By Geordie Pleathur
SNAKE-HIPPED LORDS OF THE STRANGE....SUGARBUZZ INTERVIEWS A LOST COUNT OF THE NETHER REALMS, MICHAEL FRANANO, from THE FRONT and BAKERS PINK and MICHAEL MOON!!!
"Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.” (-Bill Hicks)
"They're after you with their promises...
They're after you to sign your life away...." (-The Alarm "68 GUNS")
"While the laughter of joy is in full harmony with our deeper life, the laughter of amusement should be kept apart from it. The danger is too great of thus learning to look at solemn things in a spirit of mockery, and to seek in them opportunities for exercising wit..." (-Lewis Carroll)
"We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all is equal, that the creation endows us with certain inalienable rights, that, among these are the freedom of the body, the pursuit of joy, and the expansion of consciousness." (-Dr. Timothy Leary)
"Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is." (-Jim Morrison)
"It's okay for Christians, throughout centuries, to exterminate races, and for their priests to rape little kids, throughout decades, but trying to give the people the power to think, and be individual, that's evil?" (-Glenn Danzig)
“This is not George Bush’s Guantanamo, it is Obama’s Guantanamo. This is not George Bush’s detention scheme, it is Obama’s detention scheme. George Bush is not spying on Americans, President Obama is spying on Americans. George Bush is not keeping men at Guantanamo refusing to release them. Obama is doing that.” (Vince Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights)
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying..." (-Woody Allen)
LIVING IN SIN....
Late eighties/Early nineties...I was a wild, wild boy in those years, who fervently dug most all the colorful and exciting, new music being made back then, aside from some of the more latently bandwagonesque, hair bands, with nothing to impart beyond the tedious power ballad/spandex/mousse-y hair formula. There were so many good bands, though-sleaze metal, trashy punk, sloppy rock'n'roll, Athens jangle, New Romantic synthesizer bands, literate college rock, British hardcore, country-punk, witchy goth...I loved all the real bands with heart, from the Godfathers and Lords Of The New Church to Replacements and Warrior Soul....Sisters Of Mercy and The Cult...The Sea Hags, Dogs D'Amour, The Nymphs, Soul Asylum, Psychedelic Furs, Jesus And Mary Chain, Echo And The Bunnymen, Michael Monroe, Mother Love Bone, Danzig, Tex And The Horseheads, Jason And The Scorchers, Chainsaw Kittens, Fetchin' Bones, The Hangmen...on and on...Until all the assembly line, commercial-metal, big money fraud bands started just becoming absurd, over-saturating the market, souring everyone on guitar based, good times rock'n'roll, for awhile, and grunge took over. I loved Mother Love Bone, but never responded positively to the apathy and resignation of grunge.
My old pal, the famous rock critic, likes to say that I quit liking bands right after Manic Street Preachers first album, but I say, it wasn't until after Wendy James made, "Now Is Not The Time For Your Tears". In the late eighties, I still had my own grebo-punk band, who wrote some real amateur-hour, garagey odes to Jim Morrison, and covered songs by Zodiac Mindwarp and The Front. You know that Leonard Cohen lyric, "All the lousy little poets comin' 'round, tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"? I'm afraid that was me, back then.
One of my very favorite groups from that era, who never made enough history, in my book, were THE FRONT, kindof a hard rockin', doom-y, psychedelic, dance band on a major label. When I say "dance band", I don't mean like, Lady Gaga, or Pet Shop Boys, or whatever, it was spooky HARD ROCK, with sinister bad acid prog-rock theatrical grandeur...but, they still made this very danceable, irresistible, badass rock'n'roll. It made you want to dance, like the Rolling Stones. Their dark and foreboding album made an indelible impression on me, and my lot, in our bullet belts and love beads. It was easily as good as say, the Flaming Lips "Hear It Is", Jane's Addictions self-titled Triple X X X debut, or the Cult's "Sonic Temple", and really seems to blow away Lenny Kravitz' first album, which were just some of the other albums we were all grooving to, at the time....Then, they seemed to just suddenly vanish. THE FRONT were really promising songwriters, able to seamlessly convey childish Syd Barrett whimsy, cryptic Jim Morrison malice, and seething Alice Cooper mania, all with a crazy beat that made the slinky sirens and young bombshells all wanna shake their hips, and share their pills. "Ritual", "Sister Moon", "In The Garden", "Le Motion", "Sunshine Girl", "Fire", "Violent World", their eponymous debut spilt over with potential hits. Their record company should have done way more to promote this project. THE FRONT had a surplus of memorable, high-quality songs that still play in your mind, over and over, twenty some years, later. "Sin" is pretty close to a flawless performance, in my book. A near-perfect song. Michael and Bobby Franano, Mike Greene, Randy Jordan, and Shane Miller were a really special rock group, even back when, there were still loads of other cool bands, around. They played with real feeling, captured real human emotions, they flat-out ROCKED us. We played that orange jacketed, black vinyl record to death.
