Folk punk troubadour Frank Turner plays Barrowland with his trusty band The Sleeping Souls next week, so we took the opportunity to ask the hardest working man in rockendom about his Glasgow gigging memories.
When it comes to serious touring, Frank Turner has written the book. Literally. The Road Beneath My Feet, published earlier this year, is more gigography than autobiography, recording his recollections and impressions of the thousands of shows he has played in the last ten years, since splitting his hardcore band Million Dead and going solo.
“I read a lot of music books growing up and I always got annoyed when they glossed over what to me is the interesting bit – the mechanics of how you go from being a band just playing with your mates in your bedroom to playing in big venues,” says Turner. “Get In The Van by Henry Rollins was a major thing for me. That was the first music book that let me know what it was actually like to be on tour so I wanted to write something along those lines. I’ve got a list of every gig that I’ve done on my website so I went through that and picked out the ones I could remember things about.”
It transpires that Turner remembers quite a lot. He has gigged all over Glasgow from The 13th Note to Barrowland and, it seems, everywhere in between. “I’ve played Nice’n’Sleazy, Bar Bloc, the old Barfly,” he recalls. “In the early days it was just me organising gigs. I don’t want to get to sermonistic about it, but I do think it’s good to have paid my dues.”
The Road Beneath My Feet only covers Turner’s solo years, but when asked for his most indelible Glasgow gig memory, he cites one of his earliest visits to the city, when Million Dead supported Funeral for a Friend at Barrowland in 2004.
“First of all, I loved it.” he says. “I remember at the time it was the biggest room I’d ever been into in my life for a gig, but also what I remember from that is my experience of Scottish crowds, particularly Glasgow crowds. They take their time deciding whether or not they like you, but if they do decide they like you they are really loyal. So we had that Barras gig with Funeral and the crowd were obviously making their mind up a little bit and then the next time we came back we had a rammed-out headline gig and everyone went completely crazy.”
Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls play the Barrowland on Friday November 13th