Sunday, June 10, 2012

Frenchy and The Punk Wax Poetic

Frenchy and the Punk, formerly the Gypsy Nomads, have made quite a name for themselves in the Steampunk Community on both coasts and everywhere in between.  I had the good fortune to meet them and hear them perform at the Steampunk World’s Fair 2012, so I took some time to get to know them as Steampunk performers.

Frenchy’s nickname is from the most obvious of sources.  She really is from France, she was born in Lyon.  She told me the band’s early name, The Gypsy Nomads, suited them at the time, not so much because they play Gypsy style music but that they are nomadic and multicultural. Over time their music evolved enough that they felt the new name simply better represented who they were as a band.

When asked what first attracted them to Steampunk, Frenchy described it this way:  “Steampunk brings warmth back to a world gone cold. It adds more beauty, texture, and depth to everyday objects and tools, reminiscent of a time past. It's a very creative community, which you can witness when you attend any steampunk event!"

“The Punk” got his moniker, because he started out his musical career deeply within the Punk Scene of the 80’s.  He said he was a “hard core Punk musician” rebelling against rigidity and limits in both society and
music!  He said this whole concept, as well as the music suited his personality, and to some degree still does.

He then gradually moved into “Speed Metal” where musicians compete to show who’s the fastest and the most skillful.  (kind of like in the “Old West”, but with guitars!)  Wikipedia defines it like this: “Speed metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that originated in the late 1970s from NWOBHM and hardcore punk roots. It is described by Allmusic as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" music.”

The Punk told me that Steampunk has a retro feel that, like the original Punk Movement, rebels against limits. The Punk then got a really happy look and said he feels like, “With Steampunk, I've come full circle and I like it!”

In 2006 he says that Jeff Mach invited them to perform at The Wicked Faire and it was through that event that they first came to know of the steampunk genre. They have since been embraced by the steam punk community and have performed at almost every major steampunk event in the US. They play what they like, drawing from sources around the world, but always with an eye toward good music that tells stories and they have fun doing it!

I was able to hear their work and observe the response of the audience. I agree with his description about high quality musical story telling, but would underline the part about fun!  The audience certainly warmed to them and found their performance both fun and dance worthy!  You may notice that this theme of musical story telling gets repeated in multiple interviews with bands at Steampunk events suggesting that these truly are basic elements of Steampunk music as a genre.

They are on the road in Europe touring right now, but I just heard from them at one of their stops.
Here is what The Punk had to say about their current European tour:

"We are in France now, we played in Metz for the steam punk Metz crew and we play the big Steam Tour Soiree Extravaganza in Paris tomorrow and then head to England for shows and then back to France for more. It's been amazing so far and we'll be performing in a few different
cities from last year's European trek!"

I encourage you to come see and hear these early pioneers of the Steampunk genre any time you're fortunate enough to find yourself at an event where they appear.  Don’t forget to take time to meet them afterwards.  They are friendly, talkative, and just might wax poetic on you about the beauty of Steampunk, if you’re lucky!

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Check out their new album release 'Hey Hey Cabaret'!

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