Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 6.28.2019
Welcome, friends, to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader. It is the Mtx forever Update Edition because of the big Mtx forever update herein, but it was a big week in the Franco-MTX-o-verse and there’s a whole lot of stuff besides that. But mainly, we are one big step further along the path to the Mtx forever release, a step of which, to be honest, I have often felt may well have been beyond me. See below.
As the caption indicates, our friend and former bass player Gabe Meline took the picture of the stack of MTX LP spines a ways back. I believe he is the first, and possibly the only, person thus far to have noticed that the spines of the two volumes of the MTX Shards compilation (circled) actually line up, and that we’ve left room to complete the logo with a future release. In fact, we’ve got a grand plan that encompasses more than you probably imagine, but you’ll have to wait to see.
There was a little glitch with the layout on the first pressing one of the Shards volumes that makes the spine image less aligned than planned, but we figured it all out (I hope!) for future pressings. And with regard to said future pressings, the re-press of Vol. 1, on split white/turquoise vinyl this time, is due to arrive on July 8, and Vol. 2 will soon follow. So we should have the full suite back in print by the time Mtx forever emerges later in the year.
And now, on to the Weak that Was, Is, and Ever More Shall Be.
— Pre-orders for the Sounds Rad 1995 MTX poster in shirt form are now live. Like it says, I found a stash of the original posters and I’m going to sign a limited quantity of them. See the link for details. Also it looks like there’s a skate deck in the offing, plus associated other products. Stay tuned and watch this space and all the other spaces for stuff like that.
— Just a heads up that we will have some shows to announce soon. Get ready to mark your calendars. I guess this is a tease, if tease means what I think it does.
— Mtx forever update: Well, as a result of being finally backed into a corner by a deadline, the Mtx forever sequence is complete. I seriously never thought this day would come, and if I’m honest, I fought it tooth and nail (in that quiet way I have.) It’s all fun and fine when it’s theoretical, but committing to an irrevocable list isn’t quite so breezy. Like a lot of you, I had to leave cherished items off and did so only because compelled and with deep regret. My songs are my special, differently-abled children. I don’t like any of them to be left out. But you can’t just give everyone an award just because you feel sorry for them. Then the award is meaningless. If everybody gets it, nobody gets it.
But where was I? Oh yeah, the sequence.
It was a very challenging problem, a true logical puzzle, as well as an artistic exercise. History vied with aesthetics, history and aesthetics struggled with the quality of the extant materials, sonic variety had to be balanced with consistency, the calvacade of “hits” had to submit to the realities of pacing… a different corner, a different deadline might have resulted in quite a different list. As I said, cramming decades of songs, in a representative yet significant and meaningful sample, onto two vinyl LPs is basically an insoluble problem.
Thanks to everyone who submitted lists and commentary and who gave the matter so much thought and sincere consideration. It was helpful to see your takes on the lists, and particular the notes and commentary. Inevitably, there will be those whose preferences are not met precisely, which is the way it crumbles, cookie-wise. Anyway, it’s too late to go back now! Les jeux sont faits. If you don’t like it, start your own band, write 300 songs, put out a bunch of records, wait thirty years, and choose 24 of them. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
We are going to present the best possible package, the absolute best we can do, and so far things are looking pretty good. It’s going to be a knock-out, sonically and visually.
The next step is mastering. Nobody but me has heard all of these recordings in their original, full spectrum form from tape, in many, many years. There were many surprises to me, sonically, in reviewing the tapes. In many cases they sound like totally different recordings. The final result should be interesting, to say the least. And, as I mentioned before in one of my previous essays on the subject, part of the motivation for doing this is as a trial run for future remastered re-issues. We’ve got the tapes, let’s see what we can do with them. The results here will, it is to be hoped, inform future decisions. There’s still a bit of suspense as to what will happen and what we’ll learn.
Finally, I’m sure a good number of you may be quite keen to know the track list. That will be revealed in due course. I will tell you though, that there is at least one track from each major release, and that A:1 is “Love American Style.” More soon.
THE MTX FILES
— Our friend Klode: Klode Maloon is an MTX-tended family member with a talent for taking the non-sequitur images I tend to post and turning them into MTX propaganda. A few of his greatest hits are: Revenge for MTX-mas; Back from the Grave; Dr. Frank, the way he looked like (scroll down); Alcatraz, the first ten times; and, of course, meow bodies meow selves. And more recently: this.
Well, there was quite a bit of Judas Priest activity on my internet this week because I went to see them at the Warfield (see below.) The results were: Rob Halford and Cheryl Rixon on a motorcyle Rixon with “KDATA” Steel; and the quite amazing “Hell Bent for Pleather” image at left. Now that’s a balbum.
— An old flier and a MTX / Steelpole Bathtub anecdote, sort of. I mean, it’s mostly about my Grandpa’s reaction to the first and only time he ever saw my band play. This was at Reed College, during their yearly hippie bacchanal festival that they referred to as “Renne Faire.” The punk rock was the least of the culture clash there, I’m sure.
— This week’s Song for Odin™ was “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba” live at the Roma PalaEur, March 1996, during that truncated Euro-tour with Green Day. It’s a remarkable video in many ways, some of which you can read about here, in the “minor secrets” post. More video of this ilk may be found on my YouTube channel.
