ASKED & ANSWERED: Franky Kelly of The Hot Sprockets

Franky Kelly

Franky Kelly

Franky Kelly — aka, Franky Sprocket, Franky Curveball, Franky the Lips, Franky Pants, Franky Poodles, Franky Spotlight — handles the harmonica, mandolin, and keyboards duties for the smokin’ Irish band The Hot Sprockets.

Brother Nature, this year’s independently released follow-up to their 2010 debut album Honey Skippin’, peaked at #11 back home, kept from the Top 10 by stiff competition from Coldplay, Imelda May, One Direction, and First Aid Kit.

Their first tour of the United States brings them to Brighton Music Hall tomorrow night, where they will be co-headlining with fellow Dubliners Cold Comfort.

I asked Franky Kelly some questions via email, and he kindly (and enthusiastically) answered them.


How frequently have you toured the United States?
We have never toured the USA before so we’re really looking forward to it!

So you have never played Boston before?
Nope, we have never played in Boston but we can’t wait to play at the Brighton Music Hall, we’ve been hearing great things about the music seen there!

Did you feel as though there was anything disappointing about the first album that the second album was an opportunity to correct?
On our first album we won a competition to recorded the album in Portugal with Boz Borer (The Polecats, Morrissey) and only had a week to record it, so we hadn’t much time to work on each track! On Brother Nature (album 2) we took are time making sure each track sounded the way we wanted and we weren’t restricted with time! I think that was the only difference for us but in saying that we are immensely proud of both records!


What experience did you gain from having recorded one album that you applied to the recording of the second?
Recording a record is always a learning experience for any band. We learned the easiest way for us as a band to record and the most time efficient, time equals money in the studio haha! But we’re constantly evolving as a band every time we record something!!

What do you have to say to those who tell me that flutes don’t belong in rock ‘n’ roll? They sound pretty good to me in “Heavy On My Mind.”
Well that’s a silly statement, really, because any instrument belongs in rock ‘n’ roll once the love and the ethos is there 100%. Wayne [Soper] wrote the song “Heavy on My Mind” with the flute in mind from the get-go! He just wanted to write a sweet flute song with a groove which I think we achieved!

Are more of the band’s influences from Europe or the United States?
I’d say the band has definitely more American based influences than European. It is the birth place of the Blues after all. 🙂

Where would you rank Dublin among currently hot music scenes?
Dublin has a huge music scene with a lot of amazing talented musicians for such a small country! So much so that it’s hard to get recognised and in order to progress as an artist you need to venture out and beyond via Europe/America!!!

The band is offering an interesting reward to those who donate €1,000 to your Fundit project. How many donations in that amount have you received?
We got no €1,000 donations for the campaign, which was upsetting for us because we were all dying to get naked, haha!


The Hot Sprockets: Tim Cullen, Franky Kelly, Wayne Soper, Andrew Sutton, Joey Lynch (Photo by Rob Benson Photography)

Recording a documentary seems like an ambitious project for such a young band. Whose idea was it to do so and what is the goal?
When we first started the band 8 years ago, one of our best friends Matt Nicastle started documenting us! He wanted to make a documentary of us over a long period of time. Sadly, Matt passed and the documentary was left unfinished. A few years later a friend of ours (Niall O’Byrne) had an idea to document us for a year or two. He’s aim is to document what happens behind the scenes of being in a band and show a different side of a band’s life! It’s going to be awesome when it’s complete!

Are there any hugely popular or highly respected rock ‘n’ roll bands or artists who you think are complete rubbish and whom you like to knock of their respective pedestals?
We don’t really diss any artists as long as they are hard-working and believe in what they are doing!!

How does a Hot Sprocket differ from a Wet Sprocket? (As in the American band Toad the Wet Sprocket.)
I’m not familiar with that band, but the main reason we are HOT is because we rock with such high energy, raw power and give each gig 100%. And above all else we KICK ASS!!!