A veteran of L.A.’s original punk rock scene, FRANKENSTEIN
frontman Dave Grave established himself as a founding member of
the local horror punk/death rock community with his bands ZOMBIE
LEGION (’79-’81), VOODOO CHURCH
(’81-’82), and the mysterious BONE CULT
(’83-’84). Anticipating the slow decay of the L.A. scene
into glam-metal and neo-funk, he set out to create FRANKENSTEIN,
a one band resistance to transient commercial fashion trends. News
of the band’s formation was announced in what turned out to
be his last infamous Scratch Magazine weekly gossip column/scene
report, in April ’85. Amid much buzz, the band had just begun
rehearsals when drummer Andy Christ was killed in a freak car accident.
The demoralized band members began drifting apart as certain club
owners and promoters, annoyed by the tell-all nature of Mr. Grave’s
column, began closing their doors to him. The band dissolved, and
the man Rolling Stone called, “A doomsday philosopher”
went into exile, swearing his revenge.
Dave Grave began moving between L.A., Orange and Ventura counties,
searching for new limbs from which to rebuild his monster. He found
them in Ventura and formed theSCREAMING THINGS,
a band meant to play a few shows before “revealing”
themselves as a new FRANKENSTEIN. Instead, they
spent 2 years creating songs that are the staple of any FRANKENSTEIN
set, returning to a new L.A. audience hungry for their dark garage
sound and style.
As death rock became increasingly watered down into fluffy Goth,
a more aggresive monster was needed. THE THINGS
disbanded; guitarist Mojo Bone joining Rocket '88 drummer Ringo
Slug becoming THE CRAMPS' Harry Drumdini and bassist John Brewton
and Dave Grave looking to build a bigger, better monster. With the
discovery of Rev. Whitey Peckawood, they succeeded.
Rev. Peckawood’s maniacal, finger-blistering guitar style
was everything FRANKENSTEIN required. From the new line-up’s
first show at Cal Arts, their reputation for hi-energy psychotic
grind was firmly established. This gig also marked the appearance
of the F-Troop, a pack of mad hooligans whose presence became a
fixture at FRANKENSTEIN shows. The band played
constantly, opening for such acts as THE MUFFS, JEFF DAHL, and NO
FX, and performing live on college radio. Bootleg tapes began circulating.
But, by late ’91, the latest line-up had run its course, and
the less committed members drifted off, leaving Mr. Grave and the
Rev. to carry on. In Jan. ’92 they recorded the unreleased
Helter Skelter (the Manson Mix) with INSIGHT 23's John
Whatley. It was time for a break while Mr. Grave searched for new
The new monster was complete by late ’94 with Jeff F. on drums
and the late Jim “Strap-on Jimbo” Cherry (STRUNG OUT)
playing bass. By March ’95 FRANKENSTEIN had
recorded 8 songs (3 of which would be released by year’s end),
and played a few shows, but personal obligations forced Rev. Peckawood
to move out of state. Working with new guitarist Jason Abnormal,
the band played less frequently.
Jim’s obligations to STRUNG OUT, and his abrasive personality,
put an increasing strain on the band. Rev. Peckawood returned for
CD release shows in Oct. ’96 (attracting one Ike Turner!),
but by month’s end Rev. P. had headed home, and Jim was fired
when it turned out he'd made a secret deal with one of the labels,
violating the band’s contract. For the next 2 years Mr. Grave
was locked into a legal battle with the label’s owner, who'd
sworn, “to ruin him and his band.” He failed miserably.
Despite slanderous rumors, and Jim allegedly destroying the master
tapes of the ’95 recordings, by mid ’98 the label settled
out of court and paid the band royalties due them.
reappeared in the studio that summer, recording Black Train Rollin’
for the Blackout A.D. compilation, with Dave Grave, Jeff F. on drums,
William Faith (FAITH AND THE MUSE) on bass and FRANKENSTEIN’s
original guitarist Mark Pritchard. The cut was well received internationally
and the search resumed for new members. By late 2000 the monster
was back in rehearsal with William on lead, L. Ron Jeremy on rhythm
guitar, Bart Sinister on bass and Stevyn Grey on drums.
In March 2001 the monster took the stage at Release The Bats (Long
Beach) to a capacity crowd. Word spread overnight via the internet
that FRANKENSTEIN was truly back from the dead
and bigger than ever. Album production began as William started
booking a 24-city U.S. tour for that summer. Unfortunately, 5 weeks
before the tour was to start, William was forced to pull out. The
album unfinished, and the band without a suitable replacement, the
tour was cancelled.
That November, the Rev Peckawood returned to California…and
FRANKENSTEIN. In March 2002, a year to the day
since their last appearance, the band played again to a capacity
crowd, the long absence only increasing their mystique. Work on
the album, appropriately entitled An Ugly Display Of Self-Preservation
has resumed, and is expected to be released before year’s
end. The band has received offers to play Europe in summer 2003.
The FRANKENSTEIN ground swell is threatening to
become a seismic wave.
At this time, the Reverend, one of Frankenstein’s
earliest attachments, giving the band such pounding tunes as Lovecraft,
and the live favorite, Things That’s Dead,
played his last show with Frankenstein to a capacity crowd on May
24th, 2003 at The Scene in Glendale. Thanks to all who attended
& apologies to those who couldn’t get in ‘cause
the place was so damned packed!The
ways of a serial killer may never be completely understood by us
normal folk, but nonetheless, the Reverend will be sorely missed.
missing a vital organ, Frankenstein went searching and found a brand
new piece of flesh in… Tommy Marseilles– Swamp Guitar
King! He gained notoriety with local New Orleans punk & deathrock
bands, making him a perfect limb for Frankenstein.
And now on the verge of their long overdue first release, the band
has still outlasted the critics and skeptics, overcoming
internal collapse and external attacks, and winning over the most
jaded audiences to their cause. Whatever the future may bring, Dave
Grave has had his revenge...FRANKENSTEIN lives!