Biography– March 2013
ByDave Harper (of Frankie & the Heartstrings)
In Sunderland everything of worth was born of adversity. This is theterrible truth for the creative freaks in this city.
In 2008, Frankie & The Heartstrings found each other in a bar onSunderland’s left bank. It was raining (obviously), words were exchanged andthe rest is up to you to pick out of the anecdotal lucky dip. The truth is theband had been formulating itself without us knowing. Our very own hideousexperiences in pit villages, school-yards and Sunderland’s city center, meantthat Sunderland knew long before we did. It wasn’t romantic, it was cold, andit was necessary.
Frankie ran a bar at the time; it served poorly-kept lager at a pricewhich regularly angered natives already juiced up on their cheap angry dust.Michael was a teacher who seemingly taught nothing but how to cope with being ateacher who teaches nothing. Den was handsome and enigmatic (turns out that wasthrush) and I was getting older and less talented by the fortnight. The otherone, with the benefit of hindsight, has been erased from the band’s history. Wethen recruited Mick Ross, who soon after was granted the freedom of The Cluny.
Having no aspirations beyond playing music and putting on shows the waywe wanted to hear it and see it, we set about the North East, not giving a fuckas we went. We played the shows we wanted to play, politely (to their faces)said ‘no’ to the shows that made no sense - they were usually spearheaded by apromoter we thought was a wanker. A demorecorded in a fucking freezing back room later, and Bob’s your uncle. I’ll get to Fanny being your aunt later.
We found a home with independent loose cannons Wichita Recordings whocontinue to tolerate 5 pig-headed wankers until they read this.
After dealing with the bombshell that Brian Connelly from The Sweet wasdead, we recorded our first long player with Edwyn Collins from the 1980s. Over 3 weeks we endured being treated withrespect and love from the Collins family and in return we got drunk in theirhouse and watched a man put his testicles in Edwyn’s didgeridoo.
Our debut album Hunger entered the hit parade at number 32. The weekafter it didn’t bother.
Then we went around the world a bit.
We ate chicken cartilage in Japan, we tried (unsuccessfully) to getmugged in New York, drank beer from bags in Australia, confused Morrissey inSweden, soiled beds in Germany, had chips in Wrexham and we have enoughanecdotes from Holland to give my dad another heart attack. To all the countriesI haven’t mentioned, just take it as read that we are sorry but that it will alsoprobably happen again.
Not being huge fans of liars we do try not to bullshit too muchourselves. We haven’t got 150 songs for our second album, we don’t always loveone another, we frequently contradict ourselves and we are not the best band inthe world*. We do play as hard as we can to whoever we play for, we do not takeanything for granted and if we behave like dicks, it’s because we are dicks,not because we are dicks in a band.
We have been privileged enough to support The Vaccines (showed them mypenis a lot), The Kaiser Chiefs (again, penis), Florence & The Machine(invented a game involving a well known confectionary and a penis). I couldmake a list of bands that we have played with to make us look cool but I'veforgotten (Primal Scream) most (The Walkmen) of (The Beatles) them if I’mhonest.
Last time round we played all the festivals you pay a fortune to attendand always said ‘thank you’ to the caterers, from Glastonbury to Deershed andthen back to Split fest in Sunderland. Which is especially handy for me becauseI live round the corner and I had a dicky tummy.
But these things are a privilege. Over the course of the last few years, we’ve seenevery backstage wanker in shades and boring band bastard going, and HarryEnfield and Steve Davis. We saw people ‘accidentally’ dropping snapper bags outof their pockets and one unfortunate band who thought it was a reasonable ideato take one of Dennis’s beers.
We remain a product of who we are, where we are from and what we do. Andwhat we do is start our own record label (Pop Sex Ltd), curate our own Pop SexNite events, make our own merch and run our own shop. The bare minimum simplywon’t do. We have seen the bare minimum and frankly we don’t care for it.
We have another record coming at a time when the way we consume music ischanging. A transitional period when bands and artists are afraid of somethingwithout really knowing what to be afraid of. We can only try our best.
PS We didn’t forget about the pizza advert thing.