— Speaking of Odin, here’s a Song for Odin update, in which I beg people to subscribe, like, comment, and share the material on my YouTube channel where these resources reside. (Result: I got four new subscribers. Hey, I’ll take it.) Also, to reiterate: if you have any video or interesting audio of MTX or Dr Frank that you’d like to share, drop me a line.
— A pic of the MTX of 2004 playing semi-acoustically at Dimple’s Records in Sacramento (sadly closing down now.)
— Punk rock pot pourri, if pot pourri means what I think it does: Jonathan London keeps the faith; a late breaking Mtx forever Spotify list from Candyce; an “MTX-cavation”, Making Things with Light, from some lady’s attic; the Mr T Experience Power Smoothy; in praise of Lookout Records’ 1996 fold-out catalog; I linked to this twitter thread about 1990s punk rock label samplers mainly because it referred to my little corner of it (i.e. Lookout Records) as “ace Bubblegum records,” which I like the sound of.
— …and your Friday morning “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba” (drum cover.)
DR FRANK IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING AFTER MIDNIGHT
— “Here She Comes” update: as I mentioned before (and expanded upon greatly in last week’s Weakly Reader), Warner Chappell, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group, filed a copyright claim against me on my YouTube channel, asserting their ownership of my song “Here She Comes,” and took it much further than these cases usually go in my experience.
Finally, as of just now, and after several stages of the rather confusing YouTube dispute and appeal process, they have released their claim. I’m sure what that means is, an actual human over there reviewed the case for the first time, realized how ridiculous it was, and pressed the “oops” button. I’m almost disappointed since I won’t be able to see what would have happened had Warner continued to double down, but of course it’s good that it was resolved. The anxiety is the worst part, and now I can focus on different pointless anxieties. Such is life.
This, incidentally, leaves me with one currently outstanding dispute, in which Universal Music Group thinks they own “Thank You (for not Being One of Them)”. But they keep coming up, more and more frequently it seems.
So this doesn’t dispense with many of the issues and questions raised and underscored by this experience. If it’s true that these claims are being pursued more frequently and aggressively (as seems to be the case) there are many implications for songwriters great and small, this being but one of them. It will be the subject of a future post, whenever I manage to get one together. (But here’s a further twitter thread from me on the subject.)
In the meantime, let’s celebrate by listening to “Here She Comes” once again. now that we can, even though no one, least of all me or mine, has a prayer of ever making any money out of it. (Because we’re too small to monetize — how convenient…)
Nevertheless, turn it up. Odds were even that tonight everything would be alright. Anyway, they didn’t win, not this time.
— The Wonderful World Yours Truly: Candyce found a blurry old picture of me and my rings; Portrait of the Artist as a Petulant Thin Lizzy Fan; a boy and his sword
— I noticed “Fly Me to the Moon” trending on twitter and assumed that meant people were trying to “cancel” it. Which seemed quite likely: “Darling kiss me” is a scandalous message in this day and age, probably. I was informed, however, that it was merely a “nerd conflict” of some kind, the details of which I’ve already forgotten. So, never mind. Still, stop trying to “cancel” stuff all the time. It’s really, really stupid.
— I won, I won!
— Sometimes I quote myself like great big old idiot: “I guess nobody ever really does know why they do the things they do.”
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— Judas Priest: went to see Judas Priest at the Warfield this week. Boy what a show. Tipton’s absence was certainly felt, but it turns out that those songs and the praeternatural voice and sheer presence of Rob Halford is enough. He was a marvel, and the love and admiration from the crowd was almost literally palpable. The stage set and effects were spectacularly engineered.
And for those wondering about the Curse of Halford, I’m pleased to report no ill effects. Quite the opposite, arguably: I’d had some foot issues and had been limping a bit. Now, I am completely cured. Clearly Rob Halford can heal the lame as well as cause blindness. He is beyond good and evil. I’m really glad to have had the chance to see him and his band at least one more time.
Meanwhile: here’s the Rob Halford/Cheryl Rixon reunion photo taken by Sebastian Bach. And here’s a short play about heavy metal, Star Trek conventions, and the Ladies’ room. Here are some sexy Screaming for Vengeance socks. And here’s the image that was MTX-ized by Klode above.
— Could the most famous passages of the most famous song by one of the biggest rock bands really not be protected by copyright? It’s doubtful. But that’s the conceit of this Bloomberg article, which is interesting though over-sold I think. (They’re talking mainly about the guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven, but the legal “loophole,” such as it is, would allegedly encompass a great many iconic elements of recorded rock music pre-1978. Color me skeptical.)
— Behold: Saint Æthelthryth and the surprising etymology of the word “tawdry”; the robots are good for mankind; ABC Bowling; pocket full of rye; Paris in the 1960s; The Kaufmann Troupe of Trick Cyclists
— Oh so scandalous and not safe: L’art est Prétention
— …and finally: Good writing is always a threat!!!
IN THE NEWS
— Our kids and their horns.
— More on the heretofore covered-up Universal Studios master tape conflagration.
— Sean Ono Lennon speaks for me.
— Groupie accidentally sleeps with bass player.
— They will judge us by the art we have destroyed.
— The first Democratic debate: a short play.
And that will wrap it up. But for those intrepid few who have bothered or dared to scroll this far down, here’s a picture of a strategically-placed Spanish guitar:
See ya next week.