Interview: Bobby Hackney of Rough Francis

Words by Jess Slayton.

Although we did not actually get to sit down together due to their east coast tour, I’ve been lucky enough to speak with Bobby of Rough Francis through email correspondence over the course of the past few weeks. He and the rest of the band—Julian, Urian, Steve, and Paul—just got back from a tour that took them down to North Carolina and back. This particular tour allowed them to hit a few stops that they had never hit before, while also returning to places they’d already come to love. They’ve actually done many tours before and have hit the west coast as well, although according to Bobby, they prefer playing along the east coast because all of the major cities are closer together.

Bobby, Julian, and Urian are brothers, and Steve and Paul are close friends—Rough Francis is clearly tightly set in a sort of familial closeness. The name itself refers to the nickname of a late uncle who acted as a spiritual mentor to the entire group. He also was part of the band Death, along with the three brothers’ father and another uncle. As Bobby put it, Death was a “crazy rock n’ roll band” that ultimately inspired the members of Rough Francis to come together as a band six years ago. However, music has been a part of Bobby’s life since he was young—he’s been dreaming about playing in front of a big audience since he was a child, and many of his favorite memories involved watching his father and uncles play music.

When asked to describe the music of Rough Francis, Bobby wrote “I would like to say that our music is pure joy, energy, and angst.” From this statement and from what I’ve heard myself, it’s very clear that the music that they play absolutely thrives in a live setting, seemingly coming to life as the audience falls into step with the rhythm. It appears that Rough Francis considers the audience a part of their art, and that the attempt to all feel the same emotions at the time is integral to their success.