Reason #488 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Frantic City

Named after a Flamin’ Groovies song, Teenage Head were pretty much there at the beginning of the whole ‘punk’ movement back in the late 70′s. If you lived in Canada during the early 80′s it was a prerequisite that you owned at least two ‘Head albums.

Frantic City gave birth to two semi-hit singles in Somethin On My Mind, which is in my top 50 songs of all time, and the tribal pop-punk of Let’s Shake.  The rest of Frantic City is good old fashioned power pop in the mold of The Ramones.

If you grew up listening to punk/rock’n’roll in Toronto or Hamilton in the late70s/early 80s, you probably remember Teenage Head. This was a legendary band, from the amazing live shows, to the infamous Ontario Place riot of ’81, in which 15,000 rowdy teenagers who couldn’t get in to the sold-out show went berserk, and police from all over the greater Toronto area had to be called in to quell the violence. Aside from the history, this is simply a great punk/rock album. If you’re a fan of bands like the Ramones or the Clash, or of proto-punk bands like Iggy & the Stooges or the MC5, you owe it to yourself to lend an ear to the Canadian version. Teenage Head’s blend of punk rock and 50′s-style rock’n’roll ranks among the best of the era (and the band probably would have become more well known if not for the untimely auto accident that put guitarist Gord Lewis out of commission).

Singer Frankie Venom died October 15th, 2008 and the whole of Canada (and parts of some eastern States) wept. I, and countless other Canucks came of age with this band, and Venom dying was a sad thing indeed. Hard to find decent footage or videos of this band for some reason, so here’s the best I could do. Enjoy.