After eight studio albums and almost two and a half thousand shows, Frank Turner has gathered legions of loyal fans and earned a reputation for exciting live performances. Recent release, ‘No Man’s Land’, was Turner’s fourth consecutive top-three album, a level of commercial success that may have seemed unlikely when he emerged from punk band Million Dead in 2005. Always looking for new inspiration, methods and approaches, Turner’s latest studio album reflects his love of history: a selection of stories about significant women, whose lives and contributions to society have been largely overlooked. The audio and video recording of ‘Show 2000 Live at Nottingham Rock City’ has also just been released, capturing the energy of Turner and The Sleeping Souls and their sing-along communion with their passionate audience. Andrew Frolish of Americana UK, caught up with Frank Turner backstage at the Alexandra Palace just before he took to the stage on the recent ‘No Man’s Land’ tour.
Let’s start with the new album ‘No Man’s Land’. It’s a really intriguing record. I imagine that lyrically it was more difficult to bend those real stories into the shape of songs than when you just let your creativity flow. So, what was that process like?
Well, in a funny way that process was kind of the point in the sense that it was my eighth solo record. I tend to write in quite an autobiographical confessional style usually and that’s fine – I’m not disavowing any of my back catalogue – but I just felt it would be interesting to take a different technical approach to writing, which was to inhabit other people’s experiences and viewpoints, tell other stories and then the constraints of trying to write a history song struck me as really interesting. Obviously, there is a long tradition of history songs in folk and country music and I love history very much. I wanted to see if I could marry my two passions in life for once. Once I’d got my head around the approach I was taking, I found it both challenging and inspiring at the same time, do you know what I mean? It was a lot of work but I was keen to do the work. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever said to myself, “I need to get to 1953 before I get to the end of verse two,” which was a thing I definitely had to think at one point with one of the songs! It was definitely a different set of directives as a writer. Also, of course, a song still has to have some sort of emotional core and to find that in other people’s lives was an interesting challenge for me and, in fact, for quite a lot of people I read up about and was interested in, I researched their life story but couldn’t find that emotional hook to write a song about. I had a long list of people I read up on but they didn’t turn into songs.
Which one of those stories was the most interesting to explore and which really resonated with you most?
I think probably the most interesting one in terms of the process of discovery and learning for me was the song about Mata Hari, ‘Eye of the Day’, simply because I was reticent about whether I should write about her at all as one of my headlines was these would be people most listeners hadn’t heard of, incidentally and emphatically including me: I learned about these people as I wrote about them. I don’t want to come across as a hipster, “Oh my God haven’t you heard of Huda Sha’arawi,” kind of vibe; I hadn’t heard of her either. I have now and I’m trying to share that. But most people have heard of Mata Hari. On reading a book about her, it really struck me how little I had actually known about her and how misrepresented she is. Also, and more interestingly even than that, where the core of this song came from was that she deliberately misrepresented herself or at least used shifting identity as a form of disguise to navigate a mostly hostile world, whether it was escaping an abusive, alcoholic husband or escaping her upbringing in the first place from a bourgeois family in the Netherlands, navigating her way through the Paris of the early 20th century and then trying to navigate her way through the First World War and failing. There is an inherent Shakespearean tragedy moment when she finally comes a cropper.
I didn’t know all this and I don’t think many people did and that was a really interesting song to write. In terms of identifying with people, I think I have to be slightly wary about this, but I was tickled by and attracted to the character of Nica Rothschild a lot. I read Hannah Rothschild’s book about her great aunt. In fact, that was one of the sparking points for the record generally was that I read that book and thought it could make a nice song and she just seemed like a character who would’ve been fun to go drinking with. I don’t want to over psycho-analyse myself too much here but there is something about the way in which she ditched the life that was presented for her and ran away to join the circus as it were and dedicated her life to music that I find quite appealing. My family are not the Rothschilds but I am certainly not doing the thing that my parents expected me to be doing when I was a kid, let’s say that!
In terms of the writing, recording and production and the whole process, what did you do differently this time round?