Later, we heard murmurs about another group, called Baker's Pink, said to be an arty grunge band, my old bassist absolutely loved 'em, but he was also an ardent Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots fan, which was just never my scene, at all, so I never totally trusted his judgments. In other words, I never really heard Baker's Pink, back in the day, but I never stopped thinking about all those old FRONT songs. Basically, I always felt they were more visceral and literate than most every other band from that era, except for the CULT, GUNS N ROSES, and maybe CIRCUS OF POWER, by having such an undeniable combination of shake appeal, cool lyrics, haunting, unforgettable hooks, intelligence, sensuality, and by furiously outrocking most everyone. They rocked hard, babies, like THE CULT or FOUR HORSEMEN, but THE FRONT also, had that sexy swing, that chicks always go crazy for, like INXS or BANG TANGO, or BILLY IDOL. They should have been much bigger. They were a total package. 'Fantastic rock'n'roll band. Even our grouchy, middle aged drummer, who was friends with the Ashton Brothers, and prided himself on hating pretty much everything besides Rory Gallagher, Link Wray, Blue Cheer, and the MC5 liked the FRONT!!! Thematically, and texturally, their album was like a Metal Years concept record, akin to the Doors "Soft Parade", Pink Floyd's "The Wall" or Alice Cooper's "Killer". If you loved any of those records, growing up, you are likely to still love the Front album. It's held up surprisingly well. To me, THE FRONT always had more in common with the English "Big Sky" bands (The Alarm, Simple Minds, Waterboys, U2) and Batcave Death-Rock bands (Speciman, Flesh For Lulu, The Cult) and also, the Sixties Garage Revivalists (like the Fuzztones, Fleshtones, and Three O' Clock) than they did with the wanking shredders, or jock-dumb, cock-rockers, most-often on the covers of "Circus", "Rip", and "Hit Parader" magazines, in those days...Especially, by the time bands like Winger, Slaughter, and Nelson were being pawned-off on the under-educated, midwestern farmer's daughters, of our region...Back when there were still farms in the midwest, and you could still hear real rock music on TV, and radio....Sure, there was, already, lots of gutless, phony, manufactured, corporate rock goin' on, even then, but the apartheid loving, genocidal, corporatist, global elites hadn't yet consolidated all the media into their monopolies; the secret-society tyrants, oil-barons, and "Security Contractor" private armies-for-hire, hadn't quite perfected their now commonplace, nefarious technologies, secret weaponry, torture-sites, or other shadowy systems of control.
"I make death into a game for people like you to get excited about...."
I hadn't heard anything new from Michael Franano in a long while, and had to go lookin' for the brother, cos he was, in my opinion, one of the best, ahem, front men, of that whole era. I write this with sincere gratitude to everyone involved with that whole project ,THE FRONT, as well as for the love-rockers and sunshine girls who still populated my life, back then....Those were the good times. I miss 'em. We weren't all divided by class, greed, and bogus hierarchies, yet. I notice you only keep in touch with your CLASS mates. Even in the shadows of Reagan's "Greed Is Good" ethos, and bullshit "trickle-down economics", and all that Miami Vice/Duran Duran decadence, I remember when The Front's "Violent World" still seemed like creepy sci-fi, because even amidst the P.M.R.C. hearings, Iran/Contra scandals, Rise Of The School Of Americas, and the early persecutions of rappers, and Jello Biafra, they hadn't yet, dismantled the Bill Of Rights, or fully, sewn-up the entire mass-media, as the mere propaganda wing of the Pentagon. Voices of reason were still being heard. John Denver, Jackson Browne, Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, Johnny Lydon, and Ian Astbury were all still part of the debate. Music was still a powerful force for social change, and for reminding us all about compassion and humanity, and the better angels of our nature. Back then, even grumpy LOU REED was touring with Amnesty International, y'know? That's why they took the real music off MTV. That's why they control all the radio play-lists, so tightly, now. Presently, the grim reality is deceptive, around-the-clock, cable misinformation, secret agendas, covert escalations, official denials, ceaseless corporate-looting, white collar crimes against humanity, drones, tasers, the all-encompassing surveillance-grid, wire-taps, torture, paramilitaries silencing dissent, big media ignoring all the massive protests against B.P., Halliburton, Blackwater, Monsanto, the bankers, the Patriot Act/FISA, and all these racist, "pre-emptive", illegitimate wars, and crimes of occupation.
