Frankie Teardrop – Scary Video Gets Respect

When “Frankie Teardrop” was first screened in 1979 it almost could be guaranteed to clear the room, except in some hip underground precincts. (FT was an early (1978) non-commercial music-video I co-created.) This is before “punk” became an accepted part of the cultural landscape.  This was the era of the Eagles and mellow singer-songwriters. In that context it is profoundly satisfying that the Frankie Teardrop video has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art fairly regularly in recent years.   (The video is described in great detail in the next post.)

2011-2012  Selected Works from the Contemporary Galleries: 1980-NOW
2009  Looking at Music: Side 2 

Museum of Modern Art Selected Works from the Contemporary Galleries: 1980-NOW

Museum of Modern Art Selected Works from the Contemporary Galleries: 1980-NOW

It was especially excited to be included in “Looking at Music: Side 2” (below) which featured the NY punk era with the FT video placed as  the first thing you see as you walk in, and was surrounded by objects related to Patti Smith, Richard Hell and Television… the Founding Fathers & Mother:)  For NY punk, it doesn’t get better than that.

Paul D at Looking at Music: Side 2

Paul D at MoMA’s 2009  Looking at Music: Side 2

Frankie Teardrop is not part of the Canon yet:) but has come a long way from its marginal start.  Don’t think it ever appeared on MTV.  When FT had a following on my main (& terminated) YouTube account (2007-2010), part of it’s reputation or cachet was based on it’s tendency to frighten. (see the “Frankie Teardrop Challenge“) From reading the comments, it seems to have been used as a dare or as something of a litmus-test to weed out the faint hearted. You get the picture from the ‘highest rated comment’ just below this frame grab from the old (PaulJD2006) account.  “Scared the sh*t out of my friends.”

frankie YT scr grab rev

Before my main YouTube account was closed in 2010, FT had 100k views and many links to it.  I reposted it to a new YT account but all that momentum has been lost.  That’s how the YouTube cookie crumbles.  I’ve redoubling my efforts to get the account reinstated with pro bono legal help, more on that later.

Here’s a sampling of the comments (there were several hundred), this gives you the idea. There were lots of put-downs the positive/negative was about 50/50. I esp, like the last comment.

    • phenethylaminedreams Poor fucking frankie. poor fucking humanity. We’re all fucking frankies- We’re all lying in hell. 1 month ago
    • Harmut192 if you dont like, dont comment bunch of fucking stupids, of course you dont like, if you normally listen that commercial shit 3  1 month ago
    • Hammy0924 That was pretty stupid. I heard it wa s the scariest song ever from another video. It was just a cheesy jungle beat and a guy talking and screaming 1 month ago
    • eric1012wi Go blow some goats you idiot as you dance to some cheesy jungle beats moron! This way before jungle was even around punk! 1 month ago
    • BackStabbathno1 Pretty cool actually!! 2 months ago
    • ninyesp I do not know why, but this made me think of the older version of the last house on the left. Now that movie was creepy. 2 months ago
    • ntinakiclaire creepy!but still amazing! 3 months ago
    • themackailshow creepy 3 months ago
    • andycasdmx this is about as scary as joe mceldery’s the climb, and certainly not as scary as the fact that a song like that can sell 400000+ records. 2  3 months ago
    • BigGalty Did you try listening to it while high?  3 months ago
    • bamlaflamme Jesus Christ you fucks don’t understand what atmosphere is. 4 months ago
    • DibsWife can someone please tell me what this is suposed to tell me? i’m not getting this. how did this get to be one of the creepiest songs.
    • FozzyOverload listen to the lyrics ffs   5 months ago
    • solveig1759 @DibsWife There’s nothing really to explain, except I’d say there are only 2 reactions to that song and video(a) it is genuinely frightening, a picture of a world brutal and hopeless or (b) it’s a pile of pretentious nonsense ;either may be equally valid. I’ve watched it no more than probably 5/6 times and each time start off thinking it’s (b) then 1/2 way through start thinking it’s (a). It’s not an enjoyable experience although I think it’s an artistically credible piece of work.. 6  4 months ago

About avideolife

video editor & director
This entry was posted in Early Video, PD Original Work, Synapse, Uncategorized, Video Art and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Frankie Teardrop – Scary Video Gets Respect

  1. Pingback: PIL & Suicide | When p**k was a work in progress.

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