Introducing Frank Turner

By Ashley Partridge, SirenFM


Ashley Partridge: Looking back at Million Dead, you had very politically active songs like I am the Party but you seem to have gone against that with Once We Were Anarchists and Love Ire and Song. How have your views changed?

Frank Turner: I think that anybody who doesn’t change views between the ages of 19 and 25 just is not thinking enough. Adolescence is the time where you change and define yourself as a growing adult. I think it continues at least until you’re 25.
I worked out a lot of things about the world when I was touring with Million Dead. So, yeah, my political philosophy has developed. I think it was George Carlin who said; ‘Scratch any cynic and you’ll find a bitter idealist’ which is probably true with me but that’s because idealism is, essentially, bullshit.

AP: You recently released The First Three Years (now bundled with Love, Ire and Song) which is based on Black Flag’s The First Four Years, why did you go for that reference?

FT: I scanned the cover of First Four Years and built the artwork around that. It’s funny because it’s different for English and American people. In England I’m seen as an oddity because of my dedication to the punk cause, Black Flag and stuff like that. I remember the first time I toured the States with my old guitar, which had the Black Flag logo on the side of it.
I had everybody coming up to me saying; “Wow, a guy with Black Flag bars on an acoustic, that’s far out!” For them, it was a really big statement to have. What I don’t want to be is one of those people who says – I’m playing this kind of music to go back to my roots. I’m not going back to my roots. I grew up with Black Flag and Minor Threat and I never want to pretend otherwise.

AP: Do you think doing this is going to introduce a lot of people to that kind of music?

FT: Maybe. It’s not really on my list of things to do but if it does, that’s cool. Particularly because… I’m not going to mention names because I’ll get in trouble, but there’s a dreadful hardcore band going around claiming to be the real deal. It’s just depressing and if more kids get steered away from that and onto proper hardcore, that’s fine by me.

AP: You also recently gave up a lengthy period of being vegetarian. Why?

FT: I had this really hilarious occasion in Bristol where this guy came down to interview me for Viva, which is the vegetarian magazine and I was just like; ‘Sorry dude, not happening’. We ended up doing the interview anyway and just skirting the issue! The bottom line is that it’s my business.
Again, it’s just how my view of the world has changed. I was straight-edge for 5 years and vegetarian for 11 years. Those are all things that I wouldn’t change for the world, but they were times in my life where that made sense but now it’s different. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I realise that the moment I changed was touring with Chuck Reagan (former Hot Water Music singer) who was very “What now?” about me being vegetarian. I do what I want to do and right now I don’t want to be vegetarian.

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