DON'T NEED YOUR VIOLENT WORLD....
Most of us now, sadly, know our entire government is, itself, "A front" , for the permanent, shadow governing, two-faced, war-party, our peace candidate was merely a ventriloquist dummy of the terror industrial complex profiteers. Even George Orwell's "1984" seems "quaint", now, to paraphrase the Bush administration's dismissal of the Geneva Conventions very sensible, and most basic, and humane, protections of human rights. Nowadays, nobody except for Wall Street banksters, K Street lobbyists, or police state heiresses like Lindsay, Paris, the Bush daughters, Kardashians, and all those hideously annoying kids on "The Hills", can even DREAM about "freedom, pleasure, dancing all around", without having to worry about the jackbooted thugs kicking down the doors, and tasering everyone, and dragging 'em off to some for-profit prison, where no one hears you scream...for the "crimes" of altering your own consciousness, freaking freely, speaking truth to power, or wearing flowers in your hair. Kent State has become our way of life. There's no more U2, or Big Country, or Jackson Browne songs on MTV...It's just video-games, and discofied jingles, and movies that glorify the surveillance apparatus, and secret police. Isolated, resegregated, prescription medicated, alienated....Living alone, inside our little boxes, brainwashed and quietly observed, by our little boxes. When we were young, we all knew war was wrong. There was no question about torture, or human rights. We didn't live for money. We "just said no" to pissing in a cup for a minimum wage job. Mojo Nixon said he wasn't gonna piss in a cup, unless Nancy Reagan was gonna drink it up....Bowie told us we could be heroes...Zodiac Mindwarp had slayed the King Of The Wolves, so nothing was impossible...."Love, OBVIOUSLY, very soon...EVERYBODY"...That still included YOU, back then, when we all still liked to get together, and listen to music...and dance. Remember who YOU wanted to be? When the FRONT'S music still throbbed, through that loud-ass p.a., at our old farmhouse, on the outskirts of town, back then, it felt like everybody was more free, more sincere, more merciful, and more alive. Remember? Okay, enough of my nostalgic reminiscing, I give you....FIRE! (-G.P.)
UP THE HILL TO HEAVEN'S DOOR...
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What were your earliest introductions to rock'n'roll? Did you have bands prior to The Front?
MICHAEL FRANANO: My earliest influences were mostly groups of the sixties; my stepfather was in a regional group called Union Station and they would play the night clubs in the four state area, but mostly in Kansas City. He taught me the basics on drums and it just made sense to me immediately and soon I was jamming with the band at rehearsal; I was five years old.
One night they were opening for Ike and Tina Turner at the Inferno room, and they brought me up to play and sing a couple Beatles songs, and the room went crazy; that was my first taste of Rock and Roll, and applause; obviously, I liked it. The rest of the story is pretty traditional, at age 13 or 14, I joined my first band as a rhythm guitarist, even though I didn’t know how to play; again, my brother, Bobby, had an old electric guitar and I just figured out some chords and got the gig.
It was funny, because no one wanted to sing, so we went around the room and everyone took a turn; I was last and of course, it was unanimous, I was the singer, which at the time really pissed me off. A month or so later, we played a church social (no joke) and afterwards, these girls came up to me and started talking about my singing etc; I liked being the singer.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Briefly discuss where you met the other guys from the Front, origins of the Front...
MICHAEL FRANANO: Bobby, Shane and I were playing and recording and I was handling the guitar and bass parts, and I knew we needed a guitar player, I have a great right hand, but I cannot solo to save my life. Mike Greene actually just showed up at our loft one day while we were rehearsing, and announced he was our new guitar player. It turns out that we had asked a guy he worked with, who was kind of a big shot in KC, to audition but never showed; Mike took the demo tape we had provided the other guy and learned every song note for note. This really impressed everyone and the guy could really play, so it was a no brainer.
