A former member of punk rock band Million Dead, Frank Turner turned his attention to folkier, acoustic music after the demise of the hardcore outfit.
He has since transformed himself into a singer and songwriter of consequential folk-punk rebel songs (that cover topics as such atheism, excessive drinking, and the power of rock & roll). Drawing press comparisons to Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, among others, Turner nonetheless occupies a niche of his own in British popular music, and has developed a large international following.
Born in Bahrain in 1981, Turner was educated at Eton College in England. His first foray into the world of punk and rock in the band Kneejerk came to an end in 2000, and he soon found himself joining up with Million Dead. Over the course of that band’s four-year lifespan, Million Dead released two critically lauded albums, but called it a day in 2005. Turner decided to explore a different world after Million Dead, focusing on his love of folk and country, with acoustic guitar the guiding force. Getting a deal with Xtra Mile Recordings, he was able to release his first EP, Campfire Punkrock, in 2006. Critically well-received, the EP led to a full-length album in January of 2007, Sleep Is for the Week, which was also a critical hit and a moderate success saleswise.
While filling in just about all of his free time with touring, Turner kept recording, and released the EP The Real Damage and a DVD, All About the Destination, in 2007. His next album, Love Ire & Song, was due in the midst of more live appearances in March of 2008. Turner’s label signed a distribution deal with Epitaph in the United States in late 2008. The end result was his Poetry of the Deed in September 2009, his first release stateside. In addition, Epitaph also reissued Love Ire & Song in the U.S. Later that year, Turner released a stellar solo acoustic cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” as a single via Suburban Home Records, and followed it with the album England Keep My Bones in June of 2011. In 2012, Turner released Last Minutes & Lost Evenings, a 15-track, handpicked collection of album cuts and rarities intended to introduce the fiery Englishman to an American audience. It was followed in 2013 by his fifth studio album, the Burbank, California-recorded Tape Deck Heart. Later in the year he released the brief ten-song Buddies EP in collaboration with songwriter Jon Snodgrass. In 2014, Turner released a compilation, The Third Three Years, which followed two previous collections — The First Three Years (2009) and The Second Three Years (2012) — and collected demos, rarities, and cover versions. In 2015, he returned with Positive Songs for Negative People, a collection of all-new material. Two years later, he celebrated the tenth anniversary of his debut solo album with the career-spanning retrospective Songbook, which included re-recorded versions of some of his most popular songs. Buoyed by the political state of the world in 2017, Turner returned to the studio to record what would be his seventh studio album. Its title is based on a line from a Clive James poem called Leçons Des Ténèbres, first published in The New Yorker in 2013. The line in the poem that inspired the title reads: “I should have been more kind. It is my fate. To find this out, but find it out too late.” It was recorded in Texas, and produced by Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block (ex-White Denim and Florence + the Machine) and Halsey collaborator Charlie Hugall. A music video for the title cut was released to YouTube on February 22, 2018. The set’s first proper single “Blackout,” was released in March with the full-length following at the beginning of May. ~ Chris True