Preface: the Story of the Hand
That hand, familiar to many in our little world from being used as a prop in the photo used for the cover of the MTX album Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You is still in my hallway, being used as a hat stand.
I think it must have originally come from an amusement park or fairgrounds, or some other sort of business with a whimsical aesthetic, as a sort of movable “stop don’t go here” sign. It is very Dr Seuss-esque, and I’ve always liked it. (And every time I see it I think: “yeah, actually just stay there…”)
I acquired it at random long ago, from the trash area of my friend Didi’s building. As I remember it she said something along the lines of, “there’s this hand I think you might be interested in,” and led me out to the parking lot. And there it was amidst the discarded couches and broken down lamps, kind of, you know, waving at us. And of course I liked everything about it and immediately took possession.
Carrying it with me on my subsequent errands and eventually taking it home with me on the 51 bus was appropriately surreal. (One driver said “you can’t bring hands on my bus” and drove off, while the next one didn’t blink an eye but muttered under his breath: “I’m too old for this shit.”) On the way home from the bus stop a crazy lady tried to high-five it with such force that it knocked us both down.
I brought it along to Julie Green’s studio when we did photos for the Revenge record because she asked if I had any interesting props. “Well, I’ve got this hand,” I said, probably.
The resulting non sequitur cover has become a kind of icon that’s hard to dis-associate from the album now. We hadn’t necessarily planned to use a band photo for the front cover, in fact. That’s something we hadn’t done since Night Shift in 1988, though the band had appeared in Light Bright and lunchbox form since then. I’d assumed Chris Appelgren would work up some clever high-concept retro-flavored design featuring “found” images, illustrating the title obliquely and ironically, and I was looking forward to seeing what he’d come up with. But Julie’s photos were so great that they made their own compelling argument. Chris took one look and said, “well, we’ve got to use the hand one.” Which is what we did, wrapping it around with the feet upside down on the back.
I remember being just a bit embarrassed to show my face like that, like it was presumptuous or something. But of course, it’s also the classic way to package a pop group. And, as so often I suppose, the irony wrote itself. There’s a large format promo poster of that full-length photo, but I don’t seem to have one anymore, at least not one I can lay my hands on, which is a shame.
Some people say, when they see the hand or the sweater (also a “prop” really, though I did used to wear it for real sometimes) — sometimes they say: “that should be in the Smithsonian.” It’s a joke, I know, but, just for the sake of argument, is there some kind of cash award that goes along with that? Because I’m willing to talk if so.
— First sighting of the MTX Shards vol. 1 second pressing (split turquoise / white vinyl) in “real life” via the internet, on Brian’s turntable. Looks beautiful. Get one here from Sounds Rad. Or get the set for $30, while the offer lasts.
Here’s the full list of shows, including those:
— Saturday August 31: The Bodega Bay Folk Festival, featuring Dr Frank, Kevin Seconds, Dan Janisch, and Kepi. High Tide Comics, 2001 Highway 1, Suite B, Bodega Bay, CA. Noon till 6PM, live music from 3PM. Free, all ages.
— Sunday September 1: Dr Frank solo with Dan Janisch, Riving Loom, 2741 Fruitridge Rd #6, Sacramento, CA 95820. Sliding scale donation at the door. All ages. Wall to wall songs.
— Friday September 20: MTX with Kepi and Motorcycle, at The Blue Lamp 1400 Alhambra Blvd Sacramento, CA 95816. Get tickets here.
— Saturday September 21: MTX at Punk the Burbs Fest 3, Basecamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Dr. Lisle, IL 60532. Get tickets here.
— Saturday October 19: MTX, Sicko, and the Pathogens at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri) San Francisco, CA 94107. Tix here.
See ya at the shows this weekend, if you go.
— Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You: year 22. Here’s some 1997 memorabilia from Kevin. Here’s one of Julie Green’s pics of yours truly from the RISASAY photo shoot. And here’s that sweater. And a 1990s punk rock time capsule from our friend Dana.
And here’s my essay on RISASAY: My Stupid Revenge. Minor secrets and ruminations. It was weirdly draining to write. And Medium tells me it was read by eight people, so it was definitely worth it.
