Dr Frank made it through the Cub Scouts but he got kicked out of the Webelos

MTX in Deep Ellum

Hello and welcome, friends, to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing I do where I recap the week’s web with a bit extra just in case you missed it or might like to search for it some time. Even with the non-extra stuff, you probably missed a lot of it even if you follow all the things. And maybe you think that’s a mercy, missing such stuff. But, well, here it is anyway.

First off, it’s Friday the 13th. Do you know where your balbum is?

Lots of stuff to get to, and Christmas is coming, so let’s get to it.


SHOW: That’s right, there’s one single show left, a Dr Frank solo show coming up this week:

— Thursday December 19: Dr Frank, plus the Hinky Dinks and the Satan Sisters, at the Kon-Tiki, 347 14th Street, Oakland, California 94612. 9PM. Free. Details here.

I’ll play some good songs. It’s free. Come on by.


— My Texas redux: We had our shows with the Queers and the Capitalist Kids over the weekend, and, as always, Texas treated us right. Not only was everyone extra specially kind and welcoming, but the usual “testimonials” of people’s histories with the band and songs and such were just a bit more emotional and intense than the usual level. I don’t know what it is about Texas, but I noted it a couple years ago when we played Houston and San Antonio for the first time in a decade or decades:

I must have talked to over a hundred people over those two nights, all of whom had stories of their history seeing the band and accounts of what particular songs had meant to them growing up… It was like being in a receiving line of testimonials, one after the other, kind of, maybe, like how I’d imagine my funeral might be conducted, were I to be alive to hear it. Now, I’ve had a great many of these conversations, at pretty much every show, so it’s nothing new per se. But there was something different about this Texas version. It was more emotional, more intense. I’ve never had my lyrics quoted to me so often and with such… emphasis, I guess. A couple of people choked up while doing it. And, well, I’m a sentimental guy and I got a little misty too.

Well, you know, it’s nice to be appreciated. And the rooms were rocking and rolling pretty intensely as well. In Austin, especially, it seemed as though the entire room was shouting along to every song. They were dancing pretty hard even to the new song “Bubblegum Renegade,” and shouting too (though I don’t know what they were shouting — they couldn’t very well have known the lyrics to that one.)

— The Bloody Mary Boys: I’m not gonna say how this nickname for Bobby, Ted, and Jaz came about but it did come about and I’m using it whenever I remember to do so, trying to make it a thing. It’s just something I’d like to happen: I have my reasons. And in aid of that, I’ve made this little section to celebrate it. But I’d also like to take this opportunity to say how much I love my band. Had a great time playing with them, as always. They’re the best.

— Dr Frank made it through the Cub Scouts, but he got kicked out of the Webelos: it seems like every time I see the Queers lately, in whatever configuration, I somehow have managed to forget, in the interim between this time and the previous time, just how great they are and am bowled over all over again. Whatever that thing we do is (meaning the “pop punk” old guard) Joe is in a class all his own, somehow. He’s like a force of nature. I said as much in a brief spontaneous social media panegyric (“the Queers are so great”) that is probably the most “liked” and approved of thing I’ve ever posted anywhere. I’ve seen them maybe a hundred times, maybe more, and it’s always a good time.

So I thoroughly enjoyed their sets, and it was great seeing my old pal Joe as well. It’s been awhile, but I hope we do more shows together soon.

— Capitalist Kids: had a great time hanging out with them and watching their sets as well. That Jittery Jeff Gammill can really write a tune.

— “Checkers Speech”: you can read all about it at the links below (scroll down to Song for Odin) but playing this song with Matt and Tanner from 41 Gorgeous Blocks was one of those magic moments.

— Amplified Apathy: Finally, I want to mention Amplified Apathy, a. k. a. rain, whose guitar-playing videos on Instagram you may have seen linked in this space before. We first met a couple of years ago at that San Antonio show mentioned above— that’s her mom’s old Alcatraz shirt she’s wearing in the pic.

If you scroll through to the next pic in the Instagram post you’ll see she’s at least a head taller now than she was back then. Anyway, she’s a true rock and roller and it was good seeing her and her mom again. I dedicated “Bubblegum Renegade” to her (and you can see a bit of video of it in that IG post as well, if you like.)

Back in San Antone…


—Thirty years on: Tom from the Knockoffs’ ancient MTX shirt.

— Our man Klode:

“Uncle Bob tried to rebel with his MTX “Shards” collection — his parents fixed his wagon with a 13-month hitch in ‘Nam. MTX “Shards” available at fine record retailers.”

Plus, this classic Santa Love Is Dead scene.

— Song for Odin: this week it was “Checkers Speech” once again, from our show in Dallas over the weekend. The details are in the “minor secrets” write up, but Tanner and Matt from 41 Gorgeous Blocks sat in bass and drums for the song, and this was the quick pre-set rehearsal in the upstairs room:

Here’s what it looked and sounded like in the set. Here’s the previous Song for Odin write-up, which has more to say about the actual song.

