In a very short time Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols have started a well deserved buzz within Toronto and the rest of Canada. I can’t remember going to a show and seeing a band rock out this hard. I had the pleasure of chatting with Frankie about songwriting, influences and the band’s intense stage show.
You’ve been compared to artists like Joan Jett and Motley Crue. Would you call them your main influences and if so, who else would you add to your list of musical influences?
I wouldn’t call Joan Jett an influence… she’s a great songwriter/artist and I can really get on the level with what she does, but I don’t listen to her often enough. There’s a volume of artists that really inspire our band – from Motley Crue to Tom Petty to Bon Jovi to Keith Urban… the list would be endless, and most likely inconsistent in genre. Music Lover – Face Melter – Songwriter; that’s the order of things in my heart. We just love music in this band.
How would you describe a live show to someone who hasn’t seen Frankie Whyte & The Dead Idols on stage?
We put great emphasis on showing the audience that we care about what we do… I want to really mean every word that comes out of my mouth, I want Danny to really mean every note he plays, I want to make some sort of physical commitment to the song that’s entertaining for an audience to watch, I’m excited by the music we play – and I want to show it. People can expect us to put up the good fight, time and time again, because every member of that audience is worth it; every time.
Speaking of live shows, you’ve toured/played with some heavy names including KISS and L.A Guns. How did it feel sharing the stage with people you look up to so early in your career and did you learn anything from it?
We’ve been very fortunate to play with some of our heroes, how can you not learn, even from just watching those bands play live? If there’s one thing that’s consistent from band to band, it is to give it all you got.
You worked with Our Lady Peace’s Duncan Coutts on the EP you released last year called “Hollywood Ending.” How did Duncan hear about the band and what is it like in the studio with someone who’s worked with some of the greatest rock producers of all time?
Working with Duncan is an unbelievable experience. He really wants to push you to be the best you can be. He’s the type of person that will take your vision, and lay the groundwork – so you can now see the road to executing your vision.
I understand you have been focusing a lot of time on writing new material this year working with some great songwriters in Canada and the U.S. Do you enjoy the songwriting process and why?
Songwriting is actually way down the list for me! I love rocking out, I love playing guitar, the songs are finished, and they’re being delivered to the ears of an audience. Songwriting can be a long battle-like process that can take a lot out of me at times. Which is why I’ve sought out the art of the “co-write”. Sitting at home, writing songs for 18 hours a day – I will do it, but it’s extremely easy for me to lose perspective in that kind of environment, I get too lost inside of my own head. So I’ve turned songwriting into a more social/fun atmosphere, almost like playing a show. When you’re co-writing: you meet someone new, you’re talking about the bands you love which is exciting and inspiring, you’re motivated to be the best you can be, because someone else is watching you do what you do, there’s that little bit of pressure there to deliver.
Being a female in a rock group can be difficult since the majority of rock bands have always all been male. Do you run into situations where people have been surprised after seeing you preform?
I remember hearing a story from the KISS tour… a member of our team was standing out in the audience watching the first Sarnia show and he heard a man in the audience say “is… is that a girl? And she’s playing lead guitar?” Perhaps the initial doubt makes my victory even sweeter when that person ends up wearing our shirt. If anything, it keeps me on my toes as a musician/performer. I always feel like I have something to prove to people. I’ll never be lazy about it.
Growing up in Canada, which Canadian artists/bands did you grow up listening to?
As a kid I was very much enamored by The Tragically Hip, the first album I ever bought was “Phantom Power”. As a teenager and to this day, I think you could ask me about the majority of Canadian music, and I’m able to recommend my favorite album, with a long list about “why” I think it rules, to accompany your listen. Bryan Adams, Bruce Cockburn, Gowan, Blue Rodeo, Rush… it’s all great music to fall in love with.
This question is for the gear-heads out there. What is your stage set up and do you have a favourite guitar you use or plan on buying in the future?
I’m still trying to figure that out myself, and I’ve spent some time fooling around with different ideas, researching what my favorite guitarists use or have used in the past. I use a VOX AC15, and then on my board: a Diamond Memory Lane delay and a Keeley Katana boost, I don’t have the patience to mess around with volume pedals for solos. As for guitars, I use a Les Paul and a Fender Esquire. My favorite guitar is definitely the Les Paul, it just feels so right!
What can we expect from Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols in the future?
More music, more tours, more more more. We can’t sit still for too long.
Last but never least. What advice would you give all the young females fronting a rock band trying to break through in Canada?
The concept of possibility. What you want can happen for you, because it’s possible. And it’s been proven possible, because it’s happened for others. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, more often than not, it’s very, very hard work. But always remember, it’s “possible”.
In conclusion Frankie Whyte & the Dead Idols are a living breathing example of a tight band with loads of work ethic. If the band isn’t writing, they’re in the studio. If they’re not in the studio you’ll find them on tour. What more can I say? This is without question a band to keep your eye on.
You can check out some of Frankie Whyte’s music at www.myspace.com/frankiewhyteandthedeadidols