Frank was keyboardist with legendary Canadian rock band "Trooper" from 1975 to 1979. He also became known for his vocals on songs that he had writen while in that band including "Round, Round We Go," "Back To you," "Quiet Desperation," Mr. Big," and "It's a Fine Mess." He also sang the lead on "Moment That it Takes" and shared vocals with lead vocalist Ra McGuire on "Gypsy Wheeler."
Two For The Show
Almost immediately after Frank joined Trooper, the band went into the studio in Toronto to record "Two For The Show" which produced top 10 singles with "Two For The Show," and "Santa Maria." This was their first gold album. Randy Bachman was the producer. In 1977 they received Juno Award nominations for Most Promising Group of the Year and Composer of the Year for Two For the Show.
In this picture,as Smitty notes, the joy in the room was palpable..In actual fact, we were thrilled with the success of "Two For The Show." I don't know what was going on here other than fatigue. Performing is more fun than schmoozing.
Knock 'em Dead Kid
album cover Japan release
The "Knock em Dead Kid" album followed and contained the singles, "O Pretty Lady" and "We're here For A Good Time" Frank had one song (Waitin' on your Love) on this album. In retrospect this sounds more like a cross between what I had been doing in Brutus with a hint of later work with Randy Bachman. I think most of the guitar lines sound like Randy although I could be wrong. A couple of the ad libs at the end sound a little Joe Cocker-ish..he was always an influence.
front & back of the promotional vinyl for the single "Long Time"
Waitin' On Your Love
Waitin' On Your Love
Trooper was nominated for Group of the Year in the 1977 Juno Awards
Thick As Thieves
Thick as Thieves: As well as the anthemic "Raise a Little Hell" which still is a regular at hockey games and lately has landed Trooper "in the soup,"two other singles came out which featured Frank on lead vocals: "Round, Round We Go" and "The Moment That It takes" A third song, It's a Fine Mess (You've Gotten us Into) was left off the album but was placed on the B-side of some of the Raise a Little Hell singles to try and placate Frank who had been asked if he thought Tommy and Doni should have Moment That it Takes on the album. When he said of course, it was "interpreted" that he had chosen that song over his own "Fine Mess" This was essentially the start of a fine mess.
It's A Fine Mess (You've Gotten Us Into)
It's a Fine Mess (You've Gotten Us Into)
Recently, Raise a Little Hell landed us "in the soup"
(click below to see commercial)
Round, Round We Go - acoustic guitar version
In 1979 Trooper received Juno nominations for Best Selling Album for Thick as Thieves and Composer of the Year for Raise a Little Hell and Group of the Year
In 197_, Frank received a Juno nomination for top Piano Playerof the year. I was embarrasssed to be in the same category as the incredible jazz icon, Oscar Peterson as I was clearly 'unworthy' (bow lilke Mike Myers & Dana Carvey- party on Garth!), but at the same time pleased to be considered in the same category as the very successful Burton Cummings. These awards were kind of like the background Oscars for Lighting etc. and have been discontinued. If anyone knows what year Frank received the nomination please advise.
footage from a Vancouver TV production called One Night Stand: Are You Ready Two for the Show and extro on Raise a Little Hell..from the Thick As Thieves days
In 1979, "Hot Shots" was released and was a 'best of' collection from the previous 3 albums..."The boys in the bright white sportscar" was issued as the single. The appearance on "The Raes" interjected some pre-taped video footage which may be the precursor of full videos to come. At the time it was the biggest selling album of all time in Canada.
At the 1980 Juno Awards Trooper received 2 Album of the Year nominations: for Hot Shots and Flying Colours as well as 2 Composer of the Year for 3 Dressed Up as a 9 and for the Boys in the Bright White Sportscar and won the Group of the Year award
"Flying Colors" was the last album that Frank recorded as a member of Trooper. His writing and singing consisted of "Quiet Desperation," "Back To You." and "Mr. Big" In the internal struggles that lead up to his departure he had sought to have the band split songwriting credits equally. When that was rejected he aligned with Tommy and Doni to present 7 songs for the Flying Colors album. In those days albums usually only contained 10 songs so that record grooves weren't too close together. Understandably Ra describes events leading up to this album as his darkest moment. Perhaps in today's cd world of 70 minutes these conflicts could have been avoided. Two songs: Walkin' and You Ain't Foolin Nobody were recorded but didn't make it onto the album even though engineers in Ft. Lauderdale thought You Ain't Foolin Nobody would be the first single. To hear pre-production rehearsal tapes of these 'Flying Colors' songs please go to Songwriters Adendum below.
Frank's last concert as a member of Trooper was at Edmonton's Commonwealth stadium in 1979. That year the band won the Juno award for "Band of the Year." Replacement keyboardist Rob Deans was booed when he thanked Frank on National TV for his Juno..I thought it was kind of funny, although it would have been nice to get one as I felt I had earned it.
Some years later, Frank recorded some keyboard tracks on the Trooper album, Last of the Gypsies, I think, although I'm not sure. (can anybody tell me which songs as I am still hunting for my copy) They were late night sessions after days of teaching so that' maybe why I don't remember.
Frank's last performance with Trooper was the "25th Anniversary" concert in 2000 at The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. It included all members from the "heydays:" Tommy, Doni, (Frank), and the original bass player, Harry Kalensky who had been in on the recording of "Two For the Show. as well as the first Trooper album." The room was oversold and it was quite emotional for both musicians and the audience who included many of the original road crew. The band rocked!
In 2009, Trooper was recognized in the CBC documentary "The Beat Goes On"
For a more extensive history of Trooper please visit their Official Website trooper.com which is comprehensive and follows their career to the present day.