The first thing to say is that I always try to do things a little differently. Very briefly ‘Tape Deck Heart’ was the first time we worked with a big league producer; ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ was the opposite and we tried to record an album in six days stripped back; ‘Be More Kind’ was an attempt to involve electronics, sampling and looping technology and we took a very different methodological approach. This time round, one of the thoughts I had prior to having any material was that it might be interesting to play with different players on the record. It’s important for me to stress that I love The Sleeping Souls very much: they are my band, they are playing tonight, they will play on my next record and, indeed, far into the future but, just for one time around, I thought it be interesting to play with other people because if you always play with the same people all the time the plus side is that you become very tight in a way that is uncheatable but the downside is that you necessarily get into musical habits. I thought it would be fun to branch out a bit so that had been an idea vaguely in the back of my mind for a while. The other thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that I didn’t sit down to write a record about women’s history. It was just going to be a history record of untold stories. I got five or six songs in and realised that thus far they were all about women and that struck me as interesting. I decided to follow that directive as far as it went.
Once that had been established, it’s always difficult to pitch saying this the right way, I thought I should work with a female producer because the optics of two men sitting in a windowless room for a month writing songs about women seemed a bit fucked to me but at the same time there is nothing tokenistic about Catherine’s involvement in the project. She was there because she is a phenomenally skilled human being with a completely different set of sonic ideas and prerogatives that she brought to the project. One of the main things was that she drilled me on my vocals. We recorded vocals in a very different way, always sitting down. Quite a lot of the vocals were recorded as I was recording guitar parts, which is something I’ve never really done before. She kept saying over and over again, “Tell me a story,” and there were moments when I would be halfway through a take and she would stop the take and say, “I’m bored; you’re reciting the lyrics, you’re not telling the story.” That was an interesting thing. She’d tell me to focus on the lyrics and tell a story and that was a really cool angle to go down. So, yeah, she brought loads to the table. All the different players we had in were similar. We had an all-female cast and everyone who came in was incredibly skilled. That was the main thing and it was great working with them.
The album closes with a different sort of song, a more personal track about your mother. Did that flow naturally or was it a more conscious choice to round it off with a more personal story?
A bit of column A, a bit of column B! I had this song coming. It seems like an interesting way to finish the project with a slightly different statement. It’s possible to philosophise about it a bit. I don’t want to make too much of this but my father was largely absent when I was a kid and I had two sisters. So, I was raised by my mother with my sisters and the expression ‘no man’s land’ for a title partly comes because it’s a lyric in the song, ‘The Death of Dora Hand’. It’s a difficult album to title sensitively. Also, the reason that phrase crops up again in that song is because that’s not a terrible description of my childhood. I definitely grew up without much in the way of male role models. Indeed, this is now going off-topic a little. One of the things I think about a lot is the punk scene, which I was very grateful to start out in and then in the live touring industry, which I have made my living in and still do. For the longest time, there were just no adults in the room; we talk about this a lot when we think about mental health and addiction. When I started, the eldest person I knew who was involved in the music industry was about 25 and everybody was just smashed all the time. There were no adults in the room, no guiding figures who were a little bit older and could tell you how to do it without killing yourself. And a lot of people burn themselves out to the extent that, I don’t want to say I’m an elder statesman because I’m 37 about to be 38, in fact, and that’s older than most people in the touring industry and hopefully I can try to guide people that it is okay to go to bed occasionally! Anyway, regardless, ‘Rosemary Jane’ just felt like a nice way to finish the record. In short! He said desperately swerving back onto the topic!
Sticking with that personal approach to songwriting, that autobiographical approach; there are lots of those sorts of songs in your back catalogue and some of them, like ‘Jetlag’ or ‘Isabel’ are intensely personal and of their time in terms of the lyrical content. When you look back from now, how do you feel about those sorts of songs?
I think that a song is a snapshot and I think, first of all, it’s really important not to be so up your own arse as to think about legacy when writing a song. It’s just got to be good and in the moment. Also, a strong song will survive regardless of how things change in your life and, indeed, some of my favourite songs in my back catalogue are songs that have acquired different meanings for me as time has gone by. ‘I Am Disappeared’ means very different things to me now than when I wrote it. This is perhaps a bit much to say this but, on this tour, I feel like I’ve finally figured out what the song ‘Tell Tale Signs’ is about. On the surface, it’s about a slightly doomed love affair and self-harm but actually I think it’s more about drugs than I realised when I wrote it and when I slot that interpretation into that song its revelatory for me. That’s a cool thing to be able to do and the sign of a strong piece of work. If it only means one thing on the surface then that’s a weak song in a way. So, one obviously gets into slightly awkward conversations with current partners regarding songs about exes sometimes; that’s an occupational hazard both for me and my partner, now wife. I think she knew what she was getting into when she signed up, you know what I mean! You can’t really date a songwriter and then complain that they’ve got old songs that predate your involvement in their life. I’m proud of the song ‘Jetlag’; it’s a complex piece of writing in my opinion.
