Frank Lenz

Frank Lenz

by Brent and Jason

Most of our readers know who you are, but can you give us a little background on your beginnings in music?  How did you learn how to play the drums? play keys? sing?

I started playing drums when I was 6 or 7 years old. when I showed an interest my father got me a practice pad and a method book and told me that if I wanted to play drums I was going to have to learn how to read music and play all of the 26 standard American rudiments. I didn’t get my first drum set until I learned to read. Than he would bring records home and I would have to listen to them like it was homework, the records were anything that had his favorite drummers on them like buddy rich, Louie Bellson and Gene Krupa. I eventually discovered other players like Art Blakey, Mel Lewis and max roach. in high school I got into rudimental drumming and played in a few drum and bugle corps. it wasn’t until later that I discovered guys like Steve Gadd, Jim Kelner and the great Levon Helm. I don’t really play keys, I just do it out of necessity. I had to take piano proficiency in college but I never passed that class. as far as singing goes, I don’t know. the college I went to had a big choral program and I just learned what all the other students learned, things like vocal pedagogy and conducting. I’m not a very good singer.

What are some albums that you listen to that you just love?  What artists have influenced your musical style?

some albums that I love? that’s a hard question, I can’t remember all the albums that I love. right now I am kind of busy so I don’t get a lot of time to just listen. The records that I have listened to lately have been Nico Chelsea Girl, The Velvet Underground Andy Warhol, Margo Gwryan Take a Picture, Paul and Linda McCartney Ram, Birdei Some Dusty, Burt Bacharach Reach Out, David Bowie Hunky Dory, T-rex Electric Warrior and Nick Drake Five Leaves left. I can’t say what people have influenced me…I rip off everybody.

What are your future recording plans? (solo)  Is a solo career something you are trying to get established, or is it more of a side project to support your studio playing and producing?

I don’t have any plans to be a real solo artist. I write and record my own stuff for fun and to try to become a better musician. However I might go on a short solo tour in august to try playing my stuff live, to see if I can do it, try to improve as a musician.

Any cd’s you’re helping to produce now?

I just finished producing a kids record, not that glamorous but it was fun, I’m always doing some sort of richard swift thing…always. were always recording.

What was the recording process of Wayne Everett’s KingsQueens like?  Do you think you would want to work on another project for Wayne?

The recording process was long. We had to record that record through the course of I think six months. There were scheduling problems that made it hard to get all the players together at the same time. It was very fun. Wayne’s songs are great, he let me help out a lot and was open to my ideas. he knows what he’s doing when he makes a record so it wasn’t like I was running everything. I also had an opportunity to do things I don’t always get to do like arranging horns or backup vocals. Wayne did most of the drumming and that was great to hear, he’s a great drummer. I would love to do another record with Wayne.

Who’s better at cards you or Wayne?

Wayne for sure

The Last Temptation is an amazing piece of work.  Are you trying to release the last temptation on a label? Can you elaborate on any label stuff?

Thank you, I’m not sure how I feel about that record. It seems that whenever I finish something I end up hating it. like the hot stuff, I didn’t like that record for a long time, now I think its ok. As far as releasing it? I don’t know. I’m not really pursuing that right now. I am selling it on my web site so I figure that if people want it they can get it. It doesn’t make sense to go through some label that’s a total hassle for a record that I think will interest maybe a small group of people. I might put out some ep’s on Jeff Cloud’s label.

There seems to be a lot of interesting sounds on Temptation.  Where did you find the inspiration for the sounds on that disc?

I don’t know how to really answer that. some sounds came by accident, some because I was trying to do something with a song that just didn’t seem to be that strong. Rich came up with a lot of those sounds as well. I think I just wanted it to sound like stoner folk. Easy songs played by a computer.

What was recording for The Emergency like? Can you tell us what the sound is like?

Really fun. Ken Andrews (failure, year of the rabbit) is a great producer and a cool guy. It was a little weird to record an album for a major record label, not bad just weird. I didn’t write any of the songs so I was just a hired guy, still the idea that I was a hired guy playing with a bunch of my friends for Atlantic Records was a strange combination. I won’t try to explain the sound.

Would you tell us about some of your experiences with the many bands you have been involved?  How did you get involved with SF59? Give us an idea of how you feel about Old.  What was it like to play with Pony X?  Etc.

I couldn’t really give you a real answer on all the bands I’ve worked with, I have a terrible memory. I hooked up with SF59 simply because they lost their drummer and I was the easiest guy to get a hold of. Old is a great record. Never having recorded with SF59 I couldn’t compare the experience with anything else they have done. t is my favorite SF record and I’m very proud of it. Producing the new Pony was awesome, mostly because I love Jeff Cloud. He’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. He also wrote bitchen songs and I could do whatever I wanted to with them.

You seem to have been working quite a bit with Richard Swift lately.  How did you guys begin making music together?  Any plans for a Swift/Lenz project?

we work together all the time. I don’t really record anything without him. I would say we always work together as a team but he is so more advanced than me as a song writer that that wouldn’t be true. we almost always record he’s stuff together. there is a loose collaboration based on our odd sensibilities and similarities. we almost always have the same ideas without planning them out. It’s always a pleasure working with him, I can’t say enough.

Do you have any pointers for an up and coming drummer on technique? (ps: Brent: the up and coming drummer)

try to balance the craft of drumming (rudiments, technique) with your love of music. try to listen to as much music as you can and be a slave to the song.

Are you a Prince fan? a Bee Gees fan?

I don’t really like Prince, I do like the Bee Gees

What do you think of your “stud” image over at northern records? How true is it?

I don’t know what you’re talking about

Name the three records that you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of, and why.

The Novelist by R. Swift, Old by SF59 and The Hot Stuff by me.

Any other Comments?

I can’t spell and am not sure of the spelling of the names I’ve mentioned.

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