Tony Franklin (musician)
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|Birth name||Anthony James Franklin|
|Also known as||The Fretless Monster|
2 April 1962 |
|Genres||Hard rock, blues-rock, folk rock, heavy metal|
|Instruments||Bass, double bass, fretless bass, keyboards, synthesizer, vocals|
|Associated acts||Roy Harper, The Firm, Jimmy Page, Blue Murder, Quiet Riot, Kenny Wayne Shepherd.|
|Tony Franklin Signature Fretless Precision Bass, Tony Franklin Signature Fretted Precision Bass|
Anthony James "Tony" Franklin (born 2 April 1962) is an English rock musician, best known for his work on the fretless bass guitar with Roy Harper, The Firm, Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, John Sykes' Blue Murder, David Gilmour, Kate Bush, Whitesnake, and most recently with Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Born into a musical family, Franklin first took the stage at age 5. He got his big break in 1984 as bassist in stellar supergroup the Firm, with guitar legend Jimmy Page, vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Chris Slade (AC/DC, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band). Franklin’s signature fretless growl was a distinctive and instantly recognizable element of the band’s first hit, "Radioactive". 
After two hit albums with The Firm, Franklin subsequently performed with Blue Murder (John Sykes, Carmine Appice), David Gilmour, Kate Bush, Whitesnake, Donna Lewis, Pat Travers and many others. An in-demand session bass ace, he has appeared on more than 150 albums. Franklin has released two solo albums, Brave New Tomorrow and Wonderland, and a bass instructional DVD.
Further, Franklin’s exemplary chops have also been called on for dozens of television credits, including the Late Show with David Letterman, Beverly Hills 90210, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Good Morning America, Top of the Pops (U.K.), VH-1, MTV, Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (Finland), dozens of Japanese programs and more. Sony released Tony Franklin: Not Just Another Pretty Bass, Franklin’s first sample loop library, in 2006.
While maintaining his music career, from September 2003 through July 2011, Franklin served as Artist Relations Manager for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and SWR. He returned to music performance full-time in mid-2011, when he joined Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band for the tour supporting the guitarist’s 2011 album, How I Go. Franklin can be heard on Shepherd’s new album, “Goin’ Home”, released in Summer 2014.
2015 saw Franklin recording and touring with Heart Of Storm, live Russian Rock Ballet - with world class Russian ballet, and live rock band featuring Doug Aldrich, Gregg Bissonette, Derek Sherinian, Brent Woods and Brandon Fields. A Live DVD was shot at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. More live dates are expected in 2016.
With a bass instrumental album nearing completion, an educational app and video series, Master Classes and counseling, constant writing, touring and recording, Franklin says: “I’ve only just begun!”
He is credited with introducing the fretless bass to the hard rock and heavy metal audiences, as the fretless bass is not commonly heard in these genres. This has earned Franklin the nickname of “Fretless Monster”.
In January 2006 Fender introduced the Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass, a distinctive instrument, with an alder body and modern C-shaped maple neck with an unfinished and unfretted ebony fingerboard with side dot position markers. Other features include vintage tuners, Hipshot Bass Xtender drop-D tuner on the E string, and three-way pickup selector switch that controls an American Series Precision Bass mid pickup and a Tony Franklin signature Jazz Bass bridge pickup with hex-screw pole pieces and ceramic bar magnets.
Other career highlights
Although mostly known for his fretless work, Franklin’s been doing sessions with the same fretted Precision Bass for many years. Fender released the Tony Franklin Fretted Precision Bass in 2008, a replica of the instrument used throughout his career. The signature fretted bass is similar to his fretless model, with Precision and Jazz Bass pickups and a three-way selector switch that provide an array of tones.
In 1996, Franklin played on long-time friend, Donna Lewis's album "Now in a Minute”, which spawned the worldwide smash hit single “I Love You Always Forever". Substantial touring followed the release of the single throughout the U.S., U.K., Japan, Europe and Canada.
Franklin has also appeared on all seven of keyboardist Derek Sherinian's solo albums - Planet X (1999), Inertia (2001), Black Utopia (2003), Mythology (2004), Blood of the Snake (2006), Molecular Heinosity (2009), and Oceana (2011)
- Roy Harper - Work of Heart (Public Records, 1982)
- Roy Harper & Jimmy Page - Whatever Happened to Jugula? (Beggar's Banquet, 1984)
- The Firm - The Firm (Atlantic, 1985)
- The Firm - Mean Business (Atlantic, 1986)
- David Gilmour & Kate Bush - Secret Policeman's Third Ball (Virgin Video, 1987)
- Jimmy Page - Outrider (Geffen, 1987)
- Roy Harper - In Between Every Line (EMI, 1987)
- Roy Harper - Descendants of Smith (EMI, 1988)
- Blue Murder - Blue Murder (Geffen, 1989)
- Roy Harper - Once (Awareness, 1990)
- Glenn Hughes - L.A. Blues Authority Volume II: Glenn Hughes - Blues (Shrapnel, 1992)
