There’s a new band on Townsville’s music scene, and they’re not here to sit back quietly. The Wayward Franklins only emerged as a complete outfit earlier this year, but the individually seasoned musicians (some may recognise drummer Damien McCluskey as the former frontman of Three Mile Road) have brought together an eclectic mix of inspiration and experience to create the region’s freshest bluesy punk rock sounds.
Girl caught up with lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jonathan Brian to find out more about the band.
Girl: Who are you, how did you meet, and when did you decide to start a band?
JB: “The members of The Wayward Franklins are Callum McIntyre on lead guitar, Damien McCluskey on drums, Chad Saunders on bass, and myself on rhythm and vocals.
How we met is pretty standard for musos these days. Well me and Chad have been mates since I moved here back in 2014. We both sort of knew we could play guitar, but like a year after meeting I had some riffs and songs ideas and asked him to come round for a jam. He was actually going to sell all his music gear and I convinced him to keep his bass and come jam with me haha. We jammed for a few months with a little drum machine from my multi effects pedal and realised we wanted to actually give the songs a go. So we did the classic move of posting some ads on the Facebook musician page for Townsville. Thats where Callum came in. Then Callum brought Damo in. A couple of jams later we all kind of realised that hey these songs have got something and to top it off we all really get along. Thats when the band really came together.”
If you had to describe your sound and aesthetic to the uninitiated, what would you say?
“I’ve had a few goes at this question and always find it difficult to answer haha. To start with I was after a blues sound but with some heaviness in there too. A bit like Black Keys or Jack White but heavier in places. Now that we’ve written a few songs and we’ve evolved a bit I’d say we are still bluesy with a hard rock vibe thrown in for good measure. But all our songs are very different. From softer ballads to some punchy rock and punk. A real mixed bag!”
What’s been your most memorable gig to date, and why?
“To be honest we haven’t played many, maybe four or so? But two stand out for me personally. Our very first gig at the Herbert Hotel was great because we were absolutely packing it, screwed a few things up but we had heaps of support from experienced musos and punters and our mates. We played so fast we chewed through our set! The other one is our most recent gig at the Loona Lounge. They’ve been really good to us, it’s a great set up and it’s just heaps of fun. Also The Koffin Rockers were playing after us which was a big highlight. Any chance to get up there is memorable though.”
If you could record a track with any artist, living or dead – who would it be, which track, and why?
“Oh dang… that’s really hard. I’m a massive Doors fan. Jim Morrison has really influenced me musically for a lot of years. But of course all the greats come too mind, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Page etc. Current artists for me would be Jack White, Mike Einzinger (Incubus) and Johnny from a band called Highly Suspect. Dude has a voice, man! And Jack’s work with the fuzz pedal and all his tones is just glorious.”
What would you say is the most challenging thing for up and coming artists in regional Queensland?
“This is a really interesting question. I think for sure we are up against it compared to bands from bigger cities like Melbourne. Purely an exposure thing. When I lived in Melbourne we could play heaps of gigs to a wide range of audiences, make a lot of contacts and really gain some traction. In more regional areas there is less gig space for original bands. Maybe less of a music scene? Although the people I have met here are amazing and really give you a go. The other issue is a jam space! No dedicated jam rooms to hire out. My neighbours are really getting sick of me haha.”
You’ve just released a video online – tell us a bit about the track?
“The song Fuck it’s Hot was one of the first riffs I’d ever written myself. The title of it was just the working title. Me and Chad were just tinkering with it in my house and it was one of those intensely hot and humid days we get here. We had no fans no aircon and were rocking out! So I called it “Fuck it’s Hot.” We sat on it for a long time and eventually Damo was able to arrange it into a workable song and wrote the lyrics for it. It went from something I was going to just throw away to something entirely different. It had a new kind of soul to it, thanks to Damo.”
You took a DIY approach to the video – how come?
“Everything we do is DIY. It’s what we know haha. With the software that’s out there these days, DIY is not what it used to be. You can get some great quality out there. Of course it won’t be as polished as a studio recording, but we are very excited about what we are doing and just wanted to get it out there! Further along down the line we will definitely get into the studio but for now as we are just trying to get the word out.”
Where can we see you perform in upcoming months?
“We are playing a fundraising event in Ingham on the 25th of November which we are pumped for. Should a fun and relaxed atmosphere. After that we don’t have any lined up as we are coming into the end of the year so we will look to next year to get back up there.”
Can we stalk you online?
“We are totally stalkable. On Facebook we have a fair amount of content posted. From short snippets to live performances and rehearsals. We like to stay up to date with all the social media, it’s a great way to connect to other people. From people like yourself, other bands, people that host bands and music fans as well. We just opened up our YouTube channel too, so watch that space!”
What’s the band’s plan for 2018?
“2018 is going to be a lot of refining our stage performance, writing new songs and of course as many gigs as possible. Additionally we will be booking studio time to record and release some stuff. I feel like 2017 was us getting our stuff together and making in roads. So 2018 we want to push that a little further and really make some head way.”
Watch: The Wayward Franklins ‘Fuck it’s Hot!’ –