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“Somewhere between Meat Loaf and King Louis XIV”

Valentino Frankenstein was a colorful goth

Frankenstein was anything but a monster, but he definitely appreciated them.
Frankenstein was anything but a monster, but he definitely appreciated them.

Roger Shy, aka Valentino Frankenstein – who for a time called himself Raven White – has reportedly passed away from Covid. The Escondido musician played keyboards and guitar, and sang alongside his longtime love Cher Stroble with the 1980s new wave group Atomic Blondes, as well as with Duran Duran cover bands Nite Romantics and Hungry Like the Wolf. He also turned up in local tribute acts, playing the music of the Cars and Gary Numan. He was featured earlier this year in a Reader article about his cover of Numan’s “Cars,” which earned him airplay on Australia’s WOW FM 100.5.

Shy was always easy to spot in a crowd. He stood six foot four, and possessed a gothic affectation that included snowy peroxide hair, heavy makeup, and a sartorial sense that rested colorfully somewhere between Meat Loaf and King Louis XIV. He was a regular presence at San Diego Comic-Con back before it tagged itself as “International,” with an annual booth in movie memorabilia row, where he unloaded crates of bootlegged sci-fi and horror TV shows and films — first on Beta, then VHS, and eventually upgrading (usually from the same original source) to DVDs. The side business was very lucrative until convention officials cracked down on unauthorized media and issued what was effectively a lifetime ban that covered all three of his names.

“Our friendship was steeped in an appreciation of pop culture, music and of all things Godzilla and monster movies,” recalls longtime Comic-Con film programmer John Field. “His talents musically were natural, leading to several very clever songs. His appearances publicly were always met with happy fans who were never disappointed. Dancing and laughter filled his venues. He had one show I attended where he told the owner I was the group’s manager, so I would get comped a meal! He always did spontaneous, unselfish things. My great regret is not sitting and watching the latest restoration of a vintage film [with him]. I told him how excited I was to show him Dr. X on blu-ray. It just came out; we had planned to watch it. Then fate stepped in and delivered my friend to Prince Sirki. Classic monster fans know who that is and what that means.”

An avid monster toy collector, Shy’s annual Halloween celebrations regularly included setting up a home drive-in theater to screen classic horror films for the entire neighborhood, a tradition that stretched as far back as the 1990s, when he was booking films for underground North Park theater screenings. As an actor, he played bit roles in films like Dinosaur Valley Girls.

The Valentino Frankenstein album Monster at My Window was released in 2018, preceded by a single and video for “Metrotube City.” “I always remembered him from back when we all played the Distillery East,” recalls guitarist Stevie Salas, who went on to play with Mick Jagger and others. “He used to talk with me a lot and he really stood out with true star power.”

Shy had just recently helped his mother relocate to a new residence from Denver, Colorado, which he told friends had become “a criminal war zone.” He received the Pfizer vaccine several months ago, but apparently suffered a “breakthrough” infection. He told several people close to him that he believed he contracted the virus while caring for a friend who was sick with Covid, assuming that his own vaccination would protect him. He was in a coma for some time before his passing.

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Frankenstein was anything but a monster, but he definitely appreciated them.
Frankenstein was anything but a monster, but he definitely appreciated them.

Roger Shy, aka Valentino Frankenstein – who for a time called himself Raven White – has reportedly passed away from Covid. The Escondido musician played keyboards and guitar, and sang alongside his longtime love Cher Stroble with the 1980s new wave group Atomic Blondes, as well as with Duran Duran cover bands Nite Romantics and Hungry Like the Wolf. He also turned up in local tribute acts, playing the music of the Cars and Gary Numan. He was featured earlier this year in a Reader article about his cover of Numan’s “Cars,” which earned him airplay on Australia’s WOW FM 100.5.

Shy was always easy to spot in a crowd. He stood six foot four, and possessed a gothic affectation that included snowy peroxide hair, heavy makeup, and a sartorial sense that rested colorfully somewhere between Meat Loaf and King Louis XIV. He was a regular presence at San Diego Comic-Con back before it tagged itself as “International,” with an annual booth in movie memorabilia row, where he unloaded crates of bootlegged sci-fi and horror TV shows and films — first on Beta, then VHS, and eventually upgrading (usually from the same original source) to DVDs. The side business was very lucrative until convention officials cracked down on unauthorized media and issued what was effectively a lifetime ban that covered all three of his names.

“Our friendship was steeped in an appreciation of pop culture, music and of all things Godzilla and monster movies,” recalls longtime Comic-Con film programmer John Field. “His talents musically were natural, leading to several very clever songs. His appearances publicly were always met with happy fans who were never disappointed. Dancing and laughter filled his venues. He had one show I attended where he told the owner I was the group’s manager, so I would get comped a meal! He always did spontaneous, unselfish things. My great regret is not sitting and watching the latest restoration of a vintage film [with him]. I told him how excited I was to show him Dr. X on blu-ray. It just came out; we had planned to watch it. Then fate stepped in and delivered my friend to Prince Sirki. Classic monster fans know who that is and what that means.”

An avid monster toy collector, Shy’s annual Halloween celebrations regularly included setting up a home drive-in theater to screen classic horror films for the entire neighborhood, a tradition that stretched as far back as the 1990s, when he was booking films for underground North Park theater screenings. As an actor, he played bit roles in films like Dinosaur Valley Girls.

The Valentino Frankenstein album Monster at My Window was released in 2018, preceded by a single and video for “Metrotube City.” “I always remembered him from back when we all played the Distillery East,” recalls guitarist Stevie Salas, who went on to play with Mick Jagger and others. “He used to talk with me a lot and he really stood out with true star power.”

Shy had just recently helped his mother relocate to a new residence from Denver, Colorado, which he told friends had become “a criminal war zone.” He received the Pfizer vaccine several months ago, but apparently suffered a “breakthrough” infection. He told several people close to him that he believed he contracted the virus while caring for a friend who was sick with Covid, assuming that his own vaccination would protect him. He was in a coma for some time before his passing.

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