Frank Watkinson: A Beginner With Confidence (Season 2021, Episode 4)

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I’m battling my chronic insomnia. Again.

3 am brings out my best. Sometimes.

Headphones are on and I’m watching buskers on YouTube. YouTube has some suggestions for me. One is a video of a man holding an acoustic guitar. The title indicates he’s covering a Radiohead song, No Surprises. Well, I have to click on that. Not because I love Radiohead ’cause I don’t even like them. But this man does not look like he’d like them either. I can’t imagine what this cover might be like so I have to find out.

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Who is this old guy? He’s been in my life all of the 3 minutes it took him to play this song and I’m smitten. I like this guy. Instantly. A lot.

This video has over 300,000 views. How have I never seen this man play before? Must be an outlier, but I’m thankful YouTube made the suggestion. I click on his name, below which I see 176K subscribers, which takes me to his YouTube channel’s main page. A hundred seventy-six thousand subscribers? WHOA!

I look at the many videos he’s produced and click on another one, a John Prine cover, “I Remember Everything.” I do love John Prine. I’m still sad that John is gone. I click on that video and I’m fully smitten by this guy now. I click play who knows how many times before I finally stumble into bed.

About 90 minutes later I’m up for the day. I go to Frank’s YouTube channel, to the about section. No details. No website. Just a place to click for an email address for business requests. I click it and shoot him an email.

Frank,

I have no idea what to even say. Except that stumbling onto your channel made me – yes, MADE ME – devote hours watching video after video.

I’m a business guy who began to podcast before it was even called PODCASTING. My passion project is a podcast called Leaning Toward Wisdom (https://LeaningTowardWisdom.com – tagline is “modern tales of an ancient pursuit”).

Would you be open to having a recorded conversation with me for that show? A Zoom video call. Not an interview, but a conversation with a guy from Dallas, Texas who loves what you’re doing. True confession: I’ve had a passion and love for the guitar for as long as I can remember, but I never learned to play. I learned that what I love most is watching/listening to others play. You’re now added to the list. Thank you.

Think about it and let me know. I promise it’ll be fun. More fun than that stunt of your daughter slapping you about the vegan remark. 😀

Randy

Frank replied the same day.

Randy ,

Thank you for getting in touch, i don’t mind having a conversation with you i’m not sure if you know i am in the UK, so we would have to get the times right, i would probably have to take a laptop upstairs or something depending on whether anyone else is at home, my wife and grandson can get pretty noisy at times lol, you mentioned that vegan joke, funny how humour doesn’t always translate as quite a few people didn’t like the idea of a daughter doing that to her dad, but then you can’t please everyone, oh and i have family in Texas (San Antonio), never met them but still family lol, if i’m right i think you are 6 hours behind us, you mentioned you like guitars but never learned to play ……i didn’t either lol!

Frank.

Having watched the 2 videos with his daughter I was not surprised at the snarkiness of his reply. And the bromance continued. 😀

Listen, when you get to be the age of me and Frank you rather enjoy seeing and connecting with people who have some notion of how you grew up in the days before the Internet.

Here’s the original of a cover done by Frank. This will give you an idea of just how much Frank makes these covers his own.

Here’s Frank’s version of that same song.

The video that blew up his YouTube channel was this cover by a heavy metal band, Slipknot.

Frank has a 7 song EP available, My Life Unplugged. Here’s the Amazon link. Here’s the Spotify link. Here’s the iTunes store link.

Frank also has – because people wanted to support him – a PayPal link over on his about page at YouTube.

The edited video of our conversation is below. I hope you enjoy the conversation. I sure did.

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