Interview :: Frank Turner

It’s become an inevitability that whenever Frank Turner sets foot in the North West of England, we will be there to pester him.

Just back from supporting Flogging Molly in the states, Frank has embarked on another Europe-wide tour, just five months after his last, in order to appease the cries of his ever growing fan base. We concocted theories as to why Fake Problems postponed their UK tour, awkwardly talked about his new single and failed in getting some ‘top secret’ information.


Anthony Barlow: Hi Frank, how’s it going?

Frank Turner: I’m good thanks. A little bit rashed today, but tonight is going to be the biggest headline show of my career so I’m excited about that. It’s gonna be a fun evening and it’s St. Patrick’s day so I’m sure that madness with ensue after the show.

Ian Critchley: There’s that ‘Pop, Bubble, Rock’ thing going on after the show, it’s supposed to be your after-show party. Do you actually know about it?

FT: No, I don’t. That happens quite often, people going “official aftershow” and I’m like “no one told me”. I think I’m gonna head off with some friends and go and get trashed somewhere. I’m not drinking Guiness. I can’t stand Guiness. Horrible shit.

IC: Get on the Jameson’s instead.

FT: Exactly. You’re a wise man.

AB: You’ve just come off the Flogging Molly tour, have you not?

FT: Yes

AB: Well, what happened to reducing your tour schedule then?

FT: I said I was going to reduce my tour schedule? Well, nothing really happened with that. It must be said actually. The Flogging Molly guys offered me that tour, like the day after we announced this tour and if they’d have offered it to us 24 hours earlier, we would’ve shifted the whole of this tour back a little bit. We missed the last few shows and I did a thing where I played Saturday night in Chicago, on Sunday I got on a plane, arrived Monday and then played Monday night in Newcastle. That was a fucking headache, to be honest with you. By the end of the show in Newcastle, I was a dead man walking.

AB: I was just going to ask, how’re you not dead yet?

FT: Well, I’ve got some creature comforts. Touring at this level in the UK is cool. I’ve got quite a big crew working for me now and I don’t have to re-string my guitars and stuff like that anymore, which is fine because I’ve got a lot of interviews to do and shit like that in the meantime. There’s not enough hours in the day. It does mean that, once the show’s done, I can get to bed or go out and have a drink or whatever. So it’s, in some ways, more relaxing.

AB: Fair enough, you’re off to Europe straight after this as well aren’t you?

FT: We’ve got three days off, I think, and then to Zurich.

AB: You’ve actually got a day off whilst you’re here to. Has no one commandeered you and got you to play a show yet?

FT: People have asked but, again, I haven’t really had a day off between Flogging Molly and this. I think I’m gonna take advantage of it and maybe have a bath, watch a lot of telly, maybe go to the cinema. Y’know, just chill out for a day.

AB: Yeah, definitely. You had to cancel a show as well in Detroit

FT: I did. I’m still fucking seethingly pissed off about it. I would, literally, rather torture small children than cancel shows. I just fucking hate it. There was a throat infection going around on the Flogging Molly tour and when drummers have throat infections it doesn’t really matter, but when singers do it is a problem. I kinda struggled through. We had three shows in a row where I had a really croaky, horrible voice and it just wasn’t gonna get any better unless I took time off. So I took a day off and just felt like an arsehole about it. Although it has to be said, Detroit is a fucking horrible place. The gigs are alright, the people there are quite nice, but as an actual city it’s a fucking shit hole. I must admit, I wasn’t actually that bothered about going to Detroit.

AB: Did you actually get people turning up this time?

FT: I got a few emails from people saying they were bummed that I missed the show, but I’m going to try and do a show during the summer some time so hopefully that’ll make up for it.

AB: Your new DVD arrived in the post yesterday

FT: Oh cool. I’m glad they’re sending them out. That’s good. I’m really pleased with how that came together. We got as much footage and sound on it as humanly possible to get on to discs. Yeah, I’m pleased that came together.

AB: Chris Farren from Fake Problems seemed pretty surprised that it was actually out.

FT: Shit, we need to send those guys a copy actually because they’re on it.

IC: I bet he’ll have to see if he can fit it into his busy Lost-watching schedule because That’s all you get on Facebook: “lost, lost, lost, lost” about 40 million times

FT: *laughs*

AB: I never thought about that actually. Fake Problems postponed their UK tour.

IC: I reckon it’s because of Lost.

FT: *laughs*

AB: Yeah, I think Chris would miss the Lost finale if he went on tour.

IC: He wants to watch it that much that he just canceled the whole tour

FT: It would not surprise me.

AB: Is the DVD on sale at the merch stand?

FT: Yep. It’s out and about now so.

AB: Are we going to hear any new material tonight?

FT: We’re not actually, but I’m writing a lot of new songs at the moment. Poetry Of The Deed we recorded very quickly. Which is fine. I want to take a little bit more time this time, so I’m doing something I haven’t done for a while, which is writing songs and then sitting on them for a little bit just to kind of mull them over. I’m very, very pleased right now with the material that I’ve got. Again, with Poetry Of The Deed, it was kinda like we wrote 13 songs, put 13 songs on the album and then put it out. I kind of want to write more songs this time and pick and choose a little more. Plus, there was that song called Pass It Along that didn’t make Poetry Of The Deed, but which footage exists of on the web and loads and loads of people keep going on about how much they like that song so maybe that might make a resurgence. So, no new material but every time I do a tour I’m mindful of the fact that quite a lot of people will have gone to the show in October who’ll be here tonight, so I want to make sure the setlist is kinda different. I’ll be playing some old songs that I haven’t played for a long time. We’ll be playing some material from Poetry Of The Deed that we haven’t played before, just to try and keep it fresh and interesting.

