Interview with Frank Turner ahead of his gig in St Albans

Interview with Frank Turner ahead of his gig in St Albans

Interview with Frank Turner ahead of his gig in St Albans

First published in News by , Features Writer

Last time he was here Frank Turner went on stage at The Forum despite a serious back injury.

The folk-punk singer has been touring for the last 16 years- since he was 16 and is now heading out on his second UK tour with band The Sleeping Souls, to once again prove his dedication to live music by choosing venues that are off the beaten track.

He'll also-unusually- be playing all-new songs in preparation for recording their sixth studio album in October, which is expected to be released in February.

Why did you pick Alban Arena for a tour date?

Well, technically my booking agent picked it, it's been a long time since I actually routed tours myself (!). But the general vibe for the tour is to try and get off the beaten path, get to some towns that bands don't usually visit and that I either haven't been to before or haven't been to for a long time. I grew up in a town off the tour circuit so I know what it's like.

What can people expect from your show there?

Me and the Sleeping Souls, bringing the best rock'n'roll show we know how. We will be road-testing some new, as-yet-unrecorded material as well. And we also have Koo Koo Kanga Roo opening the show, one of my favourite bands.

Last time you came to the area you played Hatfield Forum despite a back injury. How much pain were you in then and how are you now?

I was in a lot of pain then. Since then I've done a year of physiotherapy - I've had a lot of help and it's been a lot of work - and these days I'm mostly fine, though some days are better than others.

Has the backlash over your Radiohead comment died down now?

Yep, took about 24 hours.

What is your view on musicians as entertainers?

It's part of being a musician, if you choose to play live, which I do. I personally love the role of entertainer as a job description, it places me in a tradition than includes the theatre, vaudeville, the circus and so on.

Who or what has annoyed you recently?

Oh many things. I get annoyed at the news pretty regularly. The creeping authoritarianism of people who think they have others' best interests at heart is endlessly and insidiously infuriating.

And what’s filled you with joy?

New music that reminds me that there's still so much to be said. Will Varley in particular.

When did you decide you didn’t believe in God?

A long time ago. It wasn't ever really a decision, more a realisation that the burden of proof was definitely on the religious rather than the atheists.

Best live band you’ve seen recently and where was it?

I was lucky enough to watch The Prodigy in Germany at Deichbrand Festival this summer and they were transcendent, one of the best shows I've seen in a long time.

You Tweeted about The Calm Zone in response to Robin William’s death. What is your involvement with the charity?

I try to help out where I can with promotion work and so on. I think what they do is great, really vital.

Do you have any passions besides music?

History, I'm a total history geek, I read history all day long.

Where do you call home these days?

Holloway, north London. It's where my dad's family is from.

Any plans to find a girl, settle down and start a family?

Not currently. My attempts at relationships tend to be laughably rubbish.

What inspired the last song you wrote?

I recently finished a song about Christa McAuliffe, the primary school teacher who died in the Challenger Shuttle Disaster in 1986.

Facts you might not know about Frank 

-Born in Bahrain on December 28, 1981 and the son of a banker.

-Attended Eton College, where he was a classmate of Prince William, and later studied history at the London School Of Economics.

-Describes himself as a "classic liberal"

-Formerly a member of highly-acclaimed post-punk band Million Dead, but they split in 2005 when Turner went solo.

-He appeared on Celebrity Mastermind earlier this year and won, scoring 20 points. His specialist subject was Iron Maiden.

Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans, Monday, September 15, doors at 7.30pm. Details: 01727 844488, alban-arena.co.uk

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