Today's Elevenses Throws Eleven Quick Questions At 'Ten's Secret Weapon' Chris Francis!

Chris Francis won Guitarist Magazine’s ‘Guitarist of the Year’ contest in 2000. He has since released the instructional video ‘Up To Speed with Chris Francis’, recorded two solo records ‘Chris Francis’ and ‘Studs n’ Sisters’, four albums with the band TEN and numerous sessions on projects big and small.

So what’s your drink of choice at 11am in the morning?

Tea…I recently gave up coffee because it gives me the Brads!

Which song/album really made you want to play guitar?

Van Halen’s ‘Poundcake’. I saw the video on an MTV Wayne’s World special. I’d heard of the band through US sitcoms and films and so I knew they were like this ‘American Legend’. It’s a cool song with a healthy dose of gimmickry, which appealed to an adolescent me...

Who’s the world’s greatest guitarist?

Edward Van Halen. The reasons being tone, inventiveness, feel, genius and an influence that forever changed both rock music and the guitar industry.

Who’s the world’s most underrated guitarist?

Possibly the late Derek Frigo. A great “off the cuff” player who was lead guitarist in the band Enuff Z’ Nuff. A HUGE early influence on my style. I think a lot of people dismissed him as another Eddie clone, but when you become more familiar with his style you realize that that’s not accurate at all.

So what are you up to at the moment?

Writing songs for a new upcoming album/band project. It is very much a vocal affair and I’m currently wading through my archives of ideas and writing lots of lyrics. It will be very much different from anything I’ve done previously and I will be careful to find the right singer for the project.

What was the last gig you went to (as a member of the audience)?
Who would be in your dream line-up?

Journey at the Hammersmith Apollo. I enjoyed them a lot. I’m not a Journey completist so there was a fair number of songs I didn’t know. I personally thought Jeff Scott Soto was an excellent vocalist and frontman and I enjoyed the rousing instrumental intro version of ‘Jerusalem’ – I always enjoy American acts doffing their hats to our Britishness!

  • Simon Philips on drums
    Madonna on bass (it’s only bass, and I want Madonna in my line-up damn it!)
    Warren DeMartini on guitar
    Steven Tyler on vocals
How many guitars do you own and which one is ‘your precious’?

I’ve got about eight guitars, but I’ve never really got sentimental about them. I mainly use the Yamaha Pacificas that were given to me and my Lakewood acoustic, which I paid for.

What’s the last great album that you bought (or were given)?

Couldn’t say, but I bought my wife the last My Chemical Romance album ‘The Black Parade’ and that’s great. It’s basically a very theatrical classic rock album, which seems to have a kind of dark humour about it, but melodic rock just never seems to go away.

Do you suffer from stage fright?

Yes. Particularly if I’ve not trodden the boards for a while. I always get quite bad nerves doing my instrumental stuff live because it’s such a bitch to play.

So what’s your favourite tipple at 11pm in the evening?