PHOTOGRAPHY Ben Cope
WORDS Julian de la Celle
What better place to shoot Frankie Clarke, someone who's inspiration draws from that of Joan Jett among others, then at The Whiskey A Go Go, a place that thrived on 70s and 80s Rock n Roll. Frankie herself grew up in a very artistic family - her mom being Daniella Clarke (founder and creator of the original Frankie B. Jeans) and her father being guitarest Gilby Clarke (Guns & Roses, Rock Star Supernova). Her current band Frankie + The Studs have been catching the eyes and ears of many alike in Los Angeles making a name for themselves very quickly since their inception last November. We were honored to feature her with some amazing photographs by Ben Cope.
Are you from Los Angeles? If so, how would you sum up growing up in LA in three words?
Frankie: Born and raised in Hollywood, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon! Hot, sleazy, fun.
How did everyone in Frankie + The Studs meet and what was the moment you realized you wanted to start a band?
Frankie: Frankie + The Studs all came together after I made a video of myself covering Nick Gilder’s “Hot Child in the City”. I started getting asked to play shows and I didn’t really want to be a solo artist. I’ve always liked being in bands, so I decided to put a band together to play the shows. Ronnie Simmons worked with my dad before on an album, he brought in Johnny Martin, and Matt Lucich had actually recorded the drums on the “Hot Child” cover. I put the band together to help me out with the shows I was offered, but then we all gelled so well together it became a band.
You have an amazing style, who are your major influences? I get the Cherie Currie/Joan Jett vibe but with a taste of your own as well.
Frankie: I’ve always looked up to musicians as style icons. I love 70s glam rock. Some of my style icons are (of course) The Runaways, Suzi Quatro, David Bowie, The Ramones, but I also love Julian Casablancas from The Strokes. I think he has a great sense of style.
How old were you when you got into music and was it something you pursued all on your own or did your dad have an influence as well?
Frankie: I’ve been interested in music ever since I can remember. I wanted to play the guitar when I was 4 years old, but my dad encouraged me to learn piano first. But then I got bored of playing classical music, and switched over to the electric guitar when I was 10 years old. I naturally gravitated toward music, but I think it was definitely because my dad is a musician. I was always surrounded by it.
We’re a Rock n Roll music and fashion magazine and we’re curious if fashion is important to you and if it connects with your art? Are there any fashion designers you follow right now?
Frankie: That’s why I love your magazine! I think music and fashion totally go hand in hand. Especially for me, my mom being a fashion designer and my dad a musician, I have both influences. Plus, my favorite music style is glam rock, which was not just about the music, but the style. I love Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and I’ve been really into Marc Jacobs this season. I also love vintage shopping.
You also used to blog about fashion, right?
Frankie: Yeah, I have a fashion blog called "Frankie's Planet" which is named after a song my dad wrote for me when I was little. Frankie's Planet is a Rock n Roll music and fashion blog - I liked to post outfits that were inspired by certain musicians and write about clothes and music. I was inspired to start a blog because I would see a lot of blogger posts and think that they all kind of looked the same, so I wanted to create my own that represented my style and encouraged other people to find their own sense of style too. I haven't really been blogging lately, because I've decided to put all my energy into the band, but that doesn't mean that I'm done for good!
Do you remember the first record you ever bought or that was given to you?
Frankie: Kiss was my favorite band when I was little. My aunt bought me the Kiss box set and I was obsessed.
Do you remember the first show you ever played and how old were you? Were you a nervous wreck?
Frankie: The first show I ever played was with my all girl rock band called “Sweet Gone Sour” when I was 11. I wasn’t nervous at all, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I only knew how to play “It’s a Long Way to the Top” and my dad had to tape the bottom strings for me so I didn’t kill everyone’s ears.
What’s your favorite hang out spot in LA?
Frankie: I love Giorgio’s at the standard. They play a mix of 70’s disco and rock. Great hang if you like to boogie. Always a cool crowd too.
I read that your first concert was Iggy Pop, which was mine too! Do you remember anything from it?
Frankie: That’s so funny! I don’t remember anything, because I was a year old and asleep the whole show! Ha!
My mother and I started this magazine together and we’re pretty close, you and your dad recorded this new album together so you must be close too, do you feel like it’s important to keep family close by especially in a Hollywood-esque scene?
Frankie: Totally! My parents and I are like best friends. I think it’s really special to share the same passion as your parent. I feel like we can both learn from each other.
When is the album coming out and is there anything else you wanted to let the world know coming up for you?
Frankie: Our EP will be out this summer! We are getting ready to play Lollapalooza in July, and we are so stoked. Of course we’ll be playing some local LA shows too leading up to Lolla, so keep your eyes peeled!
Oh and we’ve got a new video for our song “High On Yourself” coming soon!