The Frames

Dublin 1978 - 1980

Kevin Sreenan Vocal & Guitar (R.I.P)
Dave Kavanagh Lead Guitar & Vocals
Jimmy Howard Bass & Vocals
Eddie McGrath Drums

Kevin, Dave, Jim & Eddie all attended the same Dublin school, apart from Kevin, they all started playing music at school. They were not in a band at this time but playing all styles of music, at this time for some reason Kevin showed no sign in wanting play an instrument, although he was clearly very talented musically.
When they formed The Frames, everything was about the song, they wanted to be a singles band, every single would be a double "A" side.
 Photo supplied by Eddie McGrath. The Frames circa 1980

Photo shows left to right Eddie, David, Kevin, Jimmy, they guy in the hat is nothing to do with the band.

The Frames recorded a 4 track demo at Eamonn Andrews studio, above the TV Club on Harcourt Street Dublin. The tracks were  “Teacher Said”, “Worldwide”, “First Time” and “Nothing To Prove” engineered by Dave Freeley

Eddie McGarth When Revolver were doing their Soundcheck it was the only time Kevin was blown away by a band we were playing with.....

Denis Rusk the Frames in question were Kevin Screenan on vocals and guitar, Dave Kavanagh on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jimmy Howard on bass and backing vocals and Eddie Mcgrath on drums. A brilliant band.
10 years later they appeared again 1st as the Frames again with myself on guitar, Colm Darcy on bass, Jimmy on 2nd guitar and lead vocals and Gerry Doyle on keys.
The final line up was as the Venetian Blond and was Kevin on vocals, myself on guitar, Jimmy on bass Eddie on drums and Gerry on keys. We released 1 double a sided single. Good morning miss America¤Im not laughing.
Eddie played drums on all line ups.
Kevin was without doubt the finest songwriter ever. He lost his life in 1996 to drugs.

Eddie's drum kit, picture supplied by Eddie McGrath

Stac Coll The Frames ....  I have lots to say about The Frames, beginning with how I became their sound engineer. I was mixing U2 [at McGonagles][as usual] & The Frames were their support. I knew middle of their first song that these guys were better than U2 could'nt even imagine. They were THAT good, no fkkng brilliant.

Stac Coll Curiously enough the best band in Ireland in that era & most others, never made a record or a bean. Shame is understating it by light years, but such is Ireland/Dublin ...

Gig Guide

Picture supplied by Eddie McGarth

14/07/1979 McGonagle's, Dublin with Revolver. This was an afternoon show for the under 18's. Revolver split up after this concert, Phil Byrne, Kevin Helley & Billy Morley would form the studio band The Reasons.

Eddie McGrath Funny thing when Revolver were doing their sound check it was the only time Kevin was blown away by a band we were playing with.......

17/02/1980 McGonagle's, Dublin with Shock Treatment, this gig never took place as McGonagle's was forced too close due to a power outage.

24/04/1980 Crofton Airport Hotel with Frames, Mod-Ls, Myster Men. This concert was broadcast live Denis Rusk Pat James birthday party at the Crofton. The Strougers, the Mod-Ls, the Myster Men, I can't remember if the Frames played. Rocky Dev might have been there too, can't remember as I was shit faced that night. It was all of Pats favourite bands for his birthday and it was broadcast live on the radio station he worked for from the Crofton. What I *do* remember is that I took off my jacket and threw it over my shoulder and it landed on the air vent of my Marshall amp, which ten got too hot and went on fire before stopping working. I played the rest of the gig plugged into a Hiwatt bass amp.

Eddie McGrath The frames did play Denis.........

Peter McCluskey Thought so Eddie. Pats favourite bands of which you were surely one. Who else can you remember? anyone got the frames demo's..they were brilliant..i remember a song called "worldwide" - fantastic...i'd love to hear it again......

Eddie McGrath Bono, Larry & Adam, joined the other bands on stage for an encore.

The ARD 257 pirate radio station broadcast from rooms in the back of the hotel, the radio mast on the roof was powerful enough to transmit a good signal as far as Scotland. Pat James of ARD would book the bands that played at the hotel.

Through June, July, August, September & October The Frames had a residency at the Magnet Bar. They started with a Sunday afternoon slot then progressed to an evening slot, headlining with the Double Agents.

