Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Turner plays through pain after op

A bad back could not prevent Frank Turner performing at the Reading and Leeds Festival

Singer Frank Turner said he would not miss the Leeds and Reading festivals for anything - not even an agonizing bad back that has prevented him from playing guitar.

The punk and folk musician burst onto the stage at Reading festival on Friday in a wheelchair, prompting comparisons with Kurt Cobain's famous 1992 entrance where the Nirvana frontman was brought out in a wheelchair.

In a slightly different vein, 31-year-old Turner was introduced by his mother, Jane, ahead of his set. She told crowds she did not think her son should be playing and asked them to be "very nice to him."

Speaking at the Leeds site before his appearance on the main stage on Saturday, Turner said: "My back is screwed. I slipped two discs in my back about 10 days ago, which is not an experience I'd recommend, and it wasn't anything specific it was just 15 years of punk rock touring apparently, according to the doctor.

"I had an operation and I've got a back brace and I'm not allowed to play guitar, so I've got my guitar tech playing guitar. But the show must go on, particularly for Reading and Leeds festivals. I'm never going to cancel these. So we're here. I might be on lots of painkillers, but I'll live."

He said he thought getting his mother to introduce him would be a funny thing to do, especially because it took him some years to convince her about his musical career.

"My mum was coming to Reading anyway because she'd never been to a music festival before," he said.

"My mum, when I was starting out, was really down on what I do for a living and, bless her, it's because she was concerned about my wellbeing and I was playing to no people and sleeping on the floor, and all the rest of it.

"But now that we're doing main stages of festivals I think she's a bit more okay with it, and she doesn't live very far away, so she came along and I thought it would be funny to get her to introduce us."

The sister festivals hold a special place in Turner's heart; he has played them every year since 2007, albeit last year was with his side project Mongol Horde.

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