Fab's Music Café, 'Live': Tony Franklin; Deconstructing The Firm's "Radioactive"
Known as the “Fretless Monster”, Tony Franklin has played alongside some of the greatest names in music history. He got his big break in 1984 as bassist in stellar supergroup The Firm, with guitar legend Jimmy Page, vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Chris Slade (AC/DC, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band). Franklin’s signature fretless growl was a distinctive and instantly recognizable element of the band’s first hit, Radioactive.
After two hit albums and substantial touring with The Firm, Franklin subsequently performed with Blue Murder (John Sykes, Carmine Appice), David Gilmour, Kate Bush, Whitesnake, Roy Harper, Pat Travers, Tony McAlpine, Gary Hoey, Donna Lewis, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Italian superstars Vasco Rossi and Eros Ramazzotti and many others. An in-demand session bass ace, he has appeared on hundreds of albums.
In January 2006, Fender proudly introduced the Tony Franklin Signature Model Fretless Precision Bass guitar, a replica of the instrument Franklin has used throughout his career. In it's 14th year of production, Fender introduced a new color, Lake Placid Blue to the line in January 2020. 2006 also saw the Sony release of Tony Franklin: Not Just Another Pretty Bass, Franklin’s first sample loop library.
In 2011, Franklin joined Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band, and toured extensively throughout the world. Franklin can be heard on Shepherd’s album, “Goin’ Home”, released in Summer 2014.
2015 saw Franklin recording and touring with Heart Of Storm, live Rock Ballet - with world class Russian ballet, and live rock band featuring Doug Aldrich, Gregg Bissonette, Derek Sherinian, Brent Woods and Brandon Fields. A Live DVD was shot at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles.
Franklin closed the summer of 2015 touring with Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band opening for Van Halen, culminating in two shows at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
2016 brought further touring with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, numerous recording sessions, and saw Franklin as a Rock Star Counselor at Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, alongside Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes, Steve Vai, Ginger Bakerof Cream and David Crosby. As of March 2020, Franklin has appeared at thirteen Rock Camps, alongside members of Deep Purple, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, REO Speedwagon, Jon Anderson of Yes, Judas Priest, Alice In Chains, Van Halen, Paul Stanley of KISS and Cheap Trick - where Franklin was enlisted as Musical Director, arranger and conductor for the band's performance of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album. Franklin is also a featured artist in the upcoming Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp documentary, set for Summer 2020 release.
In 2017, Franklin toured Japan extensively with Japanese superstar Eikichi Yazawa, culminating in 5 nights at the Budokan, the legendary Tokyo venue.
Summer 2018 brought the release of Franklin’s Fretless Bass Instructional Course through TrueFire. Autumn 2018 saw Franklin fronting his own band in Europe playing material from his extensive career including music from The Firm, Whitesnake, Blue Murder and Pink Floyd.
In the summer of 2019, Franklin toured with Jason Bonham and his Led Zeppelin Evening show, opening for Peter Frampton on his Farewell Tour. Franklin also played numerous shows with Raiding The Rock Vault, the awarding winning Las Vegas music show, including dates in London on their maiden voyage to the U.K.
With a bass solo album nearing completion, Master Classes, counseling, constant writing, touring and recording, Franklin says: “I’ve only just begun!”