Bassist extraordinaire Tony Franklin (ex-THE FIRM, BLUE MURDER, WHITESNAKE) has posted the following message on his web site:
"Hello folks. It's been a long time since my last update, so let's get right to it!! I'll start with the most current happenings and work back from there.
"I will be participating in the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival June 4th - 6th, at the Fair Park and Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The event will include continual concerts and once-in-a-lifetime guitar clinics by some of the world's leading artists. I will be participating in the Shredder's Clinic with Nuno Bettencourt and George Lynch on the Guitar Center Village Main Stage on Saturday from 12pm - 1:30pm. The line up of players at this event is amazing! On Sunday there will be (to name a few), B.B. King, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and ZZ TOP.
"As well as performing, I will also be representing Fender/SWR as the Artist Relations guy, so it's going to be an action-packed few days!! The whole event is a benefit for the Crossroads Center in Antigua. which provides treatment and education to chemically dependent persons, those with other compulsive addictive behaviors, their families and loved ones. If you're in the area, please come on by! - help out a great cause and hear some amazing music! And please say 'Hi!' - I'll be there!
"I've been doing s a few fun gigs with my old rhythm section partner from THE FIRM, Chris Slade. He has a band called CHRIS SLADE'S THUNDERSTRUCK, which with vocalist Joe LeSte, from BANG TANGO/BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, guitarist Anthony Focx from BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, and either Brent Woods or Alex Grossi on lead guitar, we've been paying raucous tribute to AC/DC!! It's been a lot of fun, and we are talking about doing more shows. Keep checking back for updates.. and I welcome your thoughts/feedback about this. Contact me here.
"This year's Anaheim NAMM show (January 17th thru' 21st) saw me doing double duty as Artist Relations Manager for SWR in the Fender booth, and as Fretless Franklin, the Fretless bass Maestro (did I say that??)... My first experience working the NAMM show was a good one. Fender had an incredible display, and the booth was constantly busy. There were numerous artists playing (myself included), as well as the constant flow of human traffic.
"I played on 6 different occasions, including the Anaheim Hilton Lobby on Thursday Jan. 17th, on an all-night free-form jazz night, appearing as WILD WILLIE AND FRETLESS FRANKLIN. Wild Willie is Willie Waldman, the jazz trumpet player, whom some of you will be familiar with through my website. Lots of bass solos, trumpet solos, everything solos!! We played from 6pm 'til midnight! Pictures will be coming soon! I also played in the Fender booth on Thursday morning.
"On Friday night I went to see the JACO PASTORIUS BIG BAND. Jaco's family was presented with .... Award. I later got to meet the Pastorius family, and have since developed a nice rapport with them, which is an honor and a thrill for me.
"Saturday was a BIG day! Aside from being one of the busiest days at the show itself, I performed 3 separate times. First I did a clinic in the SWR area. It was joint clinic with SWR's Marketing Manager, Bryan Beller who is a phenomenal bassist himself. The purpose of the clinic was to highlight mine and Bryan's very different styles, and to show how SWR can deliver the goods - whatever the style of music. Bryan is a groovin' jazzin' funky player, and I'm... well... just my usual maniacal rockin' self! We played individually and then together. It was a lot of fun! At 6pm I joined award winning progressive Flamenco duo LUNA LOKA on stage at the Anaheim Hilton and played a couple of songs. Then I headed off to Loffler's in Anaheim, to join Chris Slade (THE FIRM's drummer), vocalist Scott Kail, and guitarist Steve Fister, for a gig with TONY FRANKLIN'S WONDERLAND! I had been invited to play at a fund-raiser for the Fender Museum, and so I put something special together to play a few tunes. We did some songs from my new 'Wonderland' album, as well as a smoking version of THE FIRM's 'Radioactive' which brought the house down!
"I participated in a booksigning for 'Food That Rocks', a wonderful cook book put together by Marjie Lapanja and Cindy Coverdale, wife of David Coverdale.
"Stay tuned for pictures from the Tony Thompson Benefit on December 16th, 2003. Many wonderful people gathered to pay tribute and raise funds (to offset the huge medical costs of Tony's battle with renal cell cancer). The evening was a success, and a wonderful celebration of Tony Thompson's life and his incredible contribution to music. He played on many hits including 'Freak Out', 'Like A Virgin', 'China Girl', 'Upside Down'... the list goes on."