Friday 6th September, 2013
I said over there on the albums page that my next blog would be my own self-assessment of my solo work, but I think I'm going to postpone that. It's something I struggle with in a way - I want to talk about it, but I would encourage anyone else away from that kind of coruscating critique of what they have done. But I'm happy to be a hypocrite, so I'll save it for the next blog.
I thought this time I'd react to something on Twitter, that wasn't even directed at me. I don't remember the name, but in the aftermath of the UK arena tour being announced someone directed a tweet at Frank about not playing smaller places (one of many, and fair enough in some ways, everyone's entitled to their preference and opinion), and concluded their tweet with "you've changed, man".
Frank is usually polite about this kind of thing (at least in public - he can sound off in private about it) but as a third party I feel comfortable in expressing my thoughts. The summation of them is "what a twat", but that definitely needs some explanation.
First is the dreadful presumption that this internet denizen knows Frank's mind, in the past or now, in any way. I've known Frank for 7 years now, and in my estimation indeed he has changed, as hopefully any growing human interested in the world around them will inevitably do. And any of those ways of changing have nothing whatsoever to do with choosing appropriate venues for a tour.
I would put it this way - I feel there was a tour where it was somewhat more reasonable to levy the "this doesn't seem like the Frank Turner way of doing things" tax on, but it's not next February. When I first started touring with Frank he was playing the biggest venues he could as a headliner, which happened to be 50 - 100 cap back rooms of pubs around the country. He wanted to put on the best show possible in those places, and if ticket price had been an issue he would have taken a keen interest in keeping it as reasonably low as it is possible to be. And for the most part all of his headline tours have followed exactly that template, very much including next February. The ticket prices are a much keener representation of where he is at.
Consider - tickets are (I think) £22.50, which is lower than most bands who I see headlining arenas. Even if tickets had been £25 I don't think anyone would have blanched at the prospect, as that still comes in well below the £35 - £90 that I see advertised for the majority of shows of this size. If tickets had been that £2.50 more for the O2 Arena that would be a potential extra gross of at least £40,000. Gross mind - there's myriad expenses on a tour of this size, and none of them come cheap. Would none of us been tempted to nudge up the price a bit, still to a reasonable level, to be able to save for the uncertain entertainer's future that bit more? But Frank hasn't changed - what's the lowest we can do tickets for without risking shirt? OK, that's the price.
So Mr Twitter Twat was complaining about venues being too big. The UK tour earlier this year though, that's the one I would consider the "you've changed" banner being hung upon. Although still technically signed to Xtra Mile, the licensing deal with Polydor (for the UK) means they have the lion's share of influence over what they would like to happen. They, in concert (hah!) with promoters, suggested kicking the album campaign off with what's called an "undersell", where a band goes out and plays places that are too small for them, they sell out instantly, create a buzz that the record company can play on to promote the upcoming record, and hopefully high chart positions ensue. So that's what happened, and you know what? I think it was a shitty move.
Sure, personally I much prefer playing rooms of that size, but for the fans it's elitist bullshit. They all (Scotland excepted because they hate us) sold out within the first couple of days of being on sale, with London going in 15 or so minutes. So everyone else is left with the choice of not seeing an artist they want to see, or paying through the nose at a secondary ticketing site or on eBay. Am I the only one who sees the problem here? Because the record company want to do something a certain way genuine fans end up having to pay more.
Of course there's the "playing multiple nights somewhere smaller" argument that gets tossed about, and theoretically I'm in favour of that. I say theoretically because in actual reality where I spend 10 months of the year on the road and miss my children like a severed limb anything that keeps the touring shorter is a great boon. We have shows booked either side of the UK arena tour stretching off around the world for a long time, all of which it should be noted are in the biggest venues we think we can play, and I would also appreciate Frank's back not collapsing under the strain of totally constant touring, so in this case, short is good. Maybe there'll be a less busy period at some point where we can tour the UK again for a four week stretch camping out for multiple days at venues, but not at the moment.
It's an odd clash of desires. As a band it's exciting when a show sells out, and we kind of hope for them to do so. But as soon as one does it means there's someone who can't get in, which gives an immediate whiff of elitism. And, internet person, with approaching half the tickets gone for the February tour in one week of sales (except for Portsmouth which is most likely already sold out, and Edinburgh which surprisingly is almost there as well), it seems that these shows will sell out, so we're possibly excluding people again. Which is not nice.
