Select Page

Pedals and Passion: An Interview with Adam Franklin of Swervedriver

Pedals and Passion: An Interview with Adam Franklin of Swervedriver

Swervedriver, a quartet out of Oxford, England, began connecting to music fans the world over with a collection of singles that culminated in the release of their debut album Raise in late 1991.  Their music videos were played on MTV, and for those that stayed up late on Sunday nights to watch 120 Minutes, minds were blown, plans were made, instruments were picked up, bands were conceived, and a new favorite band was found.

Swervedriver‘s genius was found in their combination of noisy, textured guitars that chugged along like the sounds of a revving muscle car engine then took off on flights of guitar hero fantasy that sparked our imaginations.  Singer/guitarist Adam Franklin sang tales of alienation, hope and dreams and getting in a car and driving just for the shear adventure of it all.

In September of 2017 Swervedriver will return to the States for a short tour where they will perform Raise and revered follow-up Mezcal Head from beginning to end, treating fans to songs never heard live before or in many years.  Something Franklin seems excited about, to relearn songs originally written over 20 years ago and to breathe new life into them.  The band is also working on a new album for release in late 2018, something their fans are truly looking forward to with anticipation.

While Adam Franklin prepared for the tour, we spoke about new pedals, revisiting old songs and performing with lifelong friends.

You’ve got Mick Quinn on bass for the tour, will he be on the new album?
It looks like he will be, yeah. He’s gonna be hanging out in Australia at the end of the year but we’re gonna be getting some work in before then so we’ll see how it goes.

What progress have you made on the album? I’m excited about that.
It’s yet to be recorded, but we’re working on it. We’ve just launched this Pledge campaign which is how we’re going to do it this time and hopefully have an album out.. well I won’t quote an exact date! I did an interview recently about the Bowie-Motorhead 7-inch single and then was asked what was going on with Swervedriver and I said “we’re looking to record another album” and then the title of the piece became “Swervedriver are recording another album” so it was suddenly cast in stone, in black and white! But 2018 for sure.

That’s funny that you mentioned your single because around the same day or two was released a video for Motörhead’s cover of David Bowie’s Heroes, from a covers album coming out soon. I’m also hearing a song from you that sounds eerily familiar and then I hear the lyrics for Thursday’s Child.
Motörhead’s cover of Heroes, it’s not bad. I guess they recorded it for some album session and it just remained in the can all these years, as they say. I thought it was interesting that Lemmy had done that. Along with the fact that Lemmy and Bowie died within a few weeks of each other there was also a photograph of them together but it turned out to be a photograph that somebody mocked up, a fake photograph.

You can’t go wrong with Motörhead and Bowie and Adam Franklin. Swervedriver and your music has all that DNA in it, doesn’t it?
Those songs had been recorded on my laptop over the last two to three years or maybe longer. The first time I had ever played that Motörhead song (Iron Horse/Born to Lose) was an acoustic gig I did in LA. I did a solo acoustic gig at the Mint in 2005 or something. My girlfriend at the time was with me and my friend and his wife, and we all went to Disneyland and we’ve got to get to this club and do this show and on the way, driving in, he says to me “Hey man, what are you going to play tonight? Any Motörhead songs?” as a joke. I said ‘Maybe I will’ and he said “I bet you won’t” so it was like a bet, really. I’d always played around with that song. So to win a bet I gotta play the song on stage at the Mint and he had to buy me a shot or a cocktail or something in the end.

So you both won.
Exactly. Everyone’s a winner.

How has music made you a better person?
I don’t know that its necessarily made me a better person. You feel like you’re helping people sometimes. I found myself awake in the middle of the night a few nights ago, I had to get up to go to the Embassy and there were two messages that arrived on Facebook and it was people who are going through health issues – both messages were related to their being fans of the music and I replied today. You hope that you’re making people feel a little better. It’s the music, really. It’s humbling at the same time. People talk about certain songs or certain records getting them through certain situations. Some people say ̶