Five Questions with StumbleDrunk's Jason Villenes and Frankie Pointless
Most people will remember Frankie Pointless from his old days in Miami rock with the outfit Splat, a pop-punk band that touted the best in excess that dear old Coconut Grove had to offer.
They gave the hippies and Bahamians a run for their money when they held down at their old Macdonald Street digs. Currently in Central Florida, Frankie's new band, StumbleDrunk will be part of the Rocktoberfest roster at beloved Churchill's October 8.
Check the cut for five questions with the StumbleDrunk dudes.
New Times: First of all, who are you? Where do you come from? Where are you going? What do you do? And what's the last nice thing you ate?
Jason: Okay, who am I? where do I come from? where am I going? I'm some jackass bass player from the great state of Iowa. I've played in a couple psycho-surf and garage-punk sort of bands. What it comes down to is I love big dumb rock, the kind that takes a riff and tears your damn face off, repeatedly, until you have no choice but to like the song. And I'm going to hell if I don't change my ways.
What do I do? Really not much. I do eat a lot. I am the token fat guy in the band. Speaking of that, the last nice thing I ate would have to be some fried chicken the nice people at Popeye's were throwing out. Bastards could have at least given me some of that rice with the gravy to go with it!
Frankie: I'm Frankie Pointless. I'm an alcoholic punk rock bass player and DJ. My origins are vague, but I remember being born in Los Angeles, California and came to Florida in the '80s just in time for Miami Vice, Ronald Reagan, and the Rubik's Cube. I wanted to play punk rock since I first heard the Ramones. Over the years, I have had a few rough patches of addiction, homelessness, and insanity, but somehow survived it all and came out the other side a much better person. For that, I am grateful.
Right now I really have no idea where I'm going except to say forward. I am playing bass and doing some bad vocals in StumbleDrunk. To describe us I would have to say it's Punk'd Pop; we play fast, catchy, straight ahead punk rock n roll and we like to take pop songs and strip them down and make them our own and play them how they should be played (in our opinion). I met Jason and Cody by chance and we all are essentially bass players. Cody moved over to the drums six months ago and has shown a preternatural instinct for the drums. Jason moved to guitar a few months prior and I think the lineup as a three piece is working out just fine.
Last thing I ate was lasagna and it gave me acid reflux, but was totally worth it.
As one of the renegade Splat punks from the Grove, what advice do you have for the younger generation?
Frankie: I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice. I know that if I had listened to good advice, I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes. Don't do drugs! Don't forget to wipe! And I will have to quote Woody Guthrie on this one "Take it easy -- but take it."
Please explain to us, in FULL detail, how Axl got on the Ricki Lake show and why you, being a seasoned sommelier and general bon vivant, were not asked to participate?
Frankie: Not that anyone besides you really wants to hear this story, Mr.
Folgar. But, I will indulge you. From the best of my recollection, those days were a blur, but Axl was dating a stripper. (He was what I liked to call a "stripper enthusiast.") It came with all the drama and craziness one would expect from this type of relationship. The man also dated schoolteachers, but he would always go back to the strippers. Anyways, this one in particular was living at the house with us and she showed some psycho behavior, so he cut her loose.
Somehow he got the call that someone he dated wanted him back and they offered to fly him out to the taping of the Ricki Lake show, which was very popular at the time in the '90s. I was convinced that we could make this work to our advantage as a publicity stunt and he agreed to go on the show. We made sure he had a Splat t-shirt. But it didn't go so well for Axl because this broad made him out to be an asshole, which he most certainly was not, but the studio audience had already made up their minds on him. So when Rikki Lake said "Let's bring him out!" and this guy covered in tattoos with a mohawk and piercings wearing his Splat t-shirt came out, the crowd had turned on him, booing him and making stupid remarks about his appearance. You could see how uncomfortable he was. But, hey, there is no "I" in band and he took one for the team.
I don't think that the band really got anything out of that other than Axl being recognized on the street and hating the fact that he would have to recount the events and explain himself all the time. So it became a kind of sore spot and rarely mentioned. I am dying to find that episode on tape somewhere. Someone has it. So come forward with it, please.
What is it about Central Florida that's inherently sexier than Miami?
Frankie: It's pretty much the complete opposite of Miami and that's what I like about it. We also have a pretty good little scene here: St. Cloud bands like the New Threat (who just came back from touring with Guttermouth), Dirty Spliff, and Destroy North America. And then you have some of my faves: Big City Bombers, Paper Street Soap Company, and Dysfunction. There certainly are more shows here, because not a lot of bands will go all the way to South Florida. For me, personally, it's a much simpler life out here with less complications and distractions. I keep myself busy with work and playing music badly. I am also throwing parties once a month in Orlando. All that and having a 10 year old and being able to juggle all these things and making sure homework gets done is a challenge. But the rewards are so good it makes it all worthwhile.
What is StumbleDrunk all about? What are the future plans for this outfit? And how good does it feel to hold a bass again?
Frankie: Jason and Cody would be able to answer that one better than I since I recently joined the band. But for me, StumbleDrunk has been a hell of a lot of fun to be a part of. It certainly is a great thing. We are all about having a good time and playing music that we like to play, even if it means we are playing a few covers. We make them our own by basically stripping down the song to the basics. Holding a piece of wood with four strings again feels great. It's just like riding a unicycle again.
Jason: What is StumbleDrunk all about? Well, it's a big idiot bass player who is playing tons of power chords, a small idiot bass player doing his best to play drums (he just started the other day), and another small idiot DJ playing bass. What you are going to get is some potentially trainwreck-y big dumb, punked-out rock and roll. There are a couple originals I stole from a past band, a couple real dumb originals, and a few even dumber covers. Chances are you'll hear some Kelly Clarkson. It could get seriously dumb, real quick, so get there early.
StumbleDrunk with Experiments by Mice, Space Between Words, Mind You, Falsetta, Esteban Mendez, Fantastic 5, and My Drive Home. Friday, October 8. Churchill's, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets cost $10. 305-757-1807; churchillspub.com.