Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hollywood Ending: An Interview with Frankie Whyte of Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols

A couple years back I was looking for some new music to listen to. I was tired of what I was listening to and the radio didn't/doesn't have much to offer. I went to myspace and went linking though band pages until I found one that really caught my eye. Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols was the band. I think it was a cross between the design of their myspace, the look of the band, or the fact that this little Toronto band had tunes that packed a big punch. That day I won a 5 song EP and have been a fan of the band ever since. Frankie Whyte is a female vocalist/guitar player of a 4 piece rock band ripping up the area. It is with my pleasure and without further ado to give to you the first Spun interview.

Spun: For someone who may not know, what genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

FW: Rock N' Roll. Straight up. What else is there? I'm joking! As for influences, they vary - we listen to a lot of music! To state the obvious though, anything from ... Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith .. to .. Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles. It all rocks.

Spun: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

FW: This band formed 2 and a half years ago. and the previously listed influences/bands, are what inspired us to get it together.

Spun: What was the first record you ever bought and do you still own it?

FW: Tragically Hip - Phantom Power. Still own it. Still buy any album the Hip delivers. It's all great.

Spun: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

FW: The biggest challenge would have to be, just simply being heard and getting people to care. Of course, we need to follow that up by giving the people a REASON to care, and I think we do that really well - through our show, we like to entertain. But also, through caring about those who come to see us, in the same way that they care about us.

You play and you play and you play, and you earn your stripes, and no one gives a shit. And then one day, for one reason or another, people slowly start to care, your club gets fuller, your cds sell faster - and that is a really good feeling. So I suppose we've overcome that to an extent or to a level, but each level is followed by the next and the next. I'm sure it's never ending. Even Kiss just broke their attendance record, at 90,000 people in Quebec - and they've been playing for nearly 40 years. See? Never ending!

Spun: If you could share a bill with any artist not having yet played
a bill with who would it be?

FW: I'd love to play with Bruce Springsteen, but I doubt that's even remotely realistic due to our genre vs. his genre alone. Bon Jovi, 100%, as well. And, probably a better fit. If you know me, then you know that Richie Sambora is one of my favorite guitar players - dare I say it - of all time. Truth.

Spun: Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list?

FW: Well, we perform our entire EP! We're still searching for our perfect set, and the set varies depending on the show and the amount of time we have on stage. As for covers, they are always fun once and a while! We used to tear up Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue and Toys In The Attic by Aerosmith, those were always crowd pleasers, but I don't think we've played them in over a year. Covers are good and all, but you want your own songs to be the crowd pleasers, in the same way that Kickstart My Heart is to Motley. We don't put any major emphasis on playing cover songs.

Spun: The band is starting a tour tomorrow, what cds must come on the van or bus?

FW: Depends on which member you ask.. for Danny, anything by The Beatles. For Zach, anything by Rob Zombie or Alice Cooper. For me, any of those bands, but also - The Police, Def Leppard etc etc.

Spun: If you were not making music, what is it you suspect you'd be occupying your time with?

FW: I can't picture not playing music, so ask me this question again when I'm 90 years old. .. fuck it, I'll probably still answer in the same regard.

Spun: Is there anything that has to be on the band rider at shows? Or is there anything that can't be on it?

FW: Nothing HAS to be on our rider! haaaa! If people want to give us stuff for free, we'll take whatever they want to give us! That being said, I do drink way too much gatorade - to the point where it's probably unheatlhy. When we played the Bell Centre they gave us two coolers full. Like I said, way too much gatorade!

Spun: Do you have any other hobbies besides, obviously, making music?

FW: Making music isn't a hobby, it's what I do with my life. But my hobbies include longboarding, surfing, anything with a board under my feet.

Spun: Do you have a worst show story? Any major train wrecks?

FW: There are always things that happen that are out of control at shows, we've been pretty lucky. The worst show we've ever played was only in front of 5 people at a tiny place in Kensington Market. If I tried to explain to you why it was our worst show, it probably wouldn't seem like that big of a deal, but ask any one of us - worst - and we all knew it. Luckily though, one of the 5 people there dug us enough to give us a spot at a relatively new bar at the time, called Rok Boutique. It became our home - and so goes the telling of the story about going from people not caring... to a club full of people caring. Everyone in Rok, we were all there for the same reasons, it was a real community of like minded people. I'll never forget those experiences.

Spun: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.

FW: We'll be opening for Our Lady Peace on August 28th in Sudbury Ont - should be a great show, and you should be there because, well, why would you want to be the ONE person who doesn't come out for one of the last big rock shows of the summer with one of Canada's greatest bands (I mean Our Lady Peace, not FWDI - haaaaa!)? Come out and get rocked!

Spun: What would you consider the highlight of your career so far and

FW: If you asked any one of us, the highlight of our career as of yet, would probably be opening for KISS. That is huge for us. But also, another personal highlight for us would be creating and maintaining our relationship with our producer, Duncan Coutts (OLP) and our label (fortybysixty). They're our team, and they've been with us since day one. Their belief in us, and their guidance is extremely inspiring.

Spun: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?

FW: We have a myspace, we have a website, we have a facebook, we have a twitter... pretty much everything and anything anyone is on! you can find all of those links here:

Spun: Lastly just give me two words to end this interview.

FW: I'm goin' with 6 words, sorry Kent! :) "See U @ The Rock Show".

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