Around this time, I had all but secured a deal with Seymour Stein and Sire Records; he was ready to sign us but wanted to see us live; of course, there really wasn’t a band, yet…
I had decided that I didn’t want to play bass and sing, and, I knew who I wanted to replace me, the only problem was, we didn’t know where Randy Jordan lived. Randy was playing with a local band who had recently signed a major deal, but it was really only the singer who was signed, so I thought we had a good chance of stealing him. After much searching, and many auditions with other players, we finally found Randy and asked him to come by and Jam. Luckily he accepted and it was very apparent to everyone in the room, after the very first thing we played, this was The Front.
About a month later, I invited Seymour to KC to see us open for The Squeeze in front of 3,500 people; this was our first gig together… it’s amazing how much bravado we had in those days. Soon after, we were offered a deal, and then the real fun started.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Growing up in Kansas City, before the Age of the Internet, were you even AWARE of like, the Paisley Revival Scenes in Boston, L.A., and NYC? Did you have an affinity for say, the Three O'Clock, Fleshtones, Salvation Army, Chesterfield Kings, any of those groups? Were you guys aware of the Nuggets compilations, or were you just classic rockers vibing off the Doors? Did you play with punk/alternative/indie rock kids, prior to the major label?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Actually, Bobby and I were very aware of the Paisley thing in LA; we were always interested in what was happening at the moment, but also very true to our influences. We had this great record store in KC that would order records from Detroit, so we could always find new music. I bought U2’s Boy and the first Duran Duran record, as well as many others at this store, and basically, no one in KC knew who they were.
I think we were geared towards a more heavy sound than most of the Paisley groups, although, we were still into the scene. Then I heard Love by the Cult and it all started to come together. All of a sudden we had groups that we completely identified with, and realized we were not the only people who were into this type of sound and fashion.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: How did you meet your producer? The sound on that record still amazes me. The drum sound is perfect! Didn't he also work with the Cult? Was it a good experience making that record?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Actually, Scott McGhee found Andy for us; we wanted to meet with Rick Rubin but he wasn’t available for more than a year, and, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the record to sound like, so we spoke with Andy and he seemed to really get it. We really co-produced the record, as, we had really gelled out the arrangements, and so Andy brought his amazing ear and tone to the project.
The entire experience of making that first record was incredible. We were at Le’ Studio in Montréal and most of us had never been out of the country before; the studio is lovely, and all these huge records had been recorded there, so we were floating on air. For the most part, we just played live and then went back and added overdubs but tried to keep these at a minimum.
I really wanted the record to sound like a monitor mix, because, this is what we heard when we played, so it felt honest. Doc (McGhee) our manager, came to hear our tracks about half way through, so we put together a rough mix; after listening to a couple of songs, he says to me, “we can buy you a reverb unit”, half kidding, but I really knew what I wanted. Listening to it today, there are things I would change, but the album really stands up in sonic quality. Andy really is to thank for this; I am glad we didn’t make the record sound like everyone else’s at the time.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: How does one locate a high quality producer, to effectively record one's songs, if you don't have lotsa money to pay them?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Well it helps to have the money! I think if you find someone who really believes in the music and gets the vision, they would be willing or at least interested, in working on the recording and taking a few more points on the back end; it really depends on the person.
The industry is so different now; honestly, I am not really sure what makes the most sense. If I can give any advice, make friends with a producer, director or someone in the motion picture or television industry and get your song on the air or in the cinema. Look at what Good Will Hunting did for Elliot Smith, etc.
I still get royalties for my appearance and song in Celebrity, Woody Allen’s film, and music in Party of Five and Melrose Place; I wish I had about twenty more of those.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: How did you hook-up with McGhee Mgt.? Was that a satisfying relationship? What bands from that era did you feel camaraderie with?
MICHAEL FRANANO: McGhee actually found us; Scott (Docs brother) had heard the name in Italy at a music festival. I had signed a publishing agreement with a European company and they were telling everyone about us and Scott liked what he heard and went on a mission to find us.
He eventually found out we were in Kansas City and was able to get my number and called me one day out of the blue. Scott was aware of the Sire Records deal, but also aware that I had not signed it yet, so he wanted to talk with me before I finally did sign.
He asked that I send a tape and press kit, which I didn’t do. So he called a week later and let me know that McGhee Entertainment managed the careers of Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and the Scorpions, which seemed odd to me because we were nothing like these bands… I was pretty naïve.
Finally after another week and no tape, he called and said he would be in Kansas City the next day. I picked him up at the airport and took him to our old loft and the band just started playing songs, at this point we had a bunch of material because it had been a few years worth of writing and I wrote constantly then. He really liked it and had Doc come down a few weeks later, we signed that day and the rest is, of course, history.
