Frank Turner on why he dislikes the word ‘fan’ and won’t talk politics in public

We undertook a brief Q&A with Frank Turner ahead of his gig at Bristol’s O2 Academy on Sunday April 21, 2013.

Frank Turner (By Tara Novak)

Frank Turner (By Tara Novak)

You’ve been pretty busy over this past year, what with the Olympics, stadium gigs, documentaries – what’s been the highlight for you?

The show at Wembley was pretty special for me, as was writing and recording the new album. It was a good year, lots to choose from, I’ve been very fortunate.

You’ve got another bunch of sell out gigs ahead of you (with your band The Sleeping Souls), what’s different about this tour to previous ones?

I have a new record, with a whole pile of new songs, which will be on the setlist. I also have some great supports coming out with me, Larry & His Flask and George Frakes to start with.

With such an impressive musical CV, how do you keep your feet on the ground?

My mother always taught me that arrogance is the worst sin. Plus my band and crew spend most of every day ripping on me, which deflates any particular bubbles I might be inflating.

How do you approach communicating with fans? For example, do you run your own Twitter account?

I run my Twitter, my Facebook and my email is public as well. I spend a lot of my time responding to emails from people. I don’t much like the word ‘fan’, incidentally, it strikes me as a slightly patronising term. People are people.

Tell us more about the new documentary…

My old friend Greg Nolan made a little film about my career to date, just to get any new people who are coming on board with the new album up to speed on where I come from. I think it’s pretty great.

Some of your songs are very personal, are they more difficult to write/perform than your more generic numbers?

I don’t really consider any of my songs to be generic, personally.

Who else do you rate, lyrically?

Loads of people – Jon K Samson (The Weakerthans), Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Matt Berninger (The National), I spend a lot of time studying other people’s words and trying to get better at what I do.

Finally, there’s been some commentary on your political beliefs in the past – where do you stand on Maggie Thatcher?

My experience of politics in public has been universally sh*tty – being inundated by tidal waves of ignorance and hatred. So I have no interest at all in getting involved in that discussion, thanks.

(Ed’s note: Question posed on the day that Thatcher died, in light of Frank’s 2006 song ‘Thatcher F**ked The Kids’.)

See Frank Turner play live with The Sleeping Souls at Bristol O2 Academy on Sunday April 21, 2013. Tickets from £20adv via

5 Responses to Frank Turner on why he dislikes the word ‘fan’ and won’t talk politics in public
  1. plllbbt
    April 12, 2013 | 4:13 pm

    I don't think his attendance of a posh school – Eton, I believe – has anything to do with the shitty comments on here.

    I think it's probably down to the fact that his songs are boring, he's politically naive (thinking that the BNP are a hard-left party), and that he comes across as a pretentious twat in the above interview.

    Does that explain the shitty comments? I'd wager it does.

  2. Entropy
    April 11, 2013 | 3:48 pm

    Well I'd never heard of this guy before, but seeing the, to quote Turner, "sh*tty" remarks from commenters here thought I'd read the interview to see what I thought.

    In fact Turner sounds pretty reasonable, like his comments about fans being people, and British politics being "tidal waves of ignorance and hatred". Sadly too true.

    Then I thought I'd check him out on google. Turns out he went to a posh school, like so many in music nowadays, compared to the past days of social mobility.

    Still, that's not his fault, is it?

    But does that explain the sh*tty comments here?

  3. Omar
    April 11, 2013 | 10:49 am

    What a Bellend.

    • Andy
      April 11, 2013 | 1:46 pm


  4. Kelvin
    April 11, 2013 | 8:45 am

    Well he sounds like a right arse. Was thinking of going, don’t think I’ll bother now.

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