English Frank was a true friend, and one of the most misunderstood people I’ve ever known. Those close to him, however, knew how thoughtful and considerate he really was. Maybe because he was adopted and an only child, he never took friendship for granted.
Born Francis Reginald Kennington in Ealing, a suburb of London, when Frank was very young he worked with his inventor father displaying a creation at the World’s Fair, possibly his first taste of show biz. At age 13 he went to Australia and formed a band, which scored a No. 1 hit song — before Frank got deported back to the U.K. Not that many people know that Frank was a musician and wrote some fine, catchy pub-rock-style songs (“No More Roxy” being the classic). In the ’70s, Frank borrowed money from his father to help promote his friend Lemmy’s new band. The band became Motorhead, and two brilliant careers were born.
Frank moved to Hollywood circa 1982 and soon became a fixture on the underground/rock & roll scene. A grassroots promoter, he’d found his calling. Among the highlights of his classic shows were his huge New Year’s Eve extravaganzas; the first live performance of Spinal Tap; and, of course, the many benefits he organized, including nights for the Zero One gallery, Keith Morris, Gary Leonard, and even the unforgettable “Concert for Bangladentures,” to aid Frank in getting his teeth fixed! In later years, Frank found enjoyment through woodworking as a finish carpenter, working at the homes of the rich and famous, as well as making gifts for friends.
Frank was no angel, of course, but who is? I can’t help but be struck by how often he thought of others, and how much richer so many of us are for having known him. I remember the duck family he used to have in his back yard. Frank loved those little ducks and used to talk about them constantly . . . I’ll never forget him.
Frank is survived by his daughter, Daisy Kennington, two grandchildren and his girlfriend, Robyn Andrea Kohl. He’ll be buried in his leather jacket and trademark red pants.
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