Friday, October 19, 2012

Samantha Interviews Drummer Franco Rogantin

Franco Rogantin is the guy who will tell it like it is. Franco Rogantin does not deliver bullshit, rainbows, carebears or any flowery-nonsense. I like Franco for these reasons, although I love my occasional carebears and roses too. Franco reminds me that maybe art is becoming corporate, maybe people arent saying the word FUCK enough.

Maybe living on a whim and just rolling the dice are a dying art form. In this world of making pretty shit to ignore the fucked up realities of society, politics and our own messed up existences, Franco makes me smirk. Franco Rogantin plays music because he loves it, because he is a musician who refuses to care what you think about him or about his music. In this short interview, Franco lets his thoughts out, bluntly.

Gay Marines, from left to right: Keith Harwood, Franco Rogantin and Michael Flek.
Franco says, "This was taken in a deconsecrated Catholic church and I am sitting
on the altar since my stage name was 'The Pope."'

How did the Gay Marines form?

I was playing drums in a Durban punk band and we happened to be opening for the “Slaves of Janet”, a group Mike Fleck was jamming with at the time.We got talking after the gig and when the bassist and I sobered up the next day we discovered that we had joined up with Mike to form the Gay Marines.

Where do your lyrics come from?

Mike (Flek) writes all the lyrics, I concentrate on rhythms, programming and composing some of the music.Personally I try to drive the music as hard as I can.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

In the beginning we were driven to do experimental music like the early PIL and Joy Division ,and the sleazy garage of the Stooges but with a tribal feel. We tried to it in a subtle way, not wanting to sound like white boys doing unconvincing township music. Now we have evolved with the times but the ghosts of the Stooges are still hanging around.

Franco occupying the best seat in the house.

Name your 3 favorite artists ever.

Probably the early Black Sabbath, even when I was playing in punk bands I always had Master of Reality and Paranoid on my turntable. I love Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon's paintings, I find they inspire my music.

In your opinion why should young people create music?

To relieve the boredom and superficiality of modern living.

What book are you currently reading?

I am currently re-reading my favorite novel, The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart.It promotes making your life decisions by the throw of a dice, a concept I find really interesting but never had the courage to seriously try out!

What are your thoughts on punk rock now? Is that a band that you admire at this moment?

I find this current corporate punk quite depressing, nothing to do with the original spirit of punk.

From when he played with Patricia Morrison
(The Bags, Gun Club, Sisters of Mercy, The Damned)
Patricia Morrison, Franco and Julian Beeston on the right

In your opinion, can music change the world? How?

I used to believe it could but I'm afraid I don't anymore.


A few last words: I simply refuse to edit this interview...Why? Because Franco reminds me of the people whom I spent time with in Zizkov (Prague) There was a small bar on a hill near the dead baby T.V Tower and it crawled with radicals, punk rockers, goths and the creative types. These individuals were all incredibly blunt and had no problem telling you how they felt about anything. Franco reminds me of those late night conversations and those people that were raw and real and wonderful because they refused to bite their tongues or hold back.

I long for a shot of Czech Absinthe (without the sugar).

-Written by Samantha L. Thomas


1 comment:

exsanguinator said...

cool...that was the early 80's durban..