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The Frank and Walters from Cork, Ireland are one of the most recognizable alternative rock bands of the last 3 decades. The band was formed in 1989 and was named after two eccentric Cork characters. The original lineup of the band included Paul Linehan (singer and bassist), his brother Niall Linehan (guitarist) and Ashley Keating (drums). Niall Linehan was replaced in 2004 by Kevin Pedreschi, who was replaced by Rory Murphy in 2010. Cian Corbett was added on keyboards in 2005.

Versatile, with many albums and singles in their repertoire, they continue to be present today and extremely active either playing live, appearing at major festivals or recording new records. So 3 decades after the release of their first record and the Franks continue to defy expectations with their music remaining relevant. Every year they play sold out concerts across the UK, Europe and the USA and their records, both new and classic, continue to sell out around the world.

On Saturday, March 11, the iconic Frank and Walters will be at Death Disco, Athens, Greece, to celebrate 30 years since the release of their historic and great debut album entitled “Trains, Boats and Planes”, while of course they will also present several of their other big hits. We will enjoy their irresistible musical style full of indie, alternative and pop sounds. In their music one discovers a range of happy, empowering but also melancholic melodies and wonderful tracks with dynamic guitars, intense bass and rhythmic drums.

With Indie hits such as “Fashion Crisis Hits New York”, “John & Sou”, “Colours”, “Underground”, “After All”, “Walter’s Trip”, “Indie Love Song” they come to Athens for a unique and enjoyable concert full of memories and dreams for the future.

Before their appearance, Paul and Ash gave an exclusive and full interview to

Hello guys and welcome to! Thank you in advance for your time and for this interview!

So, you’re celebrating your 30-year anniversary as a band and also the release of your debut album “Trains, Boats and Planes” with a tour. What differences can you spot in the music industry throughout these 3 decades?

Paul: There’s a lot of stuff in there. Ι suppose we’ve been through a lot of changes. When we started out it was all analog recording. It was before the internet so a lot has changed since we started out. Back then, in order to progress in the music industry you needed to have a record deal, really. Now you don’t necessarily need one because you can set yourself up on the social media channels. You’re up and running. You can advertise yourself but when we started out, I suppose the only way you could advertise as a band was through the newspapers and the music magazines, through your videos and stuff being made, and of course through making a record. All these cost a lot of money so therefore they had to have a record deal. I’m just looking at it from that aspect. What’s changed with me from now to 30 years ago is that I’m a lot happier playing live than I was in all those years ago because I was a lot more nervous. Now I’m cooler and I really enjoy playing music. It’s unbelievable. Whereas years ago I didn’t enjoy it as much but when I’m up on stage I’m kind of very comfortable and happy.

Ash: The differences are so great but also it happens so gradually. You just find yourself kind of going along with lots of little small changes year by year and then when you look back, it’s hard to know which one was better. As Paul said, when we started, you needed to have a record label essentially because they had the financial means to bring the band on tour, to advertise and put you in the right places. Now, anyone who’s good enough can build up a following. Even though it wasn’t a brilliant system back then, there was some sort of quality control. Generally, the bands that got signed and to a certain level were generally good bands. I know there were also other bands that never made it and it was true bad luck. Music is always about being at the right time at the right place, with the right song and the right image. It’s hard to know which one I’d prefer. I guess the great thing about today is just that music is so accessible but also if you are a young artist and you have a joy to get heard, it’s a lot easier to do so. Then if you’re good enough, you can move up. It is a very, very different world today. What the internet has done is just change everything. I kind of consider myself an analogue person, a person of nature. If I’m at an event, I don’t watch it through an iPhone screen, I watch the event. I may take one photograph or something like that but I don’t watch it through the screen the way some people do. But even still, I have to admit that the phone is an extension of me at this stage. It’s like another part of me, like a knee or an elbow. Probably not as important, but still a part of me.

So anyone can break in the music industry?

Paul: The way I look at it, it’s easier to break into the music industry but on a kind of peripheral level. It’s still hard to break into the inner circle where you can have management, record deals and publishing, but the great thing is that you’ve got platforms that no one ever had before the internet came along.  You can advertise, which doesn’t cost that much to advertise on Facebook and Instagram and you can get your name out there. You can build up a following which is fantastic. Unfortunately music now is not just about music to be successful in the music business. It’s about personality as well and it’s about the entertainment so a lot of bands, they might not need to be good at music if they’ve got a good personality.

How do you recall these 30 years as a band?

Paul: To sum it up, what happened over these 30 years is that it’s been an amazing adventure. That’s one thing that I have to say. We’ve travelled the world, we’ve met so many brilliant people and we’ve made a living out of music in all those 30 years whereas without the music, we would just be in Ireland, probably. I love to travel and I love adventure and I think that’s one thing I’m grateful for. The most important thing though, is that we got the chance to express ourselves as well, because we’ve obviously had and still have the desire to keep expressing our thoughts and emotions. Music has been a blessing though which we can express ourselves.

Do you feel that the messages of your songs from “Trains, Boats and Planes” are timeless and still have something to communicate to your younger audiences?

