreds of gigs since
this interview was recorded, they have yet to play at the
Glastonbury Festival, the Trowbridge Village Pump, the Priddy
Folk Festival, Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Gardens or
indeed provided the half time interval entertainment at
the American Super Bowl! So much for dreams...]
tell us some interesting facts about yourself."
Hedge: "T'other two in the band dont
like to admit it but they drafted I into the band as the
sex symbol, a bit of "eye candy for the ladies".
I got they two to thank for our radio coverage on that Jo
Phillips’s radio show on BBC Somerset Sound, but if
they was only a bit more photogenic we might get a bit more
interest from the telly people too.
Seth: "It was during an chat to the
current Wurzels’ manager Sil Wilcox that an interesting
fact came up about my ancestors; I realised they included
the whole gamut of country-folk from pig-man to poacher!
My father's side included gamekeeper (my great-granddad)
and poacher (my granddad - his son!). Now I think about
it, my family has had its share of characters including
one great uncle who managed to blow a hole through his hand
by putting it on top of his own (loaded) shotgun whilst
climbing over a gate. Another uncle did himself a good deal
of damage by running over himself with his own tractor and
trailer, and I remember my dad telling a story about how
he was on a hunting (in other words ‘poaching’)
trip with my uncle in the family’s Morris car. Dad
was in the back seat and my uncle driving with the front
windows rolled down. Dad, shotgun in hand, saw a pigeon
on a post by the side of the road and told his brother to
pull up as he took aim. The resulting jerk of the car stopping
caused dad to miss the pigeon and the post but take out
the car windscreen! - I think I feel another song coming
Jethro: "Before we started the band,
I used to work over in Bristol where I was one of the founding
fathers of the online entertainment listings company Ents24.
Three of us set up the company back in the days of the Dot.Com
boom, and I am proud to say that it not only survived the
Dot.Com bubble bursting, but also – thanks to a lot
of hard work – is going from strength to strength.
And here I am on the other side of the fence - now sending
our gig details to Ents24 instead of receiving them from
It took Seth another year or so to write, but The Poacher
& The Gamekeeper appears on the band's second album...]
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