Indie Profile: Thrilling Music from Cambridge Punk Rock Band Frank Dux

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Frank DuxTell us about your career, including your history, where you are from and how you started?
The seeds for Frank Dux were planted in our teenage years.  Scott and I (Joel) had both played in local bands and been involved in our local music community.  Fast forward 10 years, and Scott and I reconnected working together at a warehouse.  We exchanged the typical “yeah, we should jam sometime…” pleasantries for a few years, until one day I got the text “hey man, I’ve got a jam hall, you in?”

So in September of 2015, along with Chris (drums) and Ryan (bass) we started out just jamming covers of songs we grew up loving, with no plans for this to be anything other than a positive outlet once or twice a week.  But during some downtown in a jam, I played a little riff, and we all started pitching in ideas for what would become our first song 103 Queen St. W and it was at that point we decided “I guess we are a band” and we started to develop originals from that point forward.

The next step was getting a show, so while going to check out our friends Curbside album release, Scott walked up to the promoter (Zack “The Hair” Schaffer) and simply said “hey, I’m in a band – do you want to book us?” and the rest is history.  Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to play across Southern Ontario and Quebec, had a few member changes (Shawn joined us on bass in 2018 and Kyle joined us on drums in 2019) and we continue to play fast and have fun.

How did you come up with your band name?
After coming up with our first original song, the obvious next step was to name our band – which isn’t a fun job.  Lots of googling and making sure that you aren’t stepping on the toes of an existing band.  So eventually, we settled on Frank Dux – who is the character Jean-Claude Van Damme portrays in 1988 classic “Bloodsport.”  Being the age we are, we all grew up renting action flicks on VHS – and that name just clicked.  In retrospect, it’s been an entertaining name for us, mostly because there is a 50/50 chance someone is going to pronounce it incorrectly.  We joked around about making some merch with Ducks on it, based on the amount of time we’ve been introduced as “Frank Ducks”, but to quote Victor from Bloodsport, it’s pronounced “dukes” like “Like, put up your dukes.”

Frank Dux ConcessionsDo you have any recorded music available for fans?
We do!  Up to this point, we have released a 2 song demo (2016), a six song EP called “Parts Unknown” (2017) and most recently the “Concessions” EP which was half of a split with our good friends Block Parent called the “Grand River Transplit”.  Most of our music can be found on any of the standard digital streaming services.  However, if you want to dive deep into all of it, you’d have to visit our bandcamp.

We also have physical media (records, CDs, shirts) available through Pink Lemonade, Thousand Islands Records or hit us up via socials.

How would you describe your music?
Simply put – a product of a time.  We all grew up loving the fast and catchy punk rock being pumped out by labels such as Fat Wreck or Epitaph in the late 90’s and early 00’s.  Aside from that, we all have a variety of “non-punk” bands that we love and subtly bleed into our songs – but at the end of the day, we like to play fast and sing about things that are important to us.

What makes your band or music stand out from the others?
Scott’s stage gear?  But actually, this is a tough question.  I don’t see us unlike many of our peers still involved in making fast music.  I hope what makes us stand out is that we really love playing this music, and we are extremely grateful anytime we get to play to another group of people.  Whether it’s a “band show” or a festival event in another province – in that moment there is no place we’d rather be.

What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your music?
We all have hobbies outside of music, but I can’t say that they contribute to our song writing.  Shawn builds things out of wood, Kyle works on cars, Joel makes toys out of plastic and Scott is probably watering his garden right now, but the songs in Frank Dux are a beast all of their own.  I would say our music is largely just based on our life experiences and what we see in the world around us – be it good or bad.

Name your two biggest musical influences, and why?
Joel – As cliché as it may be, mine is Blink 182.  It wasn’t until watching them play Josie on Much Music in 1997 that I had any interest in picking up a guitar.  (You better believe that was on our cover list when we started.)

Scott – Choke.  Simply put, they changed the way I looked at punk rock.  Crazy time signatures, infectious melodies.  It’s Choke.

Shawn – Bigwig and Pennywise inspired me to play faster, and Choke made me explore a technical way of doing it.

Kyle – Graham Churchill, watching him drum in Belvedere and then all of his subsequent projects made me tuck my hockey bag away and focus all of my energy into drumming.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
We all take part in writing our songs.  A lot of the time, songs start out with one member bringing a riff or a skeleton of a song to a jam (or more recently via demo sent via group chat) and at that point we refine the song and build the final structure.  Scott and I sing the majority of the songs, so usually lyrics are written by the person singing them.  Our topics are pretty wide ranging. We have songs that are stories of nostalgia, personal experiences, politics (those are Scott’s songs), but the theme that ties them together is singing about things that are important to us – regardless of the topic.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
If I had to name a challenge, it might be turning down opportunities.  At the end of the day, we are a band of weekend warriors.  We love playing music live and getting out in the world, but we also all have careers and families.  So it can be challenging to find a balance between real life, and hopping in the van.

What current projects are you working on at the moment?
As a band, we are working on putting together songs for whatever our next release will be.

Individually, Scott is working hard with his team on Pink Lemonade Records to put out the next batch of releases and has joined up as second guitarist with punk/hardcore powerhouse Bad Egg.

Joel is doing his resin toy art schtick under his alter-ego Toxic Fumes Toys and is also working on his side project Boltergeist – who just released their first single.

Shawn is cooking up new riffs on a looper pedal, and likely making a cabinet or two.

Kyle is working on a new album with his other band Curbside and generally is a jack of all trades and a master of most, so can rarely be pinpointed to one project.

Hopefully we will have some new tunes to release in 2022!

frankduxpunk.bandcamp.com
Facebook: FrankDuxPunk
Instagram: @frankduxpunk

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