“It was brutal” – NBCNEWS

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Frank Turner played 50 US states in 50 days.  Credit: Included

Frank Turner has spoken to NME about the “ruthless” experience of playing shows in 50 US states in 50 dates.

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The punk troubadour told us how he became the third-ever artist (and first non-American) to take on the challenge of playing 50 states in 50 days, after George Thorogood did in 1981 and The Melvins in 2012.

Speak with NME From an airport in Hawaii after he and his band The Sleeping Souls completed the trek this week, Turner described his mood as “shell-shocked.”

“I had this idea of ​​playing 50 states in 50 days prior to the pandemic, and it’s been on ice lately,” he said. “In the context of post-pandemic touring, it seemed like a cool way to kick off and a renewed statement of intent.

“I’m on my ninth record and my 17th year of touring as a solo artist, and this isn’t a bad thing to have a hook to hang a tour on.”

Frank Turner played 50 US states in 50 days. Credit: Included

However, Turner revealed that the tour did not come without a host of hurdles.

“Funnily enough, I first got COVID just before the tour,” he said. “I actually had no recovery time, which made the start of the tour particularly brutal.

“For that reason, I had to play two shows for a few days to buy travel time along the west coast of the country. Those two-show days were really pretty preloaded, so I recovered from COVID, jumped on a plane, and then did something like 20 shows in 12 days. That was brutal. It would have been brutal at any point in my career, but after taking two years off and turning 40, that turned out to be quite a challenge!

He continued: “We also had some scrapes on the tour. Our bus driver became very ill at one point, nearly missing the show in Salt Lake City. My new drummer got food poisoning in Montana, which meant the Seattle show became a solo show rather than a full band, literally at the last minute. He was throwing up a lot.

“Me and my crew are sitting here at this airport, somewhat shocked that we made it.”

The former Million Dead frontman, currently on the road in support of his 2022 number one album ‘FTHC’, revealed that he has learned a lot from experiencing so many different audiences in the US.

“It’s extremely important to say that I experience America through a certain prism, that’s the prism of the people who want to come to my shows or people from the hardcore community,” he said. “It would be an exaggeration to say I’ve seen all of America. I saw a very specific part of America.

“There are states where we do better than others. We had 3000 people in Boston, and I’d say a lot less than in Arkansas. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I’d say I feel privileged to have seen as much of America as I have. Contrary to popular belief or what the news cycle would have you believe, Americans have more in common than what divides them.”

Turner added: “Again, maybe that’s because of the prism I see the country through, but I find something reassuring in that.”

Frank Turner played 50 US states in 50 days. Credit: Included

When asked about his own personal highlights and favorite states/shows from the trip, Turner replied: “The most pleasant surprise of the tour was Mississippi. I had extremely low expectations, but we had a phenomenal show. I went to South Dakota for the first time in my life and had a great time.”

Turner remained humble about his reputation as the third recording artist in history and the first non-American to ever fulfill the mission.

“There’s clearly a certain amount of bravado in this and a lot of the way I tour,” he said. “I like to think I’m self-conscious enough to realize that on some levels it doesn’t really matter. I couldn’t have done this very easily, and the world would keep spinning on its axis.

“At the same time, it feels pretty cool. It’s a stripe on my resume and a tattoo I got on my leg yesterday. It is an achievement that is quite rare and I am quite proud of that.”

And what challenge will he face next time?

“You know, in all honesty, I looked at the logistics of trying to play every county in the UK,” he replied. “There are a lot of them, and the UK isn’t really big enough to justify that. I’ve researched other political and historical subdivisions to see if any of them make sense for a tour. We are going to play in every Canadian province next year and next time we play in Australia I plan to play every area.

“It’s a nice way to ensure full coverage, but at this particular moment I’m especially excited to go home and turn off my phone!”

Frank Turner returns to the UK from September to October for a headline tour. Visit here for tickets and more information.

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