November 28, 2004

SJP


Artist: Teenage Head




Frankie Venom [aka Frank Kerr] (vocals)
Gord Lewis (guitar)
Steve Park (bass)
Steve Marshall [aka Steve Mahon] (bass; replaced Park)
Nick Stipinitz (drums)
Mark Lockerbie (drums; replaced Stipinitz; replaced Harrison)
Blair "Mojo" Martin (drums; replaced Lockerbie)
Jack Pedler (drums; replaced Martin)
Dale Harrison (drums; replaced Pedler)
David Bendeth (guitar; replaced Lewis temporarily in 1980)
Jim Huff (guitar; replaced Bendeth in 1981)
Dave Rave [aka Dave Desroches] (guitar, vocals; replaced Venom)


The members of Teenage Head initially met while attending Westdale High School in Hamilton. They would hang around Star Records in Hamilton listening to the newest punk imports and by 1975 decided to put a band together. They named themselves after the title of a Flaming Groovies song.

With manager Jack Morrow finding them places to play - mainly in Toronto - and wanting the band to make money, the plan was to get a record out. Demos for "Picture My Face" and "Tearin' Me Apart" were cut and they soon had a deal with Inter Global Music who shopped the band to CBS Records affiliate Epic. The songs were polished and released on Epic in May 1978.

"Top Down" soon followed and the band found themselves the centre of attention at the 'The Last Pogo' in 1978 at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario. Teenage Head had barely taken the stage when the police showed up to break up the over-capacity crowd. The entire event became a movie and Head were immortalized without having played a note.

In 1979, their self-titled debut, which was poorly recorded, distributed and released by InterGlobal, failed to stir any attention and the record company soon folded. But the band's frenetic live shows - including a memorable performance at the Heatwave Festival (a recording of which became 1984's 'Endless Party') - drew capacity crowds everywhere they played, and the moderate radio exposure raised eyebrows at Attic Records.

Their follow-up, produced by David Bowie alumnus Stacy Heydon, was 'Frantic City' which spawned the double-sided hit single "Somethin' On My Mind" and "Let's Shake" (though Attic had them re-record the latter with less offensive lyrics for radio ears). The album became a multi-platinum seller and was a battle cry for beer swilling, cottage hopping college students across Canada.

A riot on June 2, 1980 during their performance at Toronto's Ontario Place Forum made front page news across the country and prompted Ontario Place management to ban 'rock acts' permanently. Attic Records set up a series of showcase gigs in New York City, hoping to attract a US record deal but days before they were to leave Lewis broke his back in a near fatal car accident and the showcase was cancelled. He was temporarily replaced by David Bendeth but the band decided to wait for Lewis to recover before carrying on. They needed a strong comeback and so, following Lewis' rehabilitation they headed back into the studio for a new album.

Their third album was a repeat of their patented 2 minute Rockabilly-On-Speed vendettas entitled 'Some Kinda Fun' which extended the plethora of puking and passing out singles "Let's Go To Hawaii" and "Teenage Beer Drinking Party" which went on to Gold record status.

Manager Jack Morrow convinced the band that they needed a simultaneous US release, which Attic was not able to arrange. After some heated discussions between the label, management and the band, Attic allowed Teenage Head to leave. MCA picked up the band's option and attempted to market the group as a nifty College pub-rock act and had the band water down their next record -- a 5 song EP called 'Tornado' -- with rockabilly jangly guitar ditties produced by Bendeth. To really put the band in its place, the US arm of MCA refused to release the record unless the band changed its name from Teenage Head to Teenage HEADS so as to not offend the US Parents Music Resource Center who were gunning for anyone deemed making unsavoury music. The album failed to launch in the US and MCA soon cut the band loose.

A live album, 'Endless Party' was released in 1984 on Ready Records but the band was no longer attracting the attention of radio or media (except in the negative). Frankie Venom was living the subject matter of his lyrics and was told by outsiders that he should become a solo artist. He would soon take Mark Lockerbie and form Frankie And The Vipers.