AB: And, of course, you’ve got people like us who just seem to follow you everwhere you go…

FT: *laughs*

IC: I’ve got to ask this, what do you think about people quoting you? Like getting tattoos of your lyrics or using them as a basis for things

FT: I think that’s cool man

IC: Oh good, because I’ve got a question and it’s got a quote in it so…*laughs*. On St. Christopher’s Coming Home, you sing the words “chances are that I am far away and so I’m phased out of the plan” and your new single is Isabel, which is about your ladyfriend.

FT: Yes

IC: How does she feel about your insane tour schedule and constant distance. Does it affect your relationship in a may you might regret? I don’t just mean with her, but with family and friends

FT: Well, without going to far into the details, the answer to that question is yes, I am no longer an attached man.

IC: Oh…

FT: No, it’s alright. It’s just fucking terrible because that song’s just getting played on a bunch of radio stations and shit and she’s got the radio where she works, so it’s like she’s sitting there at work all day with this fucking song coming at her. Which makes me feel like an arsehole. You know what, it’s very difficult and I just kind of… Again, I don’t want to get to personal. I’ve taken a decision recently that I’m just gonna do personal life in like five years. I fucking love what I do. There’s loads to do and I’m just gonna focus on my job for now.

IC: Fair enough. A lot of your friends are musicians and in terms of gig tickets, album sales your probably the most successful. If you write a song and Jay [Beans On Toast] gives you his opinion on it, do you find it hard to take on board?

FT: Not at all, no.

IC: You’ve not gotten to the point where you’ve got a massive rock star ego?

FT: No fucking way. I take criticism off Jay. Chris T-T is someone I run material by. I have a small circle of people who I run new songs by and get their opinion. How best to say this? I’m very grateful for the success I’ve achieved, but I’m not going to sit here and say it’s because “I’m fucking Jesus”. It’s a combination of luck, hard work and all that kind of thing as well. I think Chris T-T is one of the best songwriters in the fucking world. I actually think Ben Marwood is one of the best songwriters in the world as well. I will always, always listen to their opinions on their stuff and take it deathly seriously.

AB: You’ve not turned into Morrissey then? Shutting yourself away in a darkened room whilst you write.

FT: I fucking hope I never do. You guys can call me out on it. I like Morrissey, but c’mon the guy cancels gigs because he doesn’t like the acoustics of the room. I’d be like “fuck you mate”.

AB: Are you playing any festivals this year?

FT: Yeah, I’ve got quite a few. I’m not quite sure which ones I’m allowed to talk about. I know I’m allowed to talk about ‘T In The Park’, which is gonna be great. I’ve not done that one before. I’m headlining ‘2,000 Trees’, which is great because it’s an awesome festival. I’m also headlining a festival called ‘Wood’, which is a folk festival run by the guys who do ‘Truck’ festival. I’ve not actually been to ‘Wood’, but I know the Bennett brothers, who run ‘Truck’, very well. They’re old friends, so that should be fun as well. I’ve never headlined a festival before and now I’m on two, so that’s great.

AB: Can you say anything about Reading/Leeds? There was a ‘leaked’ line up and you’re on it so…

FT: I actually, in all honesty, I heard about it I didn’t actually see it myself. I’ve no idea whether it’s true or not. I’m gonna be at Reading and Leeds this year, but I don’t know on what stage, basically. That’s what I can tell you at this stage. In fairness, I should be finding out any day now. In fact, my booking agent is coming to the show tonight so I’ve got a feeling she might know and she’s saving it to tell me in person because she’s like that. So, we’ll see.

IC: What’s going on with the Neil Young thing? Can we talk about that yet?

FT: Yeah, well…I think Neil has postponed his summer tour, which is kind of annoying, but I have got a tour in the sates this September that I can’t really talk about now. It’s with one of my fucking all time favorite bands and I’m getting really, really piss excited about it, but I can’t talk about it yet.

AB: Oh, go on

FT: No, I can’t. I literally can’t. I’ll get in so much shit if I do.

IC: What about the, Turner-fronted, ‘super band’ with Jim Ward?

FT: *laughs* Yeah, I saw Jim Ward the other day actually. I stayed at his house for a night, in El Paso. It’s kinda the same as it was last time, in a sense that everyone thinks it’s a fucking awesome idea, but my tour schedule currently runs through til February 2011 and then I’ve got a plan put together that’s gonna take me through until next summer.

IC: So it’s gonna be a while then

FT: Yeah. I mean, oh this is actually worth talking about actually. I’ve got a plan for next year. I’m gonna do a summer tour of the UK, which I haven’t done for a long time. I wanna do small venues, 200 cap. kinda places, but it’s gonna be a 12-week long tour. I’m gonna play fucking everywhere. So, for example, instead of just playing Manchester I’ll play Manchester, Wigan, Preston, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool…

IC: Do you realise you’re gonna get really, like, stalked by us?

FT: *laughs* Literally we’re trying to put together a 60-date UK tour. The thing is, I’m trying to put together an album of traditional English songs out next year as well. The idea is that, we’ll do that together and I’m gonna, this is concept here, because what I’m gonna do is get local people to support in each show and I’ve got a whole bunch of books about English folklore, legend and myth and I’ll read-up about each town before I go there and maybe do a bit of a talk between songs about local folklore and shit like that. It’s gonna be called The Folklore Tour. It’s gonna be really long and really fucking hard, but I think it’s gonna be fun. A thing a lot of people say, which I totally sympathise with, is that it’s been a long time since a lot of people in the UK saw me play a solo show in a smaller club and it is a different thing to see me play a full production show downstairs here. I’m sensitive to that, and I want people to get what they want,  so we’re gonna do that.

