Frankie Rose, if you were to believe the Brooklyn rumour mill, was the queen of the scene that didn’t exist, the lady who has left more bands than you’ve had hot dinners and was the drummer who hated drumming. Her recent cover shoot for New York Press.com also caused a bit of an online rumpus on the Brooklyn Vegan blog, which Crystal Stilt Kyle Forester succinctly summed up thus ‘People love girls in bands but they also like writing lewd shit about them on Brooklyn Vegan -It is weird that the indie rock world is supposed to be politically progressive, but in terms of gender politics, it’s sort of like ‘Mad Men.” One thing’s for sure, there’s certainly never a dull moment in Frankie’s world at the moment!
A founding member of the Vivian Girls, drummer/vocalist with the Crystal Stilts as well as beating the skins for Dum Dum Girls Frankie is now dancing to her own beat with her solo project “Frankie Rose And The Outs.” Forsaking the drums for the guitar and assuming lead vocal duties, her debut album establishes not only what a talented songwriter she is but also proves she’s no mean guitarist to boot. Whereas her previous bands output has often had minimal production, and in some cases sound like they may have been recorded in a tin bath . . at the bottom of a well . . in an echo chamber . . on a C60 cassette (which is not a criticism by the way,) her debut album has a much cleaner, more rounded sound. As you might expect her music still, on occasion invokes the spectre (or Spector J ) of 60’s girl group pop fused with a Mary Chain reverb fuzz. But what may take the listener by surprise is the celestial quality of the vocal harmonies which give the album an air of ethereal grandeur and demonstrates that Frankie’s musical vision is a bolder and more all encompassing affair than many may have anticipated.
The album skilfully crafts 60’s surf and shoegaze with the sort of ethereal vocal harmonies that distinguished many artists on the 4AD label in the late 80’s/early 90’s. But then again maybe such wide ranging influences shouldn’t come as a surprise from an artist who says “To be honest, I like so much music that I never know what influences are going to come out. For me, song writing is more about evoking certain feelings than the lyrics or anything else. Hell, sometimes I don’t even know what the songs mean!” Ahead of the albums UK release on Memphis Industries in October, we spoke to Frankie.
VP: You’ve said in the past you’ve become famous for leaving bands. Would you say you have a fairly restless nature?
FRANKIE: Yeah, I would say so, I tend to do things until I tire of it, then for better or worse, I move on…
VP: Your own debut albums due out in October, you’ve said that you were never that interested in the so called ‘LoFi Scene’ and that it was more that you never had money to record in an actual studio. Do you feel you’ve achieved the sound you were aiming for on this album ?
FRANKIE : I always Laugh when people say “the Lo- Fi Scene” really because I’m not so sure it ever actually existed. I’m fairly sure it was just a figment of 1 music journalist’s imagination. But yes, I’m fairly happy with how the record sounds, I feel like I learned a lot and next time around , I can take
those lessons into consideration.
VP: Now that you’re out from behind the drums and centre stage do you enjoy being the main focus or is it still fairly nerve racking?
FRANKIE : It is such a different experience! I still get stage fright; however, the payoff is so much better. I really love playing the guitar.
VP: How did you go about putting your own band together, did you have friends in mind who shared your own tastes or did you put the word out ?
FRANKIE : I have known Kate Margot and Caroline for years, I used to play with Caroline, and she in fact was almost Vivian Girls first bassist!- Fun Fact!
I made it a point to play with my good friends in this band…
VP: Your sound seems to have a number of influences from surf to shoegaze , what sort of music were you listening to when you wrote the album ?
FRANKIE : At the the time I think Spacemen 3 recurring was on repeat. Also a whole lot of Cocteau Twins and some Kate Bush.
VP: ….And what was the first album you ever bought ( most people lie at this point 😉 )
FRANKIE : I think it was Culture Club! But it might have been Guns and Roses!
VP: Would you say there’s an overriding style that comes to the fore on the album ?
FRANKIE : Well. There are defiantly harmonies throughout, I would like to say that it’s full sounding, but not muddy.
VP: Will you team up with some of your old friends again and get behind the drums again if the scenario came up in the future or have you consigned drumming to the past?
FRANKIE : Nope. I am done with the drums; I gave Kate Ryan (my drummer) my drum set!
VP: Over the years in your various bands what’s been your strangest experience?
FRANKIE : Hmmm. Getting strip searched at the Swedish border on Crystal Stilts tour was interesting !!
VP: Five words to sum up your album?
FRANKIE : How about 3?
Original Pics By Ben Pier & Lauren Bilanko
LIVE at SXSW- Frankie Rose & The Outs.
“You Can Make Me Feel Bad” by Frankie Rose & The Outs.
- Frankie Rose (ex-Vivian Girls, ex-Crystal Stilts, ex-Dum Dum Girls too) focusing on The Outs (brooklynvegan.com)
- Frankie Rose and the Outs Hit the Road (pitchfork.com)
- Frankie Rose and the Outs Debut LP (pitchfork.com)
- Frankie Rose And The Outs – “Little Brown Haired Girls” (stereogum.com)
- Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler leaves VG for Best Coast! (Frankie Rose still just in the Outs) (brooklynvegan.com)
- Frankie Rose & The Outs – “You’re No Good” (Dee Dee Warwick Cover) (stereogum.com)