Toronto Sun - Tuesday April 29, 1980

Music Column

By Wilder Penfield III


If the name is Frank Soda, it would seem there are a lot of promotional possibilities in it.

Never mind that the man with the name is a writer and singer of aggressive rock songs, a player of abrasive guitar, and a sporter of the most bizarre headgear since Genesis featured Peter Gabriel.

FRANK SODA & THE IMPSThe name is Soda, and the theme is pop. The new Frank Soda & the Imps album stood out from the rest because it came in a pop-art jacket in a box that included not just an itinerary (tonight he's at the El Mocambo), recent press clippings ("A popular act with a flair for gimmicks and rather peculiar theatrics"), an autobiographical interview ("The stage is pretty much my platform to express what I think can be done to improve things"), a song-by-song album rap, and pictures like the one you see here, but also four soda glasses, four long spoons, scores of flexible straws and an ice-cream scoop.

Now actual cans of "Frank's Soda" are being manufactured, and mobiles that balance the cans of pop have been sent to stores across the country.

Frank himself is no stranger to elaborate promotions. When he and drummer John Lechesseur came east from Vancouver it was as two of the Imps that worked for Thor in an act that - in an example of super-salesmanship - almost succeeded in headlining a North American concert tour before anyone had heard the first record.

When the Imps wanted to make an attention-grabbing demo of their own, Soda and manager/producer Robert Connolly setup Tube Records, recorded a set at the Picadilly Tube here, and released In The Tube with a cover picture of Frank with his head in a boob tube.

Even without much airplay or good distribution, the album sold some 8,000 copies, but what people remembered was the TV set. Now it looks like more people will remember the name of the man inside it.