Frank Turner is back on UK soil this month and RUSHONROCK writer Adam Keys caught up with the folk punk troubadour to discuss touring, Donald Trump, Leonard Cohen and plans for a new album.
RUSHONROCK: First and foremost…let’s get this one out of the way. You were not a happy man earlier this month judging by your Twitter feed. How would you sum up Trump’s election in five words?
FRANK TURNER: Historic, shocking, scary, chastening, infuriating.
RUSHONROCK: Music has suffered great loss this year, most recently the passing of Leonard Cohen, a man who you said was a contender for the greatest songwriter of all time. What kind of influence did he have on you, and how would you say he help shaped folk and rock music over the last 50 years?
FT: Leonard Cohen is the loss of 2016 that’s had the biggest impact on me personally, as an artist. His impact and influence is hard to quantify exactly; actually, sometimes I think he wasn’t all that influential simply because he was too good. He was beyond imitation. That said he brought a unique poetic voice and moral sense to popular music that has impacted millions, myself included.
RUSHONROCK: The last time you spoke to RUSHONROCK, you had just released Positive Songs For Negative People. Since then you’ve tour the world (again), released 10 Years.. and played your 2,000th show. How would you sum up the last year?
FT: Show 2000 is actually coming up in December, as I write. It’s been good to have another lap around the world. As time goes by I’m interested in the dynamics of touring and working as an older, more established artist. We cover a lot of the same ground sometimes, but I’m at pains not to repeat myself, so there are new challenges in that. It gives you a different perspective on life, art and the industry, for sure. It’s been a good year.
RUSHONROCK: It’s great to have you back in the UK for some up close and personal shows – how does it feel touring your home country again?
FT: It always feels like coming into a warm house after a cold day outside. I love touring in the UK. It is, in the most visceral way, home.
RUSHONROCK: Every time you’re on the road, we hear you’re listening to Nebraska (again). Is there anything new that’s catching your attention at the minute? Anything to get you excited during the quieter moments on tour?
FT: Yes, lots of things. Actually I think 2016 has been a great year for new music. I’ve been mainlining the new Leonard Cohen (of course), Jamie T, Every Time I Die, John K Samson, Descendents, Esme Patterson… Great stuff.
RUSHONROCK: Your 2,000th show in Rock City sold out in minutes. What made you chose Nottingham for the show, and what does it mean to get to 2,000 shows?
FT: Rock City is a place very close to my heart. I’ve been playing there for 14 years or so now and they’re wonderful, decent and loyal people there. I’m proud to be considered family there, and so there was no contest when it came to choosing a venue for show 2,000.
RUSHONROCK: How far away are you from your next album?
FT: I have a pile of new material but I’m in the middle of thinking very closely about what I do next, stylistically. I’m feeling a change in the air, and I think it’s important, as a writer, to check that you’re out of your comfort zone periodically. So.. we shall see. It’s certainly the thing that’s exercising my intellect the most right now.
RUSHONROCK: Positive Songs saw you introduce electric guitar onto an album for the first time. What can fans expect from the next one?
FT: Hopefully something they weren’t expecting, haha. We shall see.
RUSHONROCK: You always said you would never write a concept album… but have you changed your mind on this?
FT: Possibly. I have a large pile of material, and there is a way of arranging the subject matter that would be conceptual. I’m in the middle of trying to decide whether or not that’s a good, or artistically valid, idea.
RUSHONROCK: This is one for your Northern Irish audience…. You’ve got an incredibly talented guitar tech in the form of Cahir O’Doherty, who the Belfast audience loved having on their shoulders in February. Have you ever thought about writing with Cahir? What about a FWW cover?!
FT: Ha! Cahir is a super-talented guy, we were friends and touring buddies for years before we started working together. We haven’t written together as yet but then I’ll never say never. He has a new project on the go called New Pagans which everyone should check out.