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June 22, 2009 at 7:01 am #1138684bradsearsKeymaster
Thursday, June 18, Gothic Theatre, Englewood, 303-788-0984.
By Jason Heller
Published on June 16, 2009 at 12:03pm
When the Church formed in Australia in 1980, its ringing, soaring post-punk should’ve made it as big as, say, Echo & the Bunnymen. Of course, the Church did reach that level of success in its home country on the back of early hits like “The Unguarded Moment,” which also happens to be one of the great lost classics of ’80s new wave. But it was with the release of the group’s 1988 swirling, sumptuous Starfish that America perked up its ears (including the producers of Miami Vice, who featured the album’s lead single, “Under the Milky Way,” in the show). Since then, the Church has maintained a steady output of darkly psychedelic full-lengths, including the imminent Untitled #23 as well as the recent soundtrack to fantasy author Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Shriek: An Afterword – a book as lush and steeped in atmosphere as the Church’s oeuvre itself. (Be sure to visit blogs.westword.com/backbeat for full Q&As with the Church’s Marty Wilson-Piper and Adam Franklin, who shares the bill on this Denver date.)
Adam Franklin is well known for his role as the singer and guitarist in Swervedriver. His work in post-Swervedriver projects such as Toshack Highway, Magnetic Morning and his solo work, however, shows a remarkable breadth of musical imagination and a wealth of sonic ideas that reveal dimensions of talent outside the melodically incendiary songs of his most famous band. We caught up with Franklin as he was rehearsing for his national tour with the Church, which hits the Gothic Theatre this evening, and talked about his new album and a bit of his history as a musician.
Westword (Tom Murphy): Why did you call your latest album Spent Bullets?
Adam Franklin: There’s a kind of theme with the songs, I suppose. It’s actually the name of Elliott Smith’s publishing company as well. It was there in the back of my head somewhere, something about energy being expended and these songs sort of being spent bullet shells.
WW: I like that the song “End Credits” is not actually at the end of the album. Was that a conscious decision on your part?
AF: Not really. I mean, I was aware that it wasn’t at the end, but that song needed a title, and it kind of sounds like a tune that would be playing at the end of a movie or at the end of a relationship.
WW: How would you describe the differences between the songwriting on your various projects [Swervedriver, Toshack Highway, Magnetic Morning and your solo material with Bolts of Melody]?
AF: As far as the Adam Franklin material, it’s all what I write, whereas with Swervedriver, I didn’t write all the material. With Magnetic Morning, it’s a collaboration with Sam Fogarino. That’s a good thing, because it pushes you in different directions. There is a stylistic difference, I guess, but it’s never explicitly a conscious decision; you have to go with the flow.
WW: How did you come to collaborate with Sam Fogarino?
AF: I think I saw an interview or I saw it mentioned online, because he had done some recording with Bob Mould, and he was asked if there was anyone else he’d like to work with and he mentioned me. At the time, I was living in New York and thinking I needed a drummer. We had a mutual friend in Jack Rabid, who does The Big Take Over, and Jack introduced us. We hit it off and recorded. We didn’t know how it would go, but before we knew it, we had an album of songs.
WW: I was looking at your musical history, and it appears that you got started fairly young with the band Shake Appeal. What inspired you to start playing music in a band like that, and what prompted the shift to writing the type of music you did in Swervedriver?
AF: With Shake Appeal, we were just sort of discovering the Stooges and M
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