FRANKIE GET YOUR GUN Goes Pop in Comic-Based Album
Combining elements of music and television are nothing new, but adding music to a comic? That's something different. Creator Robbi Rodriguez took the story of his acid Western comic, Frankie Get Your Gun, and with the help of Texas-based band, Married With Sea Monsters, created a soundtrack of sorts for the comic entitled Destrudo. Mixing elements and inspirations from Spaghetti Westerns to the themes of FGYG, the team has created a unique concept.
Newsarama spoke exclusively to Rodriguez and members of the Married With Seas Monsters to get an insight on what went on producing and creating Destrudo and the challenges presented at trying to get the books and the album in sync.
Robbi Rodriguez: It all kind of snowballed really.
One night, post a Sea Monsters gig, I was drinking out front with Alden [Tarver, drummer of the band], talking about graphic design, drawing in general, and a bit about what I was planning on doing with Frankie. In a buzzed state I asked "Hey, could I use something of the band's for a trailer, or if you can't, could you guys just do a quick cover of Radiohead's 'Karma Police'." I think that started turning some wheels in the band's heads and they brought up the idea of a concept album based on the book.
I was like s---, that would be odd, but also fantastic. It hit me that as far as I can tell there hasn't been a full-on album based on a comic book. Movies? Yes, but I've never seen one from comics. Songs maybe. I'm prone to "I am the Law" and "Bat Dance", but a body of work and based on something I did. Hell it sounded ambitious, extremely risky, ballsy, and that right up my alley.
Alden Tarver: Reading Robbi's work and other projects like it, I just always hear a badass soundtrack in my head anyway. So why not be the band to make that concept a reality? I feel like we've been really lucky to have the chance to do exactly that.
Ryan Hull (guitar): We've always been receptive to new challenges and pushing our boundaries.
Kat Dixon (vocals, guitar): I think we were all really inspired that our friend had made this amazing thing. We wanted to expand upon it and be included in it. Also, it just seemed like so much fun! How could we turn it down?
Carrie Burt (keys/vocals/accordion): We're all fans of Robbi's work and the idea to contribute to it in this way sounded really entertaining to us.Nrama: So can you tell us a bit about Destrudo itself and the sound you were going for?
Hull: It's always hard to answer questions like this. I think it complements the books very well. It brings the story to life.
Carrie: It pulls in a lot of different directions, but it all ultimately holds to one theme. It was a lot of fun to play, and it opened me up to a lot of new ideas.
Tarver: I think people will really enjoy hearing how we've been able to fuse music from the old western flicks with modern rock that you can move your ass to.
Dixon: All I can really say is that the album should definitely be paired in consumption with the books. You can't really get the full effect of the music without somewhat knowing the story. They're still songs, and music always means different things to different people, but when the album and the books come together...it's really something neat.
Nrama: Robbi, this isn't your first collaboration with the band, so what is it about Married With Sea Monsters that defines Frankie's atmosphere?
Rodriguez: I did the cover and interior art for their first EP, a zombiepocalypse concept disk called ZP (which you can find on Spotify and iTunes). While I really enjoyed the band's work, I didn't think it would fit with what I had in my head. They may be one of the best power pop band that no one knows about yet and Frankie Get Your Gun has more teeth to it. But like FGYG did for my own work, the project stepped up the band's game and the listener really got a sense of what the comic is like even if they haven't read it. I mean even with parts that are just outlines they nailed the book to a tee.
Nrama: MWSM, likewise, when recording an album like this, what are some inspirations aside from FGYG that go into the creative process?
Tarver: Of course we were inspired by a lot of the old spaghetti westerns and the incredible musicians that scored them, Ennio Morricone being the obvious front-runner in that category. You don't have to listen very hard to hear his influence on the album. Some other records had a huge part in the process as well. Rome by Dangermouse helped us hone the feel we were looking for. Outside sources aside, the FGYG books themselves provided ample material for lyrical storytelling. We haven't even covered a tenth of the saga yet!
Nrama: Robbi, what was your involvement with Destrudo?
Rodriguez: Not much, as I was just hands off after the first demo. I just handed the band volumes one and two of FGYG and also my series outline. Oh but I also gave them homework of the influence that when into the series. Movies like Lady Snowblood, the Aileen Wuornos documentaries, and Blood Meridian.
Nrama: When working on Frankie, do you tend to listen to a lot of music?
Rodriguez: On a loop.
BRMC, Drive By Truckers, and Nick Cave are on constantly when I'm working on FGYG. So much so that I can't listen to them while I'm working on other comics as it makes me just want quit my paid work that I have to get done and work more on Frankie. It helps me nail down characters and scenes. For example working on the shoot out in Book Two I had " Where the Devil Don't Stay" by DBT on a loop for two days. I tend to do that type of thing for all my work. It's never really a playlist but just one track.
Nrama: When is the release date for Destrudo?
Rodriguez: Feb 26th on CD and digital formats, but at Emerald City Comic Con I will debut the limited edition 12" vinyl that comes with a hi-bit rate download card.