— Song for Odin: The Mr T Experience — “Lawnmower of Love,” live in Seattle, WA, May 1998. Video on YouTube. Lots and lots of “minor secrets” here as usual but moreso. Maybe one of my favorite songs of mine, certainly one of the most “accomplished,” if “accomplished” means what I think it does. And not just because it rhymes “girl” with “referral.” But maybe because, as Jonathan pointed out: "’Cosmo girl’ unlocks the bonus multipliers for rate/mate, score/your, and questionnaire/hair.” Plus: “There were never lyrics in rock and roll trying harder to be musical theatre, that’s for sure. (Okay, maybe Bat out of Hell…)”
More such video may be found on my YouTube channel.
— And speaking of “Lawnmower of Love”: how I met Dina.
— Those limited MTX Songs about Girls shirts have popped up and gone as planned but the commemorative mock-up looks pretty good. Kind of a space age feel. If you missed out on this one keep your eyes open… there’ll probably another soon, you never know.
— One of ours? Could be. Milk Milk Lemonade graffiti in Chicago.
— Hey, it’s Ukulele Hiro! Doing “Sackcloth and Ashes”.
— …and your Friday morning “Dumb Little Band,” from (once again) Ukulele Hiro:
— …and, to continue a couple of themes, your Friday morning “Here She Comes,” from our friend Prabu in Indonesia. Hey, buddy!
THE DR FRANK CHRONICLES
— Another old photo via Kepi: At left. I still have that shirt, too.
— Oops we couldn’t find that track: you may have noticed that the SoundCloud clip of the synthetic Not Jordan Peterson voice reading the first verse of “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend” has ceased to load. (I just discovered it now, as I still think it’s funny and wanted to link it here again.) There’s no explanation. It just got disabled.
I don’t care all that much, though it’s a bummer because the previous link is dead, if anyone stumbles on it wherever I posted it, as in last week’s Weakly Reader. But I am curious about how this stuff happens. Did the SoundCloud robots do a global search and destroy of all files generated from the NJP website in the few hours during which it was functional? If so, was this in response to a request or demand from JP? Or was it a global search and destroy of the word “Hitler” with nothing to do with JP or NJP? I suspect it was the latter, though it’s ridiculous, but who knows? I really wish they (the platforms) would tell you the reasons for these actions rather than just disable or delete and leave you to guess why, if you notice.
I’ll be quite candid as to the two reasons I don’t use SoundCloud. One is, it doesn’t sound so great. And the other is, well, it’s the same as happened here really: they kept deleting my own songs as copyright violations with no recourse and it just wasn’t worth it. This actually killed an article/review that was going to be written about KDATA when it came out, because when the time came to publish the link to the song had suddenly disappeared and the reviewer decided to skip it. They had one job… “Oops we couldn’t find that track.” Oops indeed. I think you’ll find you couldn’t find that track because you deleted it. Permanent links and archives were something the old blogosphere did very well. The social media-scape, not so much, which is one reason indeed that I have to do this weekly “index.”
Anyway, in the spirit of voting with my feet, I managed to wrest one last charge from the worn-out What’s-It (my old, creaky, abandoned blog) and posted it there:
Dr. Frank's What's-it
"Not Jordan Peterson" reciting the first verse of "Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend," posted here -- if this works …
It’s there, for what it’s worth, and there’s absolutely nothing SoundCloud can do about it. And it’s still funny as of press time.
— “You You You”: this still works, I think.
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— Ringo Starr and the All Star Band: I went to see Ringo last night at the Paramount in Oakland and wrote up a little review. Too much Santana and Toto, but the bits of Ringo were everything you’d imagine and more. If you want to feel good, this is the show for you. You will find yourself walking on air afterwards, if you’re like me, and even maybe if you’re not (which is more likely.) Anyway, peace and love, brother.
— Here’s jazz fingerpick virtuoso Jake Reichbart doing Van Halen’s “Panama”.
— Behold: grooming; in the corridor; St. Bartholomew in skin raimant from the Milan cathedral; two girls and a tree; The Black Madonna of Częstochowa; Yoshihiro Tatsuki; the Seven Sorrows of Mary; difficult times; flying in London; Garofalo’s Dream of Augustine; a picture of yesterday; Carrie Sellars, 1981; this time with strings, Rose of Lima, sort of…
…and finally, Underwater Moonlight:
And that’ll about do it for this edition of the Weakly Reader. But for those who have made it this far down the page, here’s a real nice motorcyle:
See ya next week.