The last three years have proven a renaissance for Hamilton’s Teenage Head. While the passing of lead singer Frankie Venom (Kerr) eleven years ago could have meant the end, with the injection of long time friends and collaborators Dave “Rave” DesRoches and Gene Champagne on vocals and drums respectively joining bassist Steve Mahon and guitarist Gord Lewis have proven the band has legs still. In fact, we’ve documented three vinyl releases in these last few years including the double Fast Comes Fast greatest hits package, the self-titled debut re–issue and most recently the Tornado expanded re–release that came just in time for the band to celebrate at Tim Horton’s Field to ten thousand plus fans during a half time performance.
With a film crew following them for the last three years, the new Picture My Face documentary is ever closer to completion but film projects aside, getting personal with the fans is always important for Teenage Head. What’s become somewhat of a holiday tradition, the band gets up close and personal with a couple hundred fans over two nights in December and that gives a chance for non football fans to celebrate the latest re–issue and die hard collectors to check out a second pressing of Fun Comes Fast.
“They’ve actually got a 92 minute first draft of the documentary edited together that they’re just going to tweak to make it perfect,” says Mahon. “You’re talking about a forty–five year career but I think the band he’s focusing on is with Dave and Gene playing in the band with us and that’s the band he filmed. Obviously, there will be a history lesson but all of the live shows he’s filmed have been with Gene and Dave and luckily all of the shows have been so good. It’s hard to believe it’s been three years we’ve had them in the band.
“Sports teams are so superstitious so it was great that the Ti–Cats won that game but it was great to be a part of the Labour Day Classic and the show was incredible to play,” adds Mahon. “But that was just the introduction to our latest release and we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to celebrate this great lime green and yellow split coloured vinyl release. It’s got the demo tracks and a remix and all the goodies in it so we’ve still got some left for people to get. But what’s interesting is we sold out of the first run of Fun Comes Fast so the second pressing is going to be hot pink vinyl and if there are collectors out there, that’s something new that we’ll have at the show. We’ve changed the poster and the gate fold, tweaked the booklet, add some publishing information and more. We’ll have some at the show as well and the hot pink looks so great — it’s really our colour. People that don’t even have turntables are buying the vinyl and we’re making sure they’ve got some great stuff to look at as well.”
With talk about the possible future re-releasing of the live Endless Party album and the Sonic Unyon released Teenage Head with Marky Ramone on vinyl for the first time, Teenage Head have a myriad of projects in the works — including what would be their first new collection of songs in two decades.
“If it’s between a re–release and a new album, I’ll definitely hope for a new album but we’re working on a lot of things and they happen in their own time,” says Mahon. “We are working in Gene’s studio, running the ProTools and working on new songs for a new album as well. It’s too soon to say when it will come out but it won’t take us long once we get into the studio.”
While new music, movies and vinyl are the major talk — the live gigs are Teenage Head’s bread and butter. Fans will want to mark their calendar for Teenage Head’s feature on the Q107 Derringer Christmas Breakfast Thursday December 19 but locally, this weekend, Teenage Head continues a three year tradition of a weekend of concerts to kick off the season.
“John Derringer’s one of the coolest guys in Toronto and I think we’re on at 8 in the morning but we’re getting hotel rooms and having a party in the morning to raise some money for charity,” says Mahon. “We’ve done that stuff in the past so it’s cool that they’ve invited us for that event on Q107 and it’s nice to be asked.
“We always like to play and make more of an event out of it,” adds Mahon. “It all really started three years ago when we did a gig with Dave Rave and it just felt so good. He’s out there jumping around like he’s twenty–five years old still and he makes it look so easy when it’s not. We’ve had so much fun with him and the crowd responds to that. We’re not comfortable playing some of the new songs as of yet but we’re working the kinks out of them and we’ll be adding those soon. This weekend, we’re playing a cozy little club and it’s so fun down at This Ain’t Hollywood with a couple hundred of our closest friends and we’re hoping everyone can make it.” V
Teenage Head plays this Friday December 6 with the Discarded and Saturday December 7 with Candy Hangover at This Ain't Hollywood. Doors open at 9pm and tickets if available can be purchased at bruha.com or at the door for $27. Click on facebook.com/teenagehead