30 January 2010
Have been listening to this record alot.
Click on the cover to hear a song
If you likey
30 January 2010
Have been listening to this record alot.
Click on the cover to hear a song
If you likey
29 January 2010
Fran “What happened to your head?”
Sir Robin “I, I kissed the wrong girl.”
Fran “Does it hurt?”
Sir Robin “Not a bit. Just a little itchy.”
Fran “Can we start? I got to get back to writing…”
Sir Robin “Let’s get on it. tmcarrol wants to ask who is your favorite film director and why?”
Fran ” Is that the original Oasis drummer?
Sir Robin “He isn’t curly enough.”
Fran “Ah. Ok. This is a good question. It’s hard to pin down but if I was to think of a director who has made several movies I loved I would have to say three. John Hughes , Martin Scorsese and Steven Speilberg All have multiple movies which I have returned to throughout my life. They are all incredible story tellers.
Sir Robin “What about David Lynch?”
Fran “I like Lynch too…”
Sir Robin “Very well… next Q comes from babysnowman. How do you get told you are nominated for an award? Do you get a call or do you have to check the list like the rest of us?
Fran “We usually get a call from our management to say we’ve been nominated or we read it in the news. With regards to winning, I think you get a polite heads up at some events and at others you get a nice surpise.
Sir Robin “Not won any in a while, eh?”
Sir Robin “Awwwww, poor wittle Franny not get a shiny award…awww…”
Fran “You are this close to having this Ivor Novello inserted where it shouldn’t go…”
Sir Robin “Ahem… oh, ok? I’ll ask the next quetsion… Paco_3116 wants to know who your favourite composer is?
Fran ” At the moment it’s Shostakovich. I was turned on to his stuff last year by a friend here in Berlin.”
Sir Robin “Fairly rattling through the Q’s today Mr Healy”
Fran ” I have some work to do Mr Day”
Sir Robin “Ok. OdeToJSmith wants to know your top 5 Travis gigs of all time.”
Fran ” 1. Joes Pub when my son gatecrashed the show. 2 Mexico City 3. South Korea last year 4. Summer Sonic in 2007 5. T in the Park in 1999 in the tent. But there are just so many amazing shows now it’s hard to pick… Glastonbury? umm Roskilde? so many…
Sir Robin “Ok… next Q… Q5 EugineLibrarian wants says Hello my dear, I’m a librarian you see so I was wondering would you ever write a book, maybe an autobiography? xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Fran “SO may kisses…”
Robin “Yes… I long for that sort of affection…”
Fran “Hmm… I like to write. I had thought about this actually. More as a way to put my diaries to use but the autobiography is quite an ego trip… I don’t think I could invest the amounts of time required for such a thing. I thought about writing and illustrating a kid book. Having a kid about inspires this sort of thing… Maybe a book on how to write songs. That would be a pamflet with “Practise” written on it.
Sir Robin “Have you done your 10,000 hours?”
Sir Robin “Then we’ll continue… From WinterFriend Q. What was the first your song you heard on the radio? Do you remember where and when you heard it?
Sir Robin ” Ok neeeeext… Herculeanblog wishes to know if there is a cure for writers block.”
Fran ” I don’t know if it exists. I look at writing or any creative endeavor like fishing. You sit and wait and sometimes you catch a fish and sometimes you drag up an old boot. You just have to sit work through it. I think one of the best motivators is a deadline or imagine writing a song for someone else to sing…”
Sir Robin “Very good. Ok Question 7. Lindsaymcl wants to know when you and the others realize you could sing.”
Fran “I realised I could hold a tune when I was young. I won a prize for scottish singing when I was 6. I’m not a big fan of my own voice though. I tend to zone it out alot. My granda was tone deaf. We would revel in puting the headphones on him and turning it up with The Carpenters on. Within a minute he would begin to murmur and then he was off… like an animal in pain. It was very funny. Not sure about the others.
Robin “I’m glad you said that about your voice. I feel the same… about your voice… Next Q…Do you have a pet, happytohangarou(d) wants to know…
Fran says “No but I like cats over dogs. Really don’t like the smell of dogs although I do like dogs… just not as much as cats”
Sir Robin “Ok so question 9 thomasmcole wants to know if you think it’s harder for musicians to get a record deal now than it was back when Travis first got signed? thanks!
