Guitarist/songwriter Frankie Clarke is compelling onstage. Her high-energy shows with her band, The Studs, includes raucous sing-along rockers—including a pitch-perfect cover of Nick Gilder’s 1978 gem “Hot Child in the City” that is at once punky and glam.
“Cheap Talk,” the Los Angeles-based group’s second EP, a follow up of its 2016 debut, “High on Yourself.” It reflects several months of writing and “time to reset” after the group’s first-ever tour in May. “I know more about what kind of songs I want to write that will be fun to perform live,” Clarke, who is 23, explains. “Plus, so much has happened since that first EP. I definitely had a lot more subject matter I wanted to cover.”
“Dance with You” is a more hippy, trippy song than one might expect from these live powerhouses. “I wrote the song as a ballad to [T.Rex frontman] Marc Bolan. This video is my homage to Bolan and Bowie and all my glam heroes,” Clarke says. “‘Dance with You’ has always been our kind of one-off song, I think—I usually describe it as our ‘ballad.’ But actually there is another sort of similar moody weird vampire-inspired song I wrote on the new EP called “Teeth.” So we have two moody tracks and two more punk rock, high-energy, mosh pit-inducing songs. I had a bit of a weird year and I think the juxtaposition between those songs reflects that.”
Image by John Michael Fulton
“Dance with You” reflects a new side of Clarke’s music, and she brings that experimental vibe to the music video she made in collaboration with director Christopher Pearson, in which she explores her love of fashion. Though she often feels most comfortable in her skintight catsuit ala 70s glam-rocker Suzi Quatro (she even named her new label Catsuit Records), in the video she appears in a long, flowy red and white boho dress and red feather boa. “I’ve always loved gothic style and Tim Burton, and I actually felt super powerful in presenting myself in a different light than what people are used to seeing me as.”
While the video depicts her strumming a sparkly acoustic guitar, onstage she’s on electric guitar for every power chord-driven song. “My go-to guitar at the moment is my Joe Strummer model Telecaster,” she says. Even though her dad is a guitarist –Gilby Clarke, formerly of Guns N’ Roses—she cites George Harrison and Johnny Ramone as her biggest influences. She acknowledges that’s a quirky pairing, but explains, “George Harrison played my favorite solos of all time, and whenever I feel my hand cramp up playing all down strokes, my appreciation for Johnny Ramone’s playing grows more and more.”
Check out Frankie + The Studs’ video for “Dance With You” below, and find out more about “Cheap Talk” here.