P&W Spotlight: Frank Turner

by Alex Melnick
Arts & Life Editor
frank-turnerFrank Turner is a productive folk machine. The thirty three year old English singer has been in a post-hardcore band ( Million Dead), embarked on an  solo acoustic folk career, formed a backing band The Sleeping Souls, and is now a published author.  He also has his own beer, a traditional beer entitled “Believe.” It’s no wonder that in 2011 the Association of Independent Music voted him “The Hardest Working Artist.”   Turner also is currently in a hardcore band Mongol Horde, and still managed to balance all his side projects with publishing a fan collaborated tour diary entitled “The Road Beneath my Feet.”

Frank Turner’s songs touch on addiction, love, nostalgia and his native England and are filled with messages about the possibility for personal redemption.
 Turner’s most recent work Tape Deck Heart came out in 2013 and rumors of a sixth album finally solidified this April, when he posted a picture of an untitled master album whose release date has yet to be announced.

The Purple & White: What was it like being on a book tour versus a music tour? Are the two comparable? Who’s the real rock stars, authors or musicians?

Frank Turner: The book tour was a lot more tiring than I was expecting it to be. It was mainly meet’n’greet type situations, signings in bookstores and at the shows and so on. That took a lot out of me. But the discursive, conversational side of it was cool- really interesting. It was more varied. I don’t know or care about “rock stars.”

P&W: What was the hardest part of putting a book together, and what was the most rewarding part?

FT: Writing the book was a bit of a slog – I had hubristically decided that it wasn’t going to be that hard to do, and it very much was. There was a fair amount of knuckling down that I had to do, forcing myself to just start writing. It’s a very different creative process to songwriting, for me at any rate, and it was a sharp learning curve for me. The most rewarding part was simply holding a finished copy of the book. It just felt really satisfying; it was a hardback, which meant it was physically substantive.
That felt really good.

P&W: For your sixth album, may I ask is there a general theme, or new direction you’re going in? Is there anything we shouldn’t expect?

We are just about at the point now where I can start thinking about and trying to identify unifying themes to the record. I try quite hard not to write towards a theme, just to let things come as they will, but naturally strands emerge from the melee. I think it’s an upbeat, defiant record, a record about surviving the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, if you like. It’s kind of a reaction to Tape Deck Heart, which was a dark, introspective, almost defeated album.

P&W:  What are you most looking forward to in creating your next album??

FT: Oof, I haven’t got that far yet in my head. I threw so much into this new record that I’m feeling a little drained right now. There are dribs and drabs of new ideas coming through, but I think I’ve earned a little respite on the writing front right now!

P&W:  What are some musicians you’ve heard this year that have really excited you?

FT: Yes. Will Varley is amazing, as is Felix Hagan & the Family. Lincoln le Fevre, from Australia, also recently blew my mind.

P&W:  What are some books you’ve read this year that you’ve enjoyed?

FT: I read incessantly. I’m currently reading “Last Train to Memphis”, Peter Guralnick’s masterful biography of Elvis. I love reading stuff like Paul Therous, WG Sebald and so on as well.

P&W:   Can we expect any more Bruce Springsteen covers? Have you considered forming a super group with Bruce?  ( If not, y’all really should because I think you two would be unstoppable.)

FT: Ha, I haven’t met the guy as yet. I’m a huge fan, obviously.

P&W: What’s your favorite type of cheese?

FT: Mozzarella.


Check out Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls this May 10th at Shaky Knees in Atlanta! Need convincing? Listen to this:

Leave a Reply