Origin: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Punk rock, Garage rock
Years active: 1975–present
Frankie Venom (Kerr)
Blair Richard Martin
1978 “Picture My Face” Teenage Head
1978 “Top Down” Non-LP re-recording of a song originally from Teenage Head
1980 “Somethin’ On My Mind”
1980 “Let’s Shake”
Non-LP re-recording of a song originally from Frantic City
1982 “Some Kinda Fun”
Some Kinda Fun
1982 “Let’s Go To Hawaii”
1983 “Tornado” (as Teenage Heads)
1983 “Blood Boogie” (as Teenage Heads)
1984 “Top Down” (live version) Endless Party
1985 “Frantic Romantic” Trouble In The Jungle
1987 “Can’t Stop Shakin'” Electric Guitar
1988 “Everybody Needs Somebody”
Teenage Head is a Canadian rock group from Hamilton, Ontario and was a popular Canadian punk rock band during the early 1980s.
The group was formed in Hamilton by Frankie Venom (Frank Kerr), Gord Lewis, Steve Mahon and Nick Stipanitz. Stipanitz has since been replaced by Jack Pedler, and Venom died of cancer on October 15, 2008.
Teenage Head was formed in 1975 when the band members were students at Westdale High School in Hamilton. By May 1978, they released their first single “Picture My Face” on Epic Records, and their self-titled debut, Teenage Head, followed a year later.
The band’s performance at the The Last Pogo concert on December 1, 1978 at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, ended in a riot and was shut down by the police. The concert was made into a short film by Colin Brunton, The Last Pogo. In 2006, Brunton began a feature-length documentary film about the concert, including additional interviews and footage of Teenage Head. It was released on DVD in 2008 as a tribute to the late Frankie Venom.
1980’s Frantic City was the band’s breakthrough album, making them stars across Canada with the hit singles “Let’s Shake” and “Somethin’ On My Mind”. They toured to support that album, including opening the major Heatwave festival in August. In June 1980 their performance at Toronto’s Ontario Place sparked a riot. The incident made headlines across the country, and led Ontario Place to ban rock concerts for several years afterward.
In September 1980, riding high on the success of Frantic City and the band’s unintended notoriety, Attic Records, their Canadian label, set up a series of showcase gigs in New York City, hoping to attract a U.S. record deal. Only a few days before their scheduled departure, Lewis was seriously injured in a car accident and the showcase was cancelled. Lewis was temporarily replaced by David Bendeth, although he was able to return in time to play on the 1982 album Some Kinda Fun, which was another success.
Their 1983 record Tornado was marked by controversy, with the band’s American label MCA Records demanding that they change their name to Teenage Heads to placate the more conservative American audience. The title track was the band’s last big hit in Canada.
During this time the band appeared, as themselves, in the film Class of 1984 (starring fellow Canadian Michael J. Fox) and performed “Ain’t Got No Sense”.
In 1985 after the release of Trouble in the Jungle, Venom was replaced by Dave Desroches, who led the band for three years before departing to form his own band, The Dave Rave Conspiracy. Venom rejoined the band in 1988, but Stipanitz was first replaced by Blair Richard Martin of the Raving Mojos, then Mark Lockerbie, who played on the 1996 album “Head Disorder”. Lockerbie was in turn replaced by Jack Pedler.
In 2003, the band recorded a host of previously released material with Ramones drummer Marky Ramone at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton and Metalworks Studios in Toronto with Ramones producer, Daniel Rey. The resulting album was released in Canada on April 22, 2008, titled Teenage Head with Marky Ramone.
In the spring of 2007, Teenage Head played in Alberta and British Columbia for the first time in more than ten years. They returned again in the spring of 2008.
On October 15, 2008, Gord Lewis announced that Frankie Venom had died following a battle with throat cancer.
The remaining members of the bands continued to perform after Venom’s death playing a tribute show for him, and performing at the 2008 Hamilton Music Awards.
In 2009, longtime fan and friend of the band, Pete MacAulay joined as the new singer, to “take Frankie’s space, not his place”.
In his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario a memorial statue of Frankie Venom had been planned but has been stalled because of criticism of public funds being spent to commemorate a man who used illegal drugs and was once convicted for domestic assault.