Interview: Frankie Chairs of Barfight Champs

Album Title
Outside Of The Law
Released On
To The Point Records

Frankie Chairs
Interviewed by Dan Craley
  • You’ve been involved in the punk and hardcore scene for a long time, when did you get started and how did you find yourself involved in this shit?

    Well, my Dads favorite bands are Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Sex Pistols and the Ramones. So those bands were, luckily, my first real introduction to music. An older kid in my neighborhood knew that I liked those bands and gave me a tape with a bunch of oi bands on it. Cocksparrer, The Last Resort, The Oppressed and it also had an Agnostic Front on it. I immediately loved A.F. and went to see them not too long after getting the tape. I was 12 and saw A.F. at a club called The Channel in Boston. I was immediately hooked.

  • What's the story behind your nickname, Frankie Chairs?

    Sometimes dumb nicknames stick, people flip out when they find out chairs isn't my actual last name. When I was younger I wasn't the calm, well mannered, model citizen that I am now hahaha. I used to pick up chairs and hit people with them at shows. I never did it to be a tough guy. I did it because bands that I loved legit made me lose my mind. Hardcore is amazing. Not many things can make you react that way. I'll chalk up all those fights and dumb shit I've hit people with to my love of the music.

  • When I met you over a decade ago, you were in a hardcore band called Betrayed By All. Then there was No Second Chance, Scars Of Deceit, and now, Barfight Champs. When did you start doing vocals for bands? Did you have any initial stage frieght?

    It's funny, I think a lot of kids who love music dream about singing for a band and being on stage. That definitely wasn't me. When I was young I was a quiet kid. I didn't like alot of people, so I stuck to my few close friends. Wasn't really outgoing at all. Once I started constantly going to shows, I started making more friends and becoming more outgoing. I did some gang vocals on the first Death Before Dishonor record and would always go on the road with them when they first started playing out. Dan who drums for Barfight Champs was their original drummer and played with them for a number of years. Frankie from DBD basically forced me to sing on the split that they did with Nourish The Flame and everyone liked my vocals and kept asking me when I was starting a band and it just kind of fell into place. I have a lot of friends who are nervous every time they play but for some reason that aint me, maybe it's because I’ve never really cared what other people thought, it sounds cliche but it just feels natural to me.

  • I didn't know you were on that DBD/Nourish The Flame split. Are you in the gang vocals or do you have an actual feature part?

    That's a really cool record to me because its like a snapshot of a moment in time. There's a song where like 10 of us sing parts and that was our group of tight friends all singing together on one song. I also sing on a part of another song on that record too.

  • BFC is a noticeable departure from your previous projects. Why did you decide to go a different route with this band and how did it get started?

    I've always loved punk and oi. When I was in Betrayed By All we did a halloween show where we did all oi covers. In Scars Of Deceit we recorded a cover of “Someones Gonna Die Tonight'' by Blitz. So even though i was always in heavier bands my love for punk and oi never went away. Dan and I had talked about doing a punk/oi style band for a while. Dan had quit touring with DBD and hadn't been in a band for a number of years and the timing was right so I grabbed a few members from my other band and BFC was started. I’ve been singing in heavier hardcore bands now for almost 20 years, I still love it but what I sing about is pretty limited. With Barfight Champs I can definitely sing about different topics and tell stories about a much wider variety of subjects.

  • You previously released a self titled album with BFC, but Outside Of The Law seems like a more concentrated record both lyrically and musically. Did you guys put more intention into this record?

    The first record came together very quickly and we were still really trying to find our sound. We were all used to being in heavier bands and getting back to our punk rock roots. We had a lineup change after the first record and brought in a new guitarist and bassist. Everyone in the band has been in previous bands and have a lot of years put into playing music. I think we really nailed our sound and had a little more experience writing on this record. Lyrically I got more open about sharing my views and definitely got more personal.

  • Who’s the bozo on the cover of the album?

    That's my great, great Grandfather Mortimer, he was the original inventor of the Fleshlight but never got credit. Hahaha nah, i have no idea who the guy is. I wanted to do a prohibition theme for the record artwork because I thought it went with our goofy name and when I saw the pic I thought it was perfect.

  • Personally, you’ve been through quite a bit of shit over the last few years. Was writing this record a therapeutic experience?

    It's for sure been a wild few years LOL.  But that's exactly what music is for me, therapy. Some people are in bands to look cool or get popular. I need this shit. I don't know where I'd be without music in my life. Nothing makes me happier than when people like the music I make or can relate to it, but I do it for me.

  • Can you go explain some of the lyrical themes on Outside Of The Law?

    This kind of goes with your last question. Music is the only thing I’ve ever given a fuck about. It's the only constant I've ever had through every fucked up thing in life. Music has always been there. That's what the song “Salvation” is about, other topics on the record are how gentrification is destroying Boston, my views on society, dead friends watching over us, there's a song about an area in Boston that's all drug addicts, the title track is basically about the rules of being a man and what I was thought it meant to be a man. Like I mentioned before I really love the fact that this band allows me to cover such a wide variety of topics, and still have fun with it.

  • I was surprised and impressed by the vulnerability expressed in your lyrics for "Afraid." Were you at all apprehensive about putting yourself out there like that?

    I think a lot of people have the felt same way. I've already had a few people hit me up saying they love the song because they can  relate to it. I think because I've been in previous bands, I've slowly gotten rid of insecurities around what I write about. Lyrics have always been important to me. I've never been into metal bands who sing about dragons or whatever other dumb shit because I can't relate to that. If you listen to all of my bands, you basically get the story of my life and all the shit I've been through.

  • "Fallen Angels" is a song dedicated to lost loved ones, which seems to happen far too regularly these days. You and I have lost some mutual friends and you yourself even had a brush with death. How have these terrible experiences changed you?

    We have definitely lost way too many good people, especially lately. I believe that all of the people we have lost are looking over and protecting us. we need to live in memory of those people and try to be better. That's what the song is about. Losing close friends and almost dying has just reinforced what I already knew, we need to make the best of the short time that we have here. Spend as much time as we can with the people that we love, and make time to do the things that we care about. It's also made me try not to sweat the small stuff and not spend energy on things or people who aren't worth it. Life will humble you.

  • Between "Offended" and "Gentrification," there's a lot of "get off my lawn" stuff on this record. When do you get your cane?

    Hahaha I probably need it already (I guess this is 40?) It seems to me like a lot of younger people have false convictions. They follow what others say, are quick to point a finger and jump on whats popular. They are too eager to jump in line and follow. Maybe my friends and I were maniacs growing up, but we fought for what we stood for and didn't ask for anything that we didn't earn. That's what "Offended" is about. As far as gentrification, I'm from Boston. Boston is and always will be my favorite place on earth, but the Boston I grew up in is very different from the Boston of today. And yes, some things are better but I've watched hard working class families get pushed out of the neighborhoods that they grew up in because they can't afford it now. Gentrification has cost the city a lot of tradition. We've lost almost all of the clubs where we had shows, we've lost so many cool places that I grew up going to. One of the lines in the song is "years of tradition killed by the all mighty dollar sign, this city and these neighborhoods used to have so much fucking pride" I think that sums it up pretty well. I'm not down with anyone killing tradition and pushing out generations of people to make a quick buck.

  • Do you have any touring plans lined up for BFC once this virus shit is over?

    I dont think Bfc will ever be a full on touring band. Some of us have done extensive touring in the past. The older you get the harder it is to make this band stuff happen. Between work and families i doubt we could ever pull off a ton of touring. We are definitely weekend warriors though and would love to hit up some new places whenever it is safe to do so.

  • Are conjoined twins one or two things?

    Tough question, 2 heads and 2 brains but only one body... Im just glad that i dont have to share a dick with someone. Especially being irish hahaha

Dan Craley
Gotten Out By
Dan Craley

Dan started Getting It Out back in 2018 as a stand alone podcast. He’s been writing for music websites for over a decade and finally decided to start his own. Now living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife and kids, he briefly sang for Baltimore’s Pleasant Living.

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