An old friend messaged me today asking if I remembered the date of the last Franklin show. I immediately responded, “1999” because while I did not remember the specific month or day, I absolutely swore I knew the year.
Franklin broke up in 1999 after playing two final shows in Philadelphia. The first final show was an all ages show with Unwound and Atom and His Package. Our second final show was a blow-out at the Khyber where we tried to play every song we ever wrote. When I asked him why he was curious about the dates he responded with a wonderful surprise – he had digitized a video he made of that final show.
This friend spent his own valuable time encoding this video to share it with whomever was interested. Amazing.
Thank you Joe Coyle. Oh, and those final shows? They were played in 2000 not 1999. It seems the details of even the most cherished memories get fuzzy over time.
As I mentioned last week, Fracture reunited on Friday, July 18 to play a show at the Ruba club in Philadelphia. While tons of photos will be coming and additional video, I wanted to get these up. They were shot by Chris Zang. Thanks Chris.
I remember standing in left field absolutely convinced I would get hit by a fly ball. Batter after batter came to the plate yet luckily, no hit ever found its way to my corner of the outfield. Fortunately for me, our defense had to only deal with sad grounders and loopy infield fly balls. Had it been an actual game and not just an after school practice I’m sure Murphy’s Law would have guaranteed a hilarious outcome. Something involving me underestimating the depth of the hit and trying to run at breakneck speed in an attempt to catch up to the ball that was already flying over my preoccupied head.
But frankly, at that moment, I couldn’t have cared less. You see, The Tazmanians had a show that evening.
Finding places to play for our high school punk band in 1990 was pretty difficult. In fact, outside of this “show” I think up until this point we had only played engagements that exclusively included our closest friends and their bands as spectators. These might better be described as “community band practices”.
But nevertheless, immediately following that soon-to-end baseball practice T.J. and I would head for the locker room to change and head over to our High School auditorium. We would meet Ron and Greg and set up for the Springfield High School Battle of the Bands.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to scheduled a Battle of the Bands but it was certainly out of the ordinary. At the time, I believe the only groups in our school were two punk bands and two metal bands, one being more in the vein of hair-metal than actual metal.
Nevertheless, our band The Tazmanians was one of those punk bands and we were on the bill! While the event was a competition where one band, chosen by the audience, would win some cash prize, I remember not being at all concerned with that. For us, just playing to a crowd that had never heard our songs seemed more important and revolutionary to our small lives. It gave weight to the hours we had spent in our parents sheds, garages, basements and living rooms learning to play our instruments. It gave us a chance to present songs that we hoped described our uniqueness in a sea of horrifying conformity and ultimately it presented us as a unified gang set against the horrors of modern suburban life…or so we desperately hoped. Sure, that sounds rather dramatic now but then? It’s probably not an overestimate.
Funny how important every moment can be when you’re so rapidly adding experiences to your life. And frankly, trying to describe the importance of those moments 22 years later is a lot like trying to catch a ball that’s already flying over your head.
If you’re interested, here are the recordings of the songs we play in the live video above.
Franklin got pretty lucky. Sure, we had already lost one bass player when Stavroula decided to head to Washington DC to attend American University but when Roy decided to leave the band, we thought we might have been sunk. As with any band, it’s inexplicable how certain people come together to form a band, it’s even more inexplicable why they seem to gel into a gang. So once you have a gang that does gel, losing a member seems almost impossible to recover from.
However, when Roy left we asked Josh Mills to play bass with us. Josh had played with Heel Nation and then True High Fidelity. We had become friends over a few years and without doubt, Josh was one of the most talented musicians we knew. Josh was hesitant to join at first, but I think we slowly convinced him to play with us. I don’t remember now what his hesitation was…maybe we were pretty bad.
None the less, Josh joining the band was incredibly lucky for Franklin as a gang and his bass playing again, without doubt, is probably my most favorite bass playing in the world. The guy can just play.
This recording was from a show we played in College Park, Maryland at the WMUC radio station. Once again, I don’t remember much about the show. We were not on tour at the time so it was either a one off show or possibly part of a quick weekend jaunt. However, the recording is particularly of interest because it features a song I completely forgot all about. It was called Thumbeling. We never officially recorded it which is a shame because, hearing this recording, I would have enjoyed hearing a proper recording of the tune.
Now this is one of the coolest things I’ve heard in a while.
Mark Scott emailed earlier this week mentioning that while looking for an old True High Fidelity recording he came across a live recording of Fracture playing at Gilman Street in Berkeley, CA in the summer of 1995. This was during the second Franklin/Fracture US tour and would ultimately be Fracture’s last tour.
Anyway, this recording from the sound board at Gilman is amazing and Fracture sounds fucking amazing. Sadly, some of the bass is lost in the mix so bass-beast master Jeb Bell is lost in most of the recording but the guitars and drums shred and it’s still one of the coolest live recordings I’ve heard. Just fucking killer.