IC: Hypothetically, if your music career stopped today (or perhaps didn’t happen at all) where do you think you’d be?

FT: I’d like to be a history teacher. Yeah, I’d like to teach A-Level history. I had an A-Level history teacher who just completely turned me around on so many different things. I like telling stories and, it’s not the whole thing, but there’s a degree to which history is story-telling. Particularly at that kind of level. When you get to university it gets a bit more analytical. I just like the idea of telling people the story of the Second World War or whatever it may be. It’s kind of cool so, yeah, that’s what I’d like to do. Anyway, sorry that got cut short guys. It’s nice to see you again and I’ll see you downstairs.


Massive thanks to Frank and everyone who helped us sort this out yet again. Needless to say, next time he’s about we’ll be there to ask more questions. You never know, we might not put our collective feet in it as much next time. Look for Anthony’s gig review very soon.

Promo :: Frank Turner – New Single ‘Isabel’ Released April 12th

Here’s someone who needs no introduction, especially to readers of Moon & Back. For the ill-informed and misguided out there, this is Frank Turner. He makes folk music and this is his new single.

Isabel is the third single to be taken from Turner’s, critically acclaimed, third album Poetry Of The Deed. It’s a bit of a change in direction when you compare it to anthems like The Road and the album’s title track, but that certainly doesn’t make it bad by any means. It’s a little less punk rock and a little more chilled out. Perhaps it’ll be another one that’ll make people worship at the temple of Turner.

Check out the video below.


Buy Poetry Of The Deed here.

Promotion :: Frank Turner’s New DVD

If you’re one of those, admittedly odd, folks that doesn’t like to go to gigs, but you really want to see Frank Turner live then you’re in luck!

On March 22nd of this very year Frank is releasing a live DVD filmed at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire during the Poetry Of The Deed Tour. This looks to be a great addition to  the growing Turner catalogue and is a must have if, by the time it releases, you’ve yet to see the man live.

The DVD is titled ‘Take To The Road’ and will feature all of Frank’s hits. As a Frank Turner fan, I know I’ll be getting this and so should you all. There’s a trailer below, why don’t you take a look.

Guest Playlist :: Frank Turner

Not since last month has Frank Turner’s name graced the pages of Moon & Back Music, but now he’s back with more musical recommendations.

It’s already been established that Mr. Turner isn’t a fan of typical ‘chart music’. In our first interview he actually talked about having a fight with Fearne Cotton and that Reggie bloke from the radio, after listening to their chart show. In this playlist Frank has highlighted some of his favorite artists and tracks and there’s a good mix of styles here. Have his recommendations let us down before? Thought not.

Loudon Wainwright IIIMotel Blues
Tim Barry – On & On
Fairport Convention – Matty Groves
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
The Weakerthans – Tournament Of Hearts
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – There She Goes My Beautiful World
Bob Dylan – North Country Girl
Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears
The Hold Steady – Yeah Sapphire
Frightened Rabbit – Heads Roll Off


Thanks a lot to Frank for putting this together. Please go and give him your hard earned cash by buying an album from iTunes or maybe Amazon. How about a T-shirt? Hoodie? Hot pants? Get your other Frank Turner merchandise right here. Oh yeah, he’s touring the UK in March and you can find tickets for the appropriate venues here.

A Worthy Cause :: Lexapalooza

A more than worthy cause, that I think needs some well deserved attention.

Last year was the first time I’d really become aware of Lexapalooza although I’d been aware of it’s founder for some time. Alexa “Lexi” Burrows dreamed up the idea for a musical extravaganza, held in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign. Since then, Lexapalooza has grown from a “back-yard event” into something much bigger.

Being a breast cancer survivor, Lexi was a keen fundraiser for the charity and wanted to combine this with her passion for music. An all-day gig, compered by a certain Mr. Turner, was held at GJ’s in Colliers Wood. This show raised around £1200 for the charity, and it’s become an annual event since then.

Unfortunately, Alexa was re-diagnosed with cancer in the months following the event, but she was determined the show must go on. Held at Lark In The Park in Islington, the second annual Lexapalooza raised £1400 and included a special, acoustic performance by Get Cape Wear Cape Fly amongst others.

Sadly, in 2007, Alexa lost her battle with cancer and now the event’s organisers hold the show to celebrate her life and continue what she started. On the first anniversary of her death, an event was held at the Nambucca pub on Holloway Road. Described as “highly emotional” by, event organiser and friend, Evan, the show sold out 4 months prior to the event. Frank Turner was back again to compere and, of course, play a set. Alongside him were Chris T-T, Ben Marwood, and Beans On Toast, as well as a host of others across two stages.

Since that the show has gained a small following. Last year’s show at The Gaff, which once again was spread across two stages, sold out 2 months beforehand and the success of that show inspired the guys to set up a second show that year. Lexapalooza Lite, held at Flowerpot Pub in Kentish Town, was an acoustic-only show and allowed the crew to raise a further £1211, which, as Evan pointed out, “isn’t all bad for a free gig”. There was a good range of musical styles on show, from hip-hop to folk. So there’s something for everyone. The crew plan to outdo themselves again in 2010, and that’s no easy task. I’ve got a feeling they’ll do it though.

