Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Here's something I found in the October/November 1978 issue of Bomp! The article was called "Toronto - Another Local Scene Explodes":


Now signed to Montreal's Direction Records (a disco label distributed by Polydor-Canada), Teenage Head are finally putting a record out ("Picture My Face"/"Tearin' Me Apart.")

A great rockin' band, Teenage Head have mutated the best of Iggy, the Dolls and the Groovies. Lead singer Frankie Venom is a slithering, almost lizard-like performer; contorting and twisting every which way like a bubblegum Iggy Pop. Guitarist Gord Lewis favors the look of mid-60s cool as his bony stance looms foreboding over the edge of the stage.

The band are based in Hamilton, a tough steel-town west of Toronto. They were the highlight of last summer's Toronto Weekend at CBGB's.

Their choice of covers has always been extremely tasty; "Drive In" (Beach Boys), "Wild Weekend" (Dave Clark Five), "Cock In My Pocket" (Iggy) and lots of Eddie Cochran. Best originals are "Top Down," "Sheila's Gone" and "Bone Rack."

This article about Teenage Head's appearance at the Heatwave Festival, (held August 23rd, 1980 at Mosport Park just outside of Toronto) came from Trouser Press #56 (November 1980) and was sent to me by a helpful guy named Mark Williams:

The promoters publicized this event as the first new wave rock festival to be held in North America . . . they hoped for 100,000 paying customers; according to the estimates in the Toronto papers, they had slightly over half that number.

At 11 a.m., with the sun beating down, Toronto's Teenage Head opened the show. In order to see, I put myself directly in front and center of the towering stage. There's a high wall in front of the press section to keep the paying rabble back, and the stage's height makes neck strain inevitable. I get a good view of the bands' front lines, but I don't see a drummer all day. What I see of Teenage Head are two scraggly guys playing guitar and bass, and a crop-haired singer in long-tailed livery coat and eyeliner. The image is confusing, but musically this band knows what it's about: good ol' head-banging ramalama punk rock. A large and vocal following cheers them on, and they play with confidence, as if they belong up front of all those people.

This review of Frantic City came from the "N.M.E." in December, 1980:

Two pretties, a spotty and a Suggsy form Head, currently rated among Canada's front runners. But their music comes at you from as many directions as a well-angled squash shot, rockabilly, Merseybeat and grittier contemporary sounds all sharing track-time. Disconcerting but good.

Here's an article from "Maclean's Weekly", January 12, 1981:

There will be no fond farewell to 1980 for the enfants terribles of Canadian Rock, Teenage Head. When their show at Toronto's concert kiddieland, Ontario Place, sparked a riot in June, the Hamilton, Ont., quartet suffered cancelled appearances, a general ban from high schools and radio stations as well as anti-Head editorials across the country. But the final blow came last October when the band's van struck a tree near Palmerston, Ont., seriously injuring lead guitarist Gord Lewis. "I was a vegetable for a month," says Lewis, 24, who found himself in an adult body cast, mending his smashed vertebrae. The cast is due to come off this month, and he will rejoin the band. Adds Lewis: "We're ready to rock from where we left off. Some people think the negative publicity hurt us, but our album went gold and the concerts sold out."

I think this came from a Toronto newspaper in February of '81:

The people's awards

Rush's Geddy Lee, not too upset at losing the best group award to Teenage Head, said: "I didn't come here to win anything. I came to drink."

This was printed in the "Toronto Star", Friday the 13th of February, 1981:

Teenage Head Guitarist Back

Guitarist Gord Lewis, severely injured in an auto crash last September, will be re-joining Teenage Head tomorrow night at Club Toronto, Queen St. West at Dufferin.

The injury cost the band the chance to get to several key New York concerts and may have delayed it's carreer by an entire year. Tomorrow night it's back to craziness as usual.

Here's what Trouser Press had to say about Teenage Head:

Fronted by singer Frankie Venom, this hard rockin' quartet from Toronto owes more than it's name to the Flamin' Groovies--the records are full of non-stop crazed rock'n'roll songs about cars, parties, girls, booze and general wanton fun, all imbued with the original Groovies' unreconstructed spirit. With nods to Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and other pioneers, Teenage Head races along, Gordie Lewis' guitar blazing, through numbers like "Ain't Got No Sense" and "Kissin' The Carpet" (both on Teenage Head, which was remixed and reissued), "Disgusteen" (Frantic City) and "Teenage Beer Drinking Party" (Some Kinda Fun). If they were smarter and more sarcastic, T. Head might have more in common with the old Dictators; as it stands, their sound, while hardly original, is perfect for parties held in gymnasiums. The first three records aren't hip, but they are solid, sweaty and convincingly salacious.

Given a pluralizing, name-sanitizing "s," the group lowered its hysteria level on the six-song Tornado, an ill-advised stab at maturity and commercial hard-rock acceptability. Snore. Endless Party is a live greatest hits rundown recorded on New Year's Eve 1983.

Fortunately, the story doesn't end there. Safely removed from the Lower Fifty's crass influence, the quartet reclaimed both its spelling and sense of fun on the nifty Trouble in the Jungle. Covering Bobby Fuller, Eddie Cochran and Elvis Presley amid a variety of equally gonzo originals, the band shifts gears easily from lightly played rockabilly pop to electric punk--sometimes in the same song.

