Chomp Chomp Crunch-Snap
Hello my friends, and welcome to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing I do where I produce an augmented, annotated, illustrated index of the past week in Dr Frank. It’s mainly just so I know where to go to search for things should I want to.
But as always, read along if you like. Even though I know few do, or will, I try to make it as entertaining as I can, for some reason I can’t quite articulate.
The world is upside down, inside out, and on fire. You’ll get no patronizing, virtue signaling, narcissistic hashtag grandstanding from me, but I am no less concerned about police malfeasance, racism, and injustice for all that. It is of vital importance. We are living through extraordinary times, and you will find a brief comment on “current events” below. I do believe we can, as a society, do better, but I’m not sure we will.
Meanwhile, we’re still plodding along, putting out our dumb little records at our own dumb little pace…
— The Mr T Experience…. and the Women Who Love Them: the Sounds Radical re-issue of this old MTX record is proceeding apace, if apace means what I think it does. We’ve got test pressings now (and they sound genuinely great — about which see below.) Releasing this on vinyl was always a dream, and one of the primary motivations for the re-issue project in which we are now engaged. As you’ll know if you read this week’s Song for Odin write-up, three of these eight songs came out on a Lookout Records seven-inch, but the other five were on the CD EP only. Vinyl was already on the way out, and this was the cheap way to do it, as it is now, but it always rankled because, to me, vinyl was always “real” in a way that CD could never be. (Still the case, and even moreso with regard to ephemeral digital files.)
Anyway, it came out better than I could have imagined, due to a bit of luck (that a copy of the master survived in good enough shape that the audio information could be extracted from it) and a lot of excellent work from the further chain of technicians, Jessica Thompson who did the transfer/rescue, Justin Perkins who mastered it, and Dave Polster at Well Made Music who really did an ace job with the cutting. It is, as it currently stands and far as I can tell, the best-sounding thing we’ve put out yet, and up there with the best-sounding records I’ve heard. Which is downright amazing. So yay us. Well done everybody. And wait’ll you see the artwork, re-invented and revamped by Chris Appelgren from his original design, it’s outta sight.
Here’s the schedule:
Official release date: August 14; “dibs” opens June 8; orders begin July 6.
(We already did a “dibs” routine for special people already in our unholy alliance — that is, those who have dibsed our releases before. That list still stands. This is a further list, for the greater public. More details on this come on Monday, so watch this space.)
MTX FINDS THE CLUES
— The way how we used to look and and talk like, in 1989, from an interview on video for a fanzine before a show in Carbondale, IL that someone recently posted on youtube:
The guy doing the interview has no idea who we are, nor any interest in our “music” per se, and there’s remarkably little of substance to be found here in nearly twelve minutes of talking — we’re just goofing off, on our own steam, pretty much. Nevertheless it is an interesting document, sort of, of a time when we were just a baby.
I sort of remember this show, I think:
— The Mr T Experience — “Two Minute Itch”, live in Southampton, UK, Summer of ‘92:
This was a Song for Odin two years ago, which came up as a “Facebook memory” so I shared it. (“Minor secrets” write-up is at that link as well.) It’s unusual for these posts to appear in those memories, as FB exempts YouTube links, but sometimes they sneak through because of being re-posts by other people… or something.
Two plus years is a long time to be doing anything, but here we are…
— Song for Odin: like I was saying, here we are, continuing the tradition for some reason that is not entirely clear. And this week it was “All My Promises” from The Mr T Experience… and the Women Who Love Them, just sort of showing off the test pressing and “teasing” the upcoming re-issue:
DR FRANK OF AGES
— I can’t even imagine what kind of person I’d have turned into, absent this. Just paying my respects to an important record in my life, as one does.
— Top Ten Songs of Dr Frank: Rene over at the blog called Keep Track of the Time has said very nice and kind things about my songs and band before, and here is yet another instance. It’s rather an unusual selection (certainly not “the hits”) and each entry has some in-depth commentary that is pretty interesting. I really appreciate this level of attention and thought as it rarely happens, so, once again, thanks, Rene! (nb., here’s a previous post that goes song by song through Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You with similar thought and detail.)
— Dept. of bons mots: well, “bon mot” is stretching it, but I once had the idea of doing a sort of series of “Dirty Jeeves” gags like this one:
I still think it’s funny, but the project was abandoned with no further entries, as is so often the case with such projects.
— Tape Hunt Notes Part 2: Following up on part one re-visited last week, here’s part 2 of my “tape hunt notes,” featuring Everyone’s Entitled…, Our Bodies…, Big Black Bugs…, Alcatraz, … and the Women…, and Yesterday Rules. No updates, per se, except that we were able to turn the recovered audio from the DAT safety copy of LK 106 (…and the Women…) into a really terrific sounding vinyl 45 RPM 12". About which, see above.
…and your Friday morning “Bitter Homes and Gardens” from a quarantine covers album on bandcamp:
— Behold: so what if she likes to play the recorder?; just a naked lady wearing glasses, on the phone with a bowl of cereal on the counter; it takes a real man…; hayseed; just the usual sort of sci-fi fungus-scape; simply ghastly; Tomb It May Concern; jazz up your lingerie in the typing pool…
— … and plus:
IN THE NEWS
— “Shut Down All Police Movies and TV Shows. Now.” From the Washington Post, presented without comment.
— Current Events: Nevertheless. We are certainly living through strange and, it seems, potentially transformative times. Anyone who knows me will know that police malfeasance and criminal justice reform are of long-standing great concern to me, something of an obsession perhaps — as has been accused, on occasion. Injustice “under color of authority” is the very worst sort of injustice, especially when abetted and exacerbated as it is by corrupt institutions of the state. It shocks the conscience like nothing else. So although I don’t by any means buy the “wokist” gnosis and its childish, pseudo-religious, quasi-Marxist rhetoric, I cannot but support the protests; they are, it seems to me, necessary and long-overdue, though I abhor the violence of civil unrest at its extremes (which can create and has created its own type of injustice, and not always at the expense of the “bad people” only.) It is difficult, and probably impossible, to detangle these strands, however. And it is hard to know what will happen. I’d like to think we could emerge from this with meaningful, useful reform of policing and a re-adjustment of the current dysfunctional and destructive relationship between the state’s executive arm and the society upon which it preys with increasing severity. But neither the authorities, nor the counter-authorities, seem to know what they are doing, which doesn’t bode well for a positive outcome (which, I have to say, was never very likely.) People of all political factions, in their own way, seem inclined to want more state-enforced authoritarianism rather than less. There are practical measures that could, conceivably, address some of these issues. But no policy, as such, can hope to provide the spiritual catharsis and fulfillment sought by the massed protesters; it’s a completely understandable desire and emphasis, but it is not a solution to this problem. And I fear we are looking at a future of unrequited anguish, my own included, and continuing injustice unabated, even exacerbated. I’ll hope and pray otherwise anyhow, of course.
— Steve Priest, bass player of the Sweet, whose music meant the world to me as a teen and continuing, died this week. RIP, my old hero.
And that’ll do it. It’s been a hell of week. For those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s Bat Woman:
See you next week, I reckon.