Fran “I have no idea but with hindsight I think it is important to concentrate on being amazing and then worry about deals… It has always been hard to get a deal but if you have the chops and have that x factor (not the cowell copyrighted one) then the record deal will come. The music industry has no money now. We were very lucky to make all those incredible videos that costs hundreds of thousands of pounds and sell albums before MP3’s changed the business. I would say it is no harder to get a deal but harder to make a career out of recording music.
Sir Robin “OK. So last question. xxelcinxx says Q-What’s your favourite food recently?
Fran says ” I am in love with these potato-y things called Schupfnudeln “
Sir Robin ” I’m hungry”
Fran “Me too… let’s split…”
Sir Robin ” Ok so the best question this week came from Paco_3116. Heres some classical music for dich.
29 January 2010
Hello people, I just got back from my annual visit to the equatorial rainforests. I go there to get away from everything. I found a tribe of people, untouched by civilisation. Fantastic folk. Very hospitable. Well I’ve been going every year now for about 5 years. This year I had a fling with one of the ladies there. Lovely girl. Turns out she was linked romantically to one of the head guys and he put something in my pomade. Well I didn’t notice at first but after a couple of days back I observed I had put on quite alot of weight. Imagine my shock when I realised it was not my body getting bigger but my head getting smaller. The past 3 mornings have been awful. I don’t want to make a big thing about it but if anyone knows a good tropical disease specialist then please let me know.
Question time is going ahead today as usual. Questions as usual to frans twitter.
27 January 2010
It has started snowing again in Berlin. I have been holed up in my room, writing. It’s nice to have a room to do this. Before we bought this house, and before the people that had it before us, it was a bar. This room was a disco. A friend of ours came by and while here she realised why the place was felt so familiar. She was all “We would sit over there, and the bar was over there and the DJ was over there…” She even found some photos of some nights they spent here. It’s cool to imagine all the parties that have happened in this room. It’s the best writing room I ever had. I think there are many good ghosts in these walls.
The writing place I had in London was this huge room. We took out the 1st floor and opened the whole room up. It sounded great but the space I created was cramped into a corner. I wrote some nice tunes in this room. My Eyes was written on the piano there and Re-Offender. Before this we lived in a tiny little house down the street. I had a nice little room there. I remember covering the walls in poems and writing before writing Driftwood and Blue Flashing Light. I wrote Sing downstairs there while watching MTV with the sound down. Before this all 4 of the band stayed in a house on the Haringey Ladder. We had a horrible landlord. This little fat Italian man called Mario who would come in regularly, uninvited, and take vegetables from the garden and nosey about. It was a nasty place but we had fun in the summer of 96, traveling from there to The Fortress rehearsal studios and to Camden for drinks at The Good Mixer. I wrote Midsummernight’s Dreaming in that house. It features on the back of Good Feeling. It wasn’t the most inspirational of spaces.
Oh and between the place I had with the guys and the little place were Driftwood was written, there was a flat with the most awful neighbour downstairs. One weekend while I was in Rome with the band, my friends did an all nighter and when I got back, the neighbour was livid. To get me back he turned his sound system up full at 7.30am in the morning and blasted The Lighthouse Family. It was torture. We almost came to blows. Another time I was lying on the couch and had the TV on super quiet and all of a sudden I could hear someone shouting. I thought maybe he and his girlfriend were arguing again but I froze when I realised he was screaming at me!! He screamed “YOU ROCK’N’ROLL WANKER” which to this day is the best insult ever thrown at me…
26 January 2010
Spent the evening in the company of Bill Wyman and his rhythm kings.
It was great. Bill looks like he does nothing, but his thumb is like the tasmanian devil. Just the thumb, mind. Georgie Fame was on Hammond and Albert Lee was amazing on lead guitar. The horns were incredible too. Bills generation of musicians were real masters of their craft. They came from the cover generation, always playing the hits of the day. They can play anything. There seemed to be alot more collaboration back then. Players would get up and play with their contemporaries and really try and rock them off the stage. My generation is slave to the click track, slave to the loop. Music has to evolve, sure, but I still feel some of the best record were captured when 4 people stood in a room and “clicked”. But that is all in the past. Lets look to the future. Lets look to solitary people in rooms making records by themselves… ummm… I’ll get my coat.
On reflection, i was thinking that fine art has moved the same way. Like musicianship, draughtsmanship is no longer a major requirement for modern art. It’s more about ideas than eye hand co-ordination. But like musicianship, draughtsmanship carries on. It’s just no longer at the coalface. Not to say that there is no room for great musicanship or draughtsmanship at the coalface, but they are more like tools now than the thing itself. Maybe it’s about tools.
