We met Frank Turner for an spontaneous interview before his club show in Munich the other day.
He’s back in Germany for more shows in January 2016 – get your tickets now!
You’re on tour at the moment – how’s it going so far?
Good! This is day 3 of the world tour, so this is gonna last for about two years…
How was the Rock Am See Festival yesterday?
Really good actually! I’ve never been to Konstanz before, we had a fun time. I went for a swim in the Bodensee afterwards. It was a fun gig!
The venue tonight is pretty small – do you prefer smaller shows or larger ones?
I mean, these shows that we’re doing now, they’re sort of like the introduction. We’re just about to announce the proper German tour which is gonna be in January, we’ll be back in Munich. It’s fun doing small shows like this, but it does slightly keep me up at night, knowing that not everybody gets a ticket.
Yeah, this show sold out in about two minutes…
Which obviously makes me feel like I’ve achieved something with my life, so that’s cool.
So you’re from London, which obviously has a great music scene. Are there any artists in particular you would like to recommend?
London’s a strange one, because London is where everyone goes if you’re from anywhere else in England. Personally, I think that’s a bad idea, although that is exactly what I did when I was younger. London is too big to have one kind of particular scene. The other thing is that I’m not there that much, I’m just too fucking old to be aware of what’s going on. One thing I’d say is that there is kind of a cool scene around actually, there’s Wolf Alice, Beans on Toast… I’ve always been worried about the word ‘scene’ because I feel like it’s something only journalists use. But just recently we’ve had a birthday party at the record label and it was really nice cause I just knew everyone there, all the bands who played were cool, and I had that moment standing there where I thought ‘Okay, I guess this is what a scene is’.
Who would you have to meet to be completely starstruck?
I try not to be starstruck. If I meet people who like what I do and they get nervous and stuff, I get really uncomfortable about it, so I always try to think about that. On the other hand, I do get starstruck pretty fucking easily. A few years ago we were playing a venue in Florida and the in-house sound guy used to be the drummer for a band called ‘I Hate Myself’. They probably sold about 500 records and I bought quite a few of them. I was like “Dude! No way!!” He actually thought I was taking the piss at first, but I wasn’t. They were a really good band to me. I find it exciting to meet people whose music I care about.
I once met James Hetfield and made a complete dickhead of myself. I didn’t really say anything apart from “Hi” and we just stood there, it was really awkward. We got to the point where my tour manager came over, grabbed me and kind of walked me away from him.
If you could pick one artist to do a cover version of one your songs, who would it be and what song would you choose?
I’m not gonna pick a specific song, cause the interesting part to me would be which song they would pick, but I think that Tori Amos does incredible cover versions, I’m a big Tori Amos fan. I’d be interested to see what she would do with one of my songs.
Is there a question you always wanted to answer in an interview, but no one ever asked?
Not really! I like other people to cover the questions. One thing though, there’s quite a lot of literary jokes, references and kind of nods in my lyrics that – as far as I’m aware – no one’s ever spotted. I have a friend who I went to school with, we grew up together, we got very similar minds, so he always gets pretty much everything. And there are just a few nods and references that as far as I know, no one’s ever noticed, which in a way makes me kind of sad.
What is your favourite tattoo?
Well, they each have a meaning – I’m one of those people who have a long, boring story behind every tattoo. I’ve just had my second session of three on my back piece and it’s the biggest tattoo I’ve had so far. I can’t see it myself, I have to hold three mirrors, but everyone else says it looks really cool.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
I’ve always sort of liked the idea. I was thinking about possibly doing some stuff with my friend Ed Harcourt, but I’d also love to work with Robbie Robertson while he’s still alive, but that’s probably never gonna happen. You never know!
What is your biggest wish for 2016?
That I do my job well. I’m a professional entertainer and I’m very proud of that word. I know there are some bands who get insulted by the term ‘entertainer’, I think that’s stupid. My job tonight is that everybody in this room has fun. The schedule we have coming up is hard, I’ve quit drinking and I’m working out, trying to be in shape. I wanna be able to get back to my house over Christmas and be like “Yeah, I did that well”.
Which is your advice for young artists who are only just starting with music?
Give it everything. Don’t hold back. If you don’t wanna give it everything, then you don’t wanna do it, and you’re never gonna achieve anything. Risk everything for it.