Hollywood couldn't have written a better script for Donny Franklin of Bothell. The 16-year-old, picked from the sea of fans at the recent...

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Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script for Donny Franklin of Bothell.

The 16-year-old, picked from the sea of fans at the recent Weezer/Foo Fighters concert, went on stage and played guitar with Weezer.

Franklin attended the concert with his sister and brother-in-law, Tiffany and Josh Hughes of Redmond. They stood at the front, leaning on the rails. Then Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo left the main stage. He reappeared a minute later across the auditorium and sang from another stage.

The band asked for a volunteer from the audience to fill in until Cuomo could make his way back.

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“People in the crowd were screaming when asked if anyone wanted to play with them. I was screaming. My sister and brother-in-law were pointing at me,” Franklin said. “Weezer picked me, and as I walked up the steps, someone handed me the guitar.”

Franklin asked what song they were doing.

“It was “Undone/The Sweater Song.” I knew the song, I knew the chords,” he said. “I was so nervous, so, so nervous. You dream of something like this but then you’re on stage with thousands of people looking at you. I thought I could be nervous, or I could play.”

Franklin played.

He even rated a line from The Seattle Times’ music critic. In his concert review, Patrick MacDonald wrote, ” ‘Undone/The Sweater Song’ was a kick, aided by an audience member who was chosen to play guitar and did a great job.”

The band agreed, complimenting Franklin as he was directed backstage. He tried to hand back the Washburn acoustic guitar but was told to keep it.

Many friends were at the Weezer concert and saw Franklin’s moment of fame.

“One friend had seats near the top [of the Arena] and she text-messaged me that someone who looked like me was on stage,” Franklin said.

All this was inspiration for the young man, a student in the Northshore School District’s Home School Network. His brother-in-law began teaching Franklin how to play the guitar when he was in seventh grade. Now a 10th grader, he’s started a band called The Sets with friends Matt Manula, Spencer Madrid and Matthew Gilliland.

Franklin loves rock so much that he delayed a teenage rite of passage for his music.

About 18 months ago he finally saved up enough money for driver’s education — a requirement to get his driver’s license. He bought his first guitar instead.


Susan and Dick Schwasnick and Margot and Rich Blacker of Bellevue recently enjoyed a Mediterranean cruise. When their ship stopped in Turkey, they hired a guide for a tour of the ancient city of Ephesus. When the guide learned they were from the Seattle area, she asked, “Do you happen to know Bill Gates?”

Not hardly, the group replied. Turns out the guide was one-up. A few weeks ago, she led Bill and Melinda Gates on the exact same tour.

“They arrived a little differently than we did,” Susan Schwasnick said. “They were on a chartered yacht and a helicopter brought them ashore for their tour.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633