Electric Guitar has only one non-original, but self propulsion does nothing to impede the versatile fun. "She Rips My Lips," "Can't Stop Shakin'" and "Full Time Fool" are all vintage-flavor rockers, crisply delivered with chops and spirit; "Your Sister Used To Love Me" makes a cool milkshake of Dave Rave's relaxed surf vocals and Lewis' sizzling punk chords; "You're The One I'm Crazy For" is a spectacular Ramones imitation. Electric Guitar is convincing proof that a neat and clean garage can still rock. (Daniel Lanois plays guitar on two tracks.)

Here's a little info on Teenage Head from The Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock, Pop & Folk Music:

Teenage Head from Hamilton, Ontario began playing together in high school. The band was named after a song of the same name by the Flamin' Groovies. Their self-titled debut album in 1979 was a flop and shortly thereafter their record company, Interglobal Music went bankrupt.

Producer Stacy Heyden, who had played with David Bowie, handled production chores on Frantic City, Teenage Head's next album on Attic Records. In fall 1980 it went gold (sales of over 50,000 units).

According to the Great Canadian Music Poll, Teenage Head's Frantic City and self-titled album charted number 21 and 46 respectively in the Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. Here's what they had to say:

21. TEENAGE HEAD Frantic City (attic; 1980)

"Kiss me where it stinks, so I drove her to Hamilton..." Steve, Frank, Gord and Nick made up Steeltown's finest and one of Canada's best bands. While I was growing up in rural Nova Scotia, Teenage Head was constantly on my turntable. Without a doubt, Frantic City was the band's supreme moment. There should have been a movement headed by these guys in the United States, right up there with Ramones, The Sex Pistols... Head's the best--the rest.--James Moore, Rusty

46. TEENAGE HEAD S/T (Epic; 1979)

Teenage Head's debut album was a breath of fresh air for all of us who endured Canadian corporate rock of the late 1970s. The record's lo-fi production, lack of annoying soloing and straight-ahead simplicity heralded punk's growing influence on homegrown artists. Three-chord beauties "Lucy Potato", "Kissin' The Carpet", and "Top Down" became anthems for a whole new generation of Canadian kids. The album was as necessary at a college party as any release by Ramones or The Sex Pistols. Live, Frankie Venom fronted a band that was loud, raucous, and arguably, the most entertaining in the country. Subsequent releases lacked the rawness and simplicity of the group's debut. Unfortunately, Teenage Head is not available on CD.--René Blackman, director of marketing, MCA Concerts

January 25, 1995

Teens after all these years


Toronto Sun

Teenage Head were so comfortable with their rep as a great live band that the veteran punk 'n' rollers let a few years slip by between albums.

Nine years to be exact.

"That's a long time, eh?" says Teenage Head guitarist Gordie Lewis, whose band recently released Head Disorder, their first album since 1986.

"We were pretty content just going around playing."

Tomorrow the band is back at old stomping ground the Horseshoe, which served as a catalyst to Toronto's punk Class Of '77 that included Teenage Head and minor historical figures like The Diodes and The Viletones.

"In those days it was New York, London and Toronto," Lewis says proudly.

Head Disorder harkens back to those salad days. There's Teenage Head's trademark concoction of punk and traditional rock 'n' roll (Burton Cummings even plays piano on two tracks). Lewis points out that his band was influenced as much by '50's teddy boys Eddie Cochrane and Gene Vincent as they were by primeval punks the New York Dolls.

And, he says, returning to the studio and hammering out a bunch of edgy tunes made them feel like kids again.

"That style of music has never left us. To go back in and do it again was kind of instinctive. So, it was a combination of that and luck. And," he adds with a chuckle. "A little part of it is knowing what we're doing."

Hence the album's timing. Head Disorder came in the afterglow of a so-called punk revival led into chartland by bands like Green Day and Rancid.

"We knew what was going on," Lewis Confesses. "Three years ago when (management) were telling us to do a new album, they mentioned this new band, Green Day, who were kinda doing what we were doing a long time ago."

And how do the old schoolers feel about said upstarts getting rich off their game?

Says Lewis: "Just like anything that passes the test of time: You feel that there's something worthwhile in it, that it's definitely not a fad.

"Punk rock might have it's periods of time where it's more popular than others, but it does seem to be something that has and will stay with us."

"If that period when Teenage Head started was the beginning , then I feel great to be a part of it. You've got to feel good about that kind of longevity."

This came from an issue of Access magazine in 1996:

Teenage Head: Honing Their Chops

Music soothes the savage souls, live or recorded, and there is plenty of that activity in Toronto already and we're only at the beginning of 1996. You know there's something up when you get a brand new Teenage Head CD. Out a few months now, it's been a work-in-progress for the last 18 months or so and it's their first album in nine years. Called Head Disorder, it was produced by Mark S. Berry (Lee Aaron, Headstones) and features most of the regular Head sounds on has come to expect from our favourite band from Steeltown and a little bit more, including piano stylings courtesy of Burton Cummings. Original members Frankie Venom, Gordie Lewis and Steve Marshall are back on vocals, guitars and bass (respectively) with Mark Lockerbie on drums. It's a fact that Teenage Head has been gigging regularly over the past two years or so, honing their chops in front of hundreds of club goers around southern Ontario. And it seemed as good a time as any to release new material after just about a decade of recording inactivity.

