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 supergroup 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, Donna Lewis, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and many others. An in-demand session musician, he has appeared on hundreds of albums.
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.
In 2011, Franklin joined Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band, and has toured extensively throughout the world. Franklin can be heard on Shepherd’s album, “Goin’ Home”, released Summer 2014. In 2015 the band opened for Van Halen, culminating in two shows at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
A regular “rock star counsellor” at Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, Franklin has appeared alongside Zakk Wylde, Warren Haynes, Steve Vai, Tony Iommi, Ginger Baker of Cream, David Crosby, members of Deep Purple, Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots.
With a bass instrumental album nearing completion, an educational app and video series, Master Classes and counseling, constant writing, touring, sessions and recording, Franklin insists: “I’ve only just begun!”