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The Bandits are an internationally-acclaimed, Grammy award-winning rock band from Santa Christina, Georgeland, known for their extravagant lifestyle and ever-changing lineup as much for their music. The Bandits were formed in 1967 and have existed only sporadically since 1993. Since the death of guitarist George Carnell in 2004, the band has not played together, though its surviving members insist the band has not broken up. The essential 'core' of the band - brothers Sam and George Carnell, remained stable until 2004, with the Carnell brothers acknowledged as the driving force behind the group.


Pre-formative years[]

The Carnell brothers had been playing together since a very early age. Their father, Peter Carnell, had been a musician himself. Peter Carnell's jazz band, in which he played the trumpet, toured during the Second World War to entertain Georgeland forces serving in the Pacific.
The two Carnell brothers each learned to play several instruments at the insistence of their father, who encouraged them to become musicians and supported their early musical careers. In 1954 Peter Carnell died in a car accident. In 2000, speaking about his father, Sam Carnell commented that he "probably didn't have rock and roll in mind, but I'm sure he's looking down on us with approval. After all, we're rich now."
The Carnell brothers played together in pubs and clubs throughout the early 1960s, influenced at the time by both the British Invasion and the popularity of Americans such as Elvis Presley. The unusual combination of both sounds quickly saw the Carnells noticed and in 1964, while both still under eighteen, musical impresario John Tetley signed Sam and George to produce an album of 1950s songs, such as those of Chuck Berry. The album, The Carnells, is now considered a rare collectible. The brothers themselves made little from the enterprise and were frustrated that Tetley, who was famous for his hard-nosed attitude towards his contractors, would not allow them to perform any of their own material.
In 1965 the brothers decided to strike out on their own but had difficulty finding work, due in part to Tetley, who declared they would never work again. Both brothers toured the country attempting to work where they could, playing the club scene but also performing manual labour and other odd jobs as a means of paying the bills. In late 1966, the brothers played on the same bill as The Drones, a beat combo that was attempting to break into the industry in Santa Christina. The band's bass guitarist, Ronnie Richards, saw more potential in the Carnells than his own group and abruptly quit and asked the brothers if he could join them. The three men then formed a band, which they called Carnell Knowledge, with drummer Neil Bates, a friend of Richards'. In June 1967, Bates left the group and was replaced by Peter Owen, whom the Carnells had met at another club, The Belfry. The name Carnell Knowledge was dropped and the band took on the epithet The Bandits, which remained with them for more than forty years.

Early years 1967-1970[]

The newly-formed Bandits quickly evolved into their now-recognised form. Initially playing guitar as well as singing, some time during 1967 or 1968 Sam Carnell opted to devote most of his energy to singing (though he continued to play the guitar from time to time). With only one guitar but a strong bass line, the distinctive sound of the group began to emerge from this time. Playing the club scene, in 1968 Tetley contacted the group and offered them a recording contract. The Carnells rejected Tetley's offer, declaring they did not want to work with him, and instead accepted a rival offer from Holland Records and producer, Dutch Wisdom. The early recording sessions, later bootlegged, showed the evolution of the Bandits' sound from a jazz-and-beat influenced brand of pop to a guitar-heavy, strong-bass metallic sound that would become their defining genre. Much like contemporaries Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the UK, the Bandits began to shape the next stage in the evolution of rock, giving it a heavier, and edgier, sound.
The first complete studio album produced by the group, Banditry, was released on November 5, 1969. The album remains, as of 2008, the biggest-selling album by a Georgeland group in history, having sold over forty million copies worldwide. Of the eleven tracks, seven were released as singles. My Baby Ain't Got No Lovin' For Me, a Carnell original, became the band's first hit single upon its release. The album was so successful pressure for a follow-up was almost immediate, and the album was still in its early stage of release when the band reconvened for a second session to record a follow-up, Banditry II, which was released in March 1970. The second Banditry did not sell as well as the first, but sales were high enough to give the band confidence in their own marketability. They embarked upon a series of national tours. However, it was at this stage, as the band's earnings increased considerably, that tensions began to enter the group.





After George[]


  • Sam Carnell (vocals, occ. guitar) (1967-)
  • George Carnell (guitar) (1967-2004)
  • Ronnie Richards (bass guitar) (1967-1974)
  • Peter Owen (drums) (1967-1973, 1988-)
  • Lee Eisner (bass guitar) (1974-1980)
  • Phil Owen (drums) (1973-1977)
  • Les Connors (guitar) (1977-1979)
  • Gordon Biggs (drums) (1977-1981)
  • Tim Frost (bass guitar) (1980-1984)
  • John de Groot (guitar) (1979-1980)
  • Toby Frost (bass guitar) (1984-1993)
  • Frank Yates (drums) (1981-1985)
  • Geoff Molloy (drums) (1985-1988)
  • Corbin Frame (bass guitar) (1993-)

Musical style[]



Cultural impact[]




  • Banditry (1969)
  • Banditry II (1970)
  • Last Refuge of the Damned (1972)
  • Live Wire (1973)
  • Burned (1975)
  • Soul Sucker (1977)
  • Banditry Revisited (1981)
  • Highway Robbery (1983)
  • Sound Scenario (1986)
  • Full Metal Pants(1989)
  • Softcore Symphony (1992)
  • Limited Edition (1997)
  • All Expenses Spared (2003)