Frank Hurricane(us)

Off tha chain
Gangsta Folk. Frank Hurricane invented that genre himself for his music. I guess he did not have to do that because the mix of hiphop and folk had been made before, good and bad. I’m thinking of Beck his slacker hymne ‘Loser‘ and ‘What It’s Like‘ by Everlast. Don’t ask me why. But  the oldest hiphopfolk song must be Dylan’s ‘Subterranian Homestick Blues‘, although he would probably tell you he took it from some old bluesman. Anyway. Back to the Hurricane. Frank made two albums I really liked: the storytelling roadtrip blues album ”Quitorian Blues‘ and his 70s psychfolk tribute ‘Mountain Brew Light‘, both out on the always execellent Feeding Tube label. A talk. Gangsta style. Well, more or less. Ok: less.

— by Joeri Bruyninckx

JB: You make hiphop and folk. What do these two types of music have in common? Storytelling?

FH: I think that what makes hip hop and folk/blues my favorite genres of music is definitely the storytelling aspect of them, yeah.

JB: When you play live, you talk as much as you play. Why do you do that?

FH: I tell stories that explain where a song is coming from, and sometimes that’s a long story, sometimes half an hour long! I enjoy storytelling as much as I do playing music, so I guess that makes sense.

JB: Also at live shows, you often seem a bit drunk, or stoned or high. Does this help to loosen up and give a better show?

FH: I definitely love to drink and puff pounds of weed for sure, it makes the shows better.

JB: Do see your music and your stories as “typical American”?

FH: I don’t see my music or stories typical American because I live a gangsta’s life! I’m lucky enough to get to travel around a lot and meet crazy people and do insane things pretty much all the time, which makes the stories and inspires the songs.

JB: You grew up in the South, right?

FH: Yeah, I did, in North and South Carolina until I was 16 or so, and then Tennessee and Georgia after that. I love all those places, it was amazing growing up there and the people down there are off tha chain! Wild pymps walk the street and everybody’s drinkin and going hawg wild, and the best part are the mountains and forests down there, They are my true HOME! I live up North now in NYC and I definitely love it up here, but I still spend a lot of time down South.

JB: Do you see yourself as a hippie?

FH: I don’t see myself as a hippie, no.

JB: You use the words ‘spiritual’, ‘psychedelic’ and ‘holy’ often, but what do they mean to you?

FH: I do use them a lot for sure, to me they mean “real”, “unpredictable”, “gangstrous”, “full of energy”.

JB: Do you see your music as outsider music?

FH: I don’t think of my music as outsider music because I’m making it for everybody, for the whole holy world to listen to!

JB: Do you still play in the Flaming Dragons?

FH: I do. Every once in a blue moon, I play with the Flaming Dragons, being friends with Danny is INCREDIBLE, and he is amazing! An inspiring homie for sure! He’s gotta come out to Europe sometime.

JB: I’m telling that to the people at Kraak for years: book Danny Cruz! He’s got the best band since Reynols. Anyway. I got two albums from you, the ‘Quintorian Blues ‘LP and the ‘Mountain Brew Light’ LP, and I like both of them very much, so I would like to ask you some questions about both of those two records.

First about the road trip record ‘Quintorian Blues’: on this record, you tell the strange story that Steven Seagal and Little Howlin’ Wolf would be related. Now I never heard of that. Is than actually true?

FH: It could be true, I don’t know!

JB: You also talk about a friend of yours called Thimothy Leary Jr. Is he actually the son of Thimothy Leary? Or do you just call him that because this friend of yours likes his LSD?

FH: My friend Timothy Leary Jr is not really related to the LSD homie, but is spiritually related to him.

JB: Thought so. You also tell about a meeting with a serial killer.

FH: The serial killer guy was in the grocery store parking lot and he tried to get us in his car, that would have probably been our end.

JB: Do you feel like what you do on this record is more blues than folk?

FH: I always feel like I play more blues than folk!

JB: What does ‘Quitorian’ mean? Is Quintoria the name of a girl, maybe?

FH: Quintorian means a couple things. For one, 5 is my favorite number, so Quint makes sense. And Danny Monster Cruz of Flaming Dragons used to have an evil alter ego named Danny Quintor, and its mostly named after him, because while I wrote most of the songs for that album I was working as his PCA.

JB: PCA?

FH: Personal Care Assistant.

JB: Right. You often use the expression ‘off tha chain’ too. Now maybe this is because I’m a middle class European man in his 40s, but I have no idea what ‘off tha chain’ means, so you have to explain that to me.

FH: Off tha chain means something is “spiritual”, “holy”, and “psychedelic”.JB: Ok. And than about ‘Mountain Brew Light’.

JB: This album sounds more arranged than ‘Quitorian Blues’. It has also a fuller sound. But at the same time, it sounds raw, lofi almost. That’s a really nice combination, I think. So I was wandering: was this one of your goals when you made this record: to create a full yet raw sound?

FH: On ‘Mountain Brew Light’, the main goal was to do a full band record and make it as off tha chain as possible! We recorded it in a really nice studio in Kingston NY, which is a small city near the Catskill Mountains above NYC.

JB: The cover of the album is also very nice. Who did that? You?

FH: The cover is by my good old friend Turner Williams, who currently lives in Philadelphia.

JB: And a final question: what do you do as a day job?

FH: I’m a bartender in Brooklyn at a few different holy spots.

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