Guardian Express, Wednesday November 10, 1982

Entertainment - Soda explodes on stage

By Guardian Writer Gloria Katch

PORT COLBORNE - As far as entertainment in bars goes, Frank Soda hasn't lost any of his fizzle, as yet his slightly crazed and unorthodox music made an appropriate setting for the full house of Halloween partiers at the Western Tavern in Port Colborne recently.

Soda's vintage performance is mostly originals and his appearance on any given night might resemble an act he was concocting for Halloween.

Soda believes his audience has a predilection for smoke bombs, which he has originally incorporated in his show. To accentuate his song Helen's Hot, (Mount St. Helen) he wears a replica of a mountain on his head, which explodes in ear-shattering brilliance.

EXPLODING CANSoda also wore an exploding bubble on his head, and has on previous engagements donned a black suit made of light bulbs which flash intermittently in various patterns. But all the electricity and explosions may be considered extensions of his performance, because Soda is a live wire on stage. Off stage he is a marathon runner.

When the audiences are not being entertained by his antics, they are being entertained by his subtly-provocative originals such as Helen's Hot, Oversexed and Underfed and Skin Graft, an amusing and innovative piece of music with satirical lyrics. The song is about a vain young dandy who has an extremely bad complexion and attempts to rectify the problem by a skin graft.

The graft is, however, taker from, as the saying goes, "where the sun never shines."

Most of Soda's originals have contagious choruses and contain what Soda refers to as "a repetitive hook." He excels in playing well-constructed rhythmic chords, although some of his riffs could be sharper and more eminent at times. He keeps his music moderately simple, but noteworthy.

Soda blames the lack of proper management as the reason for not being more successful. During an interview between sets, he said he always disagreed with the changes management proposed for his material, which may be given an AA rating and is a little too precarious for commercial success. Soda is hoping his next album, or parts of it, will be commercially viable.

It's titled Saturday Night Getaway and the title track is about an unusual dream in which he envisions himself watching a rock band on television. He momentarily realizes that the lead guitarist is himself. Whether or not that is a premonition for the latest release, time will only tell. Saturday Night Getaway is produced by Mike Tilka, former bass guitarist of Max Webster. It's on the Quality Record label as was his last release, Soda Pop.

Talking about the possibility of becoming more radio oriented, he said his work would be similar to compositions he wrote when he was 16.

"I could get into it now. It seems that people only hear what's on the radio."

Soda hopes the change will launch his career into higher echelons of the music industry and crack the American market. Record companies want a marketable product and it's irrelevant to them if the music sounds similar, he said. It doesn't pay to be different and he cited the now defunct rock group Max Webster as a "for instance" to prove his point.

Soda said if a record, by some miracle, could give a visual presentation of the band he would be successful.

"But how do you get a record to explode or self-destruct"

Soda's trio is comprised of drummer Glen Gratto, an ex-member of Bullrush and the Madcats, and their newest member is bass player Lorraine Morgan.