frankie and the heartstrings 10.4.17

As part of our second anniversary celebrations, which also includes a gig at the Westgarth Social Club in Middlesbrough in May (headlined by Cape Cub), we’re pleased to announce that Sunderland’s Frankie & The Heartstrings will be headlining a 7-band line-up for NE Volume Magazine Live which will take place at the ARC, Stockton on Saturday 9th September (please read our feature for more information). Damian Robinson caught up with drummer Dave Harper for, well, what was quite an extraordinary tongue-in-cheek chat. We’re really excited that you’ll be headlining what we believe is an amazing line-up for our 2nd-anniversary party at the ARC in Stockton on Saturday 9th September. Are you as excited about the show as we are? And what can gig-goers expect? We’ve never played the ARC as far as I know, although there are a few years around 2013/14 that essentially I could have played on a tigers back in a volcano and wouldn’t have remembered. You see, we really got a taste for Toilet Duck around that time, and that stuff will kill you man. Sure your farts smell class, but I’d stay clear if I were you. Do you get the chance to read NE Volume often? If so, what do you enjoy about the magazine? And is there anything you’d like to see us do in the future? I read it every day because I’m too lazy to take the old copies to the bin. Not sure if you have thought about doing a ‘Readers Wives’ section? Personally I wouldn’t, but loads of my mates bang on about them and the magazines they read are so precious to them that they have to hide them under their mattresses in case they get stolen. I don’t think we’ve spoken to you since around the launch of 2015’s ‘Decency’ album. So let’s start with last year’s excellent ,’The Night’ single. Where did you get the idea to cover The Four Seasons? We are all massive pizza fans so it just seemed to make sense. It was also an opportunity for all of us to kick Frankie in the knackers so he could reach those high notes, and you’ve really got to grab opportunities like that with both feet. On the subject of new material, you have a history of releasing an album every two years. With ‘Decency’ being released two years ago, can we safely assume a new album is just around the corner? If so, what can you tell us about it? You can safely assume nothing. We do try and offer something unique with every release, but you try and find a record label that will release your album on Global Hydrocolour vinyl and it’s a nightmare. And we want to record it in space, or Peterlee, or not at all, or whatever. Frankie started working as a DJ on Amazing Radio this year. With him being a DJ, and playing a vast number of genres each show, has it had an influence on the sound of the new Heartstrings tracks? Firstly you should point out that ‘DJ’ actually means ‘Disc Jockey’. You can have that factoid for free Poindexter. And unless he’s been playing shit all but Bryan Adams, then no, absolutely no influence at all. I will say this: I have been strangely drawn to Mecca, so just bare that in mind. Towards the end of 2016 you were out on the road for a few shows. Can we expect any new shows soon? And if so, where will we be able to find you? Yeah well some people are designed for a life on the road and others are designed for Pret a Manger. I like to think we can the first hybrid of the two. Sure we are a flat out rock ‘n’ roll behemoth but at the same time I’m basically not prepared to spend a day in a van without a quinoa salad. And that’s non negotiable. You own Pop Recs in Sunderland and have done now for a number of years. The store is regularly praised for its intimate shows and positive impact on the local community. Can you tell us about any ventures on the horizon which you’re really excited for? Yes, gig duck. We have basically trained a duck to quack every time a great new band plays a good song. We’ve had a few teething problems, if I’m honest. We had a band last week who played a slow blues number and the duck just shit itself. Still, Rome wasn’t built in a week. Finally, your recent Firewalk Challenge looked really scary. Tell us about it…. It was all going great until gig duck flew over and shat on his head. Stupid gig duck. Frankie and the Heartstrings headline NE Volume Magazine Live on Saturday 9th September. Tickets for the 7-line up event, which starts at 4:00pm, are priced at £14.00 and can be purchased at or by calling the box office on 01642 525199. NE VOLUME MAIN FEATURE // FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS “WE HAVE BASICALLY TRAINED A DUCK TO QUACK EVERY TIME A GREAT NEW BAND PLAYS A GOOD SONG” NE VOLUME MAIN FEATURE // FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS PAUL RODGERS “The discovery that I could write my own songs was a revelation and I’m still finding it something of a miracle” Founding member of Free, Bad Company and The Firm and Grammynominated solo artist, Paul Rodgers is a musical innovator