Franco and The Dreadnought has been featured in Skopemag! Check out this awesome interview with John Blaylock of Franco and The Dreadnought, as he talks to Rebecca Hosking about the name, the music and what’s to come.
FRANCO AND THE DREADNOUGHT: OPPORTUNITY ON EVERY CORNER By Rebecca Hosking
December 7th, 2011
Meeting John Blaylock was a highlighted experience for me and one I will not soon forget. I caught myself numerous times calling John, “Franco”, from the band name, “Franco and the Dreadnought”. I had to ask what was the story behind the name?
I wish my words could be read with the lovely accent he had when we spoke together as he chuckled, “Aw yes, good question. You see I play this guitar, a Martin guitar, which is called the Dreadnought. It is a signature shape that was named after a British naval ship, the “HMS Dreadnought”, which means fear nothing or dread not. Then I thought of a cool name that would sound good in front of it and stuck in Franco”.
He continued, “I also like to trick people. When they hear, Franco and the Dreadnought, they usually anticipate a big production and a huge band. Then I catch everyone by surprise when I come out with only myself and my acoustic guitar”.
In reality the surprise comes when you hear the music this man is able to portray on that signature guitar of his. He said much of his music career was influenced by Simon and Garfunkel and namely the styling’s of Paul Simon. There was a particular tune by them that he held himself accountable for learning. He targeted, “Kathy’s Song” as his gauge to determine when he would be ready as a musician to hit the road and perform in other countries. It took him about 6 months of nonstop playing to nail it and really understand the variations. Through achieving that goal it took his own playing to a new level. Now his work has a unique style all of its own.
His career started as the front man for the band, “The International One”. They were signed to a Record label but were dropped after accruing a huge debt to the label. While with the band John was approached by Desmond Tutu. Nelson Mandela was celebrating his 90th birthday and Desmond Tutu had asked John to write a song celebrating Mandela’s life. He later gave the song to Mandela as a birthday gift. After that the band was invited to a charity celebrity football game and were asked to perform it live at the match.
Well, you do not hear stories like that every day and John was as humble about that as he is everything else. I asked him what kind of emotions does a person go through when an opportunity like this is laid in someone’s lap.
He said, “In preparation of writing the song I read his autobiography and learned so much more about a man that already had me awe struck. There are no words to describe what I felt”.
Soon after things were going awry with the band situation, John was looking to move forward as a solo act and then Franco and the Dreadnought was born. He has been going strong ever since. He misses the camaraderie you get from being in a band but being solo certainly has its perks as well.
He started taking advantage of those opportunities and was touring more and hitting new and exciting venues, this stirred his creativity and he began writing even more than ever before.
He said, “When you write a song with a band you then have to get everyone’s approval, and it takes months before everyone learns it and it could be even longer before we are performing it live? Where as on my own, I can write a song one day and play it live that same night. It is incredible to get instant feedback on a new song. To actually perform a song when it is fresh is so amazing. I write a whole lot more now as a solo artist then I did as a band. I feel I have more freedom and that inspires more action”.
He continued, “I’m always on the look out as a songwriter for words or phrases that stand out. Then subconsciously I was thinking I’m the last man standing and I thought this was fitting for my solo project”.
If you have not heard this CD you are missing out. You can also read a review of the CD here at Skope. Every song on, “Last Man Standing”, is as compelling as the one before it. Lyrically he opens your mind to his world. I felt like I knew him personally after one listen.
Franco and the Dreadnought is an enigma with the ability to take over your senses. The coming year looks like an exciting one for him, with his new singles coming out in February and April. He will be constantly touring all over the UK and I have been campaigning myself trying to get him to come to our neck of the woods.
He is active on social media and loves to keep track of his fans.
Find him on Facebook HERE and follow his career. The music is spellbinding and his friendship is genuine.
Check out the Interview HERE