Neck Deep: Guitarist Sam Bowden was a natural fit

Neck Deep
Neck Deep

Neck Deep say there was only ever one choice when it came time to bring in a new guitarist.

The Wrexham pop punk heroes had to move fast to bring in Sam Bowden to fill the slot left vacant by Lloyd Roberts last year when he faced allegations made by a member of the public.

Police investigated the claims, but didn’t pursue the matter further, saying: “We can confirm that this matter has been investigated fully and no further action is being taken.”

But Roberts stepped down at the time and Neck Deep brought in long-time friend Bowden to stand in for scheduled appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals last year.

And having made the job his own with his efforts – and with little prospect of Roberts returning – Neck Deep made Bowden a permanent member towards the end of 2015.

Speaking to TeamRock backstage at the Download festival, bass player Fil Thorpe-Evans says: “I had known Sam for a long time before anyway, and he had actually filled in with us once before.

“We lived together for a while and had been in other bands together. It really wasn’t like bringing in a new member at all because it was such a natural thing.”

Frontman Ben Barlow adds: “We had to do it on short notice because we had to play the main stage at Reading and Leeds. Sam knew the songs and he almost knew we would go to him when we needed a guitarist.

“And as soon as we hit the road with him, it felt right.”

On whether they discussed bringing Roberts back into the fold once police had cleared his name, Barlow says: “At that point it was already too far gone.”

Neck Deep play the Maverick Stage at Download (opens in new tab) at 6.25pm today (Saturday).

TeamRock is at Download all weekend. Visit to keep up with all the news, reviews and interviews from the festival as they happen.

Neck Deep launch Smooth Seas video

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.