Dr Frank Live at the Court Tavern!

flexi cover/insert

Happy Valentine’s Day, upcoming. And I’ve got a couple of announcements.

The first is: this is my latest release on Sounds Radical, Dr Frank Live at the Court Tavern, RAD-012–7F, comprising three songs recorded last year when I played solo at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Here is the discogs page.

The songs: “I Believe in You” / “The Grooviest Girl in the World” / “You’re the Only One”

More on the songs below, but first the product info:

The release date is Valentine’s Day, Thursday Feb. 14, which is when the digital version will go up on iTunes, Amazon, and all the services. (God willing.) But starting today, at noon EST, you can call “dibs” on a copy of the extremely limited physical version, a specially packaged flexi disk. (Via “dibs” you put your name on a reserve list, and people on the list get the first chance to purchase when it goes up for ordering: you get an email with a buy link and if you don’t buy at that time, your name gets replaced with the next on the list. It’s a way to “pre-order” and reserve an item with no obligation.)

That link again: link!

There are only 200 of these flexis. Hand-numbered. It’s a really cool package, and if you like me and my stuff you probably want one. The basic package is the flexi plus sticker plus enamel pin in a custom box, which is a a great deal for $10. Theres also a shirt, which you can add for $15 ($5 off the a la carte price once “dibs” is finished and ordering begins.) It is by far the most interesting, excessive, lavish packaging for a flexi I’ve ever seen.


Oh yeah, and the other announcement is in honor of Valentine’s Day, Sounds Rad is offering a 30% discount on all Dr Frank items on 02.14.2019 if you enter the code word: GROOVY.

So, the important dates are: 02.11.2019 (today) “dibs” begins; 02.14.2019 digital release date and Dr Frank store discount; on or about 02.25.2019, order link emails go out; 03.01.2019, shipping begins.


I’m not gonna lie to you: the original plan for this release was a bit less… complex. I’d imagined having all the items in hand well in advance of Valentine’s Day, and offering the flexi with its associated items as a sort of Valentine’s Day “card” slash gift that people could actually give to people as Valentines. This plan influenced the choice of songs, which are rather Valentine-y, and the artwork. However, best laid plans, mice, men, “but it was not to be,” you know how it goes. In the manufacturing world lived in by boutique specialty record labels such as ours targeted dates for limited edition physical deliverables, particularly ones involving many variously sourced elements, are always in serious risk of disruption. And it turns out, for example, that the entire country of China takes several weeks off during the Lunar New Year period, during which no tchotchkes are made or shipped. Not a lot of people know that.

test “pressing”

The upshot is, this release is a little more slow-rolling than originally planned. Still, you’re gonna want one of these. At 200 hand numbered copies it’s the scarcest, most limited thing we’ve ever done. And to my great surprise, this 33 RPM flexi sounds quite good. (This is the first time I’ve ever been directly involved in the release of a flexi, and it appears flexi technology has improved greatly since the last time I listened to one. It’s also a lot more robust and heavy than flexis I have known in the past.) And the packaging, with artwork designed by Dominique Arce Ramirez, including one of those great Sounds Rad custom boxes, is simply awesome. Scheduling aside, Sounds Rad goes all out, even for flexis. Especially for, as it turns out.


So here’s that “dibs” link again.

photo by Brian H. Melnicky

Like it says, these songs were recorded at a New Jersey club called The Court Tavern last year, in the midst of a brief stint of shows in the Northeast with Mikey Erg and Even in Blackouts. (Erotic Novels also played this gig.)The club is no longer a venue, as I understand, but it apparently has a long pedigree in rock and roll. I heard people saying it used to be the home base of the Smithereens, and it seems as though pretty much everyone you ever heard of played there at one time or other. (My understanding is that this show was the last one and that the Court Tavern is no longer a music venue. Not sure if that’s true.)

Anyway, it would have been a solo acoustic show like any other, but it just so happened that our new friend and ultimate MTX superfan Lauren Banjo happened to be doing the sound at the club. I was very surprised at this state of affairs, let me tell you. But it turns out that Lauren is a really great sound engineer. She recorded the whole set, not just on an iPhone as is customary, but as a proper engineer does with real mics and proper EQ and such.

And the show itself, just randomly, also was something special. It’s not always easy to put your finger on why, but sometimes things will just click and that’s what happened here. There was a kind of “bond” between me and the small, extremely attentive audience. Not to get all sappy on you, but it felt like we “took a journey” together. They’re not all like that, to say the least. So it’s just a bit of luck that this particular one happened to get captured with such excellent fidelity.

So it’s three love songs, selected for Valentine’s Day originally, but that said, most of my stuff is like that, love-song-like, I mean. “More than Toast” was going to be on the program but we couldn’t make it fit with the run time. There’s actually quite a lot of good stuff from this recording that we may use for future things, but this is what we’re doing now. I’ll have more to say about these songs in the coming weeks. For now, sign up for “dibs” and keep an eye out for more stuff, because more stuff will, most likely, be forthcoming.



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