From the moment Million Dead were no more, we at R13 have kept a close eye on what the band’s front man Frank Turner has done with his musical life. We first reviewed him on his tod
in November 2005, and it’s clear from revisiting that review from Manchester, that the signs were already there as to where this journey could potentially go. What a ride the past two years have been!

Fast forward to November 2006, and hardly was a tour with the Automatic under his belt, before Frank was giving us an in depth guide to ‘Sleep is for the Week’, which was ready for release early in 2007. As for the expectations he remembers: “World domination and headlining Wembley haha! Failing that, the ability to make a second album, with all that that implies. On at least one count I've been successful.”

Read his track by track guide here

The media side of the promotional machine was beginning to rumble into action. Among the requirements was an appearance on the BBC 6Music review show ‘Round Table’.

“It wasn't typical, I was sharing a table with Stephen Merchant! But I've got used to surreal situations, the longer I do this job. and Steve was very nice. I've done a lot of other weird stuff, both celebrity-ish and just plain weird. Perks of the job.”

January 15 2007 saw the album finally hit the shops, and to mark the occasion, Turner went on a tour of London Fopp Stores. Read more on the day, including the launch party at Mambucca where guests included Sam Duckworth

“My main memory is being exhausted! I organized my own launch party, with all my friends, and then had to bail because I was so tired. The day was cool. I set a personal record too, 5 shows in one day. I win.”

On how the album was received prior to the release he said: “I generally try to ignore the press if I can, one person's opinion is, for me, as valid as anyone else's. I've seen from reviews that the album seemed to be pretty marmite, people were either very pro or very anti. Whatever. The Sun said I was a genius, the Times said I should write a book.”

Just for a change, Frank followed this with, that’s right, more touring. Only on this occasion there was a difference as, for the first time since Million Dead, he was taking to the stage as part of a band.

“It's great touring with a band. It's the best of both worlds, I get the camaraderie but I also retain control creatively, which is great. I always thought of some of these songs as band songs, so it's been great to play them as they should be live.”

Click here for a review from Manchester

It could be argued that the next time we saw Frank live, was the most important of the year thus far. It’s one thing playing to your own fans, all be it a group that had been increasing with every tour, but for many artists, making a mark at
Camden Crawl on the doorstep of the music press big guns can set the tone for the rest of the year. There’s nothing like the statement made by a big crowd that laps up your every move, which is exactly what Frank Turner got!

We wondered at the time whether the likelihood of a larger number of press in attendance, was what prompted him to point out that, despite writing a couple of political songs, he’s far from a protest artist?

“Nope, I generally make up my set-lists as I go, especially if I play solo. I was in a combatitative mood that night.”

Frank’s star continued to rise with a support slot on the Biffy Clyro tour in May. James from Biffy said of his inclusion: “Frank’s a really nice guy so it was a pleasure to have him on tour. In terms of music I think it’s nice to have different styles of music on tour, as a support band. Also when we are supporting a band it’s nice to support different types of bands because it just gets boring if you’re listening to the same stuff all night. We think that Frank is a really good performer and the crowds really enjoyed him so it was really nice to have him on tour.”

Summer brought gigs at the 2000 Trees and Wireless Festivals, but without question the stand out moment came at the
Leeds Festival, but how was it for Frank?

“Immense. I'm not going to try and be cool about this, both Carling shows were awesome. A real career highlight.”

The second half of 2007 saw three main events: the Softcore Tour, another trip to the States and the recording of album number 2. We checked out the Softcore Tour as it stopped off in

“Me, Jonah and Josh toured in the USA in March and we wanted to get the same line-up to the UK. I wasn't sure it'd happen but it did, which was great. The tour was loads of fun, good shows, good people, good time.”

As for the States: “Generally American crowds are ace, people are very open to new ideas and new music. I love touring the States, there's so much of it. It's been fun in the States translating Thatcher into Reagan.”

Before he left for his most recent trip to the US, the recording process for his second album was well underway.

“Two different themes run through this album, distance and optimism. I've been far away from my loved ones, touring more than ever, but I'm also more confident in my worldview. And angry; definitely more angry!”

The recording for the new album is now finished, with what Frank describes on his website as “some boring computer shit” next on the to do list, before the mixing process. The record is scheduled for a mid March release, with “some kind of single action before then”.

Almost a year to the day since the five gigs in one day to mark the release of ‘Sleep’, Frank Turner will be back in London for yet another career milestone performance. His album is one of ten up for the X FM New Music Award, alongside such media darlings as The Klaxons, The Enemy, Pigeon Detectives and Kate Nash.

Nobody, especially not Frank, expects him to win the thing, but just being on the list is a mighty fine way to start 2008. Recognition from a radio station such as this sets him up perfectly for the next chapter. It’s been fun watching the story unfold so far.

For a further Frank Turner fix, why not
revisit the tour diary he kept during his first solo trip to Europe, and which we ran back in the summer of 2006.

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