The band carried on with Dave Rave (The Shakers) who had been utility member of Teenage Head during recordings and tours and Blair Martin was recruited on drums. However, Martin soon departed and was replaced by Jack Pedler on drums shortly before recording the 'Can't Stop Shakin'' EP and their full-length album 'Electric Guitar'.

The band finally imploded in late 1988 after Rave moved to New York to start what would become a successful solo career with The Dave Rave Conspiracy and later Agnelli & Rave. By early 1989 Venom was convinced to comeback and the original version of Teenage Head with Lewis, Marshall and Stipinitz resumed.

Several drummers came and went following the second departure of Stipinitz but Head continued doing what they did best - performing live. The 'Head Disorder' album was released in 1998 but was quickly derailed when lack of proper promotion sank it.

In 2003, without a permanent drummer the band recorded a new 'best of' package with surviving Ramones drummer Marky Ramone with producer Daniel Rey. With a potential for great punk-rock marketing, the band launched its own CD release program and licensed the new 'best of' and a re-issue of the original production mix of their debut to Sonic Unyon Records in 2006.

Tragedy struck on the eve of the band's digital revival when Frankie Venom died of cancer on October 15, 2008.

A version of Teenage Head with guest vocalists - including Pete MacAuley - still performs occasionally around Southern Ontario.

with notes from Robert Gronfors, Dave DesRoches, Gary Pig Gold, Al Mair, Rob Frost and Mark White.


Singles
as TEENAGE HEAD
1978 Picture My Face/Tearin' Me Apart (IGM/Epic/CBS) E4-8273
1978 Top Down (New Version)/Kissin' The Carpet (IGM/Epic/CBS) E4-8337
1980 Somethin' On My Mind/Let's Shake (Attic) AT-220
1980 Let's Shake (New Version)/I Wanna Love You (Live) (Attic) AT-229
1982 Some Kinda Fun/Teenage Beer Drinkin' Party (Attic) AT-249
1982 Let's Go To Hawaii/Don't Toy With Me (Attic) AT-271
1984 Top Down (New Version)/Picture My Face (Live) (Ready) SR-451
1985 Frantic Romantic/Get Down (Warpt/Ahed) RC-21
1986 Frantic Romantic/I Can't Pretend (Warpt)
1988 Everybody Needs Somebody/Little Girl Don't You Understand (Fringe) FPS-1784

as TEENAGE HEADS
1983 Tornado/Luv For Sale (MCA) MCA-52220
1983 Blood Boogie (remixed)/(I'm Just) Too True (MCA) MCA-52265

Albums
1979 Teenage Head (IGM/Epic) PEC-90534
1980 Frantic City (Attic) LAT-1081
1981 Teenage Head [remixed album re-issue] (Goon Island/OPM) JJ-3255
1982 Some Kinda Fun (Attic) LAT-1124
1984 Live In An Endless Party (Ready) LR-046
1986 Trouble In The Jungle (Warpt/Ahed) WR-924
1987 Can't Stop Shakin'[3 song 12"] (Warpt/Ahed) WRC2-5080
1988 Electric Guitar (Fringe) FPL-3064
1988 Frantic City/Some Kinda Fun [2-fer-1 CD re-issue] (Attic)
1996 Teenage Head [remixed album CD re-issue] (OPM/EMI)
1998 Head Disorder (Loud Rock) 5011-2
2005 Teenage Head [original album mix CD re-issue] (Lobotronic/Sonic Unyon)
2008 Teenage Head With Marky Ramone (Sonic Unyon) SNUN-70119

as TEENAGE HEADS
1983 Tornado [5 song EP] (MCA) MCA-36001


Video


Compilation Tracks
1998 "Bonerack" on 'Hard Core Logo - OST' (Virgin/EMI) V2-79762
2002 "Let's Shake" on 'Dock Rock'
2005 "You're Tearin' Me Apart" on 'Only in Canada, Eh 77-81: Volume 1' (Punk History Canada) PHCCD-0101





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