A Sad, Sad Day For Deep Ellum and Dallas Music As A Whole: Frankie 45 is Dead at Age 24.

Categories: DFW Music News
frankie45.jpg
Alllison V. Smith
Rest in peace, Frankie 45.
Frank Campagna, Jr., known affectionately around town as Frankie or Frankie 45, died early this morning. The revered guitarist, bartender and performer was 24 years old.

The cause of his death has not yet been released. The medical examiner's office has ruled his death a suicide.

A rambunctious personality quick with a joke and a mischievous smile, Campagna stood, perhaps, as Deep Ellum's most recognizable figure.

And, somewhat fittingly, his final performance came right in the middle of the neighborhood that so embraced him and that he so adored in return, as his greaser punk band, Spector 45, headlined The Bone's New Year's Eve celebration.

Though most recently employed as a bartender at Exposition Park's Amsterdam Bar, Campagna spent many years working behind the bar at Club Dada before ownership issues caused the club to close in 2009.

Those, however, were just his "day" jobs. For over a decade now, Campagna has performed as the frontman for Spector 45, which was headlining Deep Ellum haunts as Campagna and his bandmates were still going through puberty, and which was just recently starting to come into its own, having been voted as  the Best Punk Act in the Dallas Observer Music Awards in 2009 and 2010.

Never one to mince words or speak his mind in real life, Campagna was finally starting to follow suit with his songwriting -- which, in recent years, had shown significant growth, both lyrically and musically. Live performance was never a problem -- Campagna's onstage displays were a sight to be seen, as the young performer would stalk and leap across the stage, and often into the crowd, completely covered in sweat, as if he were determined, if nothing else, to outwork every other musician in town once the amps were plugged in and the lights were turned on.

He just fully exuded a rock 'n' roll persona, be it in the fast way he lived, in the fast way he played, or in the tatted-up, greaser-punk look he so happily embraced. It never seemed to be a matter of "if" Campagna would break out as a nationally embraced star, but a matter of "when." He was a born rock star, and news of his passing comes as a devastating blow to Deep Ellum and the Dallas music community.

He'll be missed by many, including this writer, who considered Frankie a close friend.

After the jump, see the statement released by Campagna's father early this morning. There, I've also posted the music video for Spector 45's "Emulate," a clip all the more haunting a watch this morning, with this tragic news in mind.

Update at 3 p.m.: Frankie's father's Deep Ellum art gallery, Kettle Art, located at 2714 Elm St., will open at 7 o'clock tonight for those wishing to share condolences and pay their respects.

Update: at 4:31 p.m.: On Thursday night, Club Dada will host a memorial concert for Frankie. We'll have more details on that event as it approaches.


Frank Anthony Campagna died unexpectedly on January 1st 2011. Born October 21st 1986. Frankie was a talented musician and graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual & Performing Arts. Best known as Frankie 45 and front man for the greaser punk band, Spector 45 he delighted audiences with his over the top antics on and off the stage. He worked as a bartender at Amsterdam in Exposition Park and was loved by everyone in the Deep Ellum area as the handsome, greasy, tattooed 24 year old rock n' roller. Survived by his father, Frank Campagna; sister, Amber Campagna; mother, Angela Early; stepmother, Cindy Campagna; grandmother, Winifred Martin Campagna; aunt, Wendy Fahle; and cousins Scott & Erin Fahle. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Deep Ellum Community Association.
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20 comments
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Jquincy
Jquincy

we in beauxregard never really knew him on a personal level. we played with him once a couple of years ago at the sons of hermann hall. that was the only time i ever got a brief chance to speak with him. seemed like a genuinely good person. and he was funny. i definitely remember that. wish i could've known him better. our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Josh
Josh

Wow the news have just reached me here in Florida. Frankie will be missed......he was unlike anyone I've ever met. Seen the memorial show they had for on YouTube. That was awesome on behalf of Deep Ellum to do that. Rest in peace my friend. -Josh Montano

Mr. A L A N
Mr. A L A N

I was in Frankie's high school class and probably hadn't seen him since graduation in May 2005. A couple of months ago I was at a bar in Deep Ellum and Frankie came up to me because he recognized me. He was always such a positive and genuine guy. I didn't know anyone that disliked him. Condolences go to his family. RIP Frankie.

Groupiegoddess1
Groupiegoddess1

RIP FRANKIE

sincere condolences to his family, friends and band mates

anonynmous
anonynmous

Met Frankie a few times. Super nice guy with some crazy stories. I hope he knows there are many people who will miss him.

Xina Jones
Xina Jones

Pete, you wrote this beautifully. Will you verify if the memorial is at Club Dada on Thursday at 7pm? That's what I heard at Kettle Art. Much love to the Campagnas and to all of you who relate.

Pete Freedman
Pete Freedman

Yeah, it's a go. Doors at 7, show at 8. Looking like a full, beefy bill -- a huge outpouring of support. Expect more details tomorrow.

ftw
ftw

rest in peace to the lil homie frankie. a solid, stand up dude. im gonna miss you. see you when i see you... to frank and the family, try to keep yalls heads up.

BobCat
BobCat

There are no words for this except the apologies and angst we will never hear. Frankie, you have left a hole bigger then you ever could have imagined. We are less in this loss, but better for his friendship. Miss ya, buddy.

BC

Darryl
Darryl

Frank Sr., I am so sorry for your loss. I can't believe this. I interviewed Frankie so many times. I've never met someone who so totally took life by the balls. I will miss him. I wish I would have knew what troubled him. I would have done whatever I could to keep him with us. Sad.

PiKaHsSo
PiKaHsSo

Rest In Peace I've Met him before very sad indeed

abhaille
abhaille

This is so sad.

Many condolences from the Embler family. We all held Frankie in the highest esteem. It's been so fun to watch his evolution. He was just at the house a few months ago. . .

I am SO sorry Frank. We all mourn your loss.

Ben Tapia
Ben Tapia

Words can't express the way this news has affected me. My heart goes out to Frank, Amber, Frankie's band mates, family, friends and fans.

More than an amazing musician, Franky Boy (as I referred to him), was a straight up and genuine kick ass person and a pretty damn good cook as well! I consider myself fortunate to have had him in my life, even for the short time. There was never a dull moment around that boy. I really enjoyed watching him perform as well, the little fucker was a monster on stage!

Mostly I enjoyed our after hour cocktail conversations about music, song writing, gear and of course women! So today my heart is heavy over the tragic loss of a dear friend who I considered a little brother.

RIP Frank 45, I'll never forget you...

choraleboy
choraleboy

I'm so sorry for his family and loved ones

NathanBinford
NathanBinford

Wow. Incredibly tragic. My condolences to the family.

Colleen Morgan
Colleen Morgan

so very, very sad how the heart leads us impulsively, and sometimes in the worst direction. to his family, my deepest and most sincere condolences.

Kdesertrose123
Kdesertrose123

Words cannot express the overwelming sorrow in my heart.

Aunt Karen

lola monroe
lola monroe

This is not Frankie(Keyshia Cole's mom) however is still a sad story

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