— The Mr T Experience — “Tapin’ Up My Heart”: speaking of songs, for Odin and otherwise, this old clip from Nov. 13, 1998 at the RCKNDY in Seattle popped up as a Facebook “memory”. To my surprise, since YouTube links are screened out of that memory process as part of some weird Zuckerberg-Google feud. (I think the reason is that it was re-shared by another person — or something.) Anyway, it’s the first time that one of these song posts has been a “memory” so I shared it, and here it is again:

And here are the “minor secrets.”

— …and finally, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present your Friday morning “Zero,” from CULL The Band, found on Youtube.

…and on the covers playlist it goes!

Here’s the original if you don’t know it. And here it is live in Song for Odin form. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but that guitarist and me, we’re both biting the strings!

“Minor secrets” are here btw. #Mtxforever


— Guitar turns five: kind of hard to believe it, but my “Dr Frank” logo inlaid ultra-deep custom guitar made by Jason Ingrodi was built five years ago. We’re both still hanging in there.

— Dr Frank toasts the world.

— Dr Frank’s Xmas Records: I reviewed some of my favorite rock Christmas records in a Medium post last year and here it is again. Kinks (and Ray Davies vs Tom Robinson), Wombles, Redd Kross, Yobs…

— And, speaking of the Wombles, through a tag chain, someone tagged the man himself, Mike Batt. He’s still kicking and pretty active on twitter it turns out. As you’ll know if you read that review, he’s an idol of mine and I consider him one of the greatest of pop music geniuses. I doubt he clicked through to my adulatory essay, but if so… well, that’d be weird.

Anyway, I like the tweet from 2018 pinned at the top — it sounds like something I might write, if my stuff were famous enough for this to happen:

— This one radio guy, commenting on all the King Dork press, said: “so you’re saying it was the literary equivalent of Foreigner’s first album?” Still my favorite thing anyone ever said about anything I’ve done.

— My brief life as a weirdie beardie: a couple of Christmases ago I’d had the flu and stopped shaving because I couldn’t get out of bed for a few weeks. In the aftermath I decided to see how long I could last with beard, which wasn’t very long at all. The overheatedness and discomfort was just too great. I don’t know how all you weirdie beardies do it, but I respect and admire you and you’re obviously better men than I am.

— *sound of begging*: Every time I beg people to subscribe to my YouTube channel I get a couple three takers. And once again it worked. Thanks folks.

— Dept. of bons mots:

I can find something to like or find interesting in most any musical style, but I admit that the monotonous moaning music they play in Ubers is a real struggle in that regard.

This confused at least a few people and I responded thus:

It’s more about me than it is about Uber. There’s this moaning music that perplexes me (though I assume it’s what’s popular now.) I listen only to LPs recorded before 1979, so the only place I hear the moaning music is when I’m in an Uber.

— Forest Hills: Another one of those memory things, from a brief tour of high schools that I did when King Dork Approximately (the Novel) came out.

Visit to a Forest Hills high school. Played “I Wanna Ramone You” (of course.) Girl said I reminded her of “very early Green Day”.

— You remind me of that Lady…: couldn’t resist digging this one up on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

I am a bit silly sometimes.

— Dr Frank with the Bye Bye Blackbirds — “Population: Us”: here’s a chunk of “Population: Us”, me plus the Bye Bye Blackbirds at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, December 2011, the first time we played it together on Facebook video:

We recorded and released it as a single the a couple years later, but there’s something special about this performance… Here’s that studio recording; and here are the “minor secrets” from when it was a Song for Odin earlier in the year; and here’s the original.

— Yesterday Rules: a Nobody, a Reverend, and a Doctor, a couple of Decembers ago:

— Texas aftermath: we survived Dallas okay, and then we survived Austin, after which the Bloody Mary Boys flew back to Sacramento leaving Dina and I with a chunk of the day to kill in Austin before driving back to Dallas to return the car and fly home. With limited time available, we decided to spend two hours waiting in line for barbecue at Franklin’s, which the internet said was the best in the known universe. Well, I don’t know how you judge these things, but it was pretty darn good.


— Roman calendar: St Nicholas (with stripper); Leocadia; the Holy House of Loreto; Mary, Queen of Angels; Our Lady of Guadalupe; St Lucy

— Christmas album: Martha Vickers for Xmas; lady with deer; it’s cold outside; lady with snowman

— …and finally: Sasha and Santa (whom Facebook auto-tagged as Chris Gethard!)


— Graduate student gets B on paper casting the dog in Mansfield Park as a symbol of colonialism and accordingly goes to war against Jane Austen in Lithub. (Also new to me, from the article, racializing Beowulf: “Tolkien likely interpreted Grendel as a black man connected to a biblical justification for transatlantic chattel slavery.”)

— R. I. P. Murray Bowles: you can read all about him in this obituary by my former bandmate Gabe Meline.

He was always there, seemingly at every show, and he took many, many pics of my band over the years, including this rather iconic one from early on, at Club Foot in SF:


That’ll wrap it up, so to speak, for this edition of the Weakly Reader, but for those who have made it this far down the page, Merry Christmas…

See ya next week.



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