Here's a little blurb on Teenage Head from a web site called "Next Level: When You Wish Upon A Star":

In 1980, I predicted big things for Canada's Teenage Head because they were great performers. But on the eve of their American tour, the band members were in a car accident. After that, they were never the same. 17 years later the band's lead singer is still suffering from emotional problems from it.

This came from an article on the Flamin' Groovies:

Before Roy Loney left the Flamin' Groovies in late '71, they cut the classic Teenage Head album. (The term "Teenage Head" originated from the mouth of scenester Kim Fowley, the guy who brought Joan Jett -- via the Runaways -- into the public eye.) The sound was a pure parody of Led Zeppelin. A few years later, in 1973, a Westdale Secondary student in Hamilton by the name of Gord Lewis would christen his new band after seeing an ad for The Groovies' LP in an old issue of Creem. In 1978, Loney would walk into a record store, see the debut Teenage Head LP and, in his words, "be blown away."

"It's nice to know that something you've done has had that kind of effect on someone," says Loney.

Here's a review of Head Disorder by some retard at the University of MB:

It's strange that a number of punk bands I thought had faded away have come back with new records after Gr**n D*y hit the charts, isn't it? Head Disorder is a passable album, with some high points ("Head Disorder," "Walkin Alone") and low points ("She's My Girl," "Rock With Rock"). More than a few of the songs are reminiscent of early Ramones, with hints of '50s rock here and there. It's nothing special, and unless you're a fan, you probably won't listen to it a second time.

-Ryan Schultz

Here's a review of Head Disorder by someone at the U of Calgary:

I first heard Teenage Head when I was fourteen and I became an instant fan. With their loud guitars and songs about bein' young and havin' fun, I had no choice. We hung around together for about eight years, and they were great times. I hadn't heard from them since 1988, when they put out Electric Guitar (their only album without original singer Frankie Venom), and I'd learned to live with just the memories of "Let's Shake" and "Top Down."

Well, no more reminiscing for me, Teenage Head are back with Head Disorder. With the triumphant return of Frankie Venom, the "Head" rock like the old days. With three-chord rockers like "First Time" and the title track, or ballads like "Seen It, Done It" I knew immediately they had never gone away but that they had just taken an extended vacation. In fact, all of Head Disorder is really great. I just hope it's not eight more years 'til Teenage Head come back again, but if it is, I don't mind waiting.


This review of Teenage Head's self-titled CD came from Exclaim:

In 1977 Teenage Head were part of the punk rock explosion that put Toronto on the map alongside New York and London; Other People's Music's "Punk Hole Of Fame Series" is celebrating Toronto's own punk and pre-punk heroes with reissues from Demics, the Ugly, the Mods, the Viletones and Forgotten Rebels along with Teenage Head's first classic release. Teenage Head was the first band that brought Canadian punk toward the mainstream, evidenced by the riot they brought on at the Ontario Place Forum when a sold-out show caused locked out fans to jump the gates. Although the band's subsequent Frantic City release sold more records, it's their debut that really stands the test of time. Before they traveled the musical road from rockabilly to plain old rock, their debut captured the band between haircuts - a transition that merged the glam of the New York Dolls and the drive of Iggy Pop's Stooges with their emerging early rock passion. Their newly shorn hair gave way to an unfashionable flamboyance resulting in some of the catchiest punk power pop this side of the Buzzcocks. Their original party singles "Picture My Face" and "Top Down" from 1977 are re-mixed here with tremendous success by Chris Spedding and Peter J. Moore. Along with the full album, complete lyrics and lots of pics, is the embarrassing '78 Beach Boy-ed version of "Top Down" specifically geared for radio. At the time, singer Frankie Venom was probably the best frontman in Toronto boogie-ing up the crowd with reckless abandon. On his ode to excess, "Kissing The Carpet," Frankie sings "I'll take today, you take tomorrow." Little did he realize that when tomorrow rolled around he'd want a little bit of that too.

-Ian Danzig

Here's a little review of "The Last Pogo" CD that was reissued on OPM. This came from "":

In Toronto, 1978, the home of punk was the Horseshoe Tavern promoted by the Garys. The punks celebrated the death of punk at the Horseshoe on December 1st and 2nd of '78. The record was released on Bomb Records, and the film, The Last Pogo, remains a classic punk documentary. Long out of print, The Last Pogo now includes The Viletones and Teenage Head, previously seen in the flick, but missing from the platter. The cops closed the joint down after Teenage Head played only one song, "Picture My Face", and then the cops faced "picture this riot!" The punks shredded everything in sight and spilled out onto Queen Street West to face barricades and riot cops on horseback. This CD features The Ugly, Drastic Measures, The Secrets, Cardboard Brains, Scenics, The Mods, Everglades and Irish People.