- Roy Harper - Death or Glory? (Awareness, 1992)
- Gary Hoey - Animal Instinct (Reprise, 1993)
- Blue Murder - Nothin' But Trouble (Geffen, 1994)
- Gary Hoey - The Endless Summer II (Reprise, 1994)
- Tony MacAlpine - Premonition (Shrapnel, 1994)
- Driver - Driver (Trauma / Atlantic, 1994)
- Jeff Beck Tribute - Beckology (Shrapnel, 1995)
- Lana Lane - "Love Is An Illusion" (Think Tank Media, 1995)
- Gary Hoey - Gary Hoey (BMG, 1995)
- Tony MacAlpine - Evolution (Shrapnel, 1995)
- Celestial Winds - Oceans of Love (Universe Music, 1995)
- MOM: Music for our Mother Ocean - Benefit compilation (Interscope, 1996)
- Warren DeMartini - Surf's Up! (Polydor Japan, 1996)
- Carmine Appice - Guitar Zeus (Apalon Japan, 1996)
- Marty Friedman - True Obsessions (Shrapnel, 1996)
- Naomi Tamura - N (Polydor Japan, 1996)
- Donna Lewis - Now in a Minute (Atlantic, 1996)
- Graham Bonnet - "Underground" (Victor, 1997)
- John Sykes - Loveland (Mercury Japan, 1997)
- Gary Hoey - Bug Alley (Surfdog, 1997)
- Various - Dragon Attack: A Tribute to Queen (De-Rock, 1997)
- Carmine Appice - Guitar Zeus 2 (Polydor Japan, 1997)
- Various - Thunderbolt: A Tribute to AC/DC (De-Rock, 1997)
- Pearl - Pearl (Polydor Japan, 1997)
- Sounds of Wood and Steel - Compilation (Windham Hill, 1998)
- Pearl - 4 Infinity (East West Japan, 1998)
- Gary Hoey - "Hocus Pocus Live" - (Surfdog, 1998)
- Donna Lewis - Blue Planet (Atlantic, 1998)
- Various - Cozy Powell Forever (Electric Angel Japan, 1998)
- Derek Sherinian - Planet X (Shrapnel, 1999)
- Graham Bonnet - "The Day I Went Mad" (JVC, 1999)
- Lana Lane - Queen of the Ocean (1999)
- Pearl - "Live In Japan" (Public Red, 1999)
- Various - "Humanary Stew - A Tribute To Alice Cooper" (Cleopatra Records, 1999)
- Rocket Scientists - "Oblivion Days" (1999)
- Gary Wright - Human Love (Warner, 2000)
- David Coverdale - Into the Light (EMI, 2000)
- Lana Lane - Secrets of Astrology (2000)
- Lana Lane - Ballads Collection II (2000)
- Various - Metallic Assault: A Tribute to Metallica (2000)
- Tony Franklin - Brave New Tomorrow (JVC/Victor Entertainment, 2000)
- Erik Norlander - Into the Sunset (2000)
- Roy Harper - "Hats Off" (Science Friction, 2001)
- Derek Sherinian - Inertia (2001)
- Doug Aldrich - "Alter Ego" (2001)
- Lana Lane - Love Is an Illusion Special Edition (2001)
- Willie Waldman - Trumpet Ride (2002)
- Lana Lane - Project Shangri-La (2002)
- Various - An All Star Line Up Performing the Songs of Pink Floyd (2002)
- Lana Lane - Covers Collection (2002)
- Tony Franklin - Wonderland (JVC/Victor Entertainment - July 2003)
- Derek Sherinian - Black Utopia (2003)
- Erik Norlander - "Music Machine" (2003)
- Derek Sherinian - Mythology (2004)
- Chris Catena - Freak Out! (Imr/Frontiers Rec., 2004)
- Vasco Rossi - Buoni o Cattivi (number 1 album in Italy, 2004)
- Eros Ramazzotti - Calma Apparente (number 1 album in Italy, 2005)
- Kelly Keeling - "Giving Sight To The Eye" (2005)
- Derek Sherinian - Blood of the Snake (2006)
- Quiet Riot - Rehab (2006)
- Lana Lane - Gemini (2006)
- Appice / Travers - "Bazooka" (2006)
- Carmine Appice - "Ultimate Guitar Zeus" (2006)
- Sir Lord Baltimore - Sir Lord Baltimore III Raw (2006)
- Frankie Banali / Various - "24/7/365 - A Tribute To Led Zeppelin (2007)
- Eros Ramazzotti - "E2" (Sony / BMG, 2007)
- Terry Ilous - "Here And Gone" (2007)
- Vasco Rossi - "Il mondo che vorrei" (2008)
- Menchen - Red Rock (guitarist Bill Menchen's project, 2008)
- Chris Catena - Discovery (Escape/Frontiers Rec., 2008)
- Tadashi Goto - Innervisions (SPV/Progrock Rec., 2008)
- We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year - O' Christmas Tree (Armoury Rec., 2008)
- Derek Sherinian - Molecular Heinosity (2009)
- Tim Ripper Owens - "Play My Game" (2009)
- Freakshow - "Freakshow" (2009)
- Carmine Appice - "Guitar Heroes (2010)
- Thomas Tomsen - Sunflickers (2010)
- Vasco Rossi - "Vivere o niente" (2011)
- Derek Sherinian - Oceana (2011)
- Rob Moratti - "Victory" (2011)
- Docker's Guild - The Mystic Technocracy - Season 1: The Age of Ignorance (2012)
- DR.U (Chris Catena) - Alieni Alienati (Valery Rec./Frontiers/Edel 2012)
- Roy Harper - Man and Myth (2013)
- Kenny Wayne Shepherd - "Goin' Home" (2014)
- Joel Hoekstra's 13 - Dying To Live (2015)
- "Tony Franklin Biography". Tony Franklin official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Sony Creative Software: Tony Franklin - Not Just Another Pretty Bass". Sony Creative Software official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Biography". Kenny Wayne Shepherd official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Fender Products: Tony Franklin Fretless Precision Bass". Fender Musical Instrument Corp official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Fender Products: Tony Franklin Fretted Precision Bass". Fender official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Roy Harper Discography". Roy Harper official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Donna Lewis Discography". Donna Lewis official website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Last.fm - I Love You Always Forever Listening & Stats". Last.fm music website. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Deep Purple.Net - Whitesnake History". Deep Purple.Net. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Epstein, Dmitry M. (September 2000). "Interview with Tony Franklin". Dmme.net. Retrieved 2010-11-21.