On even more reflection I may have intimated that collaboration is dead… that’s not what I meant. I meant people still collaborate but 4 people playing in a room is quite rare. Travis still record like this, I feel it’s still the one of the easiest ways to get something cool. When we recorded Lovley Rita for that Radio 2 Beatles Documentary, Geoff Emerick told us he was shocked at how many of the bands couldn’t play together. Also, although that stuff I wrote about truth is right, I have deleted it just because it’s not relevant to the subject. Ahem…
22 January 2010
Sir Robin- “Hello my people. People from all over the world. People of all ages. People of broadband and people of narrowband. Maybe you’re tuning in from another planet…”
Fran- “Have you been to the pub already?”
Sir Robin- “Maybe? It matters not. I am only relaying the questions coming in from my many fans across the world… I don’t need to be sober for this type of engagement”
Sir Robin-“Yes, did you not read the comments last week. It was overwhelming.”
Sir Robin- “I have another ten probing questions for you. Are you ready?”
Sir Robin “Then I’ll begin. Question 1. Nixel Pixel asks what actually happens between coming up with lyrics and a melody and having a song all ready?
Fran – “This can happen quite afew ways. You can write a song the old fashioned way, on an acoustic guitar or a piano or you can jam with your band and come up with some interesting music to which the singer sings a melody over the top of (this is how REM do it) or the songwriter can start with a drum beat and build an idea on top, it could maybe go drum beat-piano bassline- guitar chords- melody-lyric. Usually when building up like this you’ll discover a really cool section/ loop on which to build upon. If it takes you somewhere ie if you write a great topline melody with a cool lyrical hook, it spurs you on to write a second section, maybe the bridge and then that would lead you to write a chorus. Or maybe you write the chorus first and then feel it needs a verse. After you get the demo together, you go to a studio and record it and while recording it, maybe the producer suggests some new things that make the song turn a different corner or maybe someone it the band plays a line which opens the song up further. The most powerful songs have very little going on in them. We were listening to some chilli peppers song on the radio the other day and it was Vocals, drums, bass, a lead guitar and backing vocals. Nothing else. Listen to some classic songs by the Stones or Beatles or Bowie and see if you can identfy the all the parts. I hope this answers the question.
Sir Robin -“I hope it does too. I wouldn’t want you to expand any more… I have to get back to the pub in 30 minutes. Ok question 2… Sammy Dutton wants to know if you find being a parent harder or easier than you imagined and what are the high and low points?”
Fran-” I tried to keep my expectations under control before becoming a parent. I didn’t know what to expect so I just kept the space empty. Both Nora and I grew up as only children in single parent families and so we had only been used to two in a house. 3 in the house would be new to us all. Also, I had been told that when your child is born, and you see them for the first time, your heart explodes with love and you can’t put into words the joy you feel. Of course when Clay popped out, I didn’t feel any of these feelings, just kind of dumbstruck and felt guilty for not ticking this box but what I found out was that these feelings blossom in the following days and months and years and it never ever stops it expands exponentially… I met other fathers who had the same thing happen. It seems that like most things, it’s an individual experience.
I think the most annoying thing about parenthood is speaking like a parent. It’s so fucking boring and I try to keep it as casual as possible but there are moments when you need to say “Get your teeth brushed” or “Hang your jacket up” in that dad tone. Ughh! The big thing I discovered when I became a parent was that I never had a dad present in my childhood. I toddled along my entire life and didn’t really think about it. It wasn’t until Clay came that the penny dropped and I found my self examining this giant hole that I hadn’t noticed before. Everytime Clay shouts “Papa” or we play, and we play alot (no TV- occasionally youtube to show how they make bottles or see the space shuttle take off) but when I think what a massive part of Clay’s life I am, I also think what a massive part of my own life I missed. I felt that maybe this would harm my dad skills, like I didn’t have the instruction manual. But it’s been ccol.
Sir Robin- “Are you deliberatley taking as much time as possible?”
Fran- “You picked the questions. Why don’t you order a G&T?”
Sir Robin- “I might just do that… Question 3 comes from Javierar. Do you have a typical routine and schedule everyday? Very disciplined or more relaxed?A double G&T please”
Fran – “Now that Clay has started Kinderladen, there is a definite routine. Up at 8am and get there by 9 then write from 10 till 12.30 then pick Clay up come home and do more writing interspersed with some play, which this past few weeks has been building stuff with Kapla blocks.
