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Music Q&A: Baz Francis

Baz Francis has been touring with Ginger Wildheart for the past year – both as support and on guitar and backing vocals. He caught up with Blackpool Social Club ahead of the pair’s return to the Waterloo on 14th December.

Tell us a bit about you and your music.
I’m a 42-year-old musician who’s been recording and playing live since I was 16. My music is basically an extension of me, a bit like it’s The World According To Yours Truly. I am both a solo artist and founder member of the bands Magic Eight Ball and Mansion Harlots.

You’re returning to the Waterloo where you’ve played before. What do you like about the venue?
The architecture, decor and atmosphere. Every town should have its own Waterloo.

You are opening for Ginger Wildheart and performing with him too. Tell us about your relationship with him.
He’s a brilliant songwriter who I’m fortunate to have worked with over the last year or so both onstage and on record. We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well on a personal level, I’d like to think.

What are the differences between performing solo vs as part of a collective?
The obvious difference I guess is the lack of responsibility for others when performing alone, but to be in a team with other musicians can add a camaraderie onstage that isn’t present when going solo. On the right nights I appreciate the benefits of each approach.

What’s your secret to getting the crowd onside and encouraging them to sing along?
I like to let the audience know that we’re all on the same side and that I value them being there. I hope that translates to whomever I’m playing in front of.

Your sets tend to walk the line between riotous and emotional and back again. How do you get the balance right?
I like your appraisal! Thank you. As for striking a balance between moods of performance onstage, it really depends on my feelings on the day or those of the audience that I’m interacting with. I love that element of live music that it’s a reaction to the moment, and that’s what makes each night so unique and interesting to me.

What’s your favourite song to play in your current set?
It really depends on the atmosphere in the room, but Keep Me Out The Sunlight from Magic Eight Ball’s Richest Men In The Graveyard album is a pretty good song to engage with the audience through.

Are you looking forward to playing Blackpool and is there anything else you fancy doing or seeing while you’re here?
I am indeed looking forward to my return to town as I flew in and out last time and didn’t actually see the area properly then, so I should probably take in the Tower on this occasion!

Baz Francis plays with and in support of Ginger Wildheart on 14th December. Get tickets here.

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    Antonia Charlesworth Stack is a journalist and editor from Blackpool. She was deputy editor of Big Issue North magazine and is editor of Blackpool Social Club. Antonia is also the founder of Reclaim Blackpool, a women's safety campaign that began life as an article she wrote for Blackpool Social Club. She's a contributing author to the Lancashire Stories anthology with her story about a Blackpool performer, The Call of The Sea. The book is available for free in libraries across the county.

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