The relationship was good we always got along pretty well; both Doc and Scott are hilarious guys and great story tellers so for the most part it was a lot of fun.
As for bands that we felt camaraderie with, that’s interesting, quite a few on one level but not so much on another. Certainly, Bang Tango, Enuff Z Nuff...bands that we toured with, these were guys we stayed in touch with. The Motley Crue guys were always really nice to us, they had seen it all by the time we met them, so they gave us great advice and were very helpful and great to be around. The Def Leppard guys were really cool.
I spent a little time with Richie from Bon Jovi; I flew out to his place in LA to write with him and he was very cool and gracious, I had a great time hanging out with him. There were more, usually just cool fun people, we were just having way too much fun anyway, so if we met a great group of players we usually ended up hanging out.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Were you flattered by constant comparisons to Michael Hutchence and Jim Morrison?
MICHAEL FRANANO: At first, but it became old pretty quickly. There was no doubt that I was a Morrison fan and a fan of Hutchence, but I never understood the Doors comparison, I don’t think we sounded anything like them. I just happened to want to emulate, to some degree, two of the best front men ever; there were many more bands out there that were doing exactly what everybody else was doing, I mean exactly what everybody else was doing. I had just as many Alice Cooper comparisons, but because I bore a bit of a resemblance to the other two, it stuck.
There was a great article in one of the magazines, The Disciples of Jim; I was of course in there but so was Ian Astbury, Billy Idol, and at least three other guys so, I was in good company!
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Did you like the Cult, the Alarm, Gene Loves Jezebel, 39 Steps, Mission U.K.-All the epic eighties goth rock?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Sure, of course, that’s probably a little evident. I thought The Cult had the coolest new thing going on; we were all big fans. You forgot The Bolshoi! The Alarm were good, I really liked their vibe; the acoustic guitars with big Gibson PAF hum bucking pickups jammed in them, really cool.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What were the highlights of the Front experience? I know you were in RIP magazine and on MTV...didn't you tour with Aerosmith?
MICHAEL FRANANO: All of it was really, I mean one day you are living in KC playing in an old loft and the next you are on MTV and the radio and out on tour. It was all great, and we really enjoyed it. Some of the people we played with were cooler than others but that is to be expected. We were really fortunate to do the 1990 Monsters of Rock tour with Aerosmith and Whitesnake, etc, it was really incredible; I mean you really do look back at the guys and say “how did we get here?”
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Did you hit it off with Lenny Kravitz?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Hmmm, I suppose; we were different people, but he was always cool to us. That was a fun tour, our first time in Europe. We had all of our passports, money and visas stolen right off the bus in Liverpool and had to drive all night to the American Consulate so that we could get temporary passports to get home; eleven in all, the band and crew. We were interrogated in London and in New York because passports, it turns out, are big business, and they thought we sold them…
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Why the transition into Baker's Pink? Please discuss that project...
MICHAEL FRANANO: This is the million dollar question; actually, it was Epic Records’ idea. They wanted us to move away from our past a bit and what better way, except that eventually everyone figured out who we were and by that point the record had lost any momentum it had. The label was never really behind the project which is a shame, there are some great songs on that record. Once something like grunge hits, everybody jumps on it, it’s been the same forever, and unfortunately probably always will.
I still like the album, but the band was not in as good a place because we knew the label was not supporting it. Bobby left the band, and it really didn’t feel the same, so we were easily convinced. Basically, they were not going to release the record if we didn’t change the name so it was that or go home.
We had such a loyal fan base, I felt like we/Epic were not being entirely honest with everyone, so in every single interview at that time, I really played up The Front connection and I think I pissed off a couple of people at the label, turns out it wouldn’t be the last time. But, as I mentioned, everybody started to figure it out, so looking back, it was for nothing, it just confused everyone; thanks Epic.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What did you think of grunge? Were you an enthusiast of the 90's alternative scene, and how did that climate affect Michael Moon? Didn't you work with Woody Allen, at some point?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Grunge was fine; it felt a bit theatrical to me, everybody was so pissed off and angst ridden. It was fun watching everyone try and move away from grunge after it became so cartoonish, same thing with disco, what makes you breaks you. This is the same pattern time and time again; when Saks started selling grunge outfits to middle aged women, it became just another commodity. Punk and Jam bands seem to be the only constant; too bad I was never really into either so much.