Sir Robin- “Thrilling stuff. Question 4. A practical question. Where do you find a place and time to do laundry while on tour?. That question comes from KayteCronkhite.
Fran-” When we tour, i get my washing done usually in hotels. This is cool. You fill your laundry bag with the smelliest stinkiest clothes in the world and the next morning they are returned all smelling fresh and pressed on hangers. At one hotel in Japan, there was a little cupboard where you placed your laundry, closed the little door and pressed the button. The next morning you opened the little door again and it was all magically clean and pressed to the highest degree and wrapped in tissue paper. Felt like Christmas. “Ooohh look, underpants! Ohh another pair of underpants… Ohh… this shirt is beautiful” One of the pet hates of laundry is when you give your favourite jeans in and they come back with a Burtons Menswear crease right up the middle of the leg and you know this crease will never come out. They’ve been starched and run over by a steam roller.”
Sir Robin – ” Ahhhh… that was a fine fine G&T. I have my one suit, one pair of socks, one pair of pants, one shirt, one vest laundered every 2 weeks. Question 5 comes from LetiKruse and she asks have u ever written a song inspired by a fan who wrote something on Travisonline?
Fran- “Yes. There was a guy who used to come on the messageboard many years ago. His board name was Bombus. His real name was David Kimble. He would sign off with the phrase Peace The Fuck Out. During the run up to the Iraq war, I felt the need to write a song which reflected what I was feeling. I wanted to write a school yard song, really basic and chimey. I always like this Peace The Fuck Out sign off so one day I thought why not write this song around that phrase. When I came to thank David on the album, I totally fucked up. Instead of writing David Kimble, I wrote Richard Kimble. Richard Kimble was the main character in The Fugitive. When he told me what I had done I felt pretty dumb. Sorry Bombus.
Sir Robin- “Tit!”
Fran – ‘Easy there stink bomb…”
Sir Robin “Another G&T please… Question 6… JenniFer_Fer said I sorta feel like the only dummy out here wondering this, but how do you pronounce Wreckorder? Like recorder or wreckorder? :s Don’t answer this Francis… Dear, if you’d paid full attention to this blog then you wouldn’t be asking such a frightfully dim question. Francis clearly pointed this out in his very first entry “It’s called Wreckorder. Why is it called Wreckorder? I think i liked that it sounds like recorder but looks like wreckorder, meaning change the order, wreck the order…” Please…
Fran- “Question 7?”
Sir Robin -” Just a moment… A very good G&T… Down in one. ANOTHER!!.. Umm where were we… oh yes… Question 7. Mauricemargarf asks Dear Fran, you’ve written so many great songs, but have you ever felt like “I’m empty, I cannot be better than that” ?? Very polite.”
Fran- “I get this everytime I finish a song. In the past I would get terribly worried about not being able to write another song but then I noticed it happening everytime but it always catches me out. I think it comes from having a blank canvas at the start without knowing what the song will be. I think you have to mash up your ego and from the rubble, build whatever you are going to build, so maybe this feeling of Ughh!! is necessary. Some of my best songs have come right after thinking “I CAN”T DO THIS!!!”
Sir Robin- ” I know that feeling very well… where is my drink. Question 8 ALLYXIS would like to know…Mac or PC?
Fran- “Mac. PC is nicht so gut”
Sir Robin- “Penultimate question. Question 9. Janka82 would like to know where you spent your best holiday?
Fran- “Hmmm, I think my best summer ever was the summer of 1985. Within this summer was my best holiday ever. I was called up from the garden one Saturday late morning and told that my Auntie Babs and Uncle Bill and cousin Lisa were going to Blackpool and asked if I wanted to come. Some things stick in your brain and this is one of those moments. YES!! I screamed. “When are they coming?” “In 30 minutes!!You better get packing” This was so out of the blue, it was amazing. We drove down to Blackpool and spent the coolest holiday ever at a caravan site somewhere in that area… The sun shone the entire time. Really hot. Uncle Bill was the funniest man and had us in stitches all the time. We went to the pleasure beach and went on all the rides. I remember Bill getting Babs to go on the Pirate ship. She agreed, thinking it just rocked backwards and forwards. It actually went all the way round. We all sat down and Auntie Babs had her handbag on her lap and when the big safety pad came down over her knee, it squashed her handbag right into here abdomen. “Bill!! Bill! I cannae breathe Bill.. BILLL!!!” Me and my cousin were in convulsions with tears rolling down our cheeks, then it started to rock “Let me offf…argghh!!” and when it went all the way Auntie Babs lost quite alot of loose change “BILLL!!!” The memory is so vivid. I was about to turn 12. While on that trip, we watched a 16 year old Boris Becker win Wimbledon and the day we left, we watched the beginning of Live Aid on TV and then listened to the rest on radio as we travelled back. It was mega”
Sir Robin- “Final question then. It’s been very boring for me this week.”
