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Band Biography

Whirled   Marvin   Shape   Where are they Now?
Frente are a band originating from Melbourne fronted by singer Angie Hart and guitarist Simon Austin. Frente! were born at the Punter's Club on the now trendy Brunswick Street in Melbourne, where Simon served drinks to Angie. They joined forces and played their first concert there, with a collection of songs so short that they played the set twice to fill their time slot.

Frente!'s first EP was Whirled, a self-funded release that largely served the role of a show-piece to record companies. The EP is a masterpiece of energetic tracks, with a track-listing looking like an album. However, put the EP on, get comfortable and it's all over. Short but very, very sweet. Mostly acoustic, the EP features Labour of Love, a fan favourite, and Oh Brilliance, a most awesome song indeed. (I never said this would be objective). It successfully captured or created the sound of Melbourne. Whirled gained a lot of exposure, especially on Australia's JJJ FM, and provided Frente with several recording deal offers from large companies. It is now next to impossible to find Whirled, except in CD collections of every second hip Melbournian, who have no idea how much more appreciated the CD would be in the hands of fans around the world. The EP came in many different colours, at least in black, white, gold, plain cardboard, blue and magenta, with the CD label also in different colours. Good luck collecting them!

The follow up was Clunk, a five track EP that featured the melodic Ordinary Angels. With some more trademark brief songs fans were left eager for more. On the back cover is a photograph of Frente at the bottom end of Barkly Street, in Melbourne's Elwood, as seen on the opening page of this site. Ordinary Angels found its way to the Melrose Place soundtrack and at least twice on the program, and a touched up version of BookSong found its way to the My So-called Life CD. At some time Ordinary Angels found its home on a UK remix single and on a numbered, clear 7" limited edition single. Ordinary Angels was Frente!'s first music video, the Australian version being colourful and bright, and later, a second film clip was made minus the smiles. The song enjoyed excellent chart success, which by MTV's scoring, means it's a work of art. It is regardless.

An EP or a single, Accidently Kelly Street was released, accompanied by a video that the band would prefer to forget. Again, this video was re-made minus the smiles. Kenny Street in Melbourne's Richmond, was a band-member's household. The song is the first release from the Marvin album recordings.

It gets hazy here (anybody with more specific details - please email!). The No Time single or EP either came out before or after Marvin the Album. Frente were probably playing concerts here and there throughout all this time. Asked about why the album name includes the words 'the Album' Frente! never answered that it was to indicate that it wasn't another seven minute EP. Simon and Angie sometimes admit to being Prince fans and so the album was produced by Prince's producer at his studio in Minneapolis. They later remixed Ordinary Angels in their live shows and named it the 'Prince mix'. Cool eh? Check out my Prince page at... Marvin the album includes a new recording of Labour of Love, and a touched up Ordinary Angels. Each album track surprises, with this listener expecting a fade out half way through. In this case more is definitely better. The album has a very clean and fresh sound, and Simon Austin's singing on two tracks adds form to the overall sound. For the MTV fans, Marvin has sold at least 1.2 million copies.

Things get really hazy here. The Marvin period included an international release, minus 1.9.0 and reflect, but with a different track listing and the addition of Lonely, Explode and their acoustic version of Bizarre Love Triangle. In Australia these were released on the Lonely single, and Bizarre Love Triangle was released as a single in the UK. BLT was never intended as more than a b-side cover track, but received enormous international popularity and was given a simple but nice music video. Frente performed at Summer Bay's surf club on the Australian soap Home and Away, with Angel (Melissa George) debuting as a roadie. Some time around here Frente! toured the US, the UK, and parts of Asia (where artists with tattoos are allowed to perform??). Either at this time, before or after, they played to the Dalai Lama at the National Art Gallery in Melbourne (I could hardly believe it that my Dad saw Frente play before I did!!). Without too much speculation, the band got pretty sick of being, touring and all, and copping far too much flack thanks to music film directors and strange publicity, and took the end of the tour as a time to stop.

