The Early Years...

of Artist Frank Campagna


Creem letter November 1973


I recently saw the movie
'Almost Famous'
and it really took me back...
Below is a letter I wrote,
that was published in
'Creem' magazine,
November 1973,
funky spelling and all...

"Gee! About six weeks ago I went down to 7/11 to buy me sum Rolling Stone.
But they didn't have it so I sez: "Frank you gotta get sumthing to read,"
and so I look through the normal scum, 16, Hit Parader, you know, and all of a sudden this magazine cums out of no where, and so I looked thru it, Goddamn!!! I loved it, bought it, took it HOME / read it, an even liked it. Thanx for being better than Rolling Stone and having better pictures too.

Frank Campagna

P.S. Since I wrote such a nice letter 'n' everything, and everybody's bitchin' about the polls, and my heros Iggy Pop, David Bowie and even Todd Rundgren were all punks of the year, can you fit my name in there too!!!


   High School Sweety - Illustration 1975


Roger Daultry   Drawing 1975


Painting 1975

Inspired by the

Rolling Stones tour.



This is a self portrait 1976

I drew this for several years.

Anyone who's yearbook I signed in

high school probably got one of these.

(btw that's a joint)

sydbarrett76.jpg (16564 bytes) Syd Barrett

Father of Floyd

illustration 1977



illustration 1977


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This is an airbrushed painting I did w/ about 5 stencils in 1977. I knocked out about a dozen of these and sold them to shops and individuals in NYC & Philly. Rockstar, Todd Rundgren, also purchased one from me during his 'RA' tour which was greatly inspiring. In all, this piece was a great primer in how to earn a living...

By 1978 I moved to Dallas Texas. Nothing was happening in the clubs, unless you liked cover bands of generic 'classic rock' In other words, it sucked. The only place that rocked was a concert hall called the Palladium. I had to find a way 'in', so I did this mock-up ad for the Ian Hunter show. It also got  me in the business of doing rock & roll art!


ian2.jpg (14403 bytes)

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About the same time, this little dive opened called DJ's. I started doing flyers for the place in return for admission and beer.

This is a flyer for the first punk rock festival ever in Dallas / Fort Worth. It was held at an old racetrack and the bands performed on the back of a flat bed truck. The first night was amazing the second night everyone left to go see the Clash at the Palladium...

My all time favorite Texas band the Nervebreakers played both shows, and were great as usual. I worked for both promoters and had fun both nights!

DJ's New WAve Cafe, Dallas  

Calendar heading for DJ's

I did not include the actual calendar because most of the acts are of no consequence but a little band from Denton TX called 'Brave Combo' played every Monday nite this month!




In 1980 the Palladium shut down. The owner lost his ass doing Foghat at the Cotton Bowl. He would later

return to the business as a partner in the Hot Klub, then at 462 Inc. and currently runs Nokia Live. 

The Palladium building reopened a few months later as the Agora Ballroom, which played a huge role in my life...

 agora ballroom dallas

As the sole artist for this 1,200 seat nightclub / concert hall, I painted and created artwork for hundreds of shows.

Above is a portion of a mural of acts that had sold the venue out! Below are a few concert calendar headers and flyers...



agora2.jpg (59508 bytes)


atodd rundgren dallas 1980


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iggy pop


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 agora_11_81.jpg (214979 bytes)

New Wave and Punk Rock shows almost always needed flyers
because radio really didn't support these acts.
I can remember getting many phone calls from the GM asking
'Frank have you ever heard of ______?
So what do you think?

To determine if he should book them or not...

This was a great place to be at the time but I also managed to get hired by the Wintergarden, a 3,000 capacity venue run by another promoter to do the same type of work. Before long I was getting paid to crank out several flyers a week and more to distruibute them at all the cool shops / events in town. This is now called a 'street team'...


Agora Ballroom Dallas


agora_ballroom 1981

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 Alice Cooper

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Ramones poster 1980

I always loved the Ramones! The first time I saw them was at the Star Club (approximate capacity 200) in Philly in 1977. They basically ripped to sheds anything the Grateful Dead, Yes, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, etc... and all the pretense of 'Rock stardom' and brought  music right back to an attainable level for any kid to play.

This flyer / show happened right around the same time as Rock & Roll High School came out in 1980. They were hitting the 'bigtime' or at least giving it their very best.

Because of the work I was doing for the clubs I was
asked to do a few magazine and record covers...

1) Buddy Magazine featuring Joe Ely

2) The Telefones first single

3) NCM - Ultimate Orgasm single

4) Local compilation; VVV - Live at the Hot Klub

5) Nervebreakers - full length not released until 1994

6) Pling Pling - self published zine.

7) But Butt - self published zine.

8) Invite for first one man show. July 1981...

1)  joe ely

2) telefones2.jpg (31819 bytes) 3) ncm.jpg (18331 bytes)
4) vvv.jpg (41787 bytes) 5) texas punk rockerds the Nervebreakers
6) plingpling.jpg (49815 bytes) 7) butbutt.jpg (8565 bytes)
8) Deep Ellum 1981


Rare live footage

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Studio D was not the first club in Deep Ellum. It was my art
studio. I had bands play on the weekend to help ends meet.
Legally there was a capacity of 12 but nobody really cared
because Deep Ellum was a vacant warehouse district at the
time. For really big shows like the Dead Kennedys, I'd hire
off duty police to act as a vacination from getting busted.

Aside from the Kennedys acts that played include Butthole
Surfers, the original Misfits, Meat Puppets, D.R.I., D.O.A.,
Lethal Weapon, and Husker Du even played 3 times in six
weeks. I really tried to keep it as underground as possible
and refused interviews although a few stories appeared in
Thrasher, Texas Monthly, The Dallas Observer and the
Dallas Morning News. When my lease ran out I continued
booking shows in various clubs though June 29th 1986...

I had a girlfriend with a baby / my son on the way and what
began as a way to help out my buds was becoming a
nightmare w/ too many hangerons, junkies, skinheads and
cops for me to be bothered with as pending fatherhood

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studiod_1_83.jpg (612980 bytes) 82_83.jpg (327222 bytes)

meatpuppets.jpg (440412 bytes)


tsol_3_83.jpg (172987 bytes)

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minutemen.jpg (287397 bytes)

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Here are a few random illustrations...

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bardot.jpg (11866 bytes)

stones.jpg (36534 bytes)

The 80's went out with a bang for me, with a call from the Rolling Stones. Here's portion of a Steel Wheels drop I did for a party they threw here in Dallas... This is a really crappy photo but it was too big to get a decent shot of in my studio and the club was too dark.

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