The Rumble Strips

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The Rumble Strips
Origin Tavistock, Devon, England
Genres Indie pop, Soul
Years active 2004–2010
Labels Fallout Records (Universal Island Records)
Transgressive Records
Associated acts Vincent Vincent and the Villains
Action Heroes
Members Charlie Waller
Henry Clark
Tom Gorbutt
Matthew Wheeler
Sam Mansbridge

The Rumble Strips were an English band from Tavistock, Devon. The band took their name from rumble strips, which are a series of small, continuous lines of bumps across a road with fast-moving traffic, to remind traffic to slow down in time for a roundabout. Having known each other since childhood, a precise conception date for the band doesn't really exist. The line-up remained the same throughout until they disbanded in 2010. The band were signed to Fallout Records, a subsidiary of Universal Island Records.



Lead singer Charlie Waller was involved in music from an early age, initial inspirations included Lou Reed's Transformer and bands such as Adam and the Ants. He moved to London for art college and played with his band from Devon, the Action Heroes. After the Action Heroes realised they had been playing together for 9 years, they felt the need for change. With the former keyboardist – Harry Dwyer (who would later go on to direct most of the Rumble Strips' videos) spending too much time on his Morris Minor, Waller began writing and playing again with former Tavistock friend Tom Gorbutt, and also recruited Henry Clark, (coming as standard) the drummer from the Action Heroes Matthew Wheeler, The Rumble Strips were formed, the year was 2004. Also during this time, Charlie was one of two frontmen in Vincent Vincent and the Villains with flatmate and fellow singer/songwriter Vincent Vincent. The strain of playing in two bands eventually led to Waller quitting both groups before being coaxed back to the Rumble Strips. Vincent Vincent wrote the song "Johnny Two Bands" about Waller's departure. Old schoolfriend and former bandmate of all the Rumbles (from the Mother Eating Blackberries and Action Heroes) Sam Mansbridge was brought in to the line-up at the end of 2006 to beef up the live sound, playing bass and the big Rumble Drum that is such a feature of the band's live act.


Fortunes for the band would take a turn for the better when out of the blue, independent record label Transgressive Records – who have produced singles for The Young Knives and Regina Spektor – would offer to produce the band's first single. This would reunite Waller with the band, and together they released "Motorcycle" on 12 December 2005. Waller said at this time "It was like, I have nothing to lose – I'm working for my uncle on a building site. What's to lose?".[1] The band moved further into the public eye with a number of key support dates for Dirty Pretty Things and fellow Transgressive artists The Young Knives in early 2006, and then the release of their second single, "Hate Me (You Do)" on 5 June. A further tour supporting The Zutons, and the release of the band's first EP, Cardboard Coloured Dreams, followed this in November 2006.

The new year brought the Rumble Strips their first move into the charts, with their release of "Alarm Clock" on 19 March 2007 reaching No. 41 in the UK Singles Chart. It was in this year, that they were voted number 10 in BBC's "Sounds of 2007". The band were asked by NME to play their biggest headline tour to date, as headliners of the 2007 Topman NME New Music Tour throughout May 2007.The tour saw them play a number of venues around the country with other new bands Pull Tiger Tail, Blood Red Shoes and The Little Ones. The band released a live EP recorded whilst on the tour containing the tracks "Oh Creole", "Alarm Clock", "My Oh My" and previously unreleased track, "London". The band re-released "Motorcycle" on 4 June 2007. The single failed to reach the previous heights of "Alarm Clock", charting slightly lower at No. 46. Two 7-inch vinyls were also released of the track, containing b-side "My Oh My". A misprint was made on some of these vinyls where 1000 copies were distributed labelling the b-side on the opposite side to the one listed. These are already being considered collector's items, even by the band themselves.[2]

Following the release of "Motorcycle", the band stated that they had already decided on their next single, "Girls and Boys in Love",[3] which was released on 3 September 2007 and was the official song of the film Run Fatboy Run, starring Simon Pegg and directed by David Schwimmer, and itself released on 10 September 2007. Their debut album, Girls And Weather, was released on 17 September, peaking at No. 70 in the UK album charts, with "Girls and Boys in Love", reaching No. 64 in the UK Singles Chart.[3][4]


A Rumble Strips CD with the signatures of all band members

After Charlie sang lead vocals on "Back to Black" for producer Mark Ronson at The Electric Proms in 2007, in late 2008 the band began working with him on their second record at London rehearsal space The Joint. Recorded off the back of their first US tour the band lay down the bulk of the tracks at Avatar Studios, New York, leaving vocals to be completed in London, England whilst orchestration was composed and overseen by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy, Arcade Fire) and completed in Prague. The album was released in July 2009 under the name Welcome to the Walk Alone. As part of their First Listen series of features, ran a track-by-track synopsis of Welcome to the Walk Alone on their site on 26 May. Whilst stating that "Ronson's kitchen sink production is evident after little more than a minute," they said that the sound of the record is "lush", highlighting "Dem Girls", "Sweet Heart Hooligan" and "Daniel" as the album's highlights.[5] The tour for the album concluded in 2010, after which the band soon disbanded.




Year Title Chart
2005 "Motorcycle / No Soul" Girls and Weather
2006 "Hate Me (You Do)"
2007 "Alarm Clock" 41
"Motorcycle" 46
"Girls and Boys in Love" 64


Date of Release Title Tracks Label
20 November 2006 Cardboard Coloured Dreams (CD/Poster 12-inch/8-inch ) 1. "Oh Creole"
2. "Born Bored"
3. "High Street Heaven"
4. "Running Away"
Fallout/Island Records


  • NME Presents The Best New Bands – contains "Motorcycle" (Issued with NME on 9 September 2006)
  • NME Presents The Essential Bands – Festival Edition – contains "Alarm Clock" (Released 11 June 2007)
  • Run Fatboy Run: Original Soundtrack – contains "Girls and Boys in Love" (Released 10 September 2007)
  • Amy Winehouse "Back to Black" remix
  • The songs "Girls and Boys in Love" and "Alarm Clock" have been used in the UK TV sitcom The Inbetweeners.
  • Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging: Music From The Motion Picture – Contains "Girls and Boys in Love"
  • 2010 Macy's denim jeans sale commercial uses the "Girls and Boys in Love" tune.
  • In October 2010, Baileys used the song "Girls and Boys in Love" for their commercial.


  1. "Band Biography". From the Rumble Strips Website. Retrieved 16 May 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Details on Single Misprint". From Rumble Strips Website. Retrieved 20 June 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Single News". From the Rumble Strips Website. Retrieved 20 June 2007. External link in |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Let's Get Ready to Rumble... Strips". Retrieved 26 June 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Strips, Rumble (26 May 2009). "First Listen: The Rumble Strips 'Welcome To The Walk Alone'". Retrieved 26 May 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links