Farting and fronting with Frankie Teardrop

An evening with one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2013

Twin Cities band Frankie Teardrop at their practice space in Minneapolis on Sunday evening.

Bridget Bennett

Twin Cities band Frankie Teardrop at their practice space in Minneapolis on Sunday evening.

Emily Eveland

Cans of Mendota Springs sparkling lemon-flavored water were everywhere. They started in the doorway and snaked toward the overflowing garbage can, where some were piled on top of each other and more rested on the floor, forming an unintentional Mendota Springs shrine. Three cans sat on the guitar amp in the far back, and one more was in Jordan Bleau’s, aka Frankie Teardrop’s, hand.

Bleau was standing in the dark, partially illuminated by strings of rainbow-colored Christmas lights, chain smoking cigarettes and speaking into an excessively loud and reverb-heavy microphone.

“Are you gonna talk in the microphone the whole time?” drummer Gunnar Kauth said.

“Yes,” Bleau shot back.

“Can you at least turn it down?” Kauth said.

“No,” Bleau said as he wandered to the side of the room and complied anyway.

 According to his bandmates, Bleau does all his interviews as Frankie Teardrop, his Southern-accented alter ego inspired by the titular anti-hero of a song by Suicide. The anti-hero murders his family before killing himself.

It was clear Bleau would only be speaking through Frankie that night. In fact, the only time he broke character was in regard to a bag of pretzels.

 “We’re all Frankies, every one of us,” Bleau said. “It’s about finding and addressing that inner turmoil.”

Bleau, Kauth and Jack Woolsey formed Frankie Teardrop in the middle of last summer and released their full-length “Tough Guy” in October. Though they’ve played fewer than 10 shows since forming, the band was selected for First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2013 concert, alongside Allan Kingdom, Fury Things, Black Diet, GRRRL PRTY, Southwire and BBGUN.  

“I’m just gonna sprint around a lot, like when they do suicides in basketball practice,” Bleau said of the show. “I’m gonna get a wireless mic headset like ’N Sync.”

The band proceeded to play through their set with the same energy they play with on stage. Between songs, Bleau would occasionally make noises or burp into the microphone, but otherwise, the set was seamless.

Teardrop’s bassist, the 20-year-old Woolsey, curved his body into a quarter-moon, and as the set progressed, his bass reached lower and lower toward the ground. By the last song, it was resting on his toes.

“He’s got those tall dancer’s legs. They’re pretty,” Bleau said.

“Stop,” Woolsey moaned.

“They’re like my little sister’s wrists,” Bleau said.

“Do you have a little sister?” Kauth said.

“No.”

Frankie Teardrop plays rock anthems with Southern twang and punk grit. The choruses are repetitious and infectious, particularly in “Stop” and “No More Drugs.”

Bleau said the latter is about an experience he had with a friend who overdosed.

“I was at a dope house and my friend took a shot, and he fell out and he was unconscious,” he said. “I took him to the hospital in his girlfriend’s car, and I was screaming at him and slapping him and trying to get him to wake up. And just as he was waking up, I tried to pull out of the parking lot, and the cops blocked me in.”

Bleau told the same story at Teardrop’s show with France Camp at 7th Street Entry in December. He said the crowd wasn’t happy about it.

“They thought it was a joke, but it’s not a [expletive] joke. That [expletive] actually happened,” Bleau said.

When they finished the set, Bleau said, “Can I do something really quick?”

Disregarding his bandmates’ dissent, he placed the microphone near his butt and farted.

The conversation darted from one thing to another, and soon enough, the band was playing a full-on Green Day medley followed by Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”

When conversation resumed, Bleau left off with a suggestion for college students.

“Drop out,” he said.

“You’re wasting your time even reading,” Kauth added.

“Just drop out. Those two words are the official quote,” Bleau said.

The night ended with one more song.

“This song is my [expletive] anthem right now,” Bleau said. “It’s about an insatiable inner drive to [expletive] your life up intentionally, and I really feel that on a core level.”

 

What: First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2013
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: First Avenue Mainroom, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis
Cost: $7
Age: 18+