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Frankie Corpse & The Undertakers

From: Howth

Active: 1977-78




Formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School following in the footsteps of classmates U2, then known as The Hype.

Ivan McCormick had been a member of The Hype in 1976 when it was known as Feedback. At 13, he was the youngest member and was the first to be let go. Larry Mullen introduced him to guitarist Frank Kearns who in true punk spirit had renamed himself Frankie Corpse. Kearns, Ivan (now 15) and his older brother Neil (aged 16) formed Frankie Corpse and The Undertakers in late 1977 with Keith Edgley (15) on drums. Neil had acquired his bass from Adam Clayton.

All three guitarists wanted to sing and so all three did. They began learning the Ramones "Leave Home" album, starting with track one, side one. Their first (and only?) original was "Punk Power", written by the McCormicks and sung by Kearns.

Their first gig was supporting The Hype at Mount Temple in February 1978. They played "Yeah Yeah Yeah" (off The Vibrators first LP), a disastrous "House of the Rising Sun" and closed with "Punk Power", culminating with the destruction of a (fake) guitar especially made for the occasion. These events are described in Neil McCormick's book I Was Bono's Doppleganger.

Their second and last gig was supporting the recently re- christened U2 at Mount Temple Open Day at the end of school year (circa June 1978). New U2 manager Paul McGuinness cut their support slot from 30 to just 15 minutes, during which they played "Pretty Vacant" (Sex Pistols), "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" (Ramones) and "Fiction Romance" (Buzzcocks). Neil abandoned the bass for the last track, becoming the frontman. Conflict over who would play the opening riff to "Pretty Vacant" spelled the end of the band.

The McCormicks re-emerged as The Modulators (and later Yeah! Yeah!), while Frank Kearns later turned up in The Fast, The Myster Men, Blue Russia and Cactus World News.


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