A couple of bands stand out, but for the most part it really did all sound alike, huh? It’s too bad the Pixies didn’t really get their due until after the dust settled. They invented the damn thing.
Working with Woody Allen was a trip; I have always been a huge fan, so when the opportunity arose I was all over it. Murphy Occhino, my drummer from Michael Moon, arranged it; he is in motion pictures and television, and had heard about the casting and made sure we got the deal. We had to go to a call at 10am all dressed like a rock band, which was easy, getting up at 8:30am back then wasn’t.
I had worked on Deconstructing Harry prior to Celebrity, so I knew a lot of the crew, it was really a fun shoot, and we had a trailer and everything. Actually, we came back a couple of months later for a re-shoot, because they replaced the original actress in the scene, with this person named Charlize Theron, who at that time, no one had heard of; funny business, show business.
It was also really great because Randy is in the scene with us, and it was really the last time he and I worked together, that was in the winter of 1997.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What contemporary artists do you actually listen to for pleasure?
MICHAEL FRANANO: I like the White Stripes, really do, Jack is a major talent. I have really gotten into more acoustic based music, really basic and raw. I really like Iron and Wine. I love Butch Walker’s “Pretty Melody”, that guy can sing. Willy Mason, and although neither of them are even remotely new, the Robert Plant/Alison Krause “Raising Sand” record is incredible. I have always been a song guy, so I listen to everything.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Current Events...What have you been focusing on in recent years?
MICHAEL FRANANO: A few years ago I became an event producer working on everything from sporting and corporate events to working with the Whitehouse and a few Presidents. As well I have been in photography for quite awhile.
I still write all the time, however, there was a period when I wasn’t writing anything; I just felt like I was chasing the radio so I basically just stopped. This was around 2003/2004. For the first time since junior high school, I wasn’t writing songs…
Then all of a sudden it just began again; one day I picked up my guitar put a capo on the fifth fret and this amazing sound just came out. I started writing pretty consistently after this and haven’t stopped. I built a studio in my home and have begun recording, and hope to have something new out soon.
We are working on a new site that is strictly about where I am now, which I am really excited to see happen. As well, we are splitting up each of the older projects so that each band/phase has a separate site. I have some great live recordings from The Front and Bakers Pink that I am going to make available on each respective site as well as some b-side unreleased material and demos.
My new site will feature all new songs, and I am thinking I want to see it as a constant work in progress as opposed to recording twelve songs and releasing this as an album, I want to release songs as they come and are recorded. So I am not dictating the album order but the listener is, very much like a personal IPod list. I like the idea that each song is its own entity that eventually becomes a total work.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Where are the other guys from THE FRONT now? What are the chances of a FRONT reunion?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Mike Greene and Shane both live in Kansas City and play together in a local band called The Shanks. Bobby (my brother) lives in Florida and is an artist and recently participated in a reality show named Work of Genius.
Unfortunately we lost Randy in 1998, so a true reunion can never happen. I still think about him all the time; it’s amazing how fast everything goes, and how you can go up and down/back and forth in a relationship, and then you look back and it’s all great memories; we should think about that before things happen.
Mike and I did a series of shows throughout the Midwest playing with Cheap Trick and the B52s, and we worked on a project in 2001/2002 that was really very good but the time wasn’t really right for a full on thing. Mike’s brother Todd Greene (bass) and Craig Sumy (drums) rounded out the band. It was a lot of fun and we played some great shows, but it was tough because I was living in Miami and they were all in Kansas City.
It might be fun to do something with Mike, Shane, Bobby and Todd on bass; we’ll have to see…
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What did I neglect to inquire about? What else would you care to communicate to the rock n roll people?
MICHAEL FRANANO: Thank you to everyone who supported us and continues to support us, it really means a great deal to me and I am sure the guys as well. I look forward to getting some new music out and hope that everyone enjoys it. My new music is, of course, very different on first listen (I’ve experienced a few things along the way), but I think if you listen to the lyric and feel of the music, there is much the same.
All the best!
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: THANKS, SO MUCH, MICHAEL! You are, not only, a highly creative, fascinating writer, but also, a helluva good frontman-a lost, or dying art. I hope to see and hear more inspirational rock'n'roll performances from you, someday soon.
REST IN PEACE, RANDY JORDAN! xo
...AND DON'T FORGET THE BOLSHOI:
ROCKNROLLERS UNITE FOR PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: