Frank’s Dad – Colwyn Bay blues-rock band 1991-98 formed by ex-4Q vocalist Cumi Pants who became the drummer, & ex-4Q guitarist Gumption Liquid, Nick Williams (bass) & Ads (Ian Adams) (voc), who was later replaced by Bramah.
Once Cumi realised that the 4Q truck had failed its MOT and was resigned to the scrap yard he set his sights on learning the drums.
Frank’s Dad were formed in 1991 around the excellent, yet unique fret work qualities of ex-4Q guitarist Gumption Liquid. The rest of the original line up had Drew Pritchard on vocals, who Cumi knew from the Glan Conwy band Total Mind Fuck and Dum Darren on bass, named so because he couldn’t play the instrument and the only sound he made on it was dum-dum-dum-dum.
Drew and Cumi fell out over the direction the band was taking and they didn’t speak for years, and of Darren’s departure Cumi said, ‘He couldn’t handle all the smoking and had regular whiteys [collapsing] and left to become a religious person. Probably on account of us!’
Nick Williams (brother of ex-4Q drummer, Matt Vinyl) was soon recruited on the bass and his mate Ads who had moved up from Southampton provided vocals.
The gigs were so far and few between that the band almost had a new set each time they played. They are pictured above with others who played The Flood Aid gig in 1993, Nick (bottom left), Cumi (black jacket & shades) and Gumpsh (at front)
Frank’s Dad did however make a vinyl appearance on Neil Crud’s Secrets of Sound label, when they submitted a track for the 7” EP called (unwittingly) ‘Secrets of Sound’ released 27.01.1994.
The song, Sack It received very mixed reviews, mainly because the SOS outlets were far more punk orientated and Frank’s Dad leant heavily on rock and blues. The EP did reach No.7 in the German Underground charts but more on account of it featuring the Sons of Selina and Magic Moments At Twilight Time rather than any effort by Frank’s Dad. The punk press weren’t too taken by the track and the more politically correct publications took exception to the opening lines of:
“I’ve got a hot wet sticky woman.” And even the normally restrained Rhyl Journal through Steve Rastin said, ‘It’s encouraging that idiosyncrasy is alive & kicking in the metropolis of Llysfaen but on the down side Sack It has some seriously naff lyrics.’
At the same time as this recording, they also put a few more tracks at Simon Gardner’s Rockcliffe Studio in Llandudno and Cumi mustered up the cash to put out a properly produced cassette album called ‘Walkin’ The Dog.’
The name Frank’s Dad came from an associate of the band called Frank Heath. His father, Chris lived as a tramp in Colwyn Bay and was a frequent figure seen pacing the streets of the town. It caused a little local controversy at the time with the press picking up on it and Frank himself quoted as being upset his dad had been depicted in such a way, upset enough to try and sue them. The cassette sleeve had Frank’s dad pictured on the seafront with a dog.
Engineered by Sons of Selina guitarist, Martin Wilding, ‘Walkin’ The Dog’ was a strange brew of bluesy rock fused with funk and odd indie. Released in the summer of 1995 it felt distinctly out of sync with anything else at the time.
The track Rave Sensation with its Madchester-Charlatans drumbeat and high tempo guitar work was perhaps close to the sound of the time, albeit three years out of date.
Mama Earth has that trademark Gumpsh undistorted blues guitar sound to it and a very Kinks summertime feel – a far far cry from the subordinate racket both he and Cumi used to thrash out in 4Q.
If you thought that was a far cry then Feelin’ Free may well be off a 1970s Coca-Cola advert! A nice picnic in a grassy field kind of tune, with pretty neat vocal work and a lifting chorus.
As a whole, the album was more of a mish-mash of influences knitted together for no apparent reason other than to display some truly excellent guitar runs and occasional moments of pure inspiration.
Ads (or Adams) was eventually ousted after failing to turn up for rehearsals, which Neil Crud saw as a plus point for Frank’s Dad, ‘They had two or three excellent songs that were obviously not written for Ads’ voice, he was a really nice guy but wasn’t suited for what they as a band were trying to do, it was like having Mark E Smith front Led Zeppelin,’ he exclaimed.
Enter Bramah (pic left), a London based dread locked hippy with a voice like liquid gold. The band had spotted him busking in Llandudno while travelling around the UK and immediately approached him to sing for them. He transformed Frank’s Dad’s sound into the finished article, the missing piece in the jigsaw. Of course the quota of gigs never changed, with a rare appearance at the Cayley Arms in Rhos-on-Sea being all there was to offer usually large crowds.
The band went back to Rockcliffe to record more tracks resulting with the superb By My Side, Give The Man A Gun, and Emptiness amongst others. One track also included Cumi’s sister, Vicky Matthews who was fast becoming a highly regarded cellist in British classical circles.
By My Side could have easily been a huge hit. Trimmed down, it had everything a listener would want from a song without being clichéd; beautiful vocals, big bass sound, crisp drums and that now recongnisable awkward guitaring that only Gumpsh can produce.
Sadly, with no sense of direction and a lifetime between each gig, Frank’s Dad were destined to be written off in the annals of local history.
Of the demise of the band Cumi said, ‘Nick Ronnie Biggs had to leave the country very quickly and we kind of fizzled out. Bramah was a very elusive character, none of the band knew where his head was at.’
That was basically the end of Frank’s Dad. Gumpsh eventually joined Old Colwyn indie band Wild Mornings, Nick, as Cumi explained disappeared with North Wales police in pursuit, Cumi also fell out with him when his PA equipment also disappeared and Bramah returned to London. Cumi went onto Sons of Selina, Alien Matter, Sympathetic Affliction and Courteous Thief (where Gumpsh would put in a brief shift too).
Chris Heath, (the real) Frank’s Dad sadly died on the streets on Colwyn Bay in 2012.