So maybe you know somewhere people like us can go…

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 2.05.21

yours truly and our host, Grant Lawrence

… where we won’t get kicked out, ’cause we’ve got a lot to talk about. After years of research I think I’ve figured it out. And, to one’s surprise, it’s a livestream featuring Lookout Records alumni playing their old songs. Joe said it “felt like old times” and I agree it sort of did, and how likely was that, all awkward virtual and over the internet?

Well, yeah, so the Lookout Zoomout #1 happened, and despite my initial skepticism about my own ability to pull off a “virtual” set, it turned out just great overall and even I didn’t mess up too bad. So I’m really glad Grant talked me into it.

As I said in my wrap up post, it was fun, quirky, and even rather moving in a few places. Even after all these years, everyone playing looked and sounded great, each sounding great in a totally different way from each other, which is, now that I think of it, very “Lookout” in and of itself.

But for me it’s always mostly about the songs, the writing, and to quote myself:

I find it impossible to imagine that many genuinely great songs packed into two hours sprung from any other context.

By which I meant, not naming any names, any other little label or “scene” or whatever that I can think of. The Lookout stable was always given pretty short shrift by music journalists, and I doubt if any such people, then or now, would consider it a songwriting powerhouse. But it was. It was.

And, still is I bet. In fact, though it wouldn’t have the same nostalgic frisson, I’d be quite interested in seeing this same crew do sets of entirely new, un-published material in the same format. I know they have the material, as I do, and I’m sure it’d be super, and also very interesting to note what’s different and what has remained. Maybe one day.

In the meantime, though, nostalgia is still king and I’m not knocking it at all. My set was all old favorites: “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba,” “Swiss Army Girlfriend,” “She All Right,” “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend,” “I’d Do Anything for You,” and “Last Time I Listened to You.” Four of these were among the most requested in my various posts on the subject (with “Swiss Army Girlfriend” and “She All Right” thrown in just to make it interesting.) I’m still keeping track of these “votes,” and I’ll do my best to take you to Nostalgia Town next time, so let me know, through the usual channels, if there’s something you’d like to hear and I will take note of it.

Because yes, I’m returning for part two, along with Rose Melberg, Dan Vapid, Kepi, and Larry Livermore, on Feb. 28, same basic format. You can sign up here:

Great big huge thanks to Joe, Lisa, Raf, Jon, Grant, and, er, especially you.


— Love Is Dead Dr Frank: the original Lux soap ad used for the Love Is Dead cover art came up on a timeline, framed with my stylized autograph. (Left inset.) I believe it’s the one I signed for our old pal Patrick from Chicago a few years back. Anyway, it turns out a lot of people hadn’t seen it before or known about it. But now, you know, they do.

— If they don’t include a soundtrack with “More Than Toast” by The Mr. T Experience than what’s even the point? “They” here (via twitter) refers to the producers of a new college football video game, because the NCAA Football 2006 game had the song in the soundtrack, which many people seem to think is the best video game soundtrack there ever was. I wouldn’t know about that, but I have heard from a great many fans who discovered the MTX solely through this game. It had a long reach. And yeah, I’m all for it. So EA Sports, have your lawyers call my lawyers and let’s make it happen.

— Lookout Zoomout hype: We made the San Francisco Chronicle, which is to say, they published a story about the Lookout Zoomout, in which I am quoted. (Yes, they still publish it.)

I am also interviewed, a bit, here, in a Riff Magazine piece about the LZ. blurbed it, and actually posted a review of it. A very kind one, well, so thanks.

And here’s a thing from New Noise.


— Beware the monkey paw. A couple years back I wrote this:

As you know, this dream came true, except for the part about courtesy and kindness and everyone not hassling everyone else, which is the most important part. I should have emphasized that last bit more. Or maybe the monkey paw / dream / God algorithm is insufficiently subtle to understand and reconcile courtesy and kindness with skepticism and suspicion. Perhaps the next one will work out better, but I dread to think, so maybe I’ll just keep my dreams to myself from now on.

— My guitar can fake sincerity as well as anybody can: this week’s Song for Odin was the fingerpicked “I Believe in You”:

The “minor secrets” are here. The Songs for Odin playlist is here.

— Thwackback Thursday — yep that’s high school me (ca. ‘79).

Someone dug it up and posted it on the Lookout Records FB fan page, to which one commenter responded: “You coulda given me 25 guesses as to who that was and I wouldn’t have gotten it. Looks like a different person entirely.”

Same here, I suppose. It was over forty years ago. And that’s Mills High School Center Court and I’m playing bandmate Zach’s Ovation electric guitar. When (another former bandmate) Gabe Meline wrote about King Dork for the North Bay Bohemian many years later we revisited that center court to take some pics, one of which you can see at that link.


— Roman calendar: the head of Saint Martina of Rome (reliquary); Saint Ulphia, who relied on the animals of her swamp hermitage to keep her awake through the night so she could continue her prayers, is the patron saint of frogs; John Duncan’s beautiful depiction of Saint Brigid being carried by angels across the sea to witness the nativity of Christ (at left inset, one of my favorite pieces of art); the Purification of Mary (Candlemas), illuminated; the Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, the “Samurai saint” and Kirishitan daimyō exiled to Manila by Tokugawa in 1614; Saint João de Brito in stained glass; Saint Agatha, in a contemporary derivation of a 17th Century original by Bernardio Luini, Leonardo school…

— Eye candy: when a man decides to shoot visiting relatives…; just a nice looking gal on a hog; lady and giant ghostly head, from Fritz Lang’s Secret Beyond the Door; Clara Bow and Felix the Cat, winking at you, ca. 1928; free your mind, and butterflies and flowers will follow; sometimes the spirits are electric blue; well, how about me for a container?…

— … and finally, Marilyn Monroe posing as a mata-doll, modeling for pinup artist Earl Moran:


— Obit: Dustin Diamond, a/k/a Screech. RIP:

This. Is. Education. Why consult historians when Wikipedia and do just fine? The Chairman of the SF Committee on Re-naming Closed-down Boarded-up Schools explains:

What would be the point [of consulting historians]? History is written and documented pretty well across the board. And so, we don’t need to belabor history in that regard. We’re not debating that. There’s no point in debating history in that regard. Either it happened or it didn’t.

Lots more fun riffing on this whole thing here and here.

The trash ’n’ purge of Abraham Lincoln was what got the international headlines and ridicule, but the best part is arguably the pious attempt to de-Hispanicize cultural institutions in the Mission District, of a city named San Francisco, by a tribunal calling itself the San Francisco Board of Education School Names Advisory Committee. San Francisco: look it up on Wikipedia, maybe. If nothing else, we need an Advisory Committee Names Advisory Committee. Decolonization begins at home.


And that’ll just about do it for this here Weakly Reader. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s Felicia Atkins waiting by the phone in 1958:

See you next week.

I am Dr. Frank. I write books and songs. Mtx Forever.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store