Friday, October 24, 2008

RIP: Frankie Venom

For some time now, I've been saying that Hamilton needs a sign as you drive in reading: "Welcome to Hamilton, the home of Teenage Head". So far, there have been no takers. But, for anyone who likes Canadian rock'n'roll or punk, Teenage Head are a landmark band. Often called "the Ramones of Canada", they formed in 1975, while attending Westdale High School in Hamilton, recorded a number of albums that are a bit more rock and a bit less punk than the actual Ramones, and finally recorded an album with an actual Ramone, Marky, this year.

Frankie Venom (born Frank Kerr) was the singer and, when we saw them play a year ago, he was still a great front man, funny and energetic, and singing like a somewhat gruff teenager. It's somehow especially painful to note that he suffered from, and has now died of throat cancer. It's just a total shock, honestly. I mean, who knew he was sick? Check out this City TV clip from April and see if he looks ill. It's a shock and a shame to lose a true Canadian original. Frankie Venom was one of those singers who it's impossible to watch and not want to befriend him- just too charismatic and likable. When we saw them in Hamilton, the audience contained kids just getting into them and middle aged people who went to high school with them and remained friends. And now he's dead at age 51.

Anyway, my initial response to this story was: "Oh, no! Holy fucking shit!" Honestly, I can't improve on that.

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