INTERVEW: Frank Turner “People Who Are Bitter Because I’m No Longer Their Little Secret Can Fuck Right Off”


After a 2008 that took him further than any folker on the planet, 2009 sees Frank Turner on the cusp of international success with an Epitaph deal in the bag and a tour with punk legends, The Offspring. FANCORE catches up with Frank to talk about the new album, the real reason he left Sonisphere and what it means to be a punk in 2009.

What can we expect in terms of content from the new Frank Turner album?

Frank: For me, the first album was about the hole at the middle of the party, the dichotomy between hedonism and loneliness. Love Ire & Song was about distance and relationships. The new record is about throwing caution to the wind, strategies for not giving up as you get older. I think it’s probably a more positive record than its predecessors. But it’s not radically different.

You’ve said that the new album is almost 75% complete, will it still be out by this September?

 Frank: Yup and we might even be moving it forward a little. It’s now fully rehearsed and next week we go into the studio, as a band, to lay it down. We did a quick residency of shows in Oxford to try out the material live, which went really well.

Has there been any major influences on your song writing, either musically or personally that have affected the current record?

 Frank: The events of the last couple of years have made a difference – that’s probably why it’s a more positive, upbeat record, (laughs). Musically, I’ve been more into the E Street Band than before, and I’ve also been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan of late. Working with the band has also changed things a little.

 How has writing with the band affected the new record?

 Frank: It’s made a huge difference to the arrangements. I’m a pretty average keyboardist; having Matt Nasir work on the parts means that the keys can take a more prominent role.

 How do you address criticism you gain from moving from underground gigs to playing much bigger shows?

 Frank: I address it by baring my skinny English arse. I am the only person I need to justify my business /“career” decisions to, and believe me I spend a lot of time doing that. The illiterate opinions of teenagers on the internet are of no interest to me.People who are bitter because I’m no longer their little secret can fuck right off.

 Do you still think it’s important to continue to play to smaller audiences?

  Frank:I think it’s important to put on the show of your life, regardless of where you are, every time.

 What does being a folk artist in 2009 mean to you?

  Frank: Folk is less of an ego orientated scene, which I like. It’s community music. I like the idea that I can play a show anywhere in the world any time as long as someone has a guitar.

 What are your views on the current music scene and do you think that the tide will turn back to more meaningful messages in punk? 

  Frank: I don’t really know or care what punk means, musically speaking. It’s an argument which has wasted countless man-hours in the past. The grime scene in the UK a few years back was a million times more “punk” than anything with mohawks. As for any current music scene, well, there are some cool bands around right now, I hope they do well.

 Do you feel that an artist has to dilute their message in order to gain mainstream acceptance?

  Frank: Not necessarily. Look at Rage Against The Machine, or hell, Morrissey. I think sometimes people use that as an excuse to take a shortcut. For me, doing what I do wouldn’t be much fun if I wasn’t in creative control, so it’s not really an issue.

 There has been no official statement on why you had to cancel your Sonisphere appearance; can you shed any light on why you have had to pull out?

  Frank: Ugh, industry politics. I’m not 100% sure what I’m allowed to say about this, but basically there was an ego piss-war between some industry big-wigs, and I took the fallout. It sucks. Not much I can do about it though.

 You’ve said before that you consider punk to be a youth movement; do you think as you get older you’ll have less to sing about?

  Frank: People who only sing about anger get very, very dull very quickly. I think you get angry in different ways as you get older; I certainly don’t think many of my friends would say I was less angry now than when I was younger, just about different things. Punk is a youth movement, when it has meaning and is worthwhile.

 Now that you’ve realised an ambition in signing to Epitaph, are there any more career goals that you have to achieve before you’re done?

  Frank: I could list stuff like wanting to play certain venues or whatever, but in n reality my main aim is to write better music. I believe I have better stuff in me than I’ve been able to get out. So I’m going to focus on that.


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