Q&A with Frank Turner

There is a long tradition of ex-punk rockers trading in their power chords and electric guitars for the idyllic green pastures of folk music. Frank Turner of Winchester, England made that very leap a few years ago after the breakup of his progressive hardcore band Million Dead had reached its zenith and he hasn't looked back since. Armed only with his voice, an acoustic guitar and a batch of socially conscious and sometimes politically flavored folk rock songs, Turner has garnered a growing legion of fans through his tireless touring schedule. Saturday Sunday, September 13 marks the folk-punk balladeer's first second appearance in Denver at the Ogden Theater, with the Gaslight Anthem, whom he has been touring with the last few months around the globe. Ever wonder what types of contraband young musicians smuggle into their rooms growing up? After the jump get a chance to discover the answer to that question along with other keen insights from Turner himself.

Update: Just got word from Andy Thomas at Suburban Home Records that Frank Turner was here back in April. And also that September 13 is Sunday, which we probably should have figured out ourselves. We apologize for the errors.

Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): Do you embrace the term "singer-songwriter"? And do you ever find the term limiting in any way?

Frank Turner: Historically, it's not a bad term (Dylan, Young etc.), and it pretty neatly defines what I do. My only reservation with it is that, more recently, it's a term associated more with people like James Morrisson or James Blunt, and, with all due respect to those guys, I don't want to be associated with that. More often than not I'll describe myself as a folk singer.

WW: Were you in any bands before you decided to try the solo thing? What kind of bands were you in?

FT: Yes, a number, mostly punk and hardcore bands. I was in a band called Million Dead. We played complicated hardcore and toured for about four years, put out two albums and so on. It was fun.

WW: Are there other people in your family that are / were musicians?

FT: My family is musical but in quite an old-school way - my dad plays psalms on the piano and my mum is a singer in a cathedral choir here in Winchester. They were a little dubious about me getting so involved in popular / modern music at first, but they've come to be supportive as time has gone by. I guess I associate a degree of rebelliousness with being a musician because of their early disdain for what I was doing. While my friends were smuggling porno mags into their rooms, I was smuggling in copies of Kerrang. My first exposure was falling in love with Iron Maiden when I was about eleven years old.

WW: Do you ever get compared to Billy Bragg? If so, do you mind the comparison?

FT: Yeah sure, it happens, and on the whole I don't mind so much - I am a fan, and given that we're both English ex-punks playing folk-influenced music, it's not a stupid comparison. I just don't want to get totally subsumed beneath the comparison as time goes by. I'm musically much more interested in Springsteen and Dylan.

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Dutch Seyfarth