Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 9.27.2019
It’s a Stupid Job but Somebody Has to Do It Edition
Hello and welcome to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing I do where I document the week’s activity, edit it, expand it, illustrate it, massage it, hype it, spin it, and organize it so it may be found later should that ever be required. It’s a stupid job but somebody has to do it. Hence the name.
It’s possibly a little on the light side this week because of all the rock and roll activity that kept me away from typing things all over the internet at the usual rate. But things still happened and, well, herein they lie.
Speaking of which, thanks to everyone who came out to the shows over the weekend. It’s very much appreciated, and I hope you all had a good time. Thanks as well to the Blue Lamp and to Punk the Burbs. And special thanks to everyone at Palmer’s Bar, where I had a particularly swell time, on account of the warm welcome and general atmosphere of relaxed fun and goodwill. I did quite a few impromptu requests and pretty much made it through them all without too many embarrassing stumbles. I really enjoyed Robosapien and the Straight A’s as well. Oh, and speaking of good bands: keep your eyes peeled for Motorcycle’s next show. They were dynamite (and not just because the main guy remembered “If You See Mary…”)
More shows to come (see below on the front burner.)
— SHOWS: here’s what’s still to come:
— 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 you if we see you, yeah? Still more to be announced, so watch this space.
— This was a good time, probably: Banana Splits-themed MTX / Hi-Fives / Flipsides flier at Slim’s in SF, mid-90s.
— Truly impressive line-ups in the final shows listing flier for Seattle’s RKCNDY club in Sept./Oct. 1999. I have no recollection of our show on Oct. 2 but do remember the Gadjits because we toured with them and REO Speed Dealer because… well, REO Speed Dealer.
— “It’s amazing that someone wrote ‘Lawnmower of Love’ without ever meeting my wife and me…” That’s from a thank you note handed to me at the show at the Blue Lamp, from a guy who’d only recently discovered the band through hearing a song on KDVS this year. (Yes, that can still happen. Thanks, college radio.)
He had lots of other very kind things to say. Many people express appreciation in such terms, but I think this is the first actual printed and enveloped thank you note per se that I’ve received. It cheered me up a lot, and was very much appreciated.
During the set, he actually held up a banner that said “I NEED LAWNMOWER OF LOVE”. Unfortunately we don’t currently know that one, but I’m putting it on the to-be-learned list. Banners like that can’t be ignored. I mean, obviously.
— King Dork Approximately the Album: I put it up in playlist form on my YouTube channel, drawn from the auto-posted Orchard videos, substituting the three “official” videos in the appropriate place. Doing this just to have it on my channel for convenience and in case anyone might go there looking for it. There might as well be a copy of it there as anywhere else. If I get around to it, I plan to do this for all current releases.
Note that tracks eight and nine (“Thinking of Suicide” and “I Wanna Ramone You”) are mislabelled as each other. This resulted from the fact that the original sequence was changed after it had for some reason already been set in stone by the Orchard. We tried to change it but all that happened was we changed the title. There doesn’t appear to be any way of correcting this issue — we’ve tried. Anyway, despite the mis-titling, these songs are in the proper order here.
Anyway, here’s “Cinthya with a Y”:
And by the way, every time I beg people to subscribe to my dumb little YouTube channel I get a couple three takers, so… do it! Please.
— …and your Friday morning “You’re the Only One,” from our friend Duncan, live on ukulele on YouTube. People love this song, and they seem to really enjoy it when I play it live solo or with the band. But in those situations, most everybody already knows it and the “punchlines” in the lyrics have already landed long ago and are taken as a given. People cheer rather than laugh, as with any old joke.
So it’s interesting and rather gratifying to hear the lines get genuine laughs from a crowd that hasn’t heard them before, as here. “I don’t want to get screwed over by just anyone, you’re the only one I want to get screwed over by.” It just works.
Thanks Duncan. More covers of my songs found on the internet may be found on this playlist.
(And by the way, the Dr Frank “Live at the Court Tavern” flexi 7", which features me doing this self-same song, is still available through Sounds Rad, listed as “last remaining copies” on the website. Limited to 250 hand-numbered copies and worth it for the box alone, really.)
FROM THE DESK OF: DR FRANK
— Fan Art. Posted this essay as a “re-run” on Tuesday because I’d just got back from the weekend’s shows and hadn’t the time or energy to come up with anything new. On fan art and its, er, meaning, with many examples.
— Most liked photo on Facebook in 2016, that is, so they tell me. Join the Crimpshrine KISS Army.
— Song for Odin: Dr Frank — “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba”, somewhere in Europe, 2012. Video on YouTube. The “minor secrets” write-up includes reminiscences of that 2012 acoustic Euro-tour, the vagaries of state-subsidized European punk rock, the vagaries of the songs qua song, and thanksgiving to Kepi for playing Bowie to my Iggy so many times.