Much more rarely you’ve written fictional character-driven material. One of my favourite songs is ‘Balthazar Impresario’, the music hall guy whose craft was forgotten by the age. That would’ve been unthinkable at one time, the idea that his craft would’ve been forgotten.
Yeah, inspired by Charles Morton. I’m obsessed with music hall. There is a haunting glory to it. It’s part of the reason why I’m obsessed with Chas & Dave. God rest Chas Hodges’ soul. They were the only flagbearers for music hall in the modern era really and I have a Chas & Dave tattoo. I am in the middle of considering the merits of making a music hall album at some point.
Give it a try – why not?
Yeah, you know, I need some help! I can’t play piano well enough remotely but we’ll see!
When you think about how music hall was forgotten and how culturally we seemed to move on from it, you’re a guy with a guitar on a stage in the streaming age; do you ever imagine a time with the music industry changing as quickly as it does when your craft might be forgotten by the age?
Yeah, probably. I feel like people who spend too much time considering legacy in general are up their own arse. I don’t think Bob Dylan thought about legacy very much when he started out and yet here we are. But then I also think it would be rash to stand here and think that Bob Dylan‘s music will never die because, well, who knows? Even just within the context of being a complete musicological nerd, there is acres and hours and thousands of artists even just from the 70s who nobody talks about today and I always rejoice in reminding people that the Bay City Rollers outsold every single punk band in 78 and 79 by a factor of two, do you know what I mean, who the fuck talks about the Bay City Rollers now? The Clash – they’ve got an exhibition now but they sold fuck all records in the 70s, so who knows but in a way it’s not for any of us to dictate because that’s a collective action – the shaping of culture and legacy. It has an awful lot of chance and injustice in it, I’m sure. If I spent my time thinking about that, I’d lose sight of writing good music.
One of the things that I enjoy about what I do and the reason I choose to use the word entertainer to describe it and part of the reason I wrote ‘Balthazar Impresario’ is the ephemeral nature of it. It’s one of the reasons I’m slightly iffy about the idea of live albums – if you enjoyed the show, come and see it again. My wife is a stage actress and she very much subscribes to that in a similar way – you go out on a stage to perform and then it’s gone. It was a moment and it was about the people who were in the room, both audience and performers. It’s uncapturable and unrecreatable and there is something really beautiful about that to me. None of us will ever have any idea what John Gielgud was like as a stage actor and there is something kind of beautiful about that. You can read about what he was like but nobody will ever experience that and no one will ever really know what music hall was like because it predates recording. Nobody has any meaningful idea of what kind of music was played in the old West and that was a mere 150 years ago. I just kind of like that in a funny way.
You talk about going on stage with such a lot of passion. I think I’m right in saying that tonight is show 2431.
Correct! Well researched!
That’s really a phenomenal achievement in itself. You talked about the ephemeral nature of it but how do you sustain that kind of energy and connection and the sense that each night is special?
It’s the only place in life where I feel that I’m definitely meant to be. Quite early on, when I started doing solo shows as opposed to Million Dead shows, my best friend, who is also going to be here shortly, at a moment in time when everyone was laughing at me for doing it and going, “What the fuck is that guy doing – he’s got an acoustic guitar?” and Evan just said to me, “It sounds like you. Million Dead was good but it didn’t sound like my mate. This sounds like you. You’re making the music you’re supposed to be making.” Doing it night after night, there’s many things; partly it’s how I make my living and I want to do it well. I love it; I absolutely love it. It’s the one thing in life I can unequivocally say I have some aptitude for and also I have tons and tons of friends I started out making music with who are just as, if not more, talented than me who now work regular day jobs and don’t play shows anymore because luck just didn’t come their way. It’s got fuck all to do with talent it’s just luck and I feel like any of those people would give their eyeteeth to be where I am. Then, to walk on stage and be churlish about it seems lame to me. It’s important to me to appreciate my good fortune in life. It’s my favourite thing to do. It’s fun! Really early on, people used to comment about me having fun on stage as if it was an unusual thing and I was just like fuck every band who doesn’t look like they’re having fun! I have to say there are times when you go and see a band doing the whole ‘everyone is moody and not enjoying themselves thing’ and I think, “Give me the fucking guitar if you don’t want to be there. Don’t worry about it, I’ll get up and do it.” As an audience member, if you are not enjoying it, then what am I supposed to do? I mean, obviously, art isn’t just about fun but there’s got to be some kind of joy to what we do. The Hold Steady are one of my favourite bands and I love Craig Finn’s thing about there being so much joy in this room. That to me is what a rock ‘n’ roll show is all about – a communion.
