Longtime Blurt Blogger John B. Moore checks in with his latest column on all things punk, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.”
By John B. Moore
It’s been about almost a decade since English punk Frank Tuner walked away from life in a hardcore band and swapped out the distorted guitars for an acoustic one.
In that time he’s turned in an impressive collection of albums, packed Wembley Arena, served as opening act for the London Olympics, and managed to help define the punk rock singer/songwriter genre. He’s known best for his injection of wit and humility into songs about growing up, growing old and politics, and even with an acoustic guitar, you still can’t hide the punk kid inside. Need proof? Listen to “Thatcher Fucked the Kids”—which, in light of The Iron Lady’s demise this week, seems uncanny in its anti-revisionist timeliness.
On the eve of releasing his latest album, Tape Deck Heart (due April 23), and first for Interscope Records, Turner spoke briefly about the label change, playing the opening ceremonies at the London Olympics and future plans with his hardcore side project Möngöl Hörd.(Below, check out “Recovery” from the new record.)
First off, congrats on signing with Interscope. How did that come about?
In basic terms, they asked, (laughs). The opportunity was there for me to think about working with a different label in the USA, and Interscope seemed like the best place for me. They’re a great label.
When I last interviewed you England Keep My Bones was just coming out and you were going on your first tour with a full band. Has that changed the way you play at all having that full sound?
Well, it alters the live show, sure – actually I’ve been touring with a full band since 2007, on and off. It’s a bigger sound for the live show; it’s very much where my head is at right now musically. The line-up of the band is set. The Sleeping Souls are my guys.
You also played Wembley since we last talked. What was that experience like?
It was amazing, everything went to plan! It was a show that my team and I worked on very hard for a long time. It was also something of a risk – I wasn’t at all sure that I’d sell all the tickets, or that the music I make would work in that kind of live context. In the event it all went swimmingly.
Had you had a chance to meet Billy Bragg before asking him to play that show with you?
Yeah I’ve known Billy and played with him for a few years now. Great guy.
You also had the opportunity to play before the Olympics. Are you surprised by how many people can relate to your songs?
Yes, pleasantly so. The Olympics thing was pretty surreal. I mean, it was an amazing opportunity and a unique experience for sure, but it was certainly outside my comfort zone.
What can you tell me about the new album?
I’m very pleased with it; I think it’s a step up for me, musically and lyrically. The music is a little bigger, warmer, than before. Lyrically it’s a very raw, personal record.
What are your U.S. tour plans?
I’ll be in the USA a whole lot this year and next, (laughs). The Interscope team have big plans for my diary.
Do you have plans to do more with your side project Möngöl Hörd? Release an album maybe?
Yeah I definitely want to get a record together and a tour sometime. It’s a lot of fun, but the problem is that it’s not a main priority for me right now. It definitely has to sit back a bit while we work on Tape Deck Heart.
John B. Moorecan be found at : Blurt/New Music Magazine/InSite Atlanta Magazine (Music Editor)/Innocent Words/NeuFutur Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at his handle @Jbmoore00