Gigwise is ready and waiting for what should be an interview with Gallows’ guitarist Laurent Barnard (‘Lags’) and the phone line is engaged. Twenty minutes finger flicking the redial button later and we’re called back. Thinking we’re interviewing Lags, we dive straight into questions, before swallowing the realisation: “Is that Frank?” Much to our surprise, ice cool, man du jour, Frank Carter, has taken Lags’ place. Gallows have just cancelled their Taste of Chaos dates in Germany Italy and Switzerland as most of the band’s suffering varying illnesses; Lags has flu (hence not being with us) and Frank’s brother Steph has been struck down with Bronchitis. An intense touring schedule has clearly taken its toll and Gallows are back resting in the UK so they can ride the wave of the UK leg of the Taste of Chaos and do their fans justice.
When we chat to Frank, despite all the onstage antics, we find him a real bloody nice bloke actually. Instead of the angry, moshing, violent little guy we’ve all witnessed him as at gigs, Frank is quiet, chilled but extremely opinionated. Just a week after his photo adorned magazine shelves in WHSmiths, we ask Frank about the (ahem) NME cool list, which saw Frank come out on top ahead of such bastions of coolness as Alex Turner, the ever twee Kate Nash and smack head Amy Winehouse - which is probably not that hard actually. What does Frank think of the list? He laughs. “I’m indifferent to it to be honest. I’d rather win it than some other dickhead. They took a risk giving it to a 5’7”, skinny, ginger, sober bloke which is quite a cool thing to do but I don’t like the magazine.”
The rag has given Gallows a hell of a lot of press these last few months, did Frank really just admit to hating them? He gladly continues his rant: “Who the fuck has a cool list?! It’s quite easy for them to put us in a mag; in fact, the best thing they’ve done all year is to recognise our band. The New Musical Express has a responsibility to recognise new bands but the whole magazine has got cliquey. ‘You have to go to this place and dress like this’. Hopefully me topping that list will mean they will have to feature other punk rock bands.” We remind him that Beth Ditto was crowned top of the cool list last year, and since then they have not exactly been popping their clogs to promote girl fronted rock bands. Frank laughs.
Gallows have suffered a fair few misquotes from the music press in the last year; the most notorious claimed that Carter had drawn a thick black line marking the life span of the group, allegedly stating that Gallows wouldn’t last five years. “It’s probably one of the greatest misquotes we’ve suffered. Gallows has a sell by date like any other band, but the sell by date will be when we get bored. I’ll be in this band until the band quit! I love this band! I’m not going to quit the band! I get to spit at people in this job- why would I quit that?!”
Frank is excited about continuing on the Taste of Chaos tour. He tells us his favourite band comprising the line up alongside The Used and Aiden are Rise Against. For Frank, this is the ‘Fuck You Tour’, “As far as we’re concerned we were never a hardcore band; we’re too much of a liability! The fact of the matter is we’re guys who love punk rock playing punk rock. We don’t mind being a mainstream band as we get well paid! We’ve been in hardcore bands when we were younger. When Laurent and I started the band we wanted to be a disco band and see where it went. It was clear it wasn’t going to work. Fortunately, Gallows was born, and here I am.”
On their monster tours so far, having played the strenuous Warped Tour over the summer, Frank’s favourite gig was at the Electric Ballroom in London in front of 1500 people, “London was a year to the day of playing Southend-on-Sea at The Minerva club. There were 15 people at that gig, and the only people really interested were the security guys. In a year it just goes to show how far we’ve come.”
Frank doesn’t want to give away too much regarding any future plans but Gallows will be returning to the studio to produce the second instalment in the one million pound Warner’s deal. “We wrote ‘Abandon Ship’ three and a bit year’s ago, frankly we want to get back to writing our own records again… We are working on some fun stuff for ourselves, but we want it to be a surprise. I will tell you that we’re working on some Oasis stuff as we all love Oasis and also some party songs (for gigs). People think we are all about menacing people but we just want to have fun! The songs will probably not be recognisable and they’ll be sped up and rewritten!” Will they be taking part in any more collaboration in the not too distant future? “The Lethal (Bizzle) thing (their joint cover of The Ruts’ ‘Staring At The Rude Boys’) was such a spur of the moment thing. Any future collaboration will be more about the band as a whole than just me!”
Frank is pretty happy right now. Although Gallows have a very busy couple of months coming up (touring right up until the festive period), they are soon taking a few weeks’ breather before their headlining tour resumes in Atlanta on January 9th. Frank doesn’t suppose that they’ll be playing the full leg of Warped Tour next year, as it will be the only opportunity they really have to get into the studio and write the new album. For Frank, 2007 has been a great year, which cannot be overshadowed by some lame ‘cool list’, “My band has been a highlight. We’ve won awards, we’ve played hundreds of shows, and we’ve been to countries we never thought we’d see. My band has been the best thing. I’ve loved every minute of it!”
And long may Gallows’ reign continue.