Background Information
Origin Conyers, Georgia
Genre Pop Punk
Power Pop
Alternative Rock
Years active 2000-present
Label(s) The Militia Group
Will Pugh]br>Joseph Pepper
Nic Hudson
Jeff Lett
Kevin Sanders
Former Members
Ryan Roberts
Andy Lee

Cartel is a five-member American pop rock band from Conyers, Georgia that formed in 2003.[1] The band is best known for their single "Honestly", featured on their 2005 debut album Chroma,[2] and for their 2007 appearance on MTV's Band in a Bubble.[3]

The current members of the band include vocalist/guitarist Will Pugh, lead guitarist Joseph Pepper, guitarist Nic Hudson, bassist Jeff Lett, and drummer Kevin Sanders.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Early years, Chroma (2005)[edit | edit source]

The five band members of Cartel grew up in Rockdale County, Georgia, and Cartel was formed in college while they were attending Georgia State University.[5] Eventually the band got signed to The Militia Group an independent record company in Long Beach, California, releasing their EP The Ransom.[6] It was around this time that personal differences between Andy Lee and the rest of the band came to a head, and he was replaced as guitarist by band friend Nic Hudson.[7] With their new lineup, the band released their first full length album, Chroma, in 2005.[8]

The band grew in popularity putting them on Alternative Press’s 2005 list for “Bands You Need to Know”.[9] They were also named Yahoo! Music’s winner in the March 2006 ”Who’s Next” competition.[10] In April 2006 Cartel signed with Epic Records, then in late 2006 till early 2007 they began touring as support for New Found Glory with The Early November and Hit The Lights.[11] After some local shows, they kicked off a headlining tour featuring bands Cobra Starship, Boys Like Girls, Quietdrive, New Atlantic and Permanent ME.[12] On June 8, 2006, Ryan Roberts, the band's bass player, decided to leave the band, though the band said it was an "amicable" breakup. An old friend of the band, Jeff Lett, joined as a replacement for Roberts.[13]

The band continued, re-releasing their debut album Chroma under Epic Records,[14] which is packaged with a live EP, Live Dudes.[15]

Cartel (2007)[edit | edit source]

The second, self-titled album, was recorded and produced all in an MTV experiment called Band in a Bubble and was sponsored by Dr. Pepper.[16] The band had to complete a full length album all inside a building shaped as a bubble in twenty days, all while being watched by their fans 24/7 using twenty-three web cams; Dr. Pepper selected twenty-three cameras to coincide with its promotion of twenty-three flavors in its soft drink. The Band in a Bubble experiment was also a four part mini-series on MTV.[3] They entered the bubble on May 24, 2007 and left twenty days later on June 12, 2007. Upon “breaking out” of the bubble the band had to put on a live concert featuring many of their new songs.[17] The same day they “broke out” the single “Lose It” was released on iTunes and Napster.[18]

Cycles (2008-2009)[edit | edit source]

Cartel announced that they would be working on a new album during the summer of 2008 with Wind-up Records rather than Epic Records.[19] The band also mentioned “I think we've written or entertained the idea of about 30 songs at this point”,[20] and of those thirty songs "The Perfect Mistake" is confirmed to be on the album. Will Pugh said in an interview the third album would be coming out in the spring or summer of 2009. In May 2009, the band stated that they were in the writing and recording stage, and that fans could expect an album in early fall.[21] On July 8, the band announced that the album would be called Cycles. The album's first single is "Let's Go", which was released digitally on July 28, 2009.[22]

On August 25, 2009 the band announced the track listing for the album; Cycles, which was released on October 20, 2009 through Wind-Up Records.[23] On September 6, "The Perfect Mistake" was released for digital download.[24] The album's pre-order on iTunes also included a special, bonus song other wise unavailable titled "In No Hurry."[25]

The band will also be supporting All Time Low, Boys Like Girls, Third Eye Blind, and LMFAO for part of The Bamboozle Roadshow 2010. Along with numerous other supporting acts, including 3OH!3, Good Charlotte, Forever The Sickest Kids, and Simple Plan.

