Live preview: FFS

Two bands, one album, one tour. Vocalist Russell Mael explains why Sparks’ mash-up with Franz Ferdinand as FFS is unique.

Whose idea was this collaboration?

We first met the guys in Franz in 2004 after hearing Take Me Out [FF’s hit single of 2003], which transcended anything in the pop world in a long time. But the process of actually collaborating was delayed until two years ago, due to our schedules.

Did you have any idea of the type of record that you wanted to make?

Not really, other than that both bands are song-orientated, and that neither looks to the past.

Did getting to make it change your views of Franz Ferdinand?

We already adored their music, but playing live with them has only added to our admiration.

Classic Rock’s David Quantick loved the FFS album, saying in his review that it saw “two excellent acts goading each other on to new heights of offence, absurdity and wit”. Do you take that as a compliment?

I can’t read David Quantick’s mind. I always assume everything is a compliment.

And what about “musically it sounds like a [disco version of] The Monochrome Set”?

FFS isn’t a disco version of anything or anybody.

Are audiences at the shows an even split of fans of the two groups, and how have they been getting along?

Peace has prevailed. So far.

Presumably the live show comprises the FFS album plus catalogue songs from each band?

Yeah, but in a way the catalogue songs are cover versions by FFS. The emphasis is strongly on the FFS songs done by six people with rather strong characters.

The press release calls the collaboration between the two bands “unique”. Does that mean it’s a one-off?

No, it means that a collaboration of two complete bands uniting to form one band and recording an entire album of co-written material and playing it live has never been done before. As to the future, who knows?

Which other bands would you like to enter into a similar collaboration with?

After this, anything else would be a let-down.

FFS’s UK tour ends in London on September 8.

Classic Rock 214: News & Regulars

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.