Published on June 6th, 2011 | by Clara Cullen
Frank Turner pt 1
Frank Turner, in my opinion is one of the most necessary and life affirming musicians out there. With his new album “England KeepMyBones” out now on Xtra Mile, Turner continues with his brutally honest and direct style of writing. With this album in particular, Turner proudly reclaims the right to be English from the likes of the BNP and the EDL basking in the glory of England’s rich and exciting history. Turner takes us on a journey through times and sounds, with what will easilybe one of the stand out albums of the year.
Blagsound caught up with Frank, just before he played a home town show in Winchester at The Railway Inn. We talk about about the new album, Henry Rollins, The Hold steady and Petronius’ Satyricon….
1) This is my first time in Winchester, but you were born and bred here. So where should I go to get the full Winchester experience Frank?
Frank: The cathedral is worth seeing, it’s the oldest medieval cathedral in the world, and it’s very cool! The area around there is where all the medieval streets are, and the old palace and things. You should go to the Eclipse Inn and eat some food, as it’s one of the oldest pubs in England. It’s also supposedly very haunted, because the little cross area beside it is where they use to have executions for hundreds of years. The condemned people would spend the night in the top room of the Eclipse before being executed the next day.
2) On the album you have a song called ”Wessex Boy” which follows in the tradition of curbside prophets like Springsteen and Dylan who have sung about their home towns. Why did you want to write about Winchester? Has being on tour and away from here, made you appreciated coming back more, or did you just want to write a song about Winchester!
Frank: Kind of both really. The whole Springsteen thing is definitely an inspiration for it. This is obviously not a new idea, I love singing along to Springsteen songs, but I’m not from New Jersey. I actually played the song for the first time here, at an open mic type thing, a little while ago and it was fun, so I just wanted to add my own song to the list.
3) You’re writing a book of tour dairies, in the vein of “Get In The Van” By Henry Rollins. Tell us a little bit about that?
Frank: Well recently someone came up to me and asked me if I wanted to write a book. My immediate reaction was “No, what an earth am I going to write a book about?” Then we talked about it a bit and they talked about “Get in the Van” and “Black Coffee Blues” those kind of tour diary style books, which don’t really have any pretentious of being an autobiography. That seemed more interesting and appealing to me, then basically I came up with the idea of picking 100 shows from the first 1000 shows and writing them up as diary entries. I wrote about 10 or so and I sent them to a very close friend of mine, because I really couldn’t tell if it was interesting or utterly boring and totally self-indulgent. So he came back to me, and said he thought it was a really intriguing read, that he thought it was good and would like to read more.
The other thing is, I kind of thought that it wouldn’t take me really that long and it would be really easy! But it’s not at all; it’s a fucking pain in the arse! It’s something I have to be quite disciplined and make myself work at. I’ve done about 60 out of 100, so we’re getting there! I had a really, kind of fruitful patch of writings loads for a little while, but no I’m in a dry patch, but I’m sure once we get back out on the road in Europe it’ll come back again.
4) You’ve acquired quite a lot of tattoos Frank! Some of them are more obvious such as the Black Flag tattoo, while the others are a bit more mysterious. For example what it that ancient writing on your wrist?
Frank: It’s Ancient Greek. It’s a quote from a book called the “Satyricon” which was written by Petronius. Sibyl was a woman who asked the Gods for eternal life and she got it. After a couple thousand years, Petronius asked her what she wanted and she replied that she wanted to die. So it translates roughly as “Sibyl, what do you want” “I want to die” So the story is, the woman who wanted eternal life, wanted nothing more than to die, and her wish was granted. So interpret that as you will, but for me it means, life is short, make the most of it and be careful what you wish for.
5) Is it true you have a Hold Steady tattoo?
Frank: I do have a Hold Steady tattoo! Franz isn’t in here right now thank God, but he knows already. It’s a quote “Damn right I’ll rise again” on my lower back, just like Holly Hood rat from the song “Your Little Hood rat Friend”
6) What’s your favourite Hold Steady album? Mine would probably be Boys and Girls In America.
Frank: That is a tough question! The answer to that changes quite often. Boys and Girls was the record that I got into them from. But I think “Separation Sunday” might be their most kind of remarkable work, if you see what I mean. I think “Stay Positive” has all of their best songs on it, for me I think almost all my favourite songs are on “Stay Positive” but then there’s also quite a lot of songs on that album that I don’t like, so it kind of ends up with a less stellar overall score. But “Separation Sunday” to me is the most strikingly comprehensive statement.
Blagging It with Frank Turner part 2 will be up soon!
You can buy Frank’s new album, along with other releases from the Xtra Mile webstore here:http://www.xtramilerecordings.com/
You can also get Franks’ album along with a few extra goodies, like a poster and tote bag from Banquet Records here:http://www.banquetrecords.com/
The wonderful Blagging It sign was created by the artistic talents of Mr Ben Illsley!
What’s your view? Let us know in the comments section below…