Talking to Frank White

| 21 Mar 2024 | 04:22

Stefani M.C. Janelli interviews Frank White, co-writer of “Jersey Metal: A History of the Garden State’s Heavy Metal Scene Volume One (1969-1986).” White, a resident of Franklin, and Alan Tecchio, who lives in Denville, released a revised edition of the book March 1.

Question: You co-wrote the book “Jersey Metal: A History of the Garden State’s Heavy Metal Scene Volume One (1969-1986)” with Alan Tecchio. How did the two of you meet?

Answer: We met during the summer of 1983 in New Milford when I was hired to photograph the band Prophecy and Alan was the lead singer.

Q: How did you both develop the idea for this book?

A: I have been a music photographer since 1975, and over the years, I have photographed many bands, including New Jersey metal bands. After many years of writing down and collecting concert set lists and notes from shows and event memorabilia and becoming an author in 2018, the idea of doing a book and the title about my home state metal scene came to me while working on a Ronnie James Dio book that was published in England.

After that book came out and reviews were being published, a mutual friend of ours, Freddy Dingo, owner of Clifton’s Dingo’s Den and Dingbatz clubs, carried one of these New Jersey publications, Steppin’ Out, that printed my Dio book review and Alan used to write a column for. Freddy told me Alan wrote a column for another New Jersey entertainment magazine called Metropolis Nights that was in his Dingbatz club on the New Jersey entertainment scene and biker lifestyle.

The name “Jersey Metal” that I came up with back in 2019 has a strong tone, stands out and cuts to the chase about what it refers to. Since I run my own music photo agency, I have other photographers in New Jersey to fill in the gaps on certain bands and fan photos that I did not get a chance to photograph back in that time frame of our book.

Q: On March 1, you released a revised version of the book. What is included in the new edition?

A: 1969 Mountain live concert photos from Bloomfield College. Alice Cooper Group 1970 live concert photos from the Stanley Theater in the old Vailsburg section of Newark down the street from Seton Hall University. Early 1970s Bergen County local band Spider and band info. Black Sabbath live photos 1975 from Convention Hall in Asbury Park and a story by Metal Joe of the Old Bridge Militia. Metal Joe writes another story about the band Slayer, who visited his home in Central New Jersey and then took Joe out to a Long Island studio to record the album “Live Undead” with 15 very lucky radio winners. More Southern New Jersey band photos and band information, clubs, fliers, an interview with promoter Mike “Bullwinkle” Minnick and WMMR DJ Jacky BamBam. We also made some photos bigger and made other photos smaller.

Q: The book includes many interviews with musicians, fans and industry professionals. Do you have a favorite interview?

A: Twisted Sister’s Jay Jay French’s interview about how the mob ran many clubs in New Jersey in the early days of the music scene and the band starting out playing five shows a night.

Q: Which part of the book do you think is metal fans’ favorite part? Anything that would surprise them?

A: I think it would be the overall design of the book and how we were able to put together so many Jersey Metal fans’ past music and entertainment history. Going out to their favorite music venues, getting together, creating the scene and rockin’ out all hours of the night.

Q: You’re an incredibly prolific photographer with shots appearing in Rolling Stone, Metal Hammer, Premiere Guitar and so many more, including being a contributing photographer to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame annual induction ceremony. What is the best part about being a photographer?

A: To be able to create amazing images working with the best bands from our state and the rest of the world. Also to travel to other parts of the world to cover major music concerts and festivals for very popular music magazines.

Q: Do you have a favorite story from a shoot or an event?

A: Meeting AC/DC at their hotel. Then getting invited to go to their shows at Madison Square Garden, sitting and standing front row, and photographing the entire show. After the show, being invited to go to their after-party/record release party in the Garden for the album “For Those About to Rock.” Then, meeting actor John Belushi sitting at the next table from the band and myself, and finally a couple of days later, going to their next show at the Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey’s Meadowlands.

Q: What do you think is the best part of the Jersey Metal scene? Why do you think it’s important?

A: Being able to see a wide variety of metal bands that are from New Jersey and outside our state, for many Metalheads to get together and keep the scene alive and well. It is important because it gives venues encouragement and the money to continue to stay open and provide entertainment for this genre of music fans while keeping their spirits flowing.

Q: What makes the Jersey Metal culture stand out from the rest of the metal culture?

A: It is the mixture of metal fans due to the location and density of our state coming out to enjoy the Garden State’s talented bands that morphed out of the early days of our music scene.

Q: Favorite part about the Jersey Metal book and telling this story?

A: It is the combination of photos with stories and fliers that put the reader into a past crazy lifestyle. Not only of two famous heavy metal professionals but the bands and fans that made it possible.

Q: Where do you see the future of the Jersey Metal scene? Do any parts of it still exist?

A: Over the years, the earlier Jersey Metal bands for the most part either disappeared or broke up or broke out of the local scene. Some of those bands went on to great success, which now brings out more and more metal fans again as the bands set future concert dates around the Garden State.

Yes, some parts still exist throughout the state, with clubs popping up again that cater to New Jersey’s hard rock and heavy metal fans. I see now a mix of younger and older Jersey metal fans getting together and headbanging the night away.

For information about the book, go online to