08/06/1980 Magnet Bar, Dublin this is a Sunday afternoon show
Stac Coll (The Frames & U2 sound engineer)  
You know how I met them. They were a real band, competent musicians in a world of wah-du-free-fah! & full volume at full speed. They were as punk as Frank Sinatra. Brilliant. They could not only play but they could song too. And they wrote their own songs, real songs. That got them few supports with U2, because they were better thanU2 & U2 knew it. Te gig I most remember was in The Magnet, Pearse St. formerly New Brunswick St. but renamed after P.H. Pearse, the paedo arse-bandit nazi in Oirland's glorious joke of an uprising 1916, another official secret, like James Connolly being Scottish, & a communist.
What I least remember about the gig is Mind the wallpaper!! ... which the owner shouted, again & again, as we humped the cabs up the stairs. What I most remember was the gig. Brilliant. Oh to have had video then ... the songs Jeff, the songs. Every song was a winner, so many I can't remember them all. But I can tell you about two of them. Paper Man and Let's Play Dead. The first was where Kevin & Jim turned on a vocal flying-in-formation The Beatles couldn't better. You couldsee the pictures in the song, it was that perfect. Did I say perfect? Yes I did; perfect. The second was another idea entirely, which they specialised in, you don't know what's coming next, except that it's great ... for Let's Play Dead Kevin put down the guitar & just sang, which he was to explore further with Venetian Blond.

don't disturb my slumbers
make the morning go away
I can't take another
lazy Sunday
or maybe it's Monday
I dunno I dunno I dunno I dunno

& then away into all sorts of breaks, tempo shifts, harmonies, voice, more harmonies, more breaks & so on ...
it was like 25 rounds with Mozart ...
dynamics? they re-wrote the rule book & burned it ...
it was written by Dave Kavanagh, the guitar in the band, who passed on Venetian Blond, a pity ... I can't see how Denis Rusk could in any way sub for him. Dave .. I'd compare him to John Squires, did you hear Sea Horses? That's as near as I ever heard to The Frames. Why did he pass on VB? I have no idea ... I suspect a girlfriend's influence, but best ask Eddie, as the sole survivor available for comment.
That gig, & what they had & did, was breathtaking, staggering, awesome, words beyond hype. They were the band Dublin was always capable of but never produced. Because Dublin is as all little shithole towns are, loaded to the gunwhales with nasty begrudging second-besters, who will do anything to stop quality showing them up.
Well so what; nothing takes from the facts & I saw them. I heard it ... but there was no-one to take it further, no management.
To that time management was the usual small town Big Jim gangsters who owned everything, so you could'nt do shit without their finger in the pie, or up your arse more like. It has not changed, indeed it's worse. But one thing had changed then ... the Harcourt St. Gang were in business. Micheal Deany, Paul McGuiness, Steve Averill a.k.a Rapid. They were already in the door with Horslips & that was just the beginning. 

20/07/1980 McGonagles, Dublin. The Frames played the afternoon slot & Berlin the evening gig. Eddie McGrath We arrived at McGonagles to set up are equipment and do our sound check. When we walked into McGonagles we found that Berlin had already set up their equipment on the stage, leaving us nowhere to set up. Kevin was

02/08/1980 Crofton Airport Hotel, Dublin with Double Agents, Red Alerts

02/08/1980 Crofton Airport Hotel, Dublin with Double Agents, Red Alerts

16/09/1980 Magnet Bar, Dublin with Double Agents Hot Press review by Liam Mackey Wandering into the Magnet Bar for a first viewing of Double Agents and the Frames I felt more like a journalist than at any time since my first live review. Upstairs there were only a few dozen devotees scattered about in isolated pockets – I felt like nothing so much as an intruder stumbling into a private party where a few mates had decided to show off their new bands for some close friends. The sound checks were fraught with problems and nervous off mike jokes echoed like laughter in a church. Monitors whistled, but not in tune. Vans had broken down and later the odd guitar string was to follow suit. The upstairs bar remained unopened, necessitating, what for the bands in particular, must have been a distracting traffic of people up and down stairs. I tried to conceal my note book and made a mental note to the effect that the Gods were definitely not smiling on Pearse Street.

The Frames suffered most at the hands of the dodgy P.A. – in particular, vocalist who seems unable to decide whether he wants to be Pete Perret or Pete Shelley, and occasionally winds up sounding like Pete of peanuts fame as a result – but by the halfway mark their contagious, if sometimes one dimensional brand of Ramones (speed) meets Records (intricacy) pop rock had won me over. “Paper Man”, “Uptown” and “First Time” (not the Boys epic) constitute a persuasive consumer guide.... I look forward to shopping there again.

Venetian Blond

Kevin Sreenan Vocal & Guitar (R.I.P)
Gerry Doyle Keyboards & Vocals
Denis Rusk Lead Guitar
Jimmy Howard Bass & Vocals
Eddie McGrath Drums

Picture supplied by Gerry Doyle

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