Winchester singer song-writer Frank Turner has come a long way since his first step onto the music scene fifteen years ago with just his rucksack and old acoustic guitar. Now a solo artist with his trusty side kick guitar always to hand, Frank is the proud creator of six albums, a book and a whole hoard of fans.
Turner and his record company, Xtra Mile Recordings, have recently announced the release of ‘Ten for Ten’ on CD. All ten songs, handpicked by Turner himself, was released at the end of 2015 on vinyl. The CD is made up of both live and alternative tracks and spans over the last decade of Frank’s solo career.
OnTheScene caught up with Frank for a chat about the album and how he’s getting on.
What are the main differences in your song writing and music now compared to ten years ago?
Well first of all, I hope they’re different. I want to grow and change and explore as a songwriter, not repeat myself. I think I’m better at the craft side of songwriting now, I have a lot more practice at it. But the more ephemeral, artistic side, remains as infuriating as ever.
Can you tell us a bit about how you chose the songs on ’Ten for Ten’? Are they personal or fan favourites – or a combination?
I wanted it to be real rarities, stuff no one would have heard before, from the last decade; but also stuff worth hearing. Quite a lot of the rare stuff has already surfaced on other compilations, so it took some real digging to find cool stuff.
With ten years of experience, in hindsight, is there anything you would have approached differently to your career in music?
I think the finding out is the exciting and interesting part, so I’m not sure there’s much I’d want to go back in time and impart to my former self. The only exception to that is the physical side of things. I’ve fucked myself up pretty hard through touring in punk rock, quite a lot of my body hurts or doesn’t work. I’d tell myself to stretch more.
Has there been a moment in which you just thought “wow” – where you just felt like you had to pinch yourself?
Most days, to be honest. I’m very fortunate to do what I do at the level I do it at.
Whilst you’re currently touring abroad, which country have you enjoyed playing to the most?
I’m in Canada right now, which is always a joy. The USA, as much as that’s a boring answer, is also one of the most wonderful and fascinating places in the world. It’s an endless curiosity for me, I’ll never tire of it.
Also, does the atmosphere and vibe change depending on where you are in the world?
A little, there are small cultural markers and so on. But on the whole I find playing music around the world to be more of a unifying experience, it shows in the way that audiences all over the world can come together and react in a similar way. Humans have more in common than things to divide them.
And what do you most miss from home?
The bath in my flat. It’s lovely.
In this newest video Mittens, you perform as an Elvis impersonator what was the inspiration behind this and why Elvis in particular?
I love Elvis, he was unquestionably the king of rock’n’roll. The video is an art piece of sorts, it’s one of my favourites that I’ve done. It was a tough shoot.
You’re a strong supporter of upcoming talent – the names Will Varley and Sean McGowan spring to mind – what new musicians have you recently discovered?
Recently I’ve been listening to U.R.I, a guy from in London. He’s ethereal, great singer and songwriter.
Who are your favourite tour buddies?
I’ve been lucky to tour with a lot of good people. Right now I have (Matt) Northcote on my bus, he’s lovely. But they’re all good.
Ten For Ten details….
Ten For Ten spans the last ten years of Frank’s career. It boasts a host of demos, live and alternative tracks including the original demo of long-term live favourite ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’, live versions of ‘I Am Disappeared’, ‘Substitute’ and ‘Isabel’, and previously unreleased / non-album tracks ‘Old Flames’ (featuring Billy the Kid) and ‘Atlanta Curse’.
He will return to Europe in March, including his longest run of dates in Spain so far. Festival dates are filling up for Frank, and he’s currently slated to appear at Groezrock in Belgium and Southside and Hurricane festivals in Germany this summer. He will also be on the second Flogging Molly Salty Dog Cruise in March.
It’s been a long road form when he was carrying just a rucksack and an acoustic guitar, playing dive bars, pubs, squats, house parties and anywhere else that would have him, and slinging homemade demo CDs at the shows. In 2015 , Frank released his sixth studio album, Positive Songs For Negative People, which entered the Official Album Chart at number 2, only beaten to the top spot by Dr. Dre’s Straight Outta Compton soundtrack (the ex-NWA hip hop artist’s first album in 16 years).
The full list of songs featured on the album is:
01. Old Flames (Feat. Billy The Kid)
02. The Next Storm (Original Demo)
03. Hits & Mrs (Full Band Demo)
04. I Am Disappeared (Live)
05. Wessex Boy (Original Demo)
06. Atlanta Curse
07. Redemption (Matt Nasir Mix)
08. Isabel (Live)
09. Substitute (Live At The BBC)
10. The Ballad Of Me and My Friends (Original Demo)
For more information:
Questions courtesy Angus Hayward and Chloe Ingram