Premiere: Johnny Frank - "Lysergic"
Watch the video below and read on as Frank confesses to a number of things including that he actually prefers living in the suburbs whilst building a musical career, that he was “definitely fucking weird” as a kid and about the time he was at an art gallery, high on LSD with his parents.
How was your first LSD trip?
I stopped doing any drugs years ago. But I've done stuff. I first tripped in college with two friends. We weren't sure if we felt the effects of it at the time but kinda thought we may be tripping when we realized we had been in the car for over six hours... We didn't take a huge dose, though. My first real trip was when I went to a hippie music festival alone to see Edward Sharpe. I took it on a Saturday afternoon an hour before I entered the festival. They had a ferris wheel there and I went on it first thing. It happened to also be where the acid kicked in. From there, I ended up staying at the festival all night dancing, drumming on bongos for hours like a madman, talking to a Hare Krishna guru, talking to a man about the organs that he builds, thinking about my past and future timelines, focusing on weird things like the crowd noises and people’s movements, etc. I didn't have a pass to stay overnight so I walked back and forth on the festival beach the entire night. I stayed the Sunday too and went back home Sunday night, not having slept for almost 2 days. I felt great though.
What's this song about exactly?
The first verse is just full of descriptors of the components of a trip: body distortion, seeing your past and future in a clearer light, feeling like the world is both small and infinite at the same time, feeling like all your questions need no answers, etc. The second verse references a specific experience I had on a trip where I went to an art gallery showcasing a close family friend’s 13 paintings of Mary Magdalene that came to her in visions. The details in the paintings, the fact that the paintings came to her through visions, and the idea of Mary Magdalene being the divine woman throughout history counter to Jesus as the divine man really affected me. My family was with me and it was a pretty interesting to trip in their presence.
What does a Presidential Suite at an Econo Lodge entail?
It has the design of a middle schooler's idea of a penthouse and the workmanship of a drunk uncle with the shakes. You walk into this cartoonish hot tub and mirror set up surrounded by Roman-style fake beams and the bathroom is fully decked out too but the closer you look at everything, you realize it's all just patchwork, terrible paint jobs, dirt and grime. And Presidential Suite or not, a room at an Econo Lodge will never not smell like cigarettes. The perplexity we had of of the room gave birth to the spontaneous iPhone music video that is “Lysergic,” with my buddy and director Aaron Taos basking in his own creative vision. Aaron edited the video on the car ride home and ran out of battery on his laptop just minutes after he finished. It’s truly his masterpiece.
How's Niagara Falls? I'm afraid of heights so I don't have the biggest desire to go there.
Bring your passport. If you don't go to Canada you don't get the full experience. The Canadian side is much better; I don't care what people say. Any American who says otherwise is lying to themselves. The Canadian side has the Skylon Tower where you can see 50 miles in every direction. It also has up-close-and-personal views of Horseshoe Falls, the real waterfall. It’s also like a mini Vegas, with weird stores like the Ripley's Believe It or Not store, a wax museum and an over-the-top mini golf where dinosaurs and fire are common obstacles. Alternatively, the American side is super run down and dirty. And because of the volume of crowds, it’s going to be a gradually sloping hill in 100 years. It probably already would be if we hadn’t stepped in to reinforce it.
I hear you work at a chemical plant. That's cool. What do you do there exactly?
I’m a process engineer. We make specialty chemicals. I try make the workplace as dangerous as possible and try to design systems that pollute the atmosphere as much as possible. JK, but anytime I explain what I do to people they just zone out, so just picture me making meth like Heisenberg or something.
What were you like as a kid? What did you do for fun?
I had a few autistic-esque habits as a small kid. I used to put three tennis balls in a blender (not plugged in) and just dump them out, then put them back in, then dump them out again. I'd do this for hours. I'd also align my matchbox cars perfectly in a "parking lot" and then at the end I'd destroy it while screaming, "CRASHING PARKING LOT." I didn't have a chemistry lab as a kid or anything but I was definitely fucking weird like this.
What's life like all the way over there in CT? Why not move to Bushwick or Jersey City?
Shoot, it's not like CT is Montana or something! I'm like 90 minutes into NYC. I like having NYC at an arm’s reach, where I'm close to the action, but far enough away from the chaos. Having grown up amongst the trees, NYC is just too loud and dirty to stay there full time. Plus, now that I'm a sober loser, what's the point?
What was your last show in the city?
The last show that I went to in the city was Death Grips, my favorite band of this decade and biggest new inspiration. It was primal, visceral and raw. I felt like a tribesman performing a dance ritual at a virgin sacrifice.