I just thought that this is the kind of thing we need to be shedding a bit of light on. I respect everything the guys behind the shows have been doing and hope to see it continue for some time. Event details will be announced in the spring and I’ll be sure to let you guys know. Just make a date in your diary for October 9th and support this fantastic cause.


For more information on the event, visit the Lexapalooza website or OneThirtyEight Promotions. If you would like to play at the event or lend your support in another way, please email – evan@lexapalooza.co.uk.

M&B Special :: Top 5 of 2009

Siphoning through the crap pumped out in 2009, there were some pretty awesome records released. Simply, here’s our Top Five.

THE HORRORS :: Primary Colours

Technically a second album, but for the sake of praise, we’ll call it a ‘proper debut’. And oh what a proper debut it was from Faris and the lads. Who didn’t first spin this expecting more house-smashing, brick-throwing lager-louting screaming and proceed to look curiously at the stereo as the darkest synth this side of Germany pounded out?

Horrors | Rough Trade


BRAND NEW :: Daisy

Fourth studio album released in September, containing 11 tracks of alternative rock which will leave you exhausted.

Brand New | Amazon


DEAD WEATHER :: Horehound

‘Supergroup’ is far too often used to describe a collaboration of musicians, but in the Dead Weather’s case it is oh so justified.

Dead Weather | Amazon


FRANK TURNER :: Poetry of the Deed

Y’all must be thinking Moon & Back Music has a fetish for Frank Tuner…and you’d be right, cus he’s fucking freakingly phat (see what I did there? with, like, the alliteration? Browning that) and Poetry of the Deed redeemed England on the singer-songwriter front.

Frank Turner | Amazon


MUSE :: The Resistance

Epic and as sensational as Tokyo’s fireworks this New Year’s and with a tour with more lights than Cape Cannaveral, Muse’s fifth album apparently topped the charts in 19 countries and firmly concreted them as the UK’s top live act and most experimental mainstream act and who will probably be around for even longer than this sentence is…

Muse

Interview :: Frank Turner (Yes, Again) Part 1

If he isn’t sick of us yet, he soon will be. See you in March, Frank!

Frank Turner XFM sessionThose of you who read our stuff will have come to know we really like Frank Turner. In fact, we like him a hell of a lot. We had a good chat back in October, but our time was cut short. We went for a beer with Frank a few hours prior to his set as part of XFM’s Winter Wonderland show in Manchester. God bless you Frank, you’re keeping us in work.


Anthony Barlow: So my first question is, are you sick of us yet?

Frank Turner: *laughs* Not at all, not at all. I remember last time we spoke it was all curtailed because I had 9,000 interviews. This is my only interview today, other than radio stuff for XFM. So we have time, time is on our side.

AB: That’s good because, as we know, you’re a bloody busy guy. You’ve just come off the Revival Tour and you were in Europe yesterday. Was this your only day off then?

FT: No because in Europe, particularly when you start getting into Scandinavia, you have to have quite a few travel days because it’s alarmingly big so we’ve had a couple of travel days. They’re not days off as such really. We did have one day off in Amsterdam, but everyone was in such tiny moral pieces after the night of the gig in Amsterdam. It was a restful day, but me and my tour manager stayed up drinking until 9am after the Amsterdam show. At which point he not only blagged us into a hotel room but also, and this is 9 o’clock in the fucking morning I wanted to go to sleep, he produced a fucking screwdriver and succeeded in unscrewing literally everything in the hotel room he could find that had a screw in it. All the fixtures, fittings, Ikea furniture. I fucking went to sleep, and I woke up to discover that he’d literally demolished the entire fucking room we were in and then gone to sleep.

AB & Ian Crichley: *laughs*

FT: Housekeeping were knocking on the door and shit and it’s like ‘what do we do?’. So we ran away. So yeah, I’ve been busy *laughs*

AB: I’ve heard the song about Little Rock, was there literally 20 people there?

FT: I think there were actually less than 20 people, but that was a weird one. I think the promoter was not quite up to scratch with the show or whatever. As the song says, it’s about playing, it’s about entertaining people regardless of them there are. Jim Ward from Sparta was on the tour as well and me and him are having a full on bromance by the way, like we’re fucking bezzie friends forever. He bought a bottle of whiskey and just sat on the front of the stage with plastic cups and poured a shot for everybody in the room. All the bar guys, everybody in the crowd and everybody in the Revival crew and we all did a shot together. We had a blast and me and John [Snodgrass] actually wrote the song that night after the set. Good songs can come together very quickly. John Snodgrass is an amazing dude as well. I hadn’t met him before this tour, he’s also one of my new favorite people.

AB: Like I said, you’re in the middle of your European tour and it seems to be going really well.

FT: It’s kinda weird, because it’s the first headline European shows I’ve ever done. When I say that out loud it sounds kind of weird to me or slack, like I should’ve gone to Europe more than I have, particularly Germany. All of the German shows have sold out and it’s the second time I’ve ever been in the country. It’s great, it’s just a bit weird though. I’m used to working my arse of for a fucking thousand years and playing every shit-hole club in the entire universe and eventually people took notice. In Germany it’s just gone bang out of nowhere, which is kinda cool. I’m a little bit worried that the people of Germany might just see me as some kind of hype act because I’ve just kind of arrived and everybody’s started liking my music. Hopefully I can get around that little pitfall. Otherwise, yes, Europe is fucking great. We’ve been learning how to count to four in lots of different languages and my merch girl knows some fucking horrendous Sweedish, which she was sharing with me and I shared it with the crowd, which they didn’t find very funny because it was something about hitting their grandfather in the face with my crotch or something, I don’t fucking know.

