Framing Hanley Frontman Kenneth Nixon Talks ‘Envy’ and Looking Ahead

2020-08-24

Framing Hanley joins Anne Erickson to discuss the band's new album, "Envy."

Framing Hanley – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Kenneth Nixon of Framing Hanley talks with Anne Erickson about his thoughts on how the band is evolving and if he ever gets sick of playing “Lollipop” live

Even amid a global pandemic, the guys of Framing Hanley have made 2020 a productive year. Back in February, the longstanding rock band released a new album, “Envy,” which marked their first new studio record in six years. They have also managed to perform a few shows in 2020, including a pair of gigs just a few weeks ago in Alaska.

When it comes to Framing Hanley’s new music, vocalist Kenneth Nixon says “Envy” feels like the next chapter for the band.

“I’ve always felt like a band should strive to constantly be evolving or growing,” Nixon told Audio Ink Radio. “It sounds like Framing Hanley, but to me, it sounds like what Framing Hanley should sound like in 2020.”

Framing Hanley were forced to cancel their 2020 tour in support of “Envy,” due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, but they did perform two shows in Alaska a few weeks ago with Alien Ant Farm and Saliva.

“That was– weird would be a hell of an understatement,” Nixon said. “But, we went into that– at the time of us getting approached about the shows, Alaska, I think, had less than 1,400 cases total. This was in late June, early July, when we got asked to do the shows. At that time, Tennessee, where we’re from, here in Nashville, had 3,000 cases a day. So, you’re looking at us living in one of the areas that was a hot spot, again, 3,000 new cases every day in middle Tennessee, and Alaska had 1,400 tops, I believe, at the time, total.”

He added, “So, they were wide open as a state still. They hadn’t really put any restrictions on that. It just seemed like they had handled it a lot better than a lot of the rest of the country. So, we agreed to do the show. We were told that all these extra precautions and measures were being taken for safety, including social distancing and encouraging everyone to wear masks. It was still a really weird feeling for us, during the show. It felt great to be on stage again. It felt like, damn, we hadn’t done this in so long. You have realize that we spent three years working on this album, and then we had our album release show on Feb. 21st or 22nd in Nashville, one of those dates, and then the world shut down, you know?”

“So, we spent three years working on this album,” he said, “and we’re not the one that was affected by that. Obviously, everyone is. But, after that happened, it was just like, no shows. Then, these Alaska shows happened, and onstage, caught in the moment, you’re like, this is incredible. But then it hits you– the realization that you’re performing a show in front of 1,500 or 2,000 people in the midst of a pandemic. So, in a lot of ways it felt irresponsible. But, we don’t govern States. We’ve canceled almost every show– I mean, not almost, we canceled every show that we had up until that point. A week prior to that, we were supposed to be playing a radio station’s birthday bash in Panama City, and we were like, there’s no way we’re going to do that and put our fans at risk.”

He added, “For us, from the outside looking in and everything, we saw, all the numbers and the way we were told everything was going to be handled. It seemed like a pretty safe show for us to do, but it still tore at us, for us, before and after the show, just knowing…like, man, I don’t want to be a part of the reason someone gets this.”

When it comes to Framing Hanley in 2020 and moving forward, things will look different down the road, as longtime member Ryan Belcher has stepped away from the band. Nixon says that while he’ll miss Ryan, he’s happy that Ryan will be able to spend more time with his family.

“That’s my brother. I love that dude,” Nixon said. “From the time that he joined, when we started to work on ‘A Promise to Burn,’ he and I clicked immediately. It was a new element in songwriting, and from that moment forward, he and I wrote 80% to 90% of all things Framing Hanley. So, him stepping away, I get why he did it. It’s a bummer, but he’s making the best decision for himself and his family. He’s always going to be involved still in all things Framing Hanley related. But, probably not the scope that it’s been for a decade now. He kind of had to step away before we even finished the album, and Stoye moved from bass to guitar, and “Forgiveness Is An Art” is the first song that Stoye and I wrote together. So, that has me very pumped for moving forward. We’ve obviously put this album out there. We’ve demoed a few other songs, too, that have me excited. So, the future of Framing Hanley is still looking very bright. It’s a bummer that Ryan won’t be a part of it in the manner that he has been for a decade now, but I’m still excited about moving forward with what we have going on.”

Framing Hanley have a wealth of original material out, but the band’s first major hit was their cover of Lil Wayne’s song, “Lollipop.” Do they ever get tired of playing the track live?

“Not anymore,” Nixon said. “Back in the day, yeah, we did, of course. It became one of those things, where it was like, we have other music, too! But, thankfully the people that discovered us because of that song stuck around. Our fanb ase grew tremendously because people found out about us through that cover. When I think of it– some of my favorite bands, the first song I ever heard from them… Honestly, ‘Tainted Love’ by Manson is what made me a fan of that guy, originally, and obviously the rest of his catalog speaks for itself.”

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