In case you didn’t know, Tommy Frenzy was the lead singer for the crucial NYC band Tuff Darts – a band I was aware of but had never heard. He first pinged my radar when he made a big impression last fall on the Steve’s Theme Park CD “It’s a Global Rock Thing,” practically playing anchorman with vocals and lead guitar on a big chunk of that project. My next post following that one was a memorial for Orlando guitarist/singer Mick Crowley [R.I.P.].
Here’s where it gets weird…I got some feedback on the Mick post from Orlando pals I’d not seen in decades. One of them being drummer extraordinaire Suzy Lamoureux. We caught up and she’d also noticed the “Steve’s Theme Park” review and mentioned that she and her husband Roger [we often saw them playing in Orlando bands* in the 90s] were now playing with…Tommy Frenzy! Who had moved to Central Florida. She then asked if I would like a CD they’d released right before lockdown? Absolutely! What’s it like, you may ask?
Tommy Frenzy: You Yeah You – US – CD-R 
- You Yeah You
- Don’t Play Shy
- Business Man
- That Girl Is Stupid
- Like I’ve Been Telling Everybody
- Hidden Bonus Track
You want the short form? You could jump start your pickup truck with the energy on this album! The relentless title track captured the power trio investigating a Motörhead vibe for a scorching takedown of a love gone bad. The snarling aggression in Frenzy’s tone was appropriately vicious and sharp and he was well served by the rhythm section’s unfettered velocity and punch. The halo of distortion on the guitar leads gave it just the right amount of blur. See for yourself.
“Mess” was a little more Pop, but still powerful as Frenzy delivered a staccato denunciation of the subject’s titular achievements. All driven by recklessly by the beefy rhythm guitar interplay with the strategic power chords moving us ever forward.
I liked the delayed rhythm strumming that opened up the effervescent “Don’t Play Shy” as Tommy laid it on the line with who I’m thinking is a woman in another relationship already. But he’s picking up on overtures and energies and proposing that she follow through already. The result was Power Pop perfection with Frenzy doubling on the chorus for more punch. Like Cheap Trick on steroids. The return of Frenzy’s rhythm guitar in the middle eight with the dampened hi-hats and kick drums from Suzy was why Rock music was invented in the first place.
Then we returned to more flawed romance with the upbeat, speedy tempo of “Split.” The thunderthud of Roger’s bass framed the frantic, fizzy solos from Frenzy rather nicely, and the humor of the lyrics was never mean spirited. Like Strother Martin famously drawled, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.”
There was a break from girl troubles with the paean to the straight life that was “Business Man.” Which was almost like a companion piece to Stan Ridgeway’s I Wanna Be A Boss.” The light-hearted tone was belied by the bucking bronco of a guitar solo on the middle eight. The tempo of “That Girl Is Stupid” slowed a touch to adopt a suitable swagger as frenzy delivered the message of the song. Not to the the girl, but presumably her “lesser half.” Why was that girl stupid? “Cause she’s with you.” Zing!
We got the album closing on an energetic and hopeful [?] note with “Like I’ve Been Telling Everybody” so charged up about a new potential romance that Frenzy couldn’t help but feeling optimistic about his chances. Proudly wearing his heart on his sleeve and all wrapped up in his ardor as well as his charm offensive. It was a joyous way to end the album but that’s only the streaming version. The physical copy on CD-R has an extra, hidden bonus track, but let’s just say that it played out like the triumphant sequel no one could have expected to “Like I’ve Been Telling Everybody!” I’ll say no more!
As much as I enjoyed Frenzy’s turn on Steve Peer’s album last year, he really benefited from a solo album like “You Yeah You.” His guitar technique and ear for impact, meant that these tunes were tightly focused and the peerless rhythm section of Suzy and Roger Lamoureux was like an engine room that could power several aircraft carriers. Frenzy’s charmingly snotty persona was a perfect fit for the tunes and the music ran roughshod over the blurred lines where Punk, Pop, and even Metal intersected. With all of the results coming out on the side of the angels.
Like I said, the album is streaming in the usual places, but for the bonus track alone, I highly suggest getting physical with “You Yeah You.” Mr. DJ hit that button!
But this album was released almost three years ago. Frenzy is a busy guy, and his Bandcamp Page is full of his burgeoning portfolio of singles, so check them out, too. He’s not standing still! And when we return next we’ll have a two part interview with Tommy Frenzy exploring his past [astonishing], present [busy] and future [chatbots are involved]. Just the head-spinning tale of his time in Tuff Darts could be a film, and you wouldn’t believe it.
* – I’ve spent spent many, many hours in Orlando clubs seeing bands like Psycho From Texas, The Vodkats [whom we asked to play at our wedding party], Nutrajet, and November Charlie. We followed Suzy’s drumming from band to band.
Thanks for the heads up on this. Just listened to “You Yeah You” and this is great stuff! Really hits the spot. I hadn’t heard of Tommy Frenzy before, but now adding him to my listening list.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Todd Lewis – Tommy has quite a history but he’s not resting on any laurels! As much as we like many varieties of effete music, you need to cleanse your palate every now and then and crisp, crunchy power trio Rock does the trick. Especially when it’s this great!
As a side note, this posting has been finished for hours…I’d forgotten to publish it when I finished and only just did it!! I probably need the vacation I’ll be taking in two days.
Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you dug the CD. Although I have been in many excellent bands throughout my music life, I’ve never had more FUN playing than I am now! Tommy’s songs have more hooks than you’re grandpa’s tackle box, and I look forward to our future together.
Suzy Lamoureux – Welcome to the comments! You’re pre-approved for any comments now, as long as there’s no links – which I still have to approve. It makes me happy to hear you are having fun; the most important factor in committing to anything! “More hooks than you grandpa’s tackle box?” Are you a psychic or something? That so sounds like one of my riffs! I even lean on variations of that pretty hard.
I wonder if I saw him play with Tuff Darts in 2013 at The Bowery Electric (CBGBs anniversary show)?
schwenko – I don’t think the Tuff Darts ever played without him after the late 70s, so it’s highly likely.
Wow! A fresh encounter with a wonderful lady from our shared Orlando past and great new music from a Tuff Darts alumni that’s powered by her and her also-awesome husband? Very pleased to see this!
LikeLiked by 1 person
chasinvictoria – I’m in Akron working hard on editing and formatting 11K worth of words with Tommy which are amazing. But it takes time that’s hard to come by right now. Hopefully part 1 goes live today.