Hogtown Stories is a series of portraits and short stories about Torontonians by Jeremy Korn, a photographer and urban planner. Find more photos of Frankie and past stories at hogtownstories.com.
Punk rock is the voice of the people, and Queen and Bathurst used to be about us. This is where we came to do our thing.
Growing up, I felt like a loner. It was tough to fit in. But at Queen and Bathurst, it didn’t matter who you were, or where you came from. Punks, rockers and all sorts of kids hung out there. Some were homeless. Instead of being rejected elsewhere, we made a place where we belonged.
Song Bird Music was just down the street. I would sometimes skip school to go there. Hanging out there and talking to the staff about different bands and records, I learned so much about music.
And there would always be punk kids lined up at the Big Bop, waiting for their favourite bands to play. It didn’t matter who you were at the Bop. If you were in a band, you could play. They gave you a shot. We played there so many times. I really miss that place.
Now the Big Bop is a swanky furniture store. Everything has changed so much. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, but this used to be an area for outsiders. It was raw and real. It’s hard to let go of your roots.
Follow Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols on Twitter: @FWDI
This interview has been edited and condensed.