AB & IC: *laughs*

FT: Anyway. Good times

AB: You’ve flown in this morning from Helsinki and you’re flying out tomorrow morning to Copenhagen. Are you mad?

FT: To be honest, I think tomorrow’s gonna be a bit easier. The problem with yesterday was that between the curfew at the show and the check in time for my flight there was like three and a half hours. I thought stopping was fucking pointless so I just kept on drinking and slept on the plane, so now I’m really fucking tired. At least the guys at XFM were nice enough to get me probably the nicest hotel room I’ve ever slept in. It’s like a suite. It’s got a little sitting room bit as well and all that kinda shit. I’m gonna try and sleep in that as much as I can tonight.

AB: Nice. So, off the back of this tour of Europe, you’ve got the UK tour in 2010.

FT: Yes, and I’m sure I’ll see you guys for another interview when I’m here.

AB: Yeah, we’ll be back.

FT: No, seriously, let’s do it. It’s nice to get a bit of a thing going with people.

IC: You’ve got friends for life now Frank *laughs*

FT: *laughs* yeah

IC: You’re bringing Chuck Ragan on that tour with you as well.

FT: Yeah Chuck’s coming, so that’s gonna be great. Do you guys know who Crazy Arm are?

AB: I got their free track from Banquet Records the other day, but I haven’t listened to it.

FT: They’re the shit. I love that band they’re fucking amazing. I think it’s gonna be a good lineup on this tour.

AB: Well I trust you, because I didn’t know who Fake Problems were before I saw them In Manchester and they’re one of my favourite bands now.

FT: Oh, cool.

IC: Chris from Fake Problems added me on Facebook *laughs*

FT: Did he?

IC: I was like ‘yeah, rockstars add me’ *laughs*

FT: *laughs* Chris is a lovely, sweet guy. My mum was asking if he was gay, which I thought was quite funny. He’s not, for the record. Not that it’d matter if he was. He’s got an insanely hot girlfriend actually, if I’m honest.

IC: That’s on record now *laughs*

FT: *laughs* I’ve told him to his face

IC: *laughs*

AB: What was the decision behind playing an acoustic set tonight? Getting back on topic *laughs*

FT: We just can’t afford to fly the whole band over with equipment and all that kinda shit. We’ve got a van full of a gear that’s currently somewhere between Stockholm and Copenhagen. Yeah, it’s just expensive flying people around the world at the last minute and all that kinda stuff. Plus, I think everyone would’ve mutinied as well and refused to do it. It’s funny I had a big discussion the other day with the band and they were just kinda like ‘if we move towards a point where we’re doing more shows with the full band’ which is what we want to do they were like ‘we’re not gonna do some of the tour schedule shit that you do’. Coming back from an American tour and going straight into another tour then flying to fucking Manchester. They were like ‘we’re not gonna do that’. I just said ‘pussies’.

AB: *laughs*. Is there any chance of hearing that new, “overly political”, song tonight?

FT: No, not tonight because it’s not 100% finished yet. It needs a little bit of tweaking here and there, but it’s essentially done. I just wanted to write a song, you know I might be about to have a rant now.

IC: Go for it

FT: Something that I find increasingly as i get older is that, ironically enough, there’s a real mainstream political opinion within the music world, which is broadly left wing and if you’re not left wing you really better not mention it, because people will get real fucking shirty with you. To start with, most people don’t seem to understand what the difference between left and right is. For example, the BNP are a hard left party. I consider myself a libertarian, I consider myself to be pretty right wing and I get shit for saying that out loud. I was thinking about it the other day, I was thinking about how, quite often, I do keep myself to myself on the subject because I can’t be fucking bothered to have some guy look all shocked at me because I think socialism’s retarded. Then I actually thought hold on a minute here, one of the many things that everybody preaches, which I sincerely agree with, is fucking stand up for what you believe in. I strongly believe that Che Guevara was  a racist, homophobic, murdering thug and I strongly believe that people who wear U.S.S.R. t-shirts are as offensive as people who wear Nazi t-shirts to me because, in fact, they killed considerably more people and I’m fucking passionate about that kind of thing. So I was like I should actually write a song about this, because I do firmly believe it. I do firmly believe that leftist politics lead to the misery of many, the crushing of the little guy and all that kind of thing. I mean, it’s important for me to say that in public because I believe it strongly and that sometimes in life you’ve got to fucking put your foot down.What’re those guys called? The anti-facist lot who are always campaigning against the BNP. There’s this one particular group, they’re just utter fucking morons, just fucking cretins and somebody needs to stand up and say it, somebody needs to remind people about free speech. If you punch a Nazi in the head because you disagree with him, you’re no better because that’s why he’s a dick head. All those people getting in a pissy about the BNP being on question time are fucking morons. They don’t seem to understand what it is that makes it good to live in our free society. It’s these fucking dicks who’re slowly chipping away at things. The bottom line is, the West is a great place to live. The problem with it is, a lot of parts of the world are fucked up and people take that post-colonial guilt and take it one step too far and say the thing we have in the West are bad. Freedom of speech and assembly, freedom to trade, to live, to do what you want as you choose are things spent centuries fighting for and we should all be proud of them and protective of them. Then you’ve got these fucking dick heads who want to have a law about who can say what whenever makes me want to fucking kill everyone I’ve ever met. So, end rant. So that’s what that political song is about. It’s just kind of saying I really don’t want to stand in the same fucking line up as people who think Lenin had something worthwhile to say. I think Lenin was evil, beyond all fucking doubt, evil.

