Franco and the Dreadnought is Franco (aka John Blaylock) and the Dreadnought (aka DXME Martin Acoustic Guitar), he plays a lush blend of acoustic indie-folk and comes from Manchester. We caught up with him and discussed Desmond Tutu, Noel Gallagher and Full English breakfasts, here's how we got on....
Please introduce yourself and your music in one sentence….
My name's Franco, lead singer and guitarist in the solo outfit, Franco + The Dreadnought.
Franco and the Dreadnought, an interesting name, how did you come about choosing this name?
I've always had the nickname Franco cos me and all my mates were obsessed with Trainspotting (the film, we didn't have anoraks or binoculars) and that name got stuck with me. I play a Martin Dreadnought guitar and it's a big part of my music so put the two together and abracadabra…..
How has social media aided your music?
It's made me connect with people in different countries that have nothing better to do with their time than trawl the internet
The first guitar riff you heard that made you and still does give you an orgasm?
You need to have better sex in your life but I get where you're coming from - Money for Nothing
You have done some work recently in L.A. with the likes of Rick Garcia, Pam Sheyne and Marcella Detroit, how did this go?
Very well, these people have been incredibly successful and they were all brilliantly humble and great to work with, they say opposites attract! haha
What does music mean to you?
Life, genuinely if you took it away from me I'd be left with playing one game of football a week and that'd be it
Which act/band made you want to get a band together?
When I was 13 Oasis were king so definitely them, I've now met Noel about 5 or 6 times and he's a geezer
Give me three words that best describe you?
acoustic, heartfelt, crafted
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language?
Obviously a dog, one, it's a dog, two it sings lullabies and three its not gonna smash my head in out of frustration cos I can't understand its sign language
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
The Stone Roses eponymously titled debut album, only record I'd give a perfect 10 to
You were asked personally by Desmond Tutu to write a song celebrating the life of Nelson mandela, tell us how this came about?
Me and Dessy used to kick it in the mean streets if Soweto. No not really, came about through a contact of my old bands record label, a good Irish dude called Don Mullan who's done a lot of charity work out there. Big up Mandela, legend.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it?
I'd have me on lead guitar, me as a frontman, me on bass, me on piano and then on drums….erm.. ..me! I would love to hear that band!
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Walking in Memphis, everything's perfect
Where did you record the debut album?
Some with The Animal Farm in London, some at my house, some at a mate's house - Tommy Vox. Necessity!
You completed your first tour of the USA last year, any plans to tour this year?
Yeah I'm gonna be doing a lot more in the very near future, watch this space
First gig you ever went to?
E17 at the Apollo in Manchester, I was 11 wearing denim jeans, denim jacket and a bandana, thought I was really cool cos a 13 year old girl gave me a pull of her cigarette!
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
Pablo Escobar, Pete Doherty and Keith Richards, see you in a fortnight for some counselling
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
James Vincent McMorrow and Chvrches
You recently played a World Cup party night in Burnley when England were playing Italy, did you manage to steer people’s eyes away from the TV screen?
I was the warm up act, finished with '3 lions on my shirt' just before kick off, it was class. Now off to Sao Paolo to cheer on Roy's Boys
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Jessica Rabbit, beautiful, elegant, could make a grown man cry
Your eponymously titled debut album is due to drop on August 3rd, are you planning a launch party or any gigs around the release date?
Yes indeed please come along to one of these shows
Fri Aug 2nd - Dancehouse theatre, Manchester
Fri Aug 8th - Sanctuary Rock Bar Burnley
Thurs Aug 14th - O2 Academy Islington
Sat Aug 23rd - Camden Barfly
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Why not? we live in a world where people believe the official story of 9/11
I see that you’re off to the World Cup in Brazil, who’s your money on?
Yes indeed, I quite fancy the Dutch or the Germans to do it. I've got a ticket for every England game though, just imagine if we got to the final, I'll be at the World Cup Final, watching England. Amazing!!
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Promote the album, smash it, get back to LA, write some more hit records.
Prior to letting Franco go jump on a plane that was destined for Brazil, we asked a bunch of quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea? who cares
Coke or Pepsi? see above
Drum machine or the real deal? that's more like it, at Coachella this year there were some incredible beats coming out of drum machines that I started to feel sorry for drummers. I'm sold. Drum Machine!
Mac or PC? Mac
Fry up or Sunday roast? Fry up, you can eat one everyday and when you're hungover (or still up) it's the best thing in the world
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Lemmy just for Ace of Spades
CD or Vinyl? CD
Car or Motorbike? Bike
L.A. or Manchester? LA
Acoustic or electric? Acoustic
Oasis or Blur? Mad for it
Shower or Bath? Shower, I aint got time to mince around
Tattoos or Piercings? I'll just take a healthy tan thanks
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? Sean Bean
God or Google? mmm Google's got more answers
We would like to thank Franco for sparing his time to run through our questions and wish him every success with the launch of his debut album on August 3rd.
Interview by Steve Muscutt