Adam Franklin and Bolts of Melody make first visit to Dayton
By Kyle Melton
In terms of musical influence, Adam Franklin’s work with early ‘90s shoegaze outfit Swervedriver, as well as his solo work with Toshack Highway and now Bolts of Melody, casts an expansive shadow over modern guitar players. With his most recent effort, I Could Sleep For a Thousand Years, Franklin and his band meld infectious pop melodies with lush guitarscapes into an undeniably brilliant album that has earned them excellent reviews. We spoke recently with Franklin about the current tour, their most recent album and living down his legacy.
Your current tour is a relatively small U.S. outing. Why the decision to do such a small tour at this time? Do you plan to do more dates in the U.S. later in the year/early next year?
Just time restrictions, people’s other obligations etc. The economic climate doesn’t help either. If we could hijack some free gas and promoters could offer enough for this to be everybody’s main obligation then we’d be zooming about playing all over the place. In the meantime, you have to become a sort of traveling salesmen who sells T-shirts and button badges — oh and play some music on the side! They’re very nice T-shirts, though, as it goes, and it’s great to be selling so much vinyl again. Music really does sound better on records so buy ‘em up, folks! The live rock ‘n’ roll vibe is what we’re here for and there should be more touring to follow. Watch this space: www.swervedriver.com. [Adam Franklin]
What are your feelings about the last album, I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years? How long did it take to put together? What has the reception for the new album been thus far? Are there any plans for a follow-up album in the near future?
Everyone seems to really like this album. It was a joy to make — myself, Matt and Mikey worked the songs up as a three-piece before going into Stratosphere studio in New York where Mikey laid down all the drums in a day and a half. I think we had maybe four days in Toronto at this great little place, the Lincoln County Social Club, laying down guitars and then it was mixed in Cardiff with Charlie Francis, as usual. I do have a whole new album ready to record, yes. I’d like to get some drums laid down when we get back to New York after this tour — I’m working ‘em hard! [AF]
Since the early ‘90s, your guitar work has become inextricably linked with the sound of shoegaze. What sorts of influences did you gather together to formulate your sound early on? What currently inspires/informs you to continue to evolve as a guitarist and songwriter?
The shoegaze thing has been a continual red herring to me but in some ways it has been useful to have been associated with a popular “genre” and considered one of its original practitioners. In truth, our sound was probably closer to that of some of our influences like Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., I would say, but what do I know? The actual music that inspires is often way off the beaten track in rock terms though — I’ve been listening to some Italian soundtrack stuff from the 1960s lately such as Piero Umiliani, Piero Piccioni and Ennio [Moricone] as well as other stuff — Sven Libaek. This has all had an influence on the new album although it will still be a guitar album and sound like me. It will be something like if Swervedriver did a ‘60s-style soundtrack, I suppose. [AF]
How much do you feel that your legacy with Swervedriver informs the music you are making now? Do feel continuity from Swervedriver through Toshack Highway to BOM?
There’s definitely continuity. Musicians can’t help but gravitate towards chords and melodies that they like, so even if the styling of the music is different from one album to the next there’s probably something else in there that’s inherently “that guy’s sound.” I mean, this next thing really does sound like Bolts of Melody being influenced by Swervedriver and Toshack Highway to me, which is due to playing in Swervedriver again and the fact that the 2000 Toshack Highway album was also influenced by a lot of that type of soundtrack stuff, too. [AF]
What else would you like people to know about this current tour? What can people expect?
Well we’re just going to fill the room with sweet sounds, man. We’re going to be playing a bunch of stuff from I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years that hasn’t been played before, which we’re excited about. It’s going to be fun playing some places with solid rock ‘n’ roll reputations like Dayton and Akron, too. Kim Deal lives in Dayton, right? I always remember Swervedriver’s first tour of the U.K., playing a small club in Manchester called the Boardwalk and looking out in the crowd and seeing Kim Deal [standing] in front of bass player Adi checking out his notes. I looked across at Jim’s side of the stage and there Joey Santiago stood in front of Jim and then I saw Black Francis [sitting] at the bar and realized the Pixies were at our show! So tell Kim and Bob Pollard and all of GBV to come out! [AF]
Adam Franklin and Bolts of Melody will perform Sunday, October 2 at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. Opening the evening will be Motel Beds. Admission is $8 for all ages. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.toshackhighway.com.
Reach DCP Music Editor Kyle Melton at MusicEditor@DaytonCityPaper.com and read his blog at thebuddhaden.net.