Another day, another sold out show, another load of sweaty fans heading home after an inspiring night of kick ass rock 'n roll courtesy of Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. With his 7th studio album being released on May 4th, we were keen to chat to Frank about how he feels the new material has been received by his loyal army of followers, his views on 'radio friendly' accusations and the all important question, what did he do to his nose after the Exeter show that resulted in a band aid being applied? for answers to all these questions and more, read on....
It was great to see you perform recently at Exeter and to hear some of the new material played live, how do you feel the fans have taken to it?
Great, thanks, and it's early days on the new stuff yet, the record's not even out yet! It's always gratifying to see new material slide into the affections of your audience. It's also kind of a relief, I've been doing this a long while and it's nice to know people are still interested in new ideas
You’re midway through the UK/Ireland leg of the Be More Kind world tour, please share your best moment so far….
Last night in Cambridge was a really special show all in, not least because it was the first time my girlfriend's mum saw a show. I'm pleased to say she enjoyed it.
Be More Kind is released on May 4th, you’re doing an in-store show and signing albums at HMV in Leicester before you play at the O2 Academy after which you’ll perform a DJ set later on in the evening, 3 shows in one day, have you still got what it takes to manage this kind of schedule?
It's tougher than it used to be, but I can still make it work on special occasions - like album release day. In general I am doing my best to acknowledge the limitations that come with getting older, I don't want to kill myself doing this and pretending I'm still 23. But sometimes it's good to finish off a day completely exhausted.
Has it been awkward not able to offer the new album at the merch stands so far on the tour?
Not especially, no.
There have been a few threads on the Frank Turner Army page about you becoming more ‘Mainstream’ and ‘Radio Friendly’, do you feel that this is the case?
I long ago stopped caring about that kind of stuff. People made that accusation (and it is an accusation) on my second EP. It's boring, and it's usually a form of status-signalling among punker-than-thou people who don't know me. Life goes on. I've tried to expand my musical palette on this record, and I think I've successfully done that, is all.
You’re working with a lot of organisations to make gigs much more widely available to people who, without the great work these places do, wouldn’t be able to attend them in the first place, do you feel that you have succeeded or is there still much work to do?
There's always more than anyone could do. I do my best to work on this stuff, and indeed to be open to suggestions. I stumbled across Stay Up Late last year and immediately wanted them to get involved, but to be honest the idea behind what they do was new to me so I don't want to sound conceited about it at any point.
How can people get involved and help out?
I think people can help out by being welcoming and celebrating everyone they meet when they come to a show.
It’ll soon be festival season, where can people see you performing this year?
We're actually taking a year off festivals this year. I've played more than most, and for various reasons, both personal and professional, I'm having a summer doing other things. Next year we'll be back with a vengeance.
With the news that ABBA are reforming to record new material, what are your views on this sort of thing happening? Do you feel that they should just do a world tour playing the songs that everyone knows and loves? Would you ever consider doing an ABBA cover?
I have covered many ABBA songs (and released some too), they are without question one of the best songwriting groups in history. I think they have the right to do whatever they want with their career, their legacy, and indeed their setlist.
President Trump has chosen to avoid visiting London when he hits the UK in July amid fears of mass protests, are you planning on attending any and maybe singing a few songs?
With many, many years of experience of public protest behind me, I am slightly dubious about its value actually. If I'm around and not otherwise engaged I'd probably pop along, but it's not a priority for me.
It was Record Store Day recently, I didn’t see any Frank Turner limited editions out on the racks, did you steer away from it this year as the new album is due soon?
In all honesty, I was so busy with everything else this year that RSD kind of passed me by. I feel bad about that, but I suppose that yes, the new record got in the way! Next year...
You’re renowned for gigging relentlessly but you tend to be slowing things down more these days, do you think that you’ve finally accepted that you’re not a machine?
Haha, well, any machine requires maintenance. I like to think I'm being more realistic about my limitations; I'd like to do this, in some shape or form, for the rest of my life, so I'm trying to pace myself. That said, while I have slowed a little, I'm proud to say we're still touring harder than most.
I’ve had a few people ask me why you had a Band-Aid on your nose after the Exeter show, I’m sure you told me it was a wound that had opened back up from a previous show…..please elaborate so I can set the records straight and stop your fans worrying about you!
I smacked my face on something (or someone?) towards the end of the Liverpool show, so I had a small cut. That opened up and got a lot worse after the Exeter show, I had quite a lot of blood flow after the gig, but it's just a surface wound, so it healed overnight.
You have a ton of live dates to get through this year including America, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, where are you particularly looking forward to playing on the world tour?
The US dates are exciting for me, we'll be out with Lucero and Menzingers, which is a privilege. I haven't been to Australia for quite a while so that'll be fun too. But really, I like playing shows to full rooms. Give me that and I'm happy.
For someone who tours so much, please list three items that you simply cannot live without on the road?
Earplugs, laptop, throat coat tea.
Lastly, what advice would you offer to a youngster who’s just starting out on their musical journey?
Two things: educate yourself, both about music and its history, and about the way the industry works. And throw everything you have at it, don't hold back or bother with half measures.
We'd like to thank Frank for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish him and the Sleeping Souls every success on the remaining UK dates and for the rest of the year when he jets off to some pretty cool places to spread the word of Be More Kind.