I love band photos in which the band are actually smiling!
My mum always told me to smile in band photos. “You’ve got the best job in the world – smile!”
What was the thinking for this tour on doing the show in two parts with the acoustic section first and then bringing in the band in?
Well, it was a couple of different things. One was that I was kind of unsure about the best way of touring ‘No Man’s Land’. I can’t take two bands on tour at the same time and the people who played on ‘No Man’s Land’ don’t really constitute a band anyway; they’ve all got day jobs and don’t know my old material. I guess The Sleeping Souls could have learned the material on ‘No Man’s Land’ but that would slightly go against the female casting vibe that we had. So, in the end we decided that I would play the ‘No Man’s Land’ stuff and then play a band set. With that in mind, we had been talking for a long time about doing a slightly different set. Not permanently but, if the music I make ranges between folk and punk, if that’s true, we’ve been leaning on the punk end of the dial for the live shows for a long, long time. My yardstick for how the show has been going has been the mosh and the singalong and the crowd surfing, the panic and the mania. It’s not the only gear that we can operate in. As a unit, The Sleeping Souls and I are quite a versatile group of musicians and we can do other things. It was just like, let’s try that. We used the word ‘unplugged’ for the tour because of ‘Nirvana Unplugged’ and that kind of thing. In a way, I wish I’d used the word ‘storyteller’ instead because the show has become quite verbal. There’s a lot of storytelling between the songs. You’ll see! It’s a very different beast. We’ve kind of got into our stride with it now with three shows left! In the beginning, I think that both we and the audience were a little unsure what was going on exactly. I remember we came off stage in Montréal and, first of all, we were slightly, pleasantly surprised that nobody had screwed anything up dramatically but no-one was covered in sweat and we weren’t sure we were done because we were still ready to go! Surely there’s more work! But then, by contrast, by the time we got most of the way through the US tour, there were shows that were regular punk sets and we were like, “What, we have to stand up tonight? That seems unfair!” You get used to things pretty quickly.
Sitting down is the way forward – you’re 38 nearly!
I am! Having said that, I am toying with the idea that the next musical statement I make will be the exact opposite end of the musical spectrum to this and doing like a hard-core record. We’ll see! That would involve standing up!
That’s an interesting thing to talk about. What might come next? Your approach and style seem to change quite a lot. What might be the next direction?
I tend to be quite reactive in the sense that if I do a thing then I want to do something completely different next time around. As I mentioned earlier, we spent forever making ‘Tape Deck Heart’, so then with ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’ we tried to do it really quickly. That was a very collective process, so ‘Be More Kind’ was a more individual process; I got the guys out one by one and focused on each part individually. I think the next record will be with The Sleeping Souls. The last two records were quite experimental within my own canon. I like the idea of making a punk rock record but we’re at that point in my creative process I know from experience and I’ll probably change my mind on that radically about eighteen times between now and getting anywhere near a studio. I’m writing a lot so there is material to spare at the moment. There’s loads. I actually had a month recently in which I wrote about eight songs which, for me, is fucking loads.
When might it appear?
Probably early 2021 but we’ll see. Time will tell.
Somewhere in between the song writing and the shows, you find the time to write books. How on earth do you find the time to write books? And what’s it been like translating your music and your experiences into words?
Challenging would be the first answer to that question. I went into the first book with a fair degree of hubris. You know, I’ve written plenty of magazine articles in my time that were about 2000 words long and I thought, 50 of those and Bob’s your uncle. Obviously, that’s not what writing books is like at all. I learned quite quickly that I was talking out of my arse in thinking that I knew how to write a book. So, the first book was quite hard. The second book was an easier writing process. It’s a slightly more esoteric subject. I feel like the first book was slightly better received because everyone can get into a good old tour story. Unless you’re actually a songwriter, getting into the minutiae of the song, which is the subject of the second book, is a little bit more difficult. I’m equally proud of both. I would say that I’ve written two books that are essentially about me and there wasn’t much need for research for the most part. I am attracted to the idea of writing what I would flippantly call a ‘proper’ book; writing a book about something or someone else. And maybe I’ve warmed up now! I have some ideas for that but who knows? I have ideas for a million things but the nature of being a successful creative person is having ten times more ideas than you actually have time to execute. Whether or not that will actually be a thing is a moot point for the time being. I’m glad I’ve got two books to my name and I made very sure that the spine design on both of them was identical so they line up nicely on the bookshelf! It was really funny – that was the thing I was most exorcised about in the design of the second book! The spine has to be the same! When it finally arrived, I put the two of them next to one another on the bookshelf and it looked good!
One of the things that is clear in the second book is that your songs often take on a life of their own and change over time. What’s the best example of that?
Probably the best example of that is ‘I Am Disappeared’. That’s a song that we have played live in at least five different arrangements so far and there is a new one for this tour. It is a song that I feel very strongly is one of my better pieces of lyric writing and it’s lithe in that it’s flexible interpretively in a way that I really enjoy. I often find new ways of thinking about what that song is about as I’m singing it, which I really enjoy. I think people like that song as well, so it’s nice – it was, in fact, the only song of mine my wife had heard before we met although, hilariously, a mutual friend of ours, who shall remain nameless, played it at an open-mic that she was at and claimed to have written it! He got pretty fucking rumbled when we got together! God bless him!
What would you hope readers take away from the book?
That’s an interesting question. In much of the same way as I’d say about songs, it’s not for me to dictate on some levels. This applies more to songs than it does to books but with songs I don’t tell people what they’re about necessarily because interpretation is the most interesting part of the process and I find it fascinating when somebody walks away from a song with a completely different interpretation of what it means to what I had; I think that’s great. With the books, there is a didactic level to both of them. With the first one, it might be that somebody who is considering trying to do a similar thing could take some lessons from it. I read ‘Get in the Van’ by Henry Rollins when I was a kid and that changed my life; I read it about a thousand times. I used to study the tour schedules in the back of it like a loser. That book is incredibly important to me and I don’t wish to compare my work to his but I like the idea of young kids, who are thinking about touring, buying it and getting a better sense of what they’re letting themselves in for if nothing else. Then, for the second book, I guess I like the idea that it could push people along song writing roads a little more. Certainly, the book finishes with the exhortation that people should have a go themselves and do better than what I have to offer. I’m being about 60% flippant when I say this but I love the idea of being given an honorarium support slot by a young, successful artist who grew up listening to my music when I’ve become older and unpopular at some point down the road. That would be pretty fucking cool – I’d enjoy that!
Long ago you sang, “We won’t change our ways, we will proud remain when the glory fades.” At this point in your career so far, what do you think you look back on most proudly?
That’s an interesting question. A short diversion – a band I respect enormously is Hundred Reasons. They’re friends of mine. One of the reasons I support them is everyone in the universe will tell you on the way up that success is nice but it’s all about the music and we would still play even if there was only a hundred people in the crowd. And I’ve said that but I call bullshit on it as a general statement because I want to be, like, really? You’d go from playing to five thousand people a night to one hundred people without batting an eyelid? Fuck off would you! Your ego is invested in doing this and one of the things I like about Hundred Reasons is they went from Brixton back down to the Barfly and kept at it. I respect that enormously because they actually meant it and I can’t say for sure how true that would be of me. Having said that, there was a time around ‘Tape Deck Heart’ when I peeked into the mainstream and then slid back out of it again and I feel quite good about the fact that I looked round that corner and went, “Mmmmm, maybe not,” and here we still are. In terms of looking back, this is going to sound like a dodge answer, but the thing I’m most proud of in my career is the fact that it continues because, when I was a kid and I said I wanted to be a musician, people laughed and then I started playing in bands and most people either didn’t care or didn’t like it. After a while, people thought I might get a few years out of it in my early 20s but didn’t expect it to go any longer than that. Then, Million Dead broke up and everybody thought that was it but I kept going and here we are. You know, I think maybe I’m just about in a place where I could contemplate the idea of this being my entire life if I want it to be, which currently I do. It makes me sound like a teenager and I’m aware of that but there is a part of me that thinks, “Fuck you all – you all said I couldn’t do it and I did.” I still am doing it and I’m proud of that. I don’t mean to sound overly petulant! With every passing year, in terms of things like criticism and Internet bullshit, one of the things I’ve learned is that there is great value in endurance. I think back to the first time I got monstered online, which is a good decade ago now, and I think to myself, “Where are any of those pricks now?” I’m proud of enduring. There you go, that’s the short answer!
You also sang that, “Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings.” Again, from where we are now, is that still what it’s all about?