IC: Who’re you gonna vote for?

FT: Well, I don’t know. I don’t want to vote for the Coservatives because I think David Cameron’s a shit and the reason he’s a shit is as statused as New Labor. I think New Labor are one of the fucking worst things to happen to this country ever, pretty much. I think, arguably, particularly with the signing of the Lisbon treaty it’s actually the end of about 800 years of continuous parliamentary history. I think the people responsible for the signing of that fucking treaty without asking the people of Britain need to burn in fucking hell. Cameron’s obviously a turd, we all know that it’s pretty obvious. I dunno, I must admit I’m friends with a guy. Have you ever heard of The Devils Kitchen? It’s a libertarian political blog. The guy, Chris Mouncey, who runs it became leader of the libertarian party, which is a really small political party. Now, I’m uneasy around fringe parties because it just seems like a fucking waste of time. Having said that, I do agree with what they say. I’ve been talking to Chris because I think they’re using the song Sons Of Liberty as one of their campaign songs or something *laughs*. I don’t know, fuckin’ a. You know what, if there’s a Libertarian party candidate I’ll probably vote for them just to make Chris feel better about his life. It’s difficult because, at the end of the day, politics is the art of the possible. The kind of politics where you sit around in circles discussing abstract theorisation of how society can be run is essentially pointless because it doesn’t change anyone’s life for the better. If you’re gonna take an interest in politics, you might as well take an interest in it that’s actually gonna make a difference to anything.

AB: You talked about Sons Of Liberty there and that, sort of in a round about way, relates to a question Ian tried to ask you via the powers of MySpace.

IC: Oh yeah, have you ever played Metal Gear Solid? I tried sending you an email, but I got the address wrong. Because when you were last here, I didn’t have a ticket so I wondered if you had played Metal Gear Solid, y’know where he hides in the box? I could hide in a box and you could sneak me in.

FT: *laughs* I think I played it once, many years ago.

IC: It’s a pretty good game.

FT: Yeah. I used to be quite into gaming, but I just don’t have the time anymore. The phrase Sons Of Liberty is more than a Metal Gear reference though

AB: *laughs* it was actually before the album came out that he tried to send that, it was quite a nice coincidence actually.

[Here’s a brief interlude I thought needed to be included. Enjoy!]

IC: [to himself, looking at attractive girl] Wow. She’s amazing.

FT: *laughs*

IC: Ask her out for me. You can be all ‘hi, I’m Frank Turner will you go out with my mate?’

FT: My god *laughs*

IC: How won’t that work? You’ve been on TV and shit.

FT: *laughs* we’ll see.

IC: If she comes back *laughs*

FT: I’m not sure about my position as a lubricant

IC: *laughs*

FT: Anyway, where were we *laughs*

AB: That ties in quite nicely actually. Do you get recognized in the street and stuff like that?

FT: Sometimes. The thing is, to be honest, because I’m gigging all the time the streets I’m walking around are streets quite close to the venue, so it’s more likely that there’ll be people who know who I am and what I do in that part of the world. It’s very nice when people come up and say hello, for the most part. Every now and again you get besieged by dick heads, but it’s a rarity. Such is life.

AB: I actually thought you were going to say you didn’t get recognized, because last time you were in Manchester you were stood at the merch booth and there was a line of people stood waiting for a drink at the bar and not one person, to my knowledge, acknowledged you were there.

FT: That’s cool. Basically, when I’m standing on a stage I’m doing my job. When I’m not on stage I don’t hold myself as any different than anyone else. What that means is that if someone wants to come over say hi then say hi, that’s normal courtesy. At the same time, I don’t go swanning around expecting people to throw rose petals under my feet. Fuck that. There are times when it’s a bit like my commitment to being available for people to come and talk to me gets skewed by people who have no social graces. People who just walk over and go ‘waheey’. It’s like, interact with me as a normal person, now you’re just being a dick. There was this guy, I actually nearly fucking lamped this guy in Amsterdam. It was right after the show, I was stood at the merch stand with a whole load of people. I was talking to everybody and he was like shouldering people out of the way and saying ‘hey man, another photo, another photo’. I was like mate, fuck off. That’s fucking rude. I’m in the middle of a fucking sentence. I’m talking to somebody else. Anyway, where were we?

AB: I was just gonna ask you about your plans for 2010 besides the tour of course.

FT: Well, my tour schedule is currently solid and in the diary up until the 2nd of May. From January 20th til the 2nd of May I think it is. Then there’s some absolutely insane shit that might come together in the summer. Yeah, so I’ll be busy in the summer. I’ve got this kind of vague plan that I’ll stop by a studio at some point before the end of the year and knocking out another album, because I’ve got the songs coming together, but that might not be realistic. The thing is, I would love to get another album out in April 2011, but that might literally kill me. So we’ll see, we’ll see.

AB: What’re the chances of a live CD or DVD?

FT: It’s happening. We recorded and filmed the Shepard’s Bush show and I’ve been going through edits for the DVD recently. It looks fucking great. My drummer, Nigel, is mixing the audio and as we drive around Europe he sits in the back of the van with his headphones on doing the mixing. Yeah, it’s gonna be cool. Hopefully we’ll have it out before the March tour next year.

AB: Didn’t you do a stage dive?