Saturday 23rd January, 2016
It's been a long time since my last blog. Yeah, sure, I know. Sorry. Just leave it. OK? Something came up yesterday though that seemed worthy of talking about. Apparently it's 10 years since Milow's album The Bigger Picture was released, and album that I produced and played on. I thought it be... read
Saturday 20th September, 2014
Been concentrating on updating the site to include contact links for hiring me as a session drummer. But over the summer I did a couple of shows with my old pals in the Genesis tribute band Los Endos. Here's a couple of drum views of songs from those with... read
Wednesday 18th June, 2014
1989 - 1992: Once Around The Park My dad, still with his eye on solid academic achievement, insisted that I at least consider university. Out of respect I applied for places on a number of courses, but the interview process was somewhat unusual, since the hardening of my ambition to be somehow with... read
Monday 12th May, 2014
Sorry it's been so long since the last time I blogged here. I have been busy, that much is true, but it would be a lie to pretend that was entirely the reason. Many days I wonder the worth of adding to the ever-growing mountain of unsolicited writing out there, of my... read
Friday 25th April, 2014
Hello everyone. Sorry, this blog has been long neglected. My next thing to post was the next chapter of Puritan, but I was waiting until I could get some relevant audio tracks into the computer world, which involved borrowing a DAT machine and finding time between tours to record it and blah... read
Tuesday 29th October, 2013
I was intending my next blog to be another "Bloggin' The Shuffle", but something happened that took me elsewhere. A friend who is studying screenwriting asked me about musical structure. Most screenplays follow a three act format, roughly akin to sonata form in music, and her thought was to compare other forms... read
Thursday 10th October, 2013
Been a while since the last blog. I guess I've been putting this one off because... well it's odd. For starters I'm aware that I would suggest to others not doing this - you let people take what they want from music you make, and your opinion doesn't matter so much it's... read
Sunday 11th August, 2013
1985 - 1989: Sentimental Mercenary In A Free Fire Zone After a summer of unpacking boxes and trying to make the new house a home I started at Abingdon School in September 1985. With the determination for morbidity that only a teenager can muster, I hated it and was depressed in a I... read
Thursday 25th July, 2013
Just got a little while in the middle of the night before we leave for Heathrow to start another tour. Although they never stop. It's one continuous tour. But I was having some thoughts about work and working and who does what. I've been both sides of the touring fence multiple times being... read
Thursday 11th July, 2013
As many of you here may know apart from being a drummer I was once a lighting designer, the guy who makes the lights do their thing at a rock show (there's many other kinds of LD of course, but rock was what I did). So with that in my background have... read
Tuesday 4th June, 2013
1982 - 1985: Above The Riverbed The World's Run Dry More gigs, better gigs. After the party we started to get a bit more serious with the school band, or as serious as you can be when you're 12 years old. We called ourselves Nightshade and had a stable lineup of Adrian guitar,... read
Sunday 26th May, 2013
Some things are curious to me. Things which appear to be a lack of analysis, opinions not properly thought through. Then again that sometimes is just me and my Spock-ness, not appreciating the random foible of desire. I read about the band that I play in on the internet. There, I've admitted In... read
Monday 29th April, 2013
Hello from Hamburg! Ich Bein Eine Hamburger. Or something. Got an hour after breakfast on the bus before we have to travel to record a German TV show called Ina's Nacht, so what better way to make GOOD USE of my time than another quick session of bloggin' the shuffle. This off... read
Monday 22nd April, 2013
1971 - 1982: It's Cold Outside, But It Gets So Hot In Here Oh shit. That's mum and dad. Keep your head, don't giggle, just keep tidying up the bottles and cans into the bin bag in the garage. I think they're angry, but I'm finding it curiously hard to read these who... read
Monday 8th April, 2013
So here's another in what I anticipate to be a series. Jeez, what a lot of series we have running - Puritan (to be continues when I get access to my old photos and a scanner, so I can make it a bit more visually interesting), Blogging The Shuffle (which will when... read
Sunday 24th March, 2013
I'm writing this from Shanghai in China, my first visit to this country. I'm not going to give you my impressions. I'm not Michael Palin, nor indeed Bill Bryson (although I can recommend all of Mr. Bryson's travel books as some of the most amusing writing I've ever had the pleasure embarrassingly... read
Thursday 14th March, 2013
This is the original reason that it occurred to me to start blogging. I'd find myself on the tourbus with my iPod on having memories and thoughts triggered as shuffle offered up various tidbits that I wouldn't have put on of my own accord. So I'm going to give that a at... read
Sunday 10th March, 2013
Introduction October 12th 2010, Albuquerque, NM, USA I'm 39 and 11 days old, which is clearly much too old to be any kind of musician on the road with a rock band. I'm playing with English musician Frank Turner as a member of his backing band. The distinction is necessary, since things are to... read
Saturday 9th March, 2013
So, the thing is, when I was on tour a couple of years back I wrote a 'book'. It's definitely a 'book' and not a book though. It's an autobiography with the initial intention of a certain angle on the subject, although as it went along the focus drifted a bit. I... read
Monday 4th March, 2013
We started a tour in Northampton, MA on 2nd March and, being as it was not far from his hometown of Springfield, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friend Mark Mulcahy. His name is not familiar to many, but anyone out there who knows him or his work probably... read
Saturday 2nd March, 2013
I don't really talk about myself much. Not just on the internet, but in life. I have an English paranoia about being seen to complain, or about troubling anyone else ("a friend troubled is a problem doubled", as someone once said to me). But I don't think that it's healthy. Don't me... read
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