FTB Band Biographies The bio by Fez or Thomas Thyssen (?) and the bio by Lucas Lanthier)
“FRANK THE BAPTIST always deliver!”
Thomas Thyssen, Manager Press Promotion at Universal Music
Frank the Baptist began in the late 90s in San Diego, California by eponymous frontman Frank Vollmann. Through various line-up changes, FTB built a loyal following through their atmospheric music and Frank’s unmistakable, powerful voice in live performances around the southwest US, Chicago and New York.
On the strength of copies of early demo CDs which found their way over to Europe, independent Austrian label Strobelight Records was formed and quickly released “Different Degrees of Empty”(STROB 001) in 2003. The CD was a critical success, a dancefloor favorite, and has since become an underground classic in the Postpunk, Indie and other underground circles.
In 2004, the second CD “Beggars Would Ride”(STROB 005) was released by Strobelight, and FTB toured Europe for the first time to enthusiastic audiences. After headlining the Wave Gothic Treffen in May 2005 at the Parkbühne in Leipzig to a full ecstatic crowd, it became increasingly obvious that their success in Europe was outshining their success back in the states.
Frank Vollmann relocated to Berlin in 2006, joining long-time comrades Fez Wrecker (Bonniwell Music Machine, Fuzztones) and Benn Ra (Hatesex, ex-Diva Destruction), both of whom had coincidentally played in early incarnations of FTB in San Diego circa 1997-8. East Berliner Thomas Fietz joined on drums, and the new line-up debuted at The Villa in Leipzig on Friday the 13th, 2006.
In November 2006, FTB went into Studio Wong in Berlin-Kreuzberg and recorded in three days what would become the group’s charter and manifesto, “The New Colossus” (STROB 026). Produced by longtime friend and ex guitarist Fez Wrecker, “The New Colossus” is a massive milestone of an album in the elaborate and unmistakable Frank the Baptist style, full of melancholic power, dangerously intense atmosphere, and inspired production. Live and dancefloor stompers such as “If I Speak” and the instant classic“Harlot of Nations,” eruptive anthems such as “Nautical Miles,” anthracite ballads such as “Scars Forever,” or the epic masterpiece “Cosmonauts” — it’s all there.
Along the way Toxo and Mario Usai (Clan of Xymox) have graced FTB with their talents on Bass and In 2008 Justin Stephens (Passion Play) joined the ranks as bass player for the FTB performance at the Mera Luna Festival and has played with the band up until the completion of the 4th album, which he recorded and produced.
The band has also been joined for live shows by Carsten Klatte (Project Pitchfork) and ex-player Fez Wrecker (Who still jumps up on stage from time to time) before long time friend of the band Ralf Hünefeld joined permanently on guitar in 2010.
With Slady replacing Thomas on drums and Ilija Gavrilenko eventually replacing Justin, freeing him up to pursue his own projects, the band has headlined various festivals and concerts in various places around the globe from then until now and toward the end of 2011 and through 2012 FTB has played a string of shows to try out the new material for the next album with old and new fans. The music was very well received and the band put their shows on hold for a year to work on recording the new album/cd.
The 4th Frank The Baptist album “As The Camp Burns” exceeded expectations in the private listening parties and has been hailed by some as their best work to date. It will be released in April 2015, right before they start happily hitting the stages again to bring their very own special brand of mayhem and leave an FTB size hole in your town.
Bio By Lucas Lanthier
Frank the Baptist Biography
by Lucas Lanthier (2005)
Frank the Baptist never had humble beginnings. Here are a few local, San Diego headlines clipped from newspapers in the late nineties, before They bought their passports: “Local Underground Rock Band Given Key to the City,” “Mayor Forces Frank to Share Talents With the Rest of the World,” and “Baptist Staunches Rabid Monkey Attack- Singer/Guitarist Comes With Kung-Fu Grip!”
You get the idea. So Frank the Baptist, after winning every Trophy and medal that San Diego had to offer, set out to share its vision of bonhomie and buttered toast with the Outer Marches. Starting with Los Angeles and other Southern California locales, they made media splashes large enough to dampen the lapels of several Austrian record label mobsters, and before long they were doing musical contract killings for Strobelight Records. That record deal has spawned, to date, two releases that only served to whet the North American scene’s appetite, bringing the Baptist invitations to play in other states and at other festivals, not the least of which was the traveling behemoth Convergence, this time in Chicago for the 2004 event. European tours, more events in California… The man in the top hat, and his troupe, is in great demand. Frank the Baptist has somehow invented a New Rock that everyone wants to hear, is grateful for, but somehow never existed. Frank the Baptist has climbed up and out of the tree fort, and is swaying in the high branches overhead. Frank the Baptist has grown wings, and we will listen to the music they make as they circle towards the sun. I only wonder one thing: when they get there, could it be that the Sun People will already have their T-shirts?
— Lucas Lanthier · Deadfly Ensemble, Cinema Strange