FT: No, my manager did. Charlie and I go back a long way and we’re very good friends. He was involved with Million Dead as well. When I went solo, there was a moment where literally everybody was like ‘you’re out of your mind. Fuck off.’ Not even fuck off it was just ‘come back when you’re in a hardcore band again’. He [Charlie] was the only guy who was like ‘yeah, fuck it man, let’s see what happens. Let’s do this’. We made a bet years ago that if I ever sold out the Astoria in London he would do a stage dive. The Astoria’s closed down now, but Shepards Bush is the same size. So when we sold out Shepard’s Bush I said ‘you understand that bet is transferable’. He was like ‘is it bollocks’ and he’s 40 odd as well. I was like ‘fuck you man, you aren’t getting out of this fucker. Do a stage dive’. So he did a stage dive and it was fucking hilarious. By the time I’d left the stage, he was still out there. He just did a lap of the ground floor. I was like ‘see you later’. It’s on the DVD anyway.

AB: I was having a look at your forums and people are speculating what you’ll do based of what Springsteen did. Is that the case?h

FT: *laughs* well, you know what, that’s not totally insane on the basis that a year ago, less than a year ago in fact, a lot of my thinking about Poetty Of The Deed was based around trying to make an album like Born To Run. I think it kinda worked for what it was. I would say that my Springsteen fixation has, it’s not even like it’s receeded. It’s just been absorbed by a fixation with Loudon Wainwright. He’s my fucking hero. I’m a comparatively recent convert and I just kinda want to be him. He’s one of the best songwriters in the whole fucking world. I’ve learnt 10 of his songs already, actually I’m gonna play a Loudon Wainwright song tonight. [For the record, he didn’t. Shame]


We’ve split this interview into two parts because it’s really bloody long. The second part will be up soon.  Hope you liked it because We’ll be talking to him again in March.

Album Review :: Beans On Toast – ‘Standing On A Chair’

He plays an acoustic guitar, hates the government and is a mate of Frank Turner. It isn’t actually possible for me not to like him.

Beans On Toast - Standing On A Chair - coverYes, despite sounding like a band, Beans On Toast is actually just one bloke called Jay with an acoustic guitar who sounds like he’s got laryngitis. Having been wandering in the music wilderness for around 3 years, Beans has  finally got himself a deal and released his first album. Standing On A Chair is a massive double album filled with 50 tracks about sex, drugs, politics and peaches (yes, peaches). Not only is it a great deal, but a bloody good set of folk tunes too.

Having seen him live during Turner’s ‘Poetry Of The Deed Tour’, I didn’t really know what to make of him. His voice really is knackered, but his music and lyrics are really good. Granted every song is played with the same three chords so it’s no musical masterclass, but for some reason I can’t stop listening to him. You’d think someone who sounds like they’ve eaten a bag of gravel would get annoying after 50 tracks, but as soon as the album finished I started it back at track one all over again.

Beans is the everyman, a normal guy that’s doing what he wants to do and saying what he likes. This isn’t some pretentious way of getting attention, he’s not trying to be a working class hero or anything, he just wants to sing some songs and have a bit of a laugh. This is reflected in his music. Tracks like The Price Of Rice, Don’t Believe The Bullshit and I Ain’t That Old Sunshine are tracks that reflect what I think the majority are thinking.

Standing On A Chair isn’t just an album filled with stories of woe from the UK, there’s something here that people the world over can relate to. A lot of the tracks look back on the singer’s life, reciting tales of love, loss and sticky situations. There’s a lot of tracks here about the future and technology, not a typical folk music subject matter but they’re some of the best. I can particularly relate to “I’ve never scored a proper goal, but I’m really good at Pro Evo. I can’t ollie up a curb, unless I’m playing Tony Hawk. Hell, I can’t even drive a car, but I’ll kick your arse at Mario Kart”. A perfect rendition of the life of the average man if you ask me.

There’s a lot of political stuff on here too. I wouldn’t say BOT was a political singer/songwriter but there’s definitely some great political commentary here, even if it is a little tongue in cheek. Some great examples of this are I Shot Tupac Shakur And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt and, a favourite of mine, An Afternoon With Henry Rollins. However, the most major over arching topic on the album is nostalgia. A lot of the tracks show how good a storyteller the singer is. Something that particularly sticks out is The Pub In Holloway. A track about Holloway’s Nambucca pub that was burnt down about this time last year. Here Beans sings about all the people affected by the blaze, what they’ve lost and how they’ve all got “memories they can’t remember”. A favorite track of mine and a particularly poignant one if you ask me. The familiar Frank Turner tones can be heard here too, at least I think it’s him providing backing vocals.

Speaking of backing vocals, that’s the biggest problem with the album. They can occasionally overpower Beans’ vocals which can take away from the track. Thankfully, not all of the songs have backing vocals so most of the tracks sound fine. Whether this was an attempt to cover the singer’s gravelly tones, I don’t know. I just know it doesn’t really work.

A 50 track album seems pretty unheard of and the fact that it’s really good took me by surprise. It’s certainly not for everyone, I doubt a lot of people will get past his ‘bad’ voice. However, if you want to hear the, sometimes sordid, stories of a bloke from North London, you shouldn’t be disappointed.


Buy a signed copy of Standing On A Chair at the Xtra Mile Recordings store

Album Review :: Memoria: A Tribute To The Alternative 90’s

Frank Turner, Jonah Matranga, 90’s covers. What could be better? Well, if Walter Schreifels had a track on this compilation, that would be something. What! He’s on here too.

memoriaMemoria: A Tribute To The Alternative 90’s is, as you might just have guessed, a compilation of 90’s alternative rock covers. Bands like Rage Against The Machine, Weezer, Pearl Jam and, of course, Nirvana are all covered here by some really great, albeit lesser known, artists. I was really surprised by how great a compilation this is actually. I’m not a fan of covers, they tend not to be as good as the original, and when you’re dealing with bands like the aforementioned you’re walking the fine line between brilliance and disaster. Thankfully, most of the tracks here fall on the better side. Some of them, not so much.

