It's party time for Uncle Frank at Leicester's Guildhall
Leicester band Uncle Frank is holding a party. Gemma Peplow talks to Frank Benbini to find out why
We always enjoy chatting to Frank Benbini, here at The Week. Never afraid to speak his mind and happy to regale us with an anecdote or 10 about his rather extraordinary life as one third of the Fun Lovin' Criminals, or one half of Leicester duo Uncle Frank, we always know we're not going to be given any PR spin nonsense.
And, behind the bling and his larger-than-life on-stage persona, he's actually a bit of a softie really.
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"I'm like anyone, I just want to be loved," he tells The Week. "I make a big effort with everything I do, because I want people to enjoy my shows, whether they're Uncle Frank shows, FLC shows or anything else."
So tomorrow night, when Uncle Frank launch their first EP in absolutely yonks, you can expect a lavish affair.
"You certainly can. This is the first thing that we've put out in a long time, four or five years, so it's going to be a special party.
"We've put two new songs on the EP and there'll be an album out, probably in early February, so this is a little teaser."
The EP, Irresistible Me, will be handed out to everyone who attends the launch gig, which is being held in the rather impressive surroundings of the Guildhall.
Your £5 entry fee will also get you a glass of Champagne and, um, like any good gig, a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
He knows how to put on a spread, does Frank.
"We didn't want to do something normal. Uncle Frank always tries to do something a bit different, we're kind of known for that," he says.
"We try to make it a proper show. We've played at all the usual venues so we thought let's make this one special, let's do it at the Guildhall. Not only is it one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in town, it's also got an almost regal feel.
"We're really going to go for it. We've a really special stand-up comic who will open up for us.
"We're trying to make it different. I do want to do something special."
Frank will also have his lovely dancing ladies, "The Frankettes" – you might remember them from his main stage Summer Sundae performance in August – gracing the stage.
Fans will also get the chance to grill him and his partner in grime, Na'im Cortazzi, in a Q&A session half-way through the show. "People have already been sending me some questions and they're quite funny," says Frank.
"They range from, 'How many baseball caps do you own?' to 'Have you really got a house in Hawaii?' to 'How many girls have you slept with?'
Cue a two-second pause, and then: "I'm not going to answer that one."
Whatever you think about Frank and his music, it's sure to be an entertaining night.
And he's pleased to find the time to put some work into Uncle Frank during a bit of a break from FLC (the band celebrate their 20th anniversary next year, so are planning some bigger shows then).
"We just played our last show, for Arthur's Day, which is organised by Guinness. They hold it every year and get some big names to play all over Ireland. This year, there was us, Mumford and Sons, Primal Scream and Fatboy Slim.
"People didn't know who was playing where, so we got snuck in backstage in a little pub somewhere and the people there only found out when the curtain came up.
"We're going to take a break now as next year it's the 20th anniversary and we'll do something big.
"I'm always so busy – either with FLC or Radio Riddler, which is a reggae project I do with (FLC bassist) Fast.
"I got back from New York a few days ago, I was under Brooklyn Bridge shooting a new video for Huey's solo record.
"Next month, I play Paradiso in Amsterdam, with Radio Riddler. I also want to do an Uncle Frank video, for Something Something, on the new album.
"It's a sweet song about this guy who's in love with this girl but she's not sure if she loves him the same. I want to shoot it as a Bollywood video; I want to be the main character and have all these girls in saris doing some crazy dancing around me. That's my next venture."
So there's a lot going on, then?
"Me and Na'im are both busy people. But now we've both said that enough is enough.
"When we played Summer Sundae for the past two years we've had people coming up and saying, 'For God's sake, Frank, when are you going to put a new record out?' But I just have so many commitments.
"So now, I'm kind of apologising to people that they've had to wait so long, and that's why I'm throwing this party.
"You only have to do the maths to realise we're not going to make any money on this, but it's our way of saying sorry and thanks.
"I'm so excited. I've got to decide what to wear now – that's the biggest decision of all."
Uncle Frank are playing at the Guildhall tomorrow night.
A few tickets are still available. Call in at the venue or phone 0116 253 2569.