When Genghis Con-Job singer-songwriter Frank Drank filmed his part as a Viking in a Capital One commercial, he had to show up an hour early. “Visigoths don’t have tattoos,” says the 6’4”, 290-pound tough guy who often gets cast as a bank robber or a bouncer in movies, TV shows, and commercials. “They airbrush all the tattoos off me. If they like what you do, there isn’t anything they can’t work around.”
Drank has been in bands for 17 years. “Every actor wants to be a musician, and every musician wants to be an actor.” He says growing up in a church where people spoke in tongues and flailed around on the floor helped him with both music and acting. “My mom was a strict Pentecostal. I could walk into a Baptist church right now and preach a revival and have you dancing in the aisles in 20 minutes. I left the church when I was 20, but I could still preach you a sermon that would blow your mind.”
Drank, 38, stumbled into acting in 2007 when he responded to an ad on craigslist asking for extras. “There were, like, seven dudes who were supposed to be there, and I was the only one who showed up. They started giving me lines the first day.” That pilot “never went anywhere,” but his biker looks helped him land an agent. He now gets residuals every time his commercials air for AT&T (“I’m riding away with Bill Curtis in the sidecar”) or Heinz ketchup (“I’m the singing bartender”). He’s done three sketches with Conan O’Brien, played a backyard wrestler on Reno 911! and was Paris Hilton’s cellmate in a Lewis Black Comedy Central special.
As for his music career, Drank says, “The outlook in the music industry is bleak. I have never made money from music. I’ve always spent money to make music. If someone gets their hands on a CD, a million people can have a [bootlegged] copy of it in one day. Labels are losing money. It is a sinking ship. If you are in this business to make money, you have to have rocks in your head.”
Genghis Con-Job made its Casbah debut last Tuesday. Drank says he would have loved to play the popular rock club before then. “We opened for Danko Jones. It took the president of their record label — Bad Taste Records — to call from Sweden to get us on that bill.”