Compilations like this always make an interesting listen. In fact, being brutally honest, had it not been for the artists mentioned in my header I don’t think I would’ve given this a second look. As I said, covers really don’t appeal to me in the slightest. They have to really be good to impress me. Now, that’s not me being a super musical snob or anything, I just seem prefer the originals. In fact it’s artists like Morrissey and, the oft mentioned, Mr. Turner that showed me what a good cover can be. The artists here, for the most part, have taken beloved songs from the 1990’s and made them their own.

A lot of the artists covered in Memoria are known the world over. However, there are a few artists here that just don’t ring a bell. Take Frank Turner’s cover of Sally for example, I had never heard of Kerbdog before hearing that song and I really like it. I think that’s where the strength of this collection lies. I have too much of a connection to the better known artists and I tended to just want to listen to the original version instead of the cover. That’s not to say that the songs here are bad, on the whole each artist does a great job. I just think that the majority of listeners will still want the original.

For me the standout tracks were Sally, Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) and When You Sleep. You see, I was drawn to the tracks covered by Schreifels, Jonah and Turner because they’re artists that I enjoy listening to, whatever they’re singing. I think that’ll be the story for the majority of people who buy this. They’ll buy it for the artists they want to hear and would do regardless of the collection.

On the whole I think Yr Letter have done a great job putting this collection together but, whilst they’re all great songs in their own right, I think a lot of people would’ve opted to pick and choose rather than get the whole thing. Still, a good tribute to great music.

Gig Review :: Frank Turner – 16/10/09

Frank Turner rolled into Manchester to play his first show on English soil on the Poetry Of The Deed Tour last week, and what a show it was. I knew that Frank was good live, but this was amazing. I just wish I could remember more of it.

poetry-of-the-deedAs soon as he took the stage, you could tell this was going to be a gig to remember. From the start of the first song, Live Fast Die Old, he had the whole crowd mesmerised. Why this guy wasn’t playing a bigger venue is beyond me. The 900-strong crowd were hanging onto his every word, singing along and really having an amazing evening. If there’s a Frank Turner fan out there who hasn’t heard the man live, you haven’t really heard him.

The set spanned all of the wandering Winchestrian’s career, with early solo songs like Nashville Tenesee and Smiling At Strangers On Trains (a song recorded by his old band Million Dead) making an appearance, as well as a cover of, The Postal Service’s, The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. The majority of the setlist came from Poetry Of The Deed, which was to be expected, and this is what the majority of the crowd seemed to know. It was good to hear some of the ‘classics’ for the Frank Turner Hardcore though.

One thing I really love at gigs is audience interaction, be that in the form of brief chats, rants or getting the audience involved. Frank did all of this. He dragged someone up out of the crowd to play harmonica on Dan’s Song and, whilst it might not have been the most perfect solo in the world, it was great to see Frank getting the people who love his music involved. There was a good bit of banter with the crowd and the occasional contextual rant. All of this was great and added to the whole experience. I really hate it when an artist just gets up on stage, plays their set and goes. I realise that’s what they’re being paid to do, but it’s always good to see someone appreciating their fans in the way Frank did on Friday night.

After a good 16 songs he left the stage, but we wanted more. As expected, he came back for an encore and what an encore it was. This had to be the most energetic part of the evening. He kicked it off with, my favourite Turner song, The Ballad Of Me & My Friends which went down an absolute storm. 900 people chanting “We’re definitely going to hell, but we’ll have all the best stories to tell” must’ve been a great buzz for Frank, I think it was for everyone else. A fast-paced Reasons Not To Be An Idiot followed and the night was topped off with Photosynthesis (another favourite of mine).

I’m going to level with you. I woke up on Saturday afternoon and couldn’t remember a lot of what happened that night, I was just buzzing. I remember, support act (and Frank’s mate), Beans On Toast ‘sneaking’ us back into the gig after Ian lost his stub, drunkenly hugging Frank’s drummer Nigel, telling the Fake Problems (also supporting) singer he was a beautiful man (I was drunk!) and walking to the pub with two detectives from Greater Manchester Police who happened to be at the Editors gig next door. Of course, I could remember some of the songs, but my trusty dictaphone saved the day. . Somehow I have the whole show (and the rest of the night) recorded, which is making for good listening right now.

If you’re a Frank Turner fan and are yet to see the man live, I urge you to get tickets right this second. This gig was amazing, Frank Turner is one of those acts you must see. A truly great man and a great live performer.

Setlist

  1. Live Fast Die Old
  2. The Road
  3. Long Live The Queen
  4. Substitute
  5. Try This At Home
  6. Dan’s Song
  7. The Real Damage
  8. Poetry Of The Deed
  9. Nashville Tennessee
  10. Imperfect Tense
  11. Smiling At Strangers On Trains
  12. Sons Of Liberty
  13. District Sleeps Alone Tonight
  14. Love, Ire & Song
  15. Father’s Day
  16. I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous
  17. The Journey Of The Magi
  18. The Ballad Of Me Of My Friends
  19. Reasons Not To Be An Idiot
  20. Photosynthesis

Buy Poetry Of The Deed