Frankenpony released their last recording in the summer of 2006, and they played their last show in November the same year. Rick Bennett
and John Griffin more recently started a new music project called Max Plankton.
As of the summer of 2010, "Max" is continuing to record, and play occasional shows.
Below was the story of Frankenpony as of July 2006. Later that year, Frankenpony had the joyful experience of having their "Happy Birthday" song included in an episode of ABC's "Help Me Help You" (starring Ted Danson).
The guys from Frankenpony thank you all for your support, and we hope you'll continue to listen to our music for years to come...
I (Rick Bennett -- bass/vocals) was living in Bloomington-Normal, IL, and I'd been writing lots of songs, but was struggling mightily to interest
other musicians to seriously join me in my musical pursuits. So I called my old friend John Maier (original drummer) and said that I was willing to
log some miles up to Chicago (120 miles) for rehearsals in order to get a project happening. John Maier's old friend John Griffin
(guitar) had also been bugging the drummer to start a band. And so FRANKENPONY began in September 1996. I must have been about 19 years old then, because I surely
couldn't be more than 30 now (cough).
This was a pretty interesting mix of musicians. I had spent most of my previous musical years playing in bands covering various progressive rock tunes. John Griffin was concurrently starting up a punk-ska band called Skalpel. John Maier was fresh from a stint in Chicago favorites Funkhouse. So it was an odd mix, but we had enough in common musically to get things going. After working up a dozen or so of my songs, we started opening for other bands at various clubs in Chicago.
We recorded our eclectic, self-produced, full-length debut, Verbose, in late 1997, but John Maier left town for an opportunity in Los Angeles before the album was released in May 1998. Even though Mr. Maier was absolutely key to starting the band, John Griffin and I totally clicked both personally and musically, and we decided it was just too fun and too good to give up.
Enter another John. Johnny Flamini (drums) joined the band right before Verbose was released. Johnny's drumming style was perfect for FRANKENPONY's trend toward heavier power-pop. And his sense of humor was also right in line with us. So the band, with our new drummer and album, played clubs in Chicago, the suburbs, and downstate in Bloomington through 1998 and 1999.
With new songs and a more defined style, we went back to the studio in the fall of 1999 to begin work on Unglued. We were determined to craft a higher quality recording this time and a lot more time and energy was taken in all aspects of recording, mixing, and mastering. Unglued was released in December 2000.
The band played all over Chicago and suburbs for the next year and a half or so. We also went to lots of shows together -- seing bands like Goldfinger and The Mighty-Mighty Bosstones. While we didn't dive head first into punk, their energy and style was very influential to us as we were coming up with new material for the next CD. Also, since the band had plenty of shows to break in the new songs, we had lots of opportunities to fine tune the arrangements. Gigging slowed down in the spring of 2002 and recording sessions began for what was to be the third FRANKENPONY recording. In October 2003, Mazel-Tov RockTales was released, getting lots of great reviews and helping us garner new die-hard fans.
As more new songs were written and arranged, it was clear that we weren't ready to stop. So while keeping our chops up playing in various other bands and recording projects, as 2005 rolled around, recording resumed. At the time of posting this updated Frankenstory, a fourth FRANKENPONY CD is on the cusp of release. It's called Hideous Creatures. Don't be scared. We're pretty sure you'll like it. And we're really sure you'll like us live!!
FRANKENPONY is approaching 10 years of existence! How did that happen? We've got one guy living in the city, one in the 'burbs, and one downstate!! Well, first, we truly have a joyful time playing together. Second, we feel like we're continually evolving and it's hard to walk away from something that you feel is so excellent. Third, we have a modestly-sized, but fiercely loyal group of fans and friends who support us.
Are there stadium shows in FRANKENPONY'S future? Probably not. But all it takes is a small club full of people singing along to your original songs to make you feel like rock stars!!
THANKS FOR LISTENING!!