Tony Franklin and Think:EXP
Recognized globally and in the music industry for his work on the fretless bass guitar, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Tony Franklin is known for his work with The Firm, Jimmy Page, Whitesnake, Paul Rodgers, David Gilmour, Kate Bush and a host of others.
Franklin is now working with Think:EXP, the new supergroup revolutionising the music world with their one-of-a-kind live immersive concert experiences. Striving to bridge the gap between the human spirit and technological innovation, Think:EXP has created immersive experiences through reimagining the classics.
Currently venturing ‘Beyond The Wall’ with their own spin on the music of Pink Floyd, the third most influential rock band in the history of music, Think:EXP is performing in a 360-degree dome while journeying into the realm of virtual reality via a shared VR experience with mind-blowing visuals, customised 360 projections and surround sound.
Joining Tony Franklin on stage is the visionary creator of Think:EXP, Scott Page from Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Toto; Stephen Perkins, drummer of Jane’s Addiction; Kenny Olson, founder and guitarist of Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band; Roberta Freean, supporting vocalist for Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd and many others; Eric Mayron on keys; John Stankorb on vocals and guitar; support singers Carol Hatchett and Yolanda Thomas and the exhilarating vocalist and guitarist Derek Day.
I had a conversation with Tony Franklin after the show. He’s is not only an amazing musician but an incredible person with a profound human spirit…
Louder Than War: How has it been playing bass with the Think:EXP?
The whole experience is unique and very, very cool. I don’t really get to experience it to its full extent because when you’re playing I can’t look up at all the graphics because I would get lost in that. I never want to lose my place in the music. But I can’t imagine what it’s like. I’ve sat out and watched some of the graphics and seen them and you can lose yourself. It’s like going on a trip without drugs. So, to be able to hear Pink Floyd’s music with that kind of imagery it just takes you away. That thing is going to be mind -blowing, really. Pink Floyd is the perfect music for that too.
You have your own impressive musical history as well. You’ve played with nearly everyone on the planet.
Not quite, but I’m working on it. Going back to 1984, I played with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers in a band called The Firm. Before that there was a guy called Roy Harper who actually sang on Pink Floyd’s Have A Cigar. He toured with Led Zeppelin as well. I toured with Whitesnake and David Gilmour, Kate Bush and in a band called Blue Murder with a guitarist called John Sykes and someone called Carmine Appice. It just keeps on going and going. I just came back from a tour with Jason Bonham who is the son of the great John Bonham. He does this thing called Led Zeppelin Evening. Then we did a few shows with Peter Frampton, opening up for that. So it’s been fun.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from England. I’m from a city called Derby. I’m from there but I’ve been in the States almost 30 years. When I go back people say I sound very American but in the USA they can still hear enough of an accent. My mother hated the Derby accent and my father was from the south so between that and traveling my accent has just picked up a little of everything. I don’t know what I sound like.
So how did you come to play with Think?
Actually, I was brought in as the back-up bass player for this. I’ve ended up doing a whole bunch of gigs because the original bass player Norwood Fisher broke his wrist, so I was called at 11 o’clock in the morning to do a show that night. So I stepped in and learned all the stuff and played it that night. I’ve ended up doing a bunch of shows.
Where can people find you if not performing with Think?
I’m all over the internet. You can find me under the fretless monster. My main bass I play is the fretless bass which I played with The Firm. I actually have a signature bass and it’s in its 13th year of production with Fender. So, if you go on the Fender website you can see my bass on there. I’m on Facebook and Instragram and Twitter under the fretless monster.
All words by Eileen Shapiro. More of Eileen’s writing can be found in her author’s archive.