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Alex Kapranos

Alex Kapranos performing at the Kool Haus in Toronto, 2007
Background information
Birth name Alexander Paul Kapranos Huntley
Born 20 March 1972 (1972-03-20) (age 37)
Almondsbury, Gloucestershire, England
Origin Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Indie rock
Alternative rock
Post-punk revival
Indie pop
Art rock
Occupations Guitarist, Songwriter, Producer, Writer
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active Early 1990s–Present
Labels Domino Records
Associated acts Franz Ferdinand
The Yummy Fur
The Karelia
The Amphetameanies
Website http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk
Notable instruments
Fender Telecaster Deluxe
Gibson Les Paul Junior Double Cut

Alex Kapranos (Greek: Άλεξ Καπράνος, born Alexander Paul Kapranos Huntley, 20 March 1972 in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire) is a Scottish[1] musician who is the lead singer and the guitarist of the Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand.[2]

Contents

Early life

Alex Kapranos was born in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire, England to an English mother and Greek father.[3] He moved to the North East of England when he was three months old, spending his early childhood in Sunderland and South Shields,[citation needed] his mother's home town, and spent most summers in his father's native Greece. Huntley is the name his father adopted from his father's aunt. He gets his middle name from Paul McCartney on whom his mother had a crush.

In 1980, he moved with his family to Edinburgh then to Glasgow in 1984 where he attended Bearsden Academy. At the age of seventeen, Kapranos attended the University of Aberdeen to study theology. After dropping out, he continued his studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow where he studied Catering and Hotel Management[4], eventually gaining a BA. He worked as a chef, barman, music promoter, driver, welder and lecturer prior to finding fame with Franz Ferdinand.[5]

Early musical career

From the early 1990s, he was a fixture of the Glasgow music scene, running live nights at the 13th Note, most notably The Kazoo Club.[citation needed] While working as a chef, bartender, lecturer in IT at the city's Anniesland College, and other various jobs, he played in some of Glasgow's popular bands, including The Blisters (later known as The Karelia), long-standing ska stalwarts The Amphetameanies and The Yummy Fur. He is also known to have contributed to Urusei Yatsura and Lungleg recordings.[2]

Franz Ferdinand

After dropping "Huntley" from his name, he formed Franz Ferdinand in 2001. The band comprises Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy (guitar, keyboard, backup vocals), Paul Thomson (drums, backup vocals, sometimes guitar) and Bob Hardy (bass). The band saw chart success after their second single "Take Me Out (released 12 January 2004)[6] reached Number 3 in the UK Charts[7] followed by their debut album Franz Ferdinand (released 9 February 2004)[8] which debuted on the UK album chart at Number 3[9]. The band went on to win the 2004 Mercury Music Prize[10] and two BRIT Awards in 2005[11] for Best British Group and Best British Rock Act.

Alex Kapranos performing with Franz Ferdinand

Instruments

In Franz Ferdinand, Kapranos can be seen playing original 1973 Fender Telecaster Deluxes. He has two (if not more) models: most notably, a black model and a brown model that has had its finish worn away. During the You Could Have It So Much Better tour, his second guitar is an original Gibson Les Paul Junior Double Cut. These seem to be his most played guitars although he has been sighted playing a Gibson SG (as in The Fallen video), Fender Jazzmaster, Burns 12 string Marquee, Fender 1952 Telecaster and as of recently he has been seen playing a Gibson ES-355 with a Bigsby tremolo. He has also been sighted playing fellow band member Nicholas McCarthy's blue sparkle Hagstrom Sweetone. At a Chicago stop on a tour with Death Cab for Cutie, Kapranos purchased a Silvertone Maxwell from Specimen Products[12]. Acoustically his guitars range. He has played a Gibson Hummingbird as well as other various acoustic guitars (including a twelve string) that are sometimes played at special acoustic performances and acoustic songs, such as Eleanor Put Your Boots On and Walk Away. He uses Fender Blues Deville or Carr Slant 6V as his main amplifier.

Writing

In September 2005, Kapranos began Soundbites[13], a weekly food column for G2 in the Guardian newspaper, which detailed his culinary adventures as Franz Ferdinand traversed the globe on their world tour. Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand, a book of the column and unreleased material illustrated by Andy Knowles was released in 2006.

Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand was read by Alex Kapranos on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week for 4-8 December 2006, described as "his account about what he ate while touring the world."[14]

Production

Kapranos produced "Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever" - the third album by British indie rock group The Cribs in Vancouver BC, released on 14 May 2007. He also produced their single only track, "Don't You Wanna Be Relevant?", which was featured with "Our Bovine Public" (from Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever) as a Double A side.

Kapranos makes a cameo appearance in the video for Our Bovine Public.[15]

His remix of the single, "New in Town", by British pop singer Little Boots was featured on various different formats of the singles release.

Hobbies

When not on the road, using his leather "jump rope",[16] recording in the studio,[17] Kapranos spends time in his carpentry workshop, crafting abstract furniture.[18]

Narration

Kapranos narrated the 2008 BBC Scotland documentary Edwyn Collins:Home Again on the recovery of Orange Juice singer Edwyn Collins.

Personal quotes

I adore the flamboyance of Freddie Mercury, the riffs and beats of Led Zeppelin and what Pete Townshend "did with his legs as he held his guitar". I prefer singles to LPs. I unashamedly love a good pop tune from "Blitzkrieg Bop" to "Push the Button" or Nelly Furtado's amazing new song, "Maneater". I despise ELP (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Yes and Marillion less for their unrestrained self-indulgence than for just being boring.[19]

References

  1. ^ http://www.nme.com/news/franz-ferdinand/49749
  2. ^ a b http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk/biog.php
  3. ^ The Mind’s Construction Quarterly » Alex Kapranos
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand | The A.V. Club
  6. ^ http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk/discog.php?discog_cat=2
  7. ^ "Music Charts: "Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out". aCharts.us. Retrieved 12 January 2004.
  8. ^ http://www.franzferdinand.co.uk/discog.php
  9. ^ "Music Charts: "Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand". aCharts.us. Retrieved 12 January 2004.
  10. ^ Ferdinand win Mercury Music Prize
  11. ^ Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters, Keane Win Big At Brit Awards
  12. ^ http://www.specimenproducts.com/instru/hip.html
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ YouTube - The Cribs - Our Bovine Public
  16. ^ [4]
  17. ^ [5]
  18. ^ [6]
  19. ^ "Whole lotta Morley". http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/may/26/wholelottamorley. 

External links








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