Teenage Head singer dead at 51

JASON MacNEIL - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:56 AM ET

Canadian punk music lost one of its icons yesterday with news that Teenage Head lead singer Frank Kerr -- aka Frankie Venom -- died yesterday.

Kerr had recently battled throat cancer and got to spend Thanksgiving weekend with his family before slipping into a coma.

The Glasgow, Scotland-born Kerr, 51, was the lead singer of the Hamilton-based band which formed at Westdale High School back in 1975.

Guitarist Gord Lewis announced the death in a press release yesterday afternoon which was later posted on the band's official website teenagehead.ca.

Teenage Head released its first independent single in 1978 and released its legendary self-titled debut the following year. The group, who performed in Hamilton in early August and were slated to play at this year's Grey Cup festivities in Montreal, is perhaps best known for the song Let's Shake which appeared on its Frantic City release.

The band also made national headlines for a June, 1980 concert at Toronto's Ontario Place Forum when thousands of fans were denied access to the gig. It resulted in what's known as the Riot at Ontario Place which led to the cancellation of all rock shows at the lakeside venue. There were several arrests and injuries but the attention made Frantic City reach gold status.

Kerr left the group to form short-lived bands Frankie Venom and the Blue Angels, recording a four-song CD, and Frankie Venom and the Vipers. Although Kerr was replaced in the late '80s by Dave Desroches (aka Dave Rave), Kerr returned to the fold in 1996 with Lewis, bassist Steve Mahon and drummer Mark Lockerbie for the album Head Disorder.

The band, which have often been seen as Canada's equivalent to the Ramones, returned earlier in 2008 with Teenage Head With Marky Ramone, a special album released through Hamilton label Sonic Unyon and featuring the band's biggest hits performed with the former Ramones drummer. The album was widely praised by critics and fans alike.

There is no information regarding funeral arrangements or visitations.

The death coincides with an announcement yesterday that Teenage Head would receive a special lifetime achievement award during the 2008 Hamilton Music Awards taking place Nov. 13-16.


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