who has successfully reinvented himself over the course of a five-decade career. Paul heads to the Newcastle City Hall this month so Nev Larkin caught up with him to talk about supporting charities, his past, and life lessons. At what age did you know that you wanted to be a singer-songwriter/ musician? I was 17 when I wrote my first song, ‘Walk in My Shadow’. The discovery that I could write my own songs was a revelation and I’m still finding it something of a miracle! I re-visited ‘Walk in My Shadow’ on my ‘Royal Sessions’ album and felt that I had come full circle, in a way. Was there a lot of thought gave to the naming of bands that you have been in? With Free that’s what we wanted to be musically. We did have to negotiate strongly with the record company over it though as they wanted us to be The Heavy Metal Kids, I mean, are you joking! With Bad Company, it spoke to me of pioneers and a different kind of lawless freedom – one with honesty and integrity. With The Firm, Jimmy (Page) liked it. I didn’t mind. It is what the Secret Services call themselves. Is there anyone else that you would like to play/record with? I keep an open mind. I’m always ready for a new experience. My world is music and it’s a great freedom. I’m very blessed. You have supported a number of charities previously. Is there a particular one that is close to your heart? Willows Animal Sanctuary and Assisted Therapy Unit (W.A.S & A.T.U) & Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice. My wife, Cynthia and I got involved with and became patrons of W.A.S. & A.T.U some years ago. The dedication of the struggles to help all kinds of living things to survive/ flourish is so outstanding, we just keep going with it – it feels good and I’m sure that it is good for the soul. Deborah Bonham and husband Pete Bullick are patrons too. Willow’s motto is ‘People Helping Animals Helping Children’. Aside from 300 animals that they care for, they run an assisted animal therapy programme that helps children and adults suffering from a variety of ailments i.e. post dramatic stress disorder, autism to anorexia nervosa. Sadly, they receive no government funding. All of their funds come from the private sector, three times yearly. Cynthia: The public are welcome to visit on weekends and it’s a magical place. Paul & I will travel up to Aberdeen before the tour kicks off in Glasgow, for another visit. We hold auctions on Facebook three times yearly. We will be auctioning items from the tour in June i.e. autographed items, tambourines etc. Also, autographed items from Jimmy Page, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith and others. If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be and why? I think I could change the perception of Koss which seems to have run away with itself. It was only afterwards when the band split up that tragically heavy drugs came into his life. I will always remember him smiling. I miss his smile. Do you have a life lesson? Be true to yourself, trust your instincts and be grateful. Paul Rodgers performs at Newcastle City Hall on Sunday May 7th. Tickets, priced from £60.00, are available from 30 NE VOLUME INTERVIEWS Photography by RSImages Multi-instrumentalist, Natalie McCool heads to The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Thursday 16th March so Nathan Douthwaite caught up with her to discuss her new album, the North East, and touring. You’ve just released your debut album, so what kind of reception has it received so far? Really great. There has been so much positive feedback and it’s great to hear which songs are personal favourites. I’m really happy that people have understood where I’m coming from with it, with the themes of heartbreak and acceptance and maturity. The tour sees you stopping at many different UK cities…are there any places you haven’t been before? I’m really looking forward to playing at The Cluny having heard so many great things about that venue! Newcastle is a beautiful city. I played a Sofar Sounds there last year which was incredible. Do you think you’ll try do any touristy things whilst on the tour? Well we had a good look around on our last tour so this time we will have to visit some different attractions. We visited Queensferry in Edinburgh last time we played which was beautiful. We haven’t actually been to the Angel of the North, so will have to take a trip up there this time around! Your music career has had some pretty amazing moments so far, but what would you say is your favourite moment to date? My favourite moment is getting playlisted on BBC Radio 1 just because I felt so happy that lots of people like me were going to be listening to my music! It was an amazing feeling. Finally, is there anything you want to say to the people coming to see you? You’re in for a fun night! There will be sing-songs and some swearing, but you’ll have a great time! Tickets, priced at £7.70 (including booking fee), are available from 31 NE VOLUME IN