Frankmusik – NME’s Most Excellent Adventure

You may have read my piece on Frankmusik in the new issue of the mag. There was loads of stuff I didn’t have time to write about there, so I thought I’d publish a few extra pics and video interviews here on the Bands’ Blog.

The backstory: Vince Frank is doing a reality TV show for Channel Four called ‘Live and Lost with Blackberry’ where he uses a (shock!) Blackberry to convince his Myspace fans to dictate his daily routine; gigs, transport, food, showers, sleep etc, whilst he travels to London from Scotland. Here’s a musician not just relying on fans for ticket or CD sales, but for almost two weeks, his entire survival. I wonder who’s washing his boxers?

After driving in approx 83 circles and going incorrectly up several one-way streets, we make it to a bagel shop for a Frankmusik gig. The staff try and feed us beer at 4.30pm with the phrase “go on, you’re in Newcastle pet” being said a lot.

We rush to a BBC radio studio but again get lost, our photographer Tom almost blows up the failing sat nav out of annoyance and I eventually ask a police man for directions. Just as I’m imagining us in a 1950’s community-based soap, I realise I cannot understand the policeman’s accent. Or handwriting. Damn.

By fluke, we make it and in the green room, a man pops in and asks are we there to “talk about Star Wars?” Erm no, we are not. I think you’ll find this look is ‘effortlessly windswept’ not ‘Chew-sodding-bacca’. Ahem. Vince beatboxes a 30 second clip of new single ‘Better Off As Two’ (out April 13th). I spit everywhere when I try.

Onwards to a science museum and Seb from Island Records – who is our chaperone – thinks it’ll be funny if we dress like Eskimos. It is, until I begin to look like a Newsround presenter who’s ‘down with the kids’. Luckily, Seb (who I’m sure wanted the Eskimo coat for extra warmth) already knows he’s a southern softie – his words – so jokes are flying around ages before he says things like “it’s SO cawld ‘ap nawf”. Honestly, anyone would think London has a bloody beach.

Vince is rebooting before a house party at a fan’s flat where he’ll be Djing, so we go and eat (eating out is a nice touch, as thanks to our conjoined twin Sir Credit Crunch, lately this concept could only ever involve me standing with my mouth wide open near the crazies who feed pigeons in the park), Seb thinks it’s even funnier to tell the waitresses at TGI Fridays that it’s my birthday.

Before I know it, I have 8 girls singing so enthusiastically in my face that I have no choice but to make a wish and blow out the candle on my free chocolate ‘birthday’ brownie. Yeah, free chocolate, in your face, Sebby!

At the party, the mood’s great, I can’t believe people are welcoming journalists into their homes and loading us with beer because they love Frankmusik – it’s like a media safehouse. We get roped into making a teaser for Perez Hilton’s blog, as he’s narrating the show. It involves us holding up bits of paper and acting like we have rabies. I hold the paper in front of my face and hide at the back of what is Vince’s bedroom for the night, hoping I don’t look like a Hilton superfan. Massive fail.

Whilst there, I chat to Vince about the day and the tour. He says things like this:

What’s this? I’m getting the obligatory northern chill (Seb, you were right!). When some girls get a sore throat, they sound all sexy like Scarlett Johansson but when this happens to Mancunian girls, we just sound like Jack Duckworth after his morning cig.

Still, all is well with the world; super supportive music fans certainly do exist. If I’ve learnt anything from this excursion, it’s that I may well resemble an iconic hairy beast and sound like an old man, but I shall rest assured that an anything-goes passion for live music seems to be present in every UK town. Music fans of Britain, I firmly salute you. (Photos by Tom Martin)