Frank Turner Visits BIMM Bristol

13 May, 2014

Post hardcore come acoustic troubadour Frank Turner paid the students at BIMM Bristol an exclusive visit on 9th May to talk about his experience so far in his music career. The interview was led by Cliff Jones, a successful musician in his own right, best known as front man of 90s Brit poppers Gay Dad, who enquired about all things Frank.

Frank obviously lives and breathes his music, showing energetic passion and expert knowledge to the point of fine geekery as he dreamily drifts into digging the archives at the English Folk, Dance and Song Library at Cecil Sharpe House. Herein it can be said that folk meets punk through Frank Turner, a kind of Richard Thompson and Joe Strummer, a romantic on a quest for immediate truth. He is a grafter and largely credits his punk and post-hardcore teachers, Black Flag, Minor Threat and the Dead Kennedy’s for that ‘DIY mind-set’.

On the other hand, at times, he said the hardcore scene favoured music that was ‘wilfully obscure’ and that picking up an acoustic guitar playing ‘ G, C, D and saying something over it is more punk rock in a way…Songs have lives and souls beyond chords structures’.  The idea of the communication that music can do, the connection between people that is beyond futile words alone. When words are carried with a tune, the song meaning of those words can be very different to the spoken one. ‘Art should be honest’ and ‘the point of art is communication’ he refreshingly goes on to say.

Frank sung and played some of his songs as well as some favourites by other people. He opened up in some detail about the writing process including a step-by-step guide around I am Disappeared, a dream that was set in Dallas, where Bob Dylan drove him around in silence into the sunrise. The Way I Tend to Be, with the lyric ‘catching your scent on someone else’ he admitted that the ‘someone else’ was actually a Koala bear he had met at an animal sanctuary in Australia. He played Recovery from his latest album Tape Deck Heart as well as Pancho and Lefty by Townes van Zandt, Ramblin Man by Allman Brothers and Heart of the Continent by John K Samson, his favourite songwriter. At every moment during his performance there was a sense of spontaneity and honesty that can only be achieved by a writer that really knows who they are.

Many thanks to Frank for visiting us at BIMM Bristol and for generously donating his fee to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

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