Shape took a long, long time to arrive for those who were waiting. It was recorded and mostly written in Booga Bear's (husband of Nenah Cherry) Spanish studio, one exception being Harm, written in a St. Kilda cafe, probably on a rainy day. The album was mixed in London, and produced by Dave Allen, The Cure's producer. Why the cure man, one might ask... What did Frente (exclamation mark fell off in the wash) want Shape to sound a little like? The Whirled EP. What does Whirled sound like? Sounds like Melbourne. How? Melbourne in Winter. How? Maybe it sounds rainy. What music sounds like Winter? The Cure. You should get the idea.

Shape is an excellent follow-up to Marvin. It is not Marvin 2, which some were hoping for and some were not. The songs are more melodic while the lyrics are not as strong. The production includes lots of little sounds which make a joyful headphone listening experience and Simon's voice is unfortunately relegated to backing vocals. Frente shattered their short song reputation with Calmly, the nine minute final track. This song made a great opener at gigs towards the end of the Shape tour. There is continuing debate about which Frente album is better, but it really comes down to them both being great albums.

Shape provided singles for Sit on My Hands, What's Come Over Me, Jungle and Goodbye Goodguy. Besides two new tracks, the b-sides are mostly remixes or acoustic versions. The physical CDs of three versions of What's Come Over Me, Jungle and Goodbye Goodguy are shaped to form three pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of a foot. For the MTV fans, sales of Shape were on a par with Marvin after the first year of release.

Frente played some shows in Melbourne during the recording and imminent release of Shape, ranging from a double with The Mavis's to acoustic sets. Their quest for world domination commenced again when armed with a different line-up, Frente mark 2 hit the road for a forecast two year stint. Fraiser was brought in to provide the quirky Shape sounds on keyboard and his ever-reinvented guitar solo to Sit on My Hands. A television mime on Hey Hey It's Saturday (no thanks to the person who taped over my video of this!) showed a close-up of Fraiser playing the guitar solo at the wrong end of the fret-board. The band were declined a request to swap instruments for the show.

The world tour lasted somewhat less than two years, and included support for Everything But the Girl and Alanis Morisette. Frente played some shows at various Melbourne venues following the tour. Two photos of their Melbourne Big Day Out (a large event featuring many local and international acts) can be seen on the live page. Frente also played a free outdoor concert that afternoon in January 1997 in the bandstand at Melbourne's Williamstown. It was a blue-skied day and the majestic view of Melbourne across the bay fitted perfectly. Several children came on to stage and played drums during Jungle, which completely threw the drummer's timing out and they had to stop playing. On guitar for that performance was Alanis's guitarist and ex Chili Peppers guitarist Jesse Tobias.

The Williamstown gig in 1997 was the last time to date that Frente have performed together. They never officially broke up and it is the policy of this web page to furiously refuse that they have. Angie and Jesse flew to the US the day after the Williamstown gig , and a performance at the Mushroom 25th anniversary in 1998 was advertised but never eventuated. Simon initially went to the US for a while, Fraiser initially performed solo in Melbourne, and Bill, or a great likeness of, looks like he's back with Melbourne band Rebecca's Empire. The singles for Jungle and Goodbye Goodguy were released after their tour, perhaps giving reason for not immediately announcing a break-up. This page is not going to attempt to cover too closely releases by solo Frente bandmembers.

Angie and Jesse are Splendid. They are based in California and have a CD and at least one single from the album.

Simon is currently based in Melbourne and has been busy producing and performing on other artists' work, most notably the recent single Coming Home by The Mavis's. He has performed with a new band at the Espy in Melbourne and also joined the Mavis's with guitar and keyboards at their recent shows. Frente's third album is tipped to have titles for the silent bits between tracks. It's my bet that at least the star duo of Simon and Ang will sparkle together on stage again with little publicity in some tiny pub. Whether they get together or not Frente's music will live on.

STOP PRESS! Frente played together again on the 22/3/2004 at the Hotel Cafe in L.A. !!!