Oh, and here’s the poster for that tour, by Stefan Tijs.
This is, by the way, the 100th Song for Odin post, which seems worthy of note so, accordingly, I am noting it.
— And here I threw you back for Thurs. with a pic taken by Franz Barcella when I’d landed in Milan for the above-mentioned 2012 Euro Art Tour. Despite my tentativeness, it was a good time in the end.
And here’s what it looked like when I started playing:
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— The Partridge Family premiered on this day, September 25th, 1970.
Noted on twitter, because the guy who posted it mentioned our own song “Danny Partridge”, and included this pic as an ill-advised tattoo, but I happen to like it very much:
I learned more about about pop music and songwriting, and earlier, from The Partridge Family than from any other single source, I’d reckon. That sounds like I’m kidding but it’s really true. Those were great, well-crafted songs by the best writers there were, and having them in my head when I started to form my own songwriting aesthetic was quite valuable, even if it made me into quite the oddball by the time I “debuted.”
— Everything was better in 1964: Modern life is rubbish and I’m sorry I missed it.
IN THE NEWS
— “Cancel Culture” redux: journalist Jesse Singal posted a lengthy critique of this lengthy “cancel culture” apologia that recently appeared in the New Republic. I refer to it as an apologia, but in fact it bounces between obliquely defending “cancel culture” and saying it doesn’t exist. As Singal points out, the fact that the “cancelled” people (usually) still remain standing on the earth after the cancellation isn’t as dispositive of concerns about the excesses of moral panic in our age as the TNR writer believes it is. Yes, Dave Chappelle is alive and well, still has lots of money, and is going to be “fine.” But the social dynamic in question is no less damaging and alarming, and the effect no less chilling, even when this or that target bounces back, or fails to kill himself, or whatever.
Coincidentally, just as this relatively obscure point / counterpoint exchange was working its way through our series of tubes, the rise and fall of Carson King (the Iowa guy whose beer gag sign raised a million dollars that he pledged to donate to a children’s hospital) was unspooling simultaneously. It was the feel-good story of the year, with Anheuser-Busch stepping up to match funds and join him in what promised to be a wide-ranging and potentially enduring philanthropic fundraising powerhouse.
But, determined to spoil the party, a Des Moines Register reporter did some digging into this 24 year old’s social media history (as they do these days) and found some dirt, some allegedly unsavory jokes this guy re-tweeted from comedian Tosh back when he was a teenager. Cancelled!
Then it “surfaced” that the Des Moines Register reporter himself had some unsavory tweets floating in the flotsam and jetsam of his own social media shipwreck. Cancelled! The reporter was fired the next day.
Now I suppose that’s poetic justice in a way, a cautionary tale about throwing stones in glass houses and a tale old as time.
And I suppose Carson King will survive. The reporter will probably get another job, unless the tweets are really bad, or people are mad enough at him about his role in the debacle to wish to use them disingenuously to harm him. In which case maybe he’ll wind up unemployable — you never know, do you? (I bet he wishes he hadn’t “gone there” with the teen tweet investigation though, so maybe someone learned something.)
The children in the hospital and other once-to-have-been future recipients of the now-cancelled fundraising juggernaut were going to die anyway: such is the nature of mortality.
As the TNR writer urges us to conclude: everything’s fine. This stuff is a “con.” It doesn’t actually happen, and when it does, well, it’s about time we started making the world a better place by “calling out” long-past rhetorical villainy like this.
I don’t agree. I think it sucks. But can this TNR writer really have so much confidence in his own invulnerability to the internet mob dynamic (that he rather admires even though it doesn’t exist)? Is he certain there are no tweets to be found in his own past that could turn the mob against him and his livelihood? No people who dislike him enough to try to punish him for expressing opinions with which they disagree, or for having laughed at unfortunate jokes when he was sixteen? Or just, you know, because they don’t like him?
The poetic justice own-goals table-turning petard auto-hoist trope is genuinely emerging as a consistent and characteristic part of the standard “cancel culture” narrative. The lesson is pretty clear: cancel not, lest ye be cancelled. No one is innocent, and if it can happen to a good-hearted beer-drinking sports fan and his journalist arch-enemy in Des Moines, it could, possibly, even happen to someone at The New Republic.
But maybe this TNR guy was smart enough to have done his own investigation on himself and deleted everything before pressing “publish.” And even though I disagree with him, I really hope so. I don’t like it when this stuff happens, to anyone. What a world.
LATE BREAKING UPDATE: in a fitting epilogue, it turns out that the reporter in question, one Aaron Calvin, had himself retweeted the New Republic article about “cancel culture” not being real just days before he was himself “cancelled” and fired from his job on the basis of eight-year-old tweets.
Our celestial dramatist seems to be having some fun here…
And that’ll about wrap it up for the Weakly Reader for this week, I think. But for those who’ve made it down the page this far, here’s Raquel Welch:
See you next time.