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August 2020
Best of 2019

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes make up for lost time: "I realised how much I had been missing"

The band have had a top 2019, throwing themselves into new album 'End of Suffering', and a packed tour schedule.
Published: 11:33 am, December 13, 2019Words: Alex Bradley. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes make up for lost time: "I realised how much I had been missing"

"When I'm high, I'm in heaven / When I'm low, I'm in hell," cried Frank Carter on the opening track of 'End Of Suffering' and those lines could not be more fitting for the year he has had.

On 19th September, Frank was involved in a serious car crash in Devon. He was lucky to walk away with some cuts, scrapes, "a kneecap in the wrong place," bruised ribs and "a headache that won't go away'. He is lucky to be alive.

Just over a month on and while the physical scars are healing, the mental ones will take longer. He is changed, understandably; his whole perspective on life along with it. And, while he is still in the process of healing, he is already determined to turn staring death in the face into something positive.

"It refocused my life," he explains. "I've been writing more than I've ever written. I wrote loads of songs. I've been painting every day."

There has always been his own blood pressed between the pages of his lyrics so its no surprise that this incident has sent his creativity into overdrive. But, for Frank, getting back on stage can't come soon enough. Immediately after the crash, the Rattlesnakes' tour of North America was cancelled, but they are spending the end of October and November playing shows around Europe.

"You have no idea how excited I am to go on tour on Monday and play shows because I haven't sung since the accident.

"We didn't even get a chance to do any pre-production, we are just going in without a practice - its the first time I'm gonna see a lot of the boys because they've gone away - this tour that is coming is going to be biblical. Properly life-affirming. I'm really excited."

It's on stage where Frank Carter is at his happiest it seems. It's always been the case whether it was with Gallows or Pure Love, but this year, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have taken it to another level with their live show.

"Next time I'm complaining about anything, I need someone to slap me across the chops"
Frank Carter

A lot of that has been having to play stadium-sized venues with Foo Fighters all summer.

"What's nice is to get out there with all that nervous energy and play like your fucking life depends on it - and kind of it does. You're being measured up, whether you like it or not, against fucking Dave Grohl who is arguably one of the most important humans in rock music, ever, historically.

"So in order to even just get past that, you must be on your fucking top game. Then you turn around and see him rocking out watching you and its like okay, nothing matters, this is what we are supposed to be doing. And it's nice, you come off stage, and he goes 'fuck you, I've got to work harder with you guys on this tour' and that is what you want is for a man like Dave Grohl to tell you he has brought you out to keep him on his toes and that's when you know you are doing things properly. It's outrageous. He's my fucking hero. I grew up listening to his music in all guises and to have that is pretty special.

"But those shows were pretty special, and they changed things for us. They changed the whole atmosphere within our band and the focus and intensity, and it was really special to do that with them."

All that they learned from those Foo Fighters shows was packed into a blistering set at Reading Festival where they played third from the top on the Main Stage slot. That was a huge moment for Frank who had his whole family, his daughter included, there watching as he was realising his dream in the slot, that to him is reserved for bands people know are going to stand the test of time.

He triumphantly adds, "And, for a band that isn't even five years old, it's a huge accomplishment for a British, guitar-based, band that is not-indie - we're fully a rock band.

"It just really felt this year that people were getting behind us in a way where they haven't really ever and that's really fucking exciting, man. That really makes you fucking appreciate what is going on."

In true Frank style, he quickly balances out that high.

"And, maybe, I somehow - even though I thought I was incredibly aware of everything that is happening - when I had that crash, I realised how much I had been missing. When you have an event like that after having events like we had all summer - playing with Foo Fighters, playing the Colosseum, playing Reading & Leeds - it puts all those things into perspective.

"Man, like next time I'm complaining about anything, I need someone to slap me across the chops because I have got an incredible life and I need to enjoy it, and that has been one of my problems my whole life. Maybe not feeling like I deserve it or like the ego get in the way a little bit, but that has all gone now."

Somewhere in between it all, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes released 'End Of Suffering' too.

"Anytime you think you've got Rattlesnakes pegged, we're gonna flip it on you," he smiles. And they did. Musically, its rock music through a pop lens with Frank's vocals front and centre too. There are Amy Winehouse inspired soul moments in the misery of 'Love Games', there is fizzing electronics in 'Supervillain' and a cameo from Tom Morello on 'Tyrant Lizard King' and everything you thought you knew about The Rattlesnakes blown to smithereens.

"We wanted to be Rattlesnakes like we always have been but inject it with as many steroids, fireworks and dynamite and then just deliver it to people with a bow and a match."

And they achieved that with aplomb. It's an album of very personal experiences to both Frank and all the Rattlesnakes but, again, it manages to find a voice for the voiceless; for those who are in struggling in similar ways. There is a dark heart at the centre of the album, but there is also optimism - love and loss - while tackling more specific issues of toxic relationships and mental health.

It's those messages, being a voice and ally to the marginalised, plus their explosive live shows that have made Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes truly special; now more than ever. They'll be back in the UK early in 2020 with their biggest UK headline shows ever and, while they have big plans for the production, Frank promised to "play all the fucking music we've got because we've got some great songs and it'd be a shame to leave any of them behind."

Taken from the December 2019 / January 2020 issue of Upset.

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