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Interview With 'Frankie + The Studs'

I discovered Frankie Clarke back around the end of 2016/ beginning of 2017 when I purchased the band’s first EP ‘High On Yourself.’ With elements from Classic Rock ‘n’ Roll, Glam, Punk, and Modern touches, the band made an immediate impact on me with the 3 songs on offer. Frankie exudes the “it” factor by crafting great songs, embracing a fashion style that recalls the Glitter Rock bands of the 70’s, leather jumpsuits, and having a genuine passion for the spirit of music. Frankie and the Studs have just released another great EP called ‘Cheap Talk’ that I highly recommend purchasing.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with 3 Songs & Out. As this will likely be the first introduction of the band to many of our readers, please tell us who is in the band and what elements they bring to the band.

We’ve been through a few lineup changes since the band’s conception but right now we have Anthony Stasi on lead guitar, Nick Rossi on drums, and Joe Daly on bass. Anthony brings what we like to call the “grease” to the band, he’s like a mix of Keith Richards and Johnny Thunders. Nick is one of the most upbeat, no pun intended, people I’ve ever met. He’s got the best energy and it’s fun for me to feed off of during live shows. Joe and I met in NYC last year at a show both our bands at the time were playing and we became great friends. He’s the real deal and I feel like when he came on board, he’s such a solid player that everything clicked.

The new EP ‘Cheap Talk’ has just been released and has been on constant rotation for me since buying it off iTunes. It definitely sees you expanding your sound in all the right areas. What can you tell us about the 4 songs chosen for this release?

All 4 songs are pretty different, and I like to think that was a reflection of the year I had. After dealing with lineup changes in the band, heartbreak, and just growing up in general, it made a lot of sense that each song has such a different impact. 'Dance With You' was a song I had written a while before and had been playing at live shows, but finally gave it a home on this EP. I wrote it as a ballad in response to “Ballrooms Of Mars” by T.Rex. 'Run' and 'Gamble' are our more aggressive songs. Now that we’ve been playing live so much, I know what kind of songs I want to write for the set and those are our high energy songs you can head bang or mosh to. 'While Teeth' sounds softer, it’s our darkest song.

You have released an extremely powerful video for the song ‘Teeth’ which at times is challenging to watch because of the emotion you convey in your expressions and in your eyes. Tell us a little bit about the concept for the video. Any plans to dabble in acting?

It’s funny because I had originally intended for the video to be a lyric video. I thought it would be boring if it was just me Sinead O ‘Connor style singing to the camera, but everyone I had shown the raw footage to convinced me it was way more impactful without lyrics interrupting. I wanted to convey that same raw emotion I felt while writing the song. I wrote the song about someone who I felt like was a vampire, and I wanted the video to have vampire-like imagery hence the washed out colors and red paint. Someone wrote to me on twitter ‘Why write such a dark song when there’s already so much darkness in the world’, but personally, I’ve always appreciated dark music because it makes me feel less alone, and I hope some people can connect with this song and find solace in that they’re not the only one’s going through a hard time.

After 2 EP releases, is it too soon to ask about a full length debut album, or is the plan to continue and release material in brief bursts?

I definitely want to write a full length soon! My plans this summer are to keep touring and write music so we can release a full length by next year.

Any touring plans in the works at this time? We would love to see you playing in the Houston area and could even recommend a club to book when that time comes.

At the moment we are on tour with Billie Joe Armstrong’s new project The Longshot. We played about six shows with them so far, and have another four West Coast dates with them in June. We’re also playing with The Struts at the Roxy at the end of this month. Would love to play In Houston though, hook it up!

What has been your favorite musical moment so far?

Touring with Billie Joe Armstrong! I grew up idolizing him and even covered “American Idiot” by Green Day in my first band. I felt like that was a huge accomplishment for me knowing that someone I looked up to gave our band a nod by choosing us to go on tour with them.

What other bands should we be checking out?

Biters, Struts, Longshot, and Them Evils.

If we had a magic machine and could put you on tour with 3 other artists from the past or present, who would it be and why?

The Ramones, The Runaways and David Bowie. Those three have been the biggest influences to me and it would’ve been awesome to tour with them and see if their fans would appreciate our music! Also, I just wish I could see all of them play every night.

From a previous conversation we had, I know we have similar views on the power of music. How do we inspire a mainstream musical revolution that will inspire people to experience the true power of music again where songs touch their souls and are not disposable?

I feel like the most important thing you can do is be authentic and write music that is your vision and voice. I think a lot of disposable music follows a formula. I don’t really believe there’s a formula for Rock 'n Roll. I just want to make music that makes people feel something and it’s not an easy route to make music that goes against the grain of what’s currently happening, but I don’t think I’d feel successful if I did it any other way.

There is an elephant in the room that if I don’t mention at this point in your career people will wonder what is wrong with me, but we will address this differently and at least not name names. I am a fan of your Dad’s music going back 30 plus years or so and will say it was that connection that alerted me to your music career. I have also always heard very good things about your Mom. How have they each impacted the person you have become?

My parents are my biggest supporters, they even road their motorcycle to come watch us play in Tijuana this month. They rarely ever miss a show, and I feel really lucky to have parents who support my vision and encourage me. They both are creative people and without a doubt, having been exposed to both worlds of music and fashion growing up has inspired me.

What else do you want to tell our readers?

I hope to meet you all at a show one day and expect more loud and in your face music coming at you next year!

Check out the video for 'Teeth below.

‘Cheap Talk’ is available now from the usual digital outlets.

Interview - Gerald Stansbury

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