Franz Ferdinand will play in 14 different European countries this summer and also travel to Japan in support of their 3rd album Tonight:Franz Ferdinand.
You spent many years playing with experienced musicians in bands like Yummy Fur. Why did you form Franz Ferdinand with bassist Bob Hardy when he couldn’t play an instrument?
It started as an argument about how anybody could be a musician. In 1999, Bob was going out with my [then] girlfriend’s best friend. He told awful jokes about dead babies — I thought he was an idiot. But we had a few drinks and I realized he was all right, so I got him a job as a dishwasher. During our downtime, we’d drink cooking brandy and talk about our imaginary band — about how we’d meet the eyes of the audience, be incredibly emotional, and capture the experimentation of the avant-garde while keeping melody. But he had no interest in being a musician. Then my friend Mick, who was in the Amphetameanies with me at the time, offered me a bass guitar on the condition that I do something useful with it. So Bob and I drank some whiskey, and I showed him how to play an early version of “This Fire.” I think in Bob’s head, he was going, “I’m in art school. Getting a band together is the sort of thing you do when you’re in art school.”
As a band, you guys seem very chummy. When was the last big fight you had, and what was it about?
Bob and [drummer] Paul [Thomson] are very peaceful. It’s Nick and I who are more extreme characters. At the end of 2004, we were playing a festival in the Zenith, which is this big arena just outside of Paris. I can’t remember what started it — something about a light switch. This huge fight erupted and we ended up laying into each other in the dressing room. Then we were told, “You have to be onstage in five minutes.” So we played the gig. It was a great gig! Then we went backstage and picked up the fight. Chairs were upturned and food was everywhere. Then someone comes to the door and tells us that the guys from our label want to give us our gold discs. So we stopped the fight again and got the gold discs. And then our manager says, “Oh, we’ve just got this message from the queen. She wants you to come play a garden party at Buckingham Palace.” And we’re like, “What the fuck is going on here?” But we go back inside and start the fight again and now there are gold discs flying all over the place. I remember being dragged out of the dressing room by five guys and Jarvis Cocker staring at us. It was totally embarrassing. I realized I’d been a complete idiot.
Tour dates below