Radio Active Interview with Frank Turner on Tour in Mexico
Radio Active Team x Frank Turner, Guadalajara Mexico.
We caught up with Frank Turner in Guadalajara – Mexico’s second biggest city. Frank was playing at FIL Literary Festival and our team on the ground couldn’t pass on the opportunity to catch up with Frankie baby.
Of course, as you do, we discussed bare knuckle boxing, rock and roll clichés and fans buying swords. It was loud, the media area of the festival was like an airport terminal but Frank and the best tour manager in the world Tre Stead gave roving reporter Tom Frog our favourite interview yet. Of course he did, that’s why Frank is the main man!
Frank Turner, Q&A
When did it hit you that you were a ‘proper’ musician and that it was actually now your job?
Frank: There is a mystical holy grail of being ‘full time’ that all musicians dream of, you tour with other bands and you look at them as ‘full timers’. They go home from tour & don’t have to do anything! I kind of slightly cheated my way towards that by going solo. I moved all of my shit into storage & cut my living expenses to zero. I was able to go full time by not having any stuff! I had experienced everything tour wise and having crappy jobs when I was still with Million Dead, not having to have another job, made me feel like a ‘proper musician’.
I read a very famous actor recently saying “The new generation of fame hungry kids think that the red carpet is something they actually enjoy”. How do you keep your calm and patience with repetitive interviews?
Frank: I’ve been weirded out over the years, as I have met too many musicians that find the actual playing off music a bit of a pain in the arse! Something that you kind of have to get done in order to get on with the trappings whether that’s getting drunk or getting laid or whatever it might be. The only bit I really care about is playing music, that’s the bit that I enjoy. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I get to travel the world and play guitar, fucking A! There are days when you get snowed in by press but I feel better when I remember the crappy jobs I’ve had and the friends that are musician’s that are equally, or more talented than me and yet haven’t had any breaks. Any full time musicians that complain about their life can go f*ck themselves.
You are known for heavy touring. Do you have a healthy lifestyle now? I.e. Can you bare knuckle box like in the video “The next storm”?
Frank: Touring tends to be a lot more comfortable these days. I have a crew, I generally sleep in a bed, I have the best tour manager in the business! (Big love to Tre!). It’s interesting thinking of the really raw early days, I was wildly optimistic about where it was going to go. In your early twenties you can do anything, drink anything, sleep anywhere and still get up and do anything the next day. I was fortunate enough that it all worked out. I occasionally wonder how fondly I would remember those days if it hadn’t lead on to more comfortable things. I could have been a bit bitter; it’s easy to romanticise on that time.
And Bare Knuckle Boxing?????
Frank: If I stood in the ring with anyone, let alone CM Punk (American UFC mixed martial artist featured in Frank’s video) I would get hurt! He’s tough as f*ck, really nice guy a real gentleman and a fan! He is a bit of an outsider like me. My new video features me being hit 6 times by a girlfriend and that hurt 10 times more than ‘fighting’ him!!!
Talking about ‘positive people’ any favourite good deeds by fans or random acts of kindness recently?
Frank: A guy bought a sword from a thrift store, got it home and noticed that it had some regimental details on it, he decided to look it up and found out that it had been stolen from a veteran in 1971. The veteran was still alive. I have a photo of him giving the f*cking sword back!
What’s your most rock n’ roll cliché either on or off stage?
Frank: The words rock and roll are words I think about a lot. I have an Elvis tattoo for a reason! It’s the thing I’m interested in the most. People are always going on about if it’s Punk or Folk, bollocks to all of that. It’s Rock and Roll. One of the reasons I like Springsteen is that he engaged with Rock and Roll as a tradition. I want to be fully conversing in the traditions of rock and roll as an art form, as a culture. I am conscious of moves that I make on stage. I grew up with Punk rock, which negates the whole concept of the rock star cliché, I don’t want anything to do with that idea of bad manners, that you can be a prick and it’s ok because you play guitar for a living.
I am a constant guest in other people’s countries – all the fucking time. I did have a toy’s out of the pram moment recently; I felt terrible afterwards and bought my tour manager an advent Calendar. I was a full-blown dick head but it only lasted for 45 seconds!
You have said in a previous interview you love playing in the USA after having an armchair anti-American’s attitude – how is Mexico so far compared to your pre-conception?
Frank: First of all, I would like to think that I have learned from that experience in America to not hold strong opinions about places or people before you meet them.
You can reel off stereotypes about Mexico but I don’t see the point, everyone knows them – that’s why they are stereotypes! I had heard some things about the country as a touring destination, I’d heard that people are fiercely loyal, enthusiastic, the crowds are great… but the PA might be dodgy. On the evidence so far the technical side is bullshit – they have been totally on it, the crowds have been amazing, loads of people knowing my lyrics and wearing t- shirts. I would like to reserve judgement as I’ve not been here long. One thing I can say is that every Mexican person that I have met so far has been fucking lovely!
5 years on from recording the cover above – you’re now about to go out supporting NOFX – how hard do they party?
Frank: The first thing about NOFX is they don’t give a fuck about anything. Which is part of the reason that I love them. They REALLY just don’t care. You go through life and meet a lot of people who say that they don’t care what people think of them; it’s almost never true. Mike (Fat Mike lead vocalist and bass) genuinely doesn’t care. It quite often makes me feel quite uncomfortable. If a fan comes up and he doesn’t want to take a photo he just says: “no, go fuck yourself”. At the opening of their second live album he opens up with him walking to the microphone and saying time to go to work!
NICE ONE FRANK!
We adapted & rewrote the Smiths for you below because we had some time to kill in the airport. Try singing this for us next time buddy!
“Frankly, Frank yes Franky – this position you’ve held /
It pays your way – don’t let it corrode your soul…
Frank has to leave – but will Tre miss me / Frank you will go down in musical history!”
Watch: Frank Turner sings an acoustic version of new single ‘Mittens’ for us exclusively here:
Listen: Radio Active Spotify Breakers Playlist: rdioac.tv/Breakers