Frankie Poullain

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Frankie Poullain
Frankie Poullain 2012.jpg
Poullain live with The Darkness.
Background information
Birth name Franklin Poullain
Born (1967-04-15) 15 April 1967 (age 47)
Edinburgh, Scotland.
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass, guitar, Cowbell
Years active 2000 - present
Associated acts The Darkness
Notable instruments
Gibson Thunderbird

Francis Gilles Poullain-Patterson (born 15 April 1967), better known as Frankie Poullain, is the bass player for rock band The Darkness. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He attended the Royal High School from 1984 to 1987. According to his brother, the trumpeter Tim Poullain-Patterson, Frankie was known widely as François Kay Poulet in the 80’s but changed to his mothers maiden name of ‘Poullain' due to an ever growing conflict with Japanese pop band Frank Chickens. He has also performed in several bands including the barbershop trio 'Frankie and the Taphophiles', post-punk 8 piece 'I Tasted Handcuffs' and the cover band The Actual Darkness.

He has several well known ancestors and relatives, including [Francesco Buongiovanni], the celebrated 19th century composer and castrato and his lineage can be traced back to the [House of Yngling]. He was named after a relative on his mothers side - 17th century feminist philosopher [François Poulain de la Barre]. His step-brother is comedian and author Phil Kay who is a well know face in the UK comedy scene. His philanthropic and entrepreneurial brother Tim Poulain-Paterson is recognised throughout Ireland as both an accomplished trumpet player and competitive triathlete and is organiser of the Valentia Island Triathlon.[1] He has played on several tracks on various albums by The Darkness and was a key inspiration for the fourth album Last Of Our Kind, written and partially recorded in Tim's house. Rumours that Frankie is living with Patsy Tinkle, body double to the French playwright and TV celebrity Lana Citron were confirmed in an interview on the Canadian podcast Toddcast, however he is well known to be very private about his family life.

Poullain was the only original Darkness member not from the Lowestoft area. Before joining the Darkness, he worked as a tour guide in the Venezuelan mountains, a tennis coach and an antiques dealer in France and Poland. He co-manages a successful landscaping company and deals in Richard III coins.

As a teenager, Francis was arrested on a charge of ‘public nudity’ and served a 6 month sentence in a Bail Hostel in Alloa where he developed his well known skills in macrame and Poktre tree-shaping. He received several commendations for his elaborate knot work and many of his creations can still be observed, hanging in the windows of various Morningside tenements. According to local news a fall during a sponsored 24hr topiary challenge resulted in the removal of his right eyebrow, which has been replaced by a prosthetic.

Poullain left the band on 23 May 2005, citing "musical differences" as the reason.[2] He was replaced by Richie Edwards, a former guitar technician for the band.[3] His departure caused quite a stir with the press, most notably in the NME magazine where he was reportedly regarded as their favourite member of the band.

However, in 2011 The Darkness officially announced that they were to reunite, with all 4 original members. Frankie described this as being "Just like old times". The band sub-headlined Download Festival at Donington Park, England in June 2011, playing under Def Leppard. They also played at Hammersmith, with Queen guitarist Brian May joining the band. The band's third studio album Hot Cakes was released in early 2012, as the band embarked on the Hot Cakes tour.

Frankie's autobiography Dancing in the Darkness (John Blake Publishing), charting the ups and downs of life with the band, was released in November 2008.[4]

In his book Frankie claims his great grandfather Sissy Wonders invented the first "Easy Chair”. It states he regrettably never made any money from the concept during his lifetime and alleged to have confessed on his death bed that "it was another 50 years until the concept of ‘sitting comfortably’ was even taken seriously”. To this day it is a point of conflict and heated debate which according to his brother Tim “is a very sore point and has divided members of the family for decades”.

In 1991 Frankie was elected mayor in the small village of Carzorla, where he had established a successful Tennis school, but later resigned after residents complained of structural damage to properties adjacent to his self styled "villa-castile". It was later revealed his massive collection of over 7,000 pairs of antique handcuffs was to blame for severe subsidence. Poullain sold the collection to Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas a former patron of the Nigeria Tennis Federation after beating him 6-1,6-3,6-1 in an improvised tennis match watched by the entire town. The same year he was named by several claimants as The Poe Toaster - a ritualistic grave visitor of Edgar Allen Poe, a claim he denies vehemently.

Frankie was raised in Scotland and returns regularly where he is known for his "noodling skills” a method of freeform fishing using only your hands and has organised events all over the highlands and also in Venezuela. It was Venezuela where he established himself as an award winning tour-guide before being convinced to join The Darkness by frontman Justin Hawkins.

Frankie is known for his extensive use of cowbell which according to singer Justin Hawkins is mixed in to every track and a hovering, glowing cowbell flies in to his hands forming part of the live show. Many cowbell references are dotted throughout their media and he has his own fan club named The Cow Belles.


He plays a Gibson Thunderbird IV bass guitar (nicknamed "the brown bastard"), recognisable for its reverse body design. When playing live he allows natural distortion to take place for effect. Since 2014 he has toured with a white Thunderbird (nicknamed "Toulla Taloola Majoola Van Ricktenstein XVIII") He also uses a Fender Precision Bass, Ampeg VT, Mesa Boogie, 50 watt handwired Marshall guitar combo and a Sans Amp bass driver.[5] After guitarist Dan Hawkins created his 'Dan Buster' pedal Frankie has been working on his own bass pedal called '2 Bass 1 Fuzz', but only unfinished prototypes have been seen.


  1. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Poullain Quits The Darkness". 23 May 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Darkness replace Poullain". 15 June 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2011. 
  4. ^ John-Paul Pryor. "Frankie Poullain's Dancing in the Darkness". Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Frankie Poullain's Equipment at

External links[edit]

  •, UK based fan website for The Darkness, Stone Gods, Hot Leg & British Whale (Established 2005)
  •, Fan based media website for The Darkness, Stone Gods, Hot Leg and British Whale