Fran- “Awww poor thing… have another G&T.”
Sir Robin “I will…[yawns]… ok… Question 10 is from Lee Dong Hui and asks I felt OTJS was too refined, too perfect (Sir Robin says ” Hahaaa… he’s saying it was shit…) so feelings were covered too much …(great though). Is there any reason related to that?
Fran- ” Hahah too refined… well thankyou. I think it may be to do with the way I am singing on this record. It’s very abrasive. There are definitely feelings under it but the way I sung this record was not the usual wimpering “oh [impersonates voice of small bunny rabbit scared of his own shadow] I’m so emotional” Travis way I think, subconciously I wanted to loosen up a little, scream a little, and as a band we all wanted to rock out a little, tap into the energy we have as a live band. We chose to make Ode very quickly and record it as live as possible so we used 16 track analogue and tried to get as much of the recording done in one take… It’s interesting you say it was refined… it was actually the opposite of that. I would say The Boy With No Name was refined. We spent the best part of 2 years writing and recording it (TBWNN). Ode is one of my favourite Travis records because I think Travis have a definite stereotyped stamp that is hard to shake and I feel it went a way to critically change this view. You just need to make records that challenge the stereotype. And Ode did this.
Sir Robin “-”
Fran “Sir Robin… SIR ROBIN… He’s gone. Well, I hope that was as painful for you as it was for me. Lets have some more questions for next week and lets hope Sir Robin finds his way to the bar. Oh and this weeks prize goes to JenniFer_Fer who’s awful qustion embarrassed everyone present. Your punishment/prize is… You have to sit through this episode of 321 with Ted Rogers. This TV show was probably one of the worst on British Television. I hope it makes you think about what you have done.
22 January 2010
When I was 16, my english teacher, Jack McLaughlin, a great great teacher so passionate about poetry and prose, walked into a chattering classroom of teenagers and without warning, slammed his hand down on his desk “BANG!!” The ensuing silence was broken by his voice. “R.E.M. are the greatest rock band in the world.”
That was the first time I heard of R.E.M.
Some months later, my friend played some for me in his room. It sounded so different to anything I had heard. It felt like discovering a new primary colour. It sounded american. It sounded so hopeful. It sounded grown up. That voice. Who was that voice? Who was playing guitar? These drum patterns were so unique, the backing vocals were the sound of another song happening at the same time as the main song. It was the sound that Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Bill Berry and Mike Mills made together. They hailed from a place called Athens in Georgia. Athens? Cool! Here began the longest love affair I ever had with a band.
I never saw R.E.M. live. We played with them in South America recently but it was 3 of R.E.M and some other great musicians. It wasn’t R.E.M though. The day Bill Berry retired to become a gentleman farmer was the day R.E.M became something different. Michael Stipe once said something along the lines of “…a 3 legged dog is still a dog” in defence of them carrying on. However a leg is not a vital organ. They made some great songs after Berry left… Daysleeper is perfect. I remember Nigel mixed this while we were recording The Man Who and hearing it coming through the desk was WOW!
I wrote this post while listening to “Green“
Here is a song from Green from their Live Movie, Tourfilm.
21 January 2010
Now on to business. I would like to invite you all to the second of our Friday Question Times. It’s happening tomorrow. If there are any new things you would like to know then please ask at frans twitter. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say zzzzzzzzz… uh oh sorry…I glazed over a bit just then. Ok. Stay cool. Until tomorrow… round tea time.
21 January 2010
Dear all, a friend of mine is flying out to Haiti as a volunteer to help with the clean up. Like a lot of people she is not part of any charity. She just wants to help. She is a pillar of the community type of person. Anyways I wouldn’t normally do this but she asked if I would put this up on my blog. I have donated some money to her paypal and will put it here incase anyone wishes to donate. Unlike charities, 100% of donations will go to buy urgently needed supplies for people out there. If you wish to donate go to paypal.com and the account is firstname.lastname@example.org