Friday Question Time

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”

Fran-“Your fans?”

Sir Robin-“Yes, did you not read the comments last week. It was overwhelming.”

Fran- ‘Hmmm…’

Sir Robin- “I have another ten probing questions for you. Are you ready?”

Fran- “Yes.”

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.

Until soon

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28 Responses to “Friday Question Time”

  1. Nora says:

    1. great question!!

    🙂 informative answer<!

  2. Juli says:

    Really good questions so far, and really good answers! Unlike Sir Robin, I like talkative Fran :P.

  3. samuraisandy says:

    Really good questions! I’m wondering why I didn’t think to ask some of these myself, because these are the kinds of things I wonder. But, thanks to everyone else who did ask them. And, thankyou fran!

  4. Anne says:

    Does Sir Robin realize that when a man wears a bowtie he might as well say “I am impotent?”
    Sir Robin Says “Did you realise when you make such a statement it tells the world you have poor education and need serious etiquette training.”

  5. julietravisaddict says:

    I’ve always loved Fridays because it’s the beginning of the WE, so either you go to school or work, for many people this means you can relax, sleep late the next days… but now, I have one more reason to like Fridays lol. Thanks for the questions, thanks for the answers, all very interesting

  6. Kirstin says:

    Is it me or does Sir Robin look hot in those shades? Great questions, I’ve often wondered about the dirty laundry b/c I am bizarre like that.

  7. neverAcquiesce says:

    “Penultimate” is not used nearly enough.

  8. sammy says:

    Dear Fran, thank you for answering my question so honestly and openly. I loved your answer to the best holiday Q, I bet you’ve been to some fabulous, exotic places and yet this family holiday is your most treasured. Lovely. x

  9. Nana says:

    Wow! Great Q&A!!
    Thank you Fran and Sir Robin!

  10. Inge says:

    Really interesting answers, Fran! Thanks a lot and a very nice weekend to you and your family!

  11. Jennifer says:

    Woops, sorry, I searched travisonline but I guess not on here too well.. thank you for answering my question, though! *turns red* 🙂

  12. Juli says:

    Lovely!!! Thanks Fran and Sir Robin (who is now probably showing off his new look at the bar). I absolutely love this Friday Question Time thing. 😀

  13. Jennifer says:

    Oh hey, I won! I guess laziness paid off this time…? :s haha, thanks, Fran!

  14. Sarah- says:

    ahahaha! “… not the usual wimpering “oh [impersonates voice of small bunny rabbit scared of his own shadow] I’m so emotional” Travis way…” that made my day, thanks fran! very interesting read again, but poor JenniFer_Fer – now i’m too scared to submit a question for next week xD

  15. Joss says:

    My question and answer is the shortest;)

  16. Nora says:

    hilarious, love them “both”!!!

  17. Ana says:

    Another reason to love Fridays! This was really insightful, great Q&A 😉

  18. Donghui says:

    oh, the last one is my question! I guessed wrong then. 🙂
    thank you for answering my question!

    btw, I didn’t mean that ‘it was shit’ lol.. of course you know that, right fran? 😉
    and I’m not ‘he’.. but that’s alright cos everybody thinks it’s a man’s name when they hear my name even in Korea. that happens a lot. I don’t mind really hehe XD

    thanks again, Fran!

  19. Nika\nixelpixel says:

    Fran, thanks so much!! The whole procedure of songwriting-making-and-stuff has bothered me for quite a long time, you really cleared things up! I’ve never had problems with identifying the parts, the only problem was – how did they put it together, in what order? THANK YOU!! *off to write more songs*

  20. Nika says:

    This friday question thing is awesome, i think it takes a lot to spend some time explaning stuff to people you don’t know, when you’ve got your own busy life. I think everyone here, as well as me, feels the same way:”THANKS FRAN, THIS MEANS SO MUCH!”

  21. Nika\nixelpixel says:

    Fran, thanks so much!! The whole procedure of songwriting-making-and-stuff has bothered me for quite a long time, you really cleared things up! I’ve never had problems with identifying the parts, the only problem was – how did they put it together, in what order? THANK YOU!! *off to write more songs*

    This friday question thing is awesome, i think it takes a lot to spend some time explaning stuff to people you don’t know, when you’ve got your own busy life. I think everyone here, as well as me, feels the same way:”THANKS FRAN, THIS MEANS SO MUCH!”

  22. maurice says:

    answering my question was a good birthday present fran. thanks a lot
    Fran says “Happy Birthday Maurice”

  23. Janka says:

    Friday’s are getting better and better. Great reading. And thanks for answering my question Fran!

  24. Debbie (deebee) says:

    Sir Robin, your fame is starting to go to your head 😛

    Cool questions again, especially Kayte’s one about the laundry – something I’ve often wondered too. We are rather strange, aren’t we?

  25. Catherine says:

    So great! I love to read this. Make me forget about bad things that I have in my mind.

    Te quiero.
    Hugs from Chile.

  26. FOUINEDEMON says:

    this must be the silliest question but how can we ask our questions?

  27. Leti says:

    Thanks Fran for answering my Q!!!!!! LOL @ Richard Kimble… I love that movie. Now David is famous again!! Cheers Robin.

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