It is! One of the things that I often think is that, both as a function of my career becoming better established and me getting older, there are fewer mad, Kerouacian adventure nights in my life than there used to be. I generally have a press schedule and a tour bus, places to be. I just had a meeting the other day to plan my life through to the end of 2021 et cetera. So, it’s slightly less romantic on some levels than it used to be. Having said that, a couple of years ago, we were touring in Canada with a band called Arkells, who are very dear friends of ours. We played Montréal and the show was cool. I met a guy in the dressing room, who I didn’t realise it was a major soap star in Canada. He had an apartment around the corner. We put it out on Twitter and ended up with about eighty people in his flat at about one in the morning and I played songs until about five in the morning. Everyone got super shitfaced. I played old songs, new songs, passed the guitar to other people in the room and it was just fucking awesome and those are still the nights that I live for – those moments of complete abandon. The song writer Will Varley was round at mine the other day and we were just swapping songs until the small hours. That’s what I live for – those are the evenings I enjoy. I will definitely always be an evening person!
One last question. People always ask you about politics and you must be heartily sick of questions like that.
I put myself in harm’s way but yeah!
I’m more interested in music, songs and your career. So that I’ve fulfilled that political duty, I’m going to ask a question that combines the two! John Stuart Mill applauded eccentricity in the sense that a self-made person who has developed their own views and opinions, ideals and customs, is essential for society. That individualism, that diversity, that eccentricity are vital parts of the search for truth and progress. So, how can we see this idea in you and your career and your music?
First of all, I’m an enormous John Stuart Mill fan and he is pretty foundational – Mill and Isaiah Berlin – for my view of politics. The whole point about liberalism is that it is about the way we interact with each other. Liberalism is the only political ideology which contains an understanding of conflict, which is what separates it from other political ideologies because it doesn’t envisage some kind of state in which everyone agrees with each other. In fact, I believe quite firmly that if that is the thing you’re aiming towards or think it’s possible then that is an opinion that has the seeds of totalitarianism. The difference between the French and the American revolutions was the French Revolution was obsessed with unity and therefore they all killed each other; The American revolution was obsessed with the idea of manageable conflict, which is why it’s the most successful political revolution in history. Anyway, sorry that’s off topic! It’s not for me to say because I think there is no such thing as a self-conscious eccentric. Do you know what I mean? It’s not really possible to be a self-conscious eccentric – that just makes you a prat!
It’s funny: I often get referred to when people talk about politics as someone with contentious or convoluted views. I don’t think my views are contentious or convoluted at all. I think they’re quite simple. But then maybe I’m just bad at communicating! In terms of the way things are politically at the moment and particularly in my corner of the world, I’m worried about conformity, particularly the aggressive conformity within the punk scene. I think that Obama made a wonderful point the other day that purity is an adolescent consideration. Aiming for purity in politics is silly both personally and ideologically – everybody is flawed; everyone disagrees; everyone will get things wrong from time to time and this idea that we can remove from the party everyone who doesn’t score 100% on everything all the time is idiotic, not least because it will bite everyone in the arse by definition.
I think there is a level on which punk rock is supposed to be challenging and I think that we currently live in a time when a lot of people don’t want it to be; that bothers me. There is a niceification of the concept of punk going on, which I’m slightly uncomfortable with. I’m arguably guilty of being part of it on some levels. You’re talking about a genre that started with the Sex Pistols and the Dead Kennedys, do you know what I mean? It was supposed to be abrasive and I celebrate the abrasive, challenging nature of punk rock and I wish for it to stay that way. It’s supposed to push boundaries and make people uncomfortable. So, that’s the thing I think about a lot. It all comes back to Twitter being the biggest pile of shit ever and anybody with half a brain avoids it like the plague. I use it like a broadcast tool, which is useful. For example, we just freed up 15 tickets for tonight and we will tweet out that they’re available, which will be cool but there is no universe in which I’m going to attempt to have a rational conversation on Twitter. I think that there are concerns. The last thing I would say about politics is that in Snyder’s twenty rules against tyranny, he tells us to beware of the person who tells you everything is a crisis. Be alive to the use of language like ‘emergency’ and ‘exception’. There’s a really seductive thing about believing that we are the crucial and the last generation and everything is desperate and if we don’t make the decisions now then the world is doomed forever. We are probably just another generation. That’s more likely, statistically. I think that people who are obsessed with everything being a crisis and a disaster are people who are usually trying to subvert democratic processes and we should watch them like fucking hawks. That was a very nebulous answer… But a good final word.
‘No Man’s Land’ is out now on Polydor