New material (2011)[edit | edit source]

At a recent show, Will Pugh stated that Cartel plans to put out a new EP, tentatively slated for an early 2011 release.[26]

Members[edit | edit source]


  • Will Pugh –Vocals, Guitar, Piano (2003-present)
  • Joseph Pepper – Guitar (2003-present)
  • Nic Hudson – Guitar, Backing Vocals (2003-present)
  • Jeff Lett – Bass, Backing Vocals (2006-present)
  • Kevin Sanders – Drums (2003-present)


  • Ryan Roberts – Bass (2003-2006) [13]
  • Andy Lee – Guitar (2003-2004)[7]

Nic Hudson[edit | edit source]

Nic Hudson was born on July 7th, 1982 in Conyers, Georgia.[27] Hudson plays rhythm guitar for the band.[28]

Jeff Lett[edit | edit source]

William Jeffrey Lett was born on January 18, 1980 in Melbourne, Florida.[29] In 1996, Lett moved to Conyers, Georgia. At the age of 19, Lett began playing the bass and moved to Brooklyn with the band, SpiritWorld. In 2001, after parting ways with SpiritWorld, Lett moved back to Conyers. He joined Cartel in 2005, as the bassist and backup vocalist.[30]

Joseph Pepper[edit | edit source]

Joseph Pepper is the lead guitarist of Cartel. [31] Pepper was born on May 15th, 1983 in Tucson, Arizona,[32] but moved to Conyers, Georgia as a child. Pepper learned to play guitar early in his life and discovered that he wanted to pursue a career as a musician. His first playing experiences were at a small family church in Conyers. He met Will Pugh and Kevin Sanders in high school.

Will Pugh[edit | edit source]

Will Pugh (born May 4, 1984 in Decatur, Georgia) is the lead singer of the band. [33] Pugh met the other four members of Cartel as a student at Heritage High School. After graduating from Heritage, Pugh spent a year at Georgia State University in Atlanta, then transferred to the University of Georgia in Athens for his sophomore year of college. He left UGA after the 2003-04 school year to record and promote his band's first full-length album, Chroma.[34] Drummer Kevin Sanders and guitarist Nic Hudson had been friends since 3rd grade, but it was not until the high school years when Pugh, Hudson, and Sanders teamed with guitarist Joseph Pepper to form the original core of Cartel.[35] In 2008, he married longtime girlfriend, Caitlin.[36] An avid golfer, Pugh plays when he has a free moment with bandmates Kevin Sanders and Nic Hudson, and also follows the career of professional golfer Tiger Woods.[37][38]

Kevin Sanders[edit | edit source]

Kevin Sanders is Cartel's drummer. He was born on October 9, 1982 in DeKalb County, Georgia and grew up in Conyers, Georgia.

Discography[edit | edit source]

Main article: Cartel discography
Studio albums
Extended Plays

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cartel]. (2008). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  2. Billboard profile for "Honestly"
  3. 3.0 3.1 MTV's Band in a Bubble
  4. Maholo profile for Cartel
  6. iLike page for The Ransom EP
  7. 7.0 7.1 Alternate Press interview with Will Pugh
  8. SPIN review for Chroma
  9. Yahoo! Music band bio for Cartel
  10. Who's Next? winner page for March 2006
  11. Ticketing page for New Found Glory
  13. 13.0 13.1 100XR Cartel Bio
  14.,0,7380682.story Baltimore Sun interview with Will Pugh
  15. Discogs page/review for Live Dudes
  16. inTuneMusic Online: Bamboozle Day 1 @ East Rutherford 5/2
  17. Billboard article on Cartel's "Band in a Bubble"
  18. Napster page for Lose It
  19. Melodic news item for Cycles
  20. Imeem profile for Cartel
  21. All Around Philly entry for Cycles
  22. Let's Go Amazon page
  23. Melodic news article for Cartel joining Wind-Up Records
  24. Cartel MySpace blog release for The Perfect Mistake digital download
  27. Cartel]. (2008). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  28. Cartel Bio. (September 2, 2009). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  29. Cartel]. (2008). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  30. Cartel]. (2008). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  31. Cartel Bio. (September 2, 2009). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  32. Cartel]. (2008). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  33. Cartel]. (2008). "". Accessed 2010-03-28.
  34. Alt Press "Ready to Pop" interview with Cartel
  35. Student Entertainment Events
  36. Belfiore Bridal company blog for Will Pugh/Caitlin Walther
  37. AOL Teens Interview with Cartel
  38. Mammoth Press Interview with Cartel

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