Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls

Where to begin? So I'm like all the rest, I saw an Iron Maiden poster when I was about 12 years old, and obviously thought it was cool as hell. When someone told me it was a poster for a band, well, that was me sold. My parents worried that I might be sidetracked from becoming a doctor / lawyer / whatever, and hey, they were right. So I soldiered through metal into punk rock, after a girl I met on holiday gave me a Black Flag album.

Several terrible bands and many even worse haircuts later, I found myself singing for a band called Million Dead. We were around for four years, from 2001-2005, and in that time we released 2 albums to 'critical acclaim' and 'underground success' (i.e. we weren't exactly U2). Nevertheless, we made a lot of friends and played a lot of shows, wrote a lot of songs and learnt an awful lot about playing music and making a living out of it. In the end we decided it would be best to part ways before we fell out and while we still had a chance of being a wicked underground band that no one liked at the time a decade hence (see: Slint).

So, after being chewed up and spat out by touring in hardcore, I decided it was time for something new. Remembering old Counting Crows, Johnny Cash and Weezer records that I'd hidden from my scene police friends, I started playing shows on my own with just an acoustic guitar, which also handily meant I didn't have to form a new band and deal with those kind of politics. I'm not sure I was planning on doing it for very long, but somewhere in the middle of it all I found out that folk music can be more punk than punk, and I think I found my voice.

In line with this new idea, I decided to do a Woody Guthrie and tour for ages. I spent about 18 months taking the train with a guitar and a small bag around the UK, selling CDRs and playing bars, bedrooms, squats, parties, whatever. The good folks at Xtra Mile Recordings took notice (and didn't think I was crazy, like everyone else) and put out first an EP, and then an album, Sleep Is For The Week, in 2007. By that time I'd toured in Europe and the States as well, and shared stages with everyone from Get Cape Wear Cape Fly to The Automatic to Jonah Matranga. I was surprised to get nominated for an XFM New Music Award, but pleased not only to be able to keep touring, but also to tour with a band (members of Oxford's Dive Dive). We also started sleeping in beds and traveling in vans with seats, just like Motley Crue.

Somewhere in the year of touring that followed, I managed to write a second album, Love Ire & Song. Ben Lloyd, my live guitarist, took me down to a farm in Winchester in late 2007 where we recorded it in between US tours. We managed to get it released in the UK in March 2008, just over a year after its predecessor, and that's when things started getting a little crazier. The tours started selling out and getting bigger. The summer saw me playing a frankly ridiculous 26 festivals, whilst somehow managing to tour Europe as well. The single "Long Live The Queen" was released as a charity single and got picked up by daytime Radio 1. After a spell on Chuck Ragan's Revival Tour in the states, the next UK tour was my biggest yet, and saw me sleeping in beds not shared with another band member! "Reasons Not To Be An Idiot" was even bigger, hitting the Radio 1 B List and getting some TV syncs as well.

Things really got out of hand (in an excellent way) in early 2009. After a manic European tour with new friends The Gaslight Anthem, and a pretty hectic SXSW (including one drunken tattoo of Texas..!) followed by another short US tour, we signed a deal with the legendary Epitaph Records to release my stuff outside the UK. This is the stuff of dreams, and I celebrated by sleeping in a star shape in a big double bed on my own. Much refreshed, I hit the studio with the great Alex Newport, first in the UK with my live band, and then in Brooklyn NYC for the vocals and the mix. Poetry Of The Deed is due for worldwide release on September 8th 2009 in between US and European Tours. The October UK run is selling out already, 4 months up front. I'm considering a waterbed. Onwards and upwards.

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