Paul: I suppose some of the songs are fairly universal like “After All” and “Daisy Chain”. A lot of the songs are mainly about love, respect and hope. For example “John and Sue” or “This Is Not a Song”, are songs about love and hope. “Daisy Chain” and “Trainspotters” are songs about respect also, trying to figure out why people do what they do.

Ash: Actually, in most of our songs out of every record, there are real people, real events, real emotions, as well as real hopes and fears. In a sense all these are behind the songs, somewhere. The majority of our songs are based on actual events, even if the names and places have been changed so much. So like human emotion is the same now as it was 30 or 60 years ago. I think it was a lucky thing that we did write about real people and real things because it never goes out of fashion. It never changes. I mean you can pick up a book written hundreds years ago and you can find meaning in it today. It’s the same with songs and I think our songs have aged well because they’re all based on people and human emotion.

On March 11th we are going to see you live at Death Disco in Athens, Greece. What should we expect from this show?

Paul: We’re going to play “Trains, Boats and Planes” in its entirety, but we’re also going to play a few other songs because the album is only 40 minutes long so we’d be a bit of a short set if we play just that.

Ash: We’re actually meeting tomorrow to practice because we haven’t we haven’t practiced in a while but I guess we’ll do things from the rest of our career as well, like bits and pieces from our other records. It’s always nice to play a nice mix. We’re actually looking forward because we haven’t played since December so it’ll be good to get back on stage and rip it up a bit.

Since this is not the first time you are visiting Greece, what is your relationship with the Greek audience?

Paul: We’ve been in Athens twice and we met a lot of Greek people there, with whom we got on very well. I think we share something… I don’t know what it is! It’s a strange thing! I feel an akinship with Greek people because we have remained friends with some of them since then. We keep in touch.

Ash: That’s been about 13-14 years ago, has it?

Paul: Thirteen yes, and before that it’s been probably 19 years when we played with Andy Diagram, the trumpet player of James.

Have you arranged any vacations in Greece until your next stop in Paris?

Paul: We would love to but we’re coming on Friday and we’re leaving on Monday.

Ash: A couple of days, not too bad! We would love to stay especially when you’ve got a lot nicer weather.

In 2016 you released your single “Goddess of Athena”, which is inspired by Greece. What’s the story behind this song?

Paul: When we went to Greece in 2010, the last time, it was around the time when Greece was going through a lot of trouble with the banks and the economy was on its knees. When I was writing the song, I had an idea… to make it a love song in parallel. It’s like comparing the fall of the Greek Empire with the fall of love and the sadness that goes along. It’s like using the Greek situation as a metaphor for a dying love, or a love that couldn’t exist because of the circumstance. It’s like “God knows I hurt you, but knows I hurt me too”, that means that I had to hurt you but I didn’t want to.

Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t changed so much now that you’re coming back. Not a lot of things have changed towards that direction.

Paul: Then I guess we’ll have to write another song referring to a Greek tragedy, haha

The amazing music video of the same song was shot here in Athens. How was this video made?

Paul: The most of that video was made by a Greek man who lives in Crete, George E. Agianniotakis. He was a fan of ours, who heard the song and he loved it so much that he wanted to make a video out of it and he actually put that up on line. I met him in 2010 and we’ve been e-mailing each other over the years. Then he sent me that video that he made for “Goddess of Athena”, because it touched him. I think it was so beautiful and I didn’t make any questions about it. It wasn’t my idea but for me, it captures the song’s message and I was happy to go with it. We just did a little bit of editing on it, just to make it a bit sharper because George is not a complete professional filmmaker. He’s obviously very good and 95% of the video was made by him. He understood it and I loved what he came up with. I was blown away.

A lot of artists wish for awards and high rankings in the charts and others to have sold-out venues while performing. What does success mean to you?

Ash: As you move on in your career and you get older, success means different things. I think when you’re young and impressionable, success means sports cares and condominiums, private jets, none of which we had by the way. On the other hand, I think as you get older, success is to be able to carry on for another three or four months or even a year. As I mentioned earlier this is our first show this year and we’ve been through a lot of changes, there’s been issues here and there, but we’re still getting up on stage, playing to an audience, expressing ourselves and enjoying what we do. I mean, at the moment, success to me will be getting that gig done and getting the Paris gig done and so on, moving on to 2024. It’s almost as simple as that. We’ve never been a band that had a blueprint or a role to success or goals to achieve anywhere. At the end, every year just feels right and it feels that it’s really good to carry on.

Paul: For me, it’s about having music as a medium to express yourself and then playing a gig, it’s like the icing on the cake. Many people in the world just don’t have an outlet to express themselves, whether it’s true art, poetry or music. For me, personally, it’s really important to express myself through music because I don’t think I’m able to express myself the same way in normal life. That for me is success… being able to do that after 30 of making music. I still write songs nearly every day to express myself. After all, the joy of creating something is like having another child.

You released your last record, “Songs for the Walking Wounded” in 2016. Should we expect any new music anytime soon?

Paul: It could be very shortly. It’s just a matter of recording and finishing off the songs really. I’ve got so many of them. During the lockdown I wrote a lot of songs. It was a very inspirational time for me because my back was against the wall and when your back’s against the wall, you kind of feel that you’ve got something more to say at that point. It’s like you’re pushed to say something which is natural and true.

What’s your motto in life?

Interview: Theodore Kolliopoulos

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