Known as the “Fretless Monster”, Tony Franklin has played alongside some of the greatest names in music history. He got his big break in 1984 as bassist in stellar super group The Firm, with guitar legend Jimmy Page, vocalist Paul Rodgers and drummer Chris Slade (AC/DC, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band). Franklin’s signature fretless growl was a distinctive and instantly recognizable element of the band’s first hit, Radioactive.
After two hit albums and substantial touring with The Firm, Franklin subsequently performed with Blue Murder (John Sykes, Carmine Appice), David Gilmour, Kate Bush, Whitesnake, Roy Harper, Pat Travers, Tony McAlpine, Gary Hoey, Donna Lewis, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Vasco Rossi, Eros Ramazzotti and many others. An in-demand session bass ace, he has appeared on numerous albums. Franklin has released two solo albums, and a bass instructional DVD.
In January 2006, Fender proudly introduced the Tony Franklin Signature Model Fretless Precision Bass guitar, a replica of the instrument Franklin has used throughout his career. 2006 also saw the Sony release of Tony Franklin: Not Just Another Pretty Bass, Franklin’s first sample loop library.
In 2011, Franklin joined Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band, and has toured extensively throughout the world. Franklin can be heard on Shepherd’s new album, “Goin’ Home”, released in Summer 2014.
2015 saw Franklin recording and touring with Heart Of Storm, live Russian Rock Ballet - with world class Russian ballet, and live rock band featuring Doug Aldrich, Gregg Bissonette, Derek Sherinian, Brent Woods and Brandon Fields. A Live DVD was shot at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles. More live dates are expected in 2016.
Franklin closed the summer of 2015 touring with Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band opening for Van Halen, culminating with two shows at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
2016 brought further touring with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, numerous recording sessions, and saw Franklin as a Rock Star Counsellor at Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, alongside Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes, Steve Vai, Ginger Baker of Cream and David Crosby.
With a bass instrumental album nearing completion, an educational app and video series, Master Classes and counseling, constant writing, touring and recording, Franklin says: “I’ve only just begun!”