Guitarist & Bassist for the Heathen Apostles, The Cramps, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes


One of the last men standing from the notorious Los Angeles punk rock scene of the late 1970’s, Chopper Franklin is the guitarist for the Heathen Apostles and has played guitar and bass for The Cramps, the Mau Maus, Charley Horse, Nick Curran & the Lowlifes among others. He has produced several albums, mostly for his record label Ratchet Blade Records. Chopper also writes and produces soundtrack scores and has directed several music videos.

In 1979 at the age of 15 Scott ‘Chopper’ Franklin started living at the infamous Church, the punk rock mecca (and offices for SST Records) in Hermosa Beach, Ca. Home to Black Flag, Red Cross and the Minutemen (along with other bands and local punk rockers), he was soon roadying for Black Flag, learning guitar and bass and jamming with anybody that he could.

Meanwhile up in Hollywood, he crossed paths with the infamous Rick Wilder, and that led to him playing bass for the notorious punk rock n roll outfit the Mau Maus. After four years, many riotous shows and a six song recording (with Robbie Krieger of the Doors producing), he left to join the  trash rock outlaws the Joneses.

The influencial album “Keeping Up With The Joneses” was recorded, a deal with Elektra Records came and went, and when Chopper relocated in New York City, he reconnected with Rick Wilder for some more recording.

Taking the new found technology of loops and samples, scorching rockabilly and country guitar, next up was Charley Horse, created in 1993 with vocalist Sean Wheeler (Throwrag) and producer Mickey Petralia (Beck, Rage Against the Machine). The record that would become “Unholy Roller” was recorded during this time, and a 7″ single of Back Down & We All Fall Down was released on Hellnote Records.

While performing at a Mr. Badwrench show (whose “Up Jumped the Devil” cd is available now on Chopper’s Ratchet Blade Records), Chopper met Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of the Cramps, eventually joining the band in 2002. He did several tours and recorded the final Cramps studio album “Fiends of Dope Island”.

Charley Horse got back together 2004, the US and Europe were toured, an album was recorded and a video for “Bad Ass Dad” was shot. In the end the band emerged with 10 more terrorizing titles that became 2009’s “Professional Sinners” (Ratchet Blade Records #716).

The Doghouse Lords were formed in 2008, Chopper joining with John Bazz and Bill Bateman of the Blasters, along with Javier ‘Jake’ Matos (Blue Shadows) on vocals, harp and guitar and the rockin’ blues cd “Diggin’ at the Doghouse” was released on Ratchet Blade Records. He followed this by producing the hellbilly/doom country band the Phantom of the Black Hill’s album “Born to Gun” in 2010 (he also produced the POTBH follow-ups, 2012’s ENEMY! and 2013’s Black Hearted Killer).

In 2011 Chopper joined the frantic rock n roll band Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, and began recording a new record in April of 2012. The first Mau Maus album “Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now” was released on Ratchet Blade (RBR #717) in 2012, comprised of both old and new recordings of their classic set. A new project called the Heathen Apostles released their debut album Boot Hill Hymnal (along with 2 videos) in 2013, and Chopper joined forces with Jyrki 69 (69 Eyes) and Danny B. Harvey (The Headcat and the Rockats) to form The 69 Cats and release the digital EP Bad Things on Cleopatra Records in the Fall of that year. 2014 brought forward the 69 Cats album Transylvanian Tapes and several tour dates, as well as new releases and live dates from the Heathen Apostles (Without A Trace) and Phantom of the Black Hills (Moonshine Bright).

2015 brought forward new Heathen Apostles singles and videos for Death’s Head, Fist City and Fool’s Gold, as well as their second album Fire to the Fuse. American festivals and 2 European tours for the 69 Cats followed. The third Heathen Apostles album Requiem For A Remix (featuring remixes by Chopper Franklin, Almighty Watching and the Phantom of the Black Hills, as well as corresponding videos), the Misery and Gin EP (a tribute to the late, great Merle Haggard) and the single and video for Albatross came out in a busy 2016. 2017 brought out the Heathen Apostles’ Strange Flowers EP and Bloodgrass Vol. I, which is the first of a series of EPs in which the band plans to showcase their musical roots.

In 2018 Chopper’s Ratchet Blade Media launched, known as the ultimate collective for the Gothic Western lifestyle. 2018 also saw the release of the Bloodgrass Vol. II EP (accompanied by the highly regarded Paint the Stars video), followed closely by the fourth Heathen Apostles album Bloodgrass Vol. I & II (a vinyl and CD combination of the first two Bloodgrass EPs). A wildly successful European tour supported the album, and a music video for the infamous Death Came a Ridin’ single brought the band back into familiar Gothic Noir territory. A similar shoot for Deadly Nightshade, the second single from Bloodgrass Vol. I & II, is now in pre-production.

2019 promises the Summer release of the fifth Heathen Apostles album, as well a second tour of Europe in support of it in June and July.