Hitchin’ a ride with The Frans

Cameron Mays (left) and Gabriel Xavier (right) playing guitar. Photo courtesy of Bailey Maine

By John Ostapowicz / The Jambar

Bus drivers and train riders are just a few inspirations for the Cleveland-based band The Frans. The band is preparing to release its debut self-titled album dedicated to public transportation on March 1.

The Frans consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Cameron Mays, guitarist Gabriel Xavier, bassist Hope Wondowsky and drummer Matt Tufano. Each member of the band has a common goal: to spread the importance of the Regional Transit Authority.

Formed by Mays and Xavier, the musical partnership began at Cleveland State University in a film studies class over a conversation about a local plant store. Mays said the pair shared interest in guitar and began to write music, leading to the creation of The Frans. 

“I’d been wanting to fix a band up and it seemed natural to join up together because of our shared interests,” Mays said. “We have a lot of interests in the same music and a lot of different tastes, which was a good balance.” 

The pair began to experiment with the notion of what it means to ride a bus in a city bustle or a train in the countryside. 

The Frans’ self-titled album will hit streaming services on March 1. Photo courtesy of Bailey Maine

The Frans keeps its musical format simple but adds lyrical and crunchy tones to give a pop-punk feel to its tracks. 

From Bo Diddley to the Ramones, the band takes inspiration from punk rock, delta blues and classical genres. Lyrically, Mays and Xavier are drawn to The Beatles’s commercial-pop success and Bob Dylan’s songwriting. 

“That’s something I was interested in exploring. That kind of verse, chorus, bridge, easy and simple pop tunes,” Mays said. 

The key to the band’s musical adaptations is taking old songs and adding different elements. For Xaiver, the band can grab the attention of new fans with this trick.

“We take from really old music that nobody young listens to because then it sounds new to them,” Xavier said. 

The upcoming album will feature three previously released tracks, “Rail City Gun,” “Ride The Bus” and “Subway Sally,” which are a part of a waterfall release. 

To coincide with the album, The Frans will perform at The 5 O’Clock Lounge in Lakewood on March 2. The band will then hit the road on a tour to perform at several venues from St. Louis to Pittsburgh. 

The band will make a brief stop in Youngstown at 7:30 p.m. on March 14. at the Wickyards. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is $5 at the door.

The Frans’s self-titled album will be available to stream on Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp