A “Sit-Down” Interview with Frank Hannon
aboard the Hysteria on the High Seas Cruise
by Jamie Sackett
By now, you all know that a lot of pretty awful things happened on the Hysteria on the High Seas cruise. It was definitely one for the record books and not in a good way. Many of the artists were the saving grace for us cruisers and one of the BEST things about that experience was Frank Hannon. His performances were both amazing and emotional and like the rest of us, he was feeling all that was going wrong all around him. Frank and I talked about doing a sit-down interview when we were at the pre-party enjoying what would come to be Last In Line’s last performance with Jimmy Bain. We hadn’t set sail yet and had NO IDEA what would be in store for everyone at that point.
Frank performed the “sail away” concert on the pool stage amongst very high winds and crazy weather but as always, he pulled it off and had everyone smiling. Both David Bowie’s and Glenn Frey’s deaths were still very fresh and affected him very deeply so he paid tribute by performing Bowie’s Space Oddity and did SUCH an amazing job.
He also brought up a friend to help him out with a couple of songs, Mr. Tony Higbee who is currently a guitarist in Tom Keifer’s band. Together they paid a beautiful tribute to Glenn Frey with an acoustic rendition of the Eagles’ “Take It Easy”. They also performed Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s classic “Blue On Black” which was an unexpected and wonderful surprise that left everyone very excited for the kick off of this cruise.
Frank did two shows on his own, the sail away show up top and another acoustic performance in the atrium inside. Both shows were fantastic and were met with an amazing crowd response and participation. He also got up and jammed with Thee Rock N Roll Residency in one of the lounges and had a good time doing it. What was different was seeing Frank alone on this ship. Usually he is either with Tesla or with members of his solo project the Frank Hannon Band (or FHB as we have affectionately come to call it). This time it was just Frank and his guitar and it was very humbling for him and very rare and intimate for us fans. Given all of the catastrophes that kept happening non-stop on that ship we kept missing one another for that sit-down but on that last day at sea on Sunday the 24th of January, 2016, we were finally able to sit down together after a meet and greet for about 15 minutes and talk.
When we had first run into each other at that pre-party we were both very excited and energetic but at this point, on our last day at sea both of our demeanors were very different. I’ve got to hand it to him for remaining a positive force in a really bad situation. He was VERY tired yet very gracious and honest with me about a lot of things. During most of the interview this man sat with his head in his hands, staring at the floor just rubbing his temples. Believe me….I fully understood. It was a pretty horrendous experience for all of us but being able to do this interview with Frank was like a bright light in a very dark storm. Unfortunately it started out with him telling me about the death of Jimmy Bain which was very shocking for me at that time. Take a listen.
Next I asked him to tell me about this cruise in particular and how it differed from all of the other cruises that he had been on. He shared his thoughts but wanted to keep things positive which is what I would expect from Frank. He shared what this trip as a solo artist meant for him.
We then talked about last year’s mega-successful tour with Def Leppard, what it was like working with Phil Collen and how they made some major changes on their tour last year. We also spoke about what is coming up with Tesla.
Finally, we talked about what is next for FHB and Frank Hannon in general.
So there you have it. I’d like to thank Frank Hannon for his time, his honesty and for being such a bright and gracious light on what turned out to be a very dark experience. You are AWESOME my friend.