Teenage Head: “Picture My Face”

Check out this brand new, really great Canadian rockumentary about an obscure but classic band. Review snipped below:

The same week Biden was elected, Canada’s TVOntario premiered another excellent documentary via YouTube.

Picture My Face: The Story of Teenage Head looks back at a Canadian garage rock band that achieved gold record success in Canada.

They were on the verge of breaking out in the U.S. market in 1980. But a tragic accident suddenly interrupted their trajectory towards mega-stardom.

Guitarist and songwriter Gord Lewis suffered serious injuries. Although he later returned to the band, they spent the next four decades playing small gigs cross Canada.

In 2008, lead singer Frankie Venom died at 52 from throat cancer, leaving the band reeling in the wake of tragedy yet again.

The documentary begins with a stark juxtaposition. It shows the band in concert at the height of their success, and then in the present day with the band taking a limo ride to visit Frankie’s grave site.

They gaze at the words on Frankie’s tombstone: “Picture My Face.” It’s the name of the band’s smash hit first single, which appeared on their first album in Canada.

But in the documentary the phrase takes on a new meaning. Exploring the impact of death and suffering upon the lives of the band members, it expresses a loving remembrance.

Gord Lewis, still reeling from Frankie’s death and his own automobile accident, is shown struggling with severe depression. The band supplements Gord’s medical treatments with efforts to get Gord to record a new album with them and play live shows.

The documentary chronicles much of this real-life pain and struggle as it happens. We root for the band as Gord plays a triumphant live show again with them at the movie’s end.

The film’s central message is supplied by Gord’s brother, Father David Lewis, interviewed at his parish, St. Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church.

“I believe in Gord’s calling and I believe in my own,” says Father Lewis. As he listens to Teenage Head’s music on camera, he exclaims, “I love it! Love it. It’s of God! God is part of this.”

Father Lewis explains how he believes rock music “just gives strength.” He also reveals: “Gord and I have lost our parents, so we feel like orphans. And I think Gord felt like that when Frank died.”

The importance of this type of music? “Suffering. It’s about suffering,” announces Father Lewis. “I think that’s what produces rock and roll. You learn how to suffer.”

It’s an impromptu homily on the film’s central theme. “The blues and rock and roll are about suffering and expressing it with hope,” he says.

Eminently worth watching, this documentary will lead you to reflect on the presence of suffering and loss in your own life. Perhaps you’ll even start listening to old records from the 1980s.

https://bccatholic.ca/voices/c-s-morrissey/from-eagle-s-wings-to-garage-rock-music-infuses-suffering-with-hope

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