Interview: Frank Turner

Published in: 

Drum Media (WA) | 28.03.13 | Issue # 331

Drum Media (NSW) | 26.03.13 | Issue # 1153



With music his one true love at the moment, Frank Turner spent Valentine’s Day getting “pissed” with mates at a pub in London. Daniel Cribb wakes up a hung over Turner the following morning.

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little hung over and it’s early in the morning,” a tired but surprisingly cheery Frank Turner begins from his flat in London. Having spent the previous night drinking to a Ramones cover band, and recently concluding a European tour with Dropkick Murphys, there’s no doubt he has punk rock flowing through his veins.

“It was the second time I’ve toured with them, and, it’s going to sound like I say this about everybody, but I promise you I don’t, they are my favourite band to tour with. Them and their crew are just the nicest dudes, and they are a fantastically amazing live band,” he explains, looking forward to touring Australia with them in May.

His involvement in the punk world began long before picking up an acoustic guitar and taking the world by storm. He was originally in hardcore punk band Million Dead. But with the messy break-up of the band in 2005, and certain lyrics since (for example, in 2008’s Love Ire & Song, Turner sings, “Punk rock didn’t live up to what I’d hoped that it could be”), his stance on punk is somewhat unclear.

“If asked, I would say that I’m essentially a punk, you know, I’m into punk rock, it’s the kind of music that I love, and I’ve written songs on the subject. I think it’s more, everybody who gets really heavily into punk rock has a moment where they think it’s going to change the world and save the world and all the rest of it, and it doesn’t. There’s always a moment of slight disconnect there, but that doesn’t mean that it’s invalid in any way, it just means that it’s perhaps not going to bring about world peace.”

He may consider himself a punk, but opening up his music to a wider audience by mixing in healthy doses of pop and folk has allowed some huge opportunities over the past couple of years. After selling out Wembley Arena in March of last year, he performed at the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

“It was a weird [show]. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m very pleased I was given the opportunity to do it, and I sort of feel the music industry is a fickle business and after everything else has kind of faded away I’ll still be able to tell my grandkids that I played at the Olympics, do you know what I mean, and that’s cool.

“But as an actual gig, it was very weird. It wasn’t a normal gig, I was playing on a fake hill to a bunch of actors and sheep and it was all a bit weird. But like I said, at the end of the day, my approach to life is that you might as well, because life is short, and it was a unique and bizarre experience that I’m glad to of had.”

To top off an impressive couple of years, Turner will be releasing his fifth studio album, Tape Deck Heart, in April. On previous records, he tells it like it is, and has remained fairly grounded considering his success. A quality he assures hasn’t been lost due to selling out arenas.

“The one thing that I’ve always tried to do with my music is just write songs that I think are good songs, regardless of the context, and you know, it’s not like I suddenly decided to start writing anthems for arenas or whatever, but at the same time, the last couple of years have been pretty crazy, so I’m sure it does have some affect on the music that I make, but not quite so calculated,” concludes Turner.

Frank Turner will be playing the following dates:

Thursday 28 March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay NSW
Sunday 31 March – Panthers, Newcastle NSW
Monday 1 April – Big Top Luna Park, Sydney NSW
Tuesday 2 April – Festival Hall, Melbourne VIC

Daniel Cribb