The Phantom Band are a Scottish indie rock band based in Glasgow, consisting of Duncan Marquiss (guitar), Gerry Hart (bass), Andy Wake (keyboards), Rick Anthony (vocals and guitar), Iain Stewart (drums) and Greg Sinclair (guitars). They are often generally described as indie rock but are known to utilize a variety of genres and styles. The band’s debut album Checkmate Savage was released in January 2009 (rereleased on vinyl in January 2019) and the follow up The Wants in October 2010. In June 2014, the band released their third record, Strange Friend followed by Fears Trending in January 2015.
The band initially performed and released material under various names, never sticking with the same band-name for long: NRA, Les Crazy Boyz, Los Crayzee Boyz, Tower of Girls, Wooden Trees. In 2005, using the adopted name Robert Redford, the band released a one-off CDR titled The Mummy and Daddy Dance on their own temporary label Extreme Nudity, self distributed to independent record outlets in the UK, before removing all reference to it from their online presence and reforming under a new name, Robert Louis Stevenson. The sought-after release now only changes hands on online auction sites, and the only element traceable from the band’s current incarnation is the presence of the track “Crocodile” (formerly “Crocodile Dundee”) on their 2009 album Checkmate Savage.
Under the title of Robert Louis Stevenson, they played a number of live shows in Glasgow (Stereo, Nice’n’Sleazy) and Edinburgh (Wee Red Bar) and released a limited run of 150 audio cassettes under band member Nobodaddy (Wake’s DJing alter-ego) and Hugo Paris’ home imprint, Sweat on Cassette.
Regarding the band’s early name changes vocalist Rick Anthony states:
We never really took things too seriously to start with so we didn’t think twice about changing our name so much, or asking promoters to pick ones for us. I guess it could be considered a little perverse, but it allowed us the freedom to experiment with different forms of music, and it was also kind of fun. I think we gradually realised that it was potentially as alienating for people as it was amusing for us, and once we had played a few shows under the name The Phantom Band, without anyone complaining, it made sense to stick with it. Also, by that point, we had reached a level of musical expression that was more in tune with what we were aiming for as a band, so I think we were all a bit more comfortable with the idea of settling on something.
In 2006, the band began using The Phantom Band as their name (apparently in reference to their elusive activities up to that point) and, in 2007, released a 7″ single, “Throwing Bones”, on the London-based Trial & Error Recordings. The critical acclaim of this single, their first fully distributed release, was the impetus for their signing to Chemikal Underground.
Prior to the release of their debut album the band appeared at a number of UK festivals including Hydro Connect 2008 (Your Sound Bandstand), Tales of the Jackalope 2007 (Unspecified Stage), The Wickerman Festival, 20 July 2007 (Solus Stage), and the Wye Fayre 2007, 7 July 2007 (Flying Monkey Stage), They also played their first show outside the United Kingdom at the Crossing Border festival in Den Haag, the Netherlands in November 2008.