August 16, 2016

Anti Corporate and Stuff Man Yeah

Remember when everyone thought it was the height of evil and a betrayal of "punk" to put UPC codes on records? Down with commercialism (in the context of this product we are trying to sell you)! We were all a bunch of hippies underneath really.

If I'm remembering rightly, Jon von used a UPC from a box of tampons on one of the MTX cover designs in hopes that someone might scan it and hijinks would ensue, but I never heard of any hijinks ensuing from it.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:12 PM

August 10, 2016

Packing Up the Boxes

Thanks to everyone for buying stuff in this last record sale, and for bidding on that Love Is Dead test pressing, which wound up going for $405 -- a record, I'm sure, so to speak. (And cheers, Brian.)

I'll probably do another sale at some point, especially if the storage excavations turn up anything interesting. I do have a quantity of posters, stretching back to the Rough Trade days that might get brought out. And maybe I'll do another test pressing or other bit of memorabilia then too.

In the meantime, here's the list of what's left:

LPs ($20): Alcatraz, Revenge Is Sweet, Milk Milk Lemonade, Making Things with Light, Night Shift

10" ($15): Big Black Bugs

7" ($8): Tapin' Up My Heart, Andromeda Klein, Dr. Frank & the Bye Bye Blackbirds "Even Hitler..." / "Population: Us"

CDs ($10): Night Shift, Making Things with Light, And the Women..., Show Business Is My Life, Alcatraz, Yesterday Rules

CDep: ($9) Miracle of Shame

CDR ($9): The Way Things Sound Like, Eight Little Songs

cassingle ($5): King Dork Approximately / O'Brien Is Trying to Learn to Talk Hawaiian

shirts ($20): Dr. Frank / Kepi Euro-tour (M, S, and Ladies' M only), King Dork Approximately (S, M, L, XL), Sam Hellerman (M only)

As usual, I'm going to leave this post at that link in the sidebar ("I have some odds and ends lying around...) in case anyone wants any of it and would like to try to shake me from my customary state of lassitude to the point where I might actually pull the well-tetris'd boxes back out of the closet.

Thanks again, my good people.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:23 PM

August 06, 2016


Ages ago, asked to write a bio for my band, I came up with a timeline type thing that went something like:

1985: band forms;

1986-7: band releases two long-playing short-selling records;

1989: band releases new e.p., driving record label out of business;

1990: despite concerted effort, band fails to drive new label out of business;

1993: band learns to play its instruments;

1994: band achieves apotheosis as a purely theoretical, non-material entity perceivable only through concerted exercise of the intellect and mathematics.

1995: the universe collapses in on itself.

This was never used.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 10:50 PM

August 02, 2016

Another Record Sale, that's what's happening today

UPDATE, 08.03.16: So the Revenge Is Sweets and Alcatrazes are all gone. I still have a small number of Milk Milk Lemonades, and plenty of the others. (I'm not sure, but I strongly suspect that that's the end of the Revenge supply, and possibly of Alcatraz as well. But we'll see about that next time.) I'll keep doing this till the Love Is Dead test pressing auction ends on Tues. Drop me a line if you want anything from the stock that remains and cheers.


Okay ladies and genital men, I'm doing this sale thing again, in the spirit of giving the people what they (kind of) want and also in the spirit of my trying to become temporarily a little less broke, which is more important / difficult.

The headline news item here is, I suppose, that I have no more LK 134 (Love Is Dead). As in, there are no more left in my stock; if anyone else happens to have any, they still have them obviously, but as for the old Lookout stock it is gone gone gone. (Now it is possible that there could be a box of them hidden somewhere that may come to light in the process of some unrelated excavation, like King Tut's tomb. But I wouldn't count on it.) By the way, t here are no more CDs left either. So this album has now joined Our Bodies Our Selves in stock oblivion. RIP weird smiling blue girl.

I wish I had more, but since selling 100% of the stock is a kind of milestone, I've decided to commemorate it by putting a test pressing up on ebay as an adjunct to the usual sale, so that anyone who absolutely must have Love Is Dead on vinyl has one last chance to get it from me. That auction is here if you want to check it out. It's a once in a lifetime chance, or something.

I do have some LK 180 (Revenge Is Sweet) this time around -- possibly/probably the last of those as well; a few LK 232 (Alcatraz), along with the others listed below. Another surprise find was a box of ...and the Women Who Love Them "special addition" CDs, which I thought were long gone. (So you see, it does happen.)

So here's what I've got on hand:

LPs ($20): Alcatraz, Revenge Is Sweet, Milk Milk Lemonade, Making Things with Light, Night Shift

10" ($15): Big Black Bugs

7" ($8): Tapin' Up My Heart, Andromeda Klein, Dr. Frank & the Bye Bye Blackbirds "Even Hitler..." / "Population: Us"

CDs ($10): Night Shift, Making Things with Light, And the Women..., Show Business Is My Life, Alcatraz, Yesterday Rules

CDep: ($9) Miracle of Shame

CDR ($9): The Way Things Sound Like, Eight Little Songs

cassingle ($5): King Dork Approximately / O'Brien Is Trying to Learn to Talk Hawaiian

shirts ($20): Dr. Frank / Kepi Euro-tour (M, S, and Ladies' M only), King Dork Approximately (S, M, L, XL), Sam Hellerman (M only)

All this stuff is new; the LPs are sealed Lookout stock.

The procedure is, drop me a line (at saying what you want, and I'll check availability, calculate the shipping and total, and tell you the amount to paypal to: (Make sure you spell it right.) Include in the paypal order a list of what you're ordering so I don't screw up. And when you do the paypal order, please do it as an order for goods/services and include your address in the order. (Avoiding the fee by making it a gift instead is a nice idea but in fact makes the whole thing more of a hassle, plus the shipping often winds up costing more.)

Please make sure to indicate if you are outside of the US because that obviously affects shipping. (Also, note that Canada is, in fact, outside of the US.)

I'll send these out on a first paid, first served basis, meaning that if there's one copy left and you've inquired about it, but someone else pays first, the payer gets it.

I'm happy to sign anything or whatever. The quantities are limited to whatever I've got in my living room at the moment. When they're gone, they're gone till (possibly) next time.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:23 PM

The Mr. T Experience Are New Wife


Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:22 PM

August 01, 2016

King Dork Approximately the Album


Album artwork (front side) here. Seems like some folks are confused by this whole set up, especially by the fact that I keep talking about an MTX album when the image available heretofore has been of a book written by Frank Portman. I'm here to calm you all down, with this visual aid. No doubt displaying it will cause as much confusion as it clears up, as is so often the case.

Nevertheless, the deal is: this MTX album will be a free download with purchase of the paperback book that comes out on Oct. 4. They are distinct, but related, items, each a "window" into the other, so to speak.

To those who already have the hardcover book (and a heartfelt thanks goes out to you if you are one of them) the way to think of this new edition with album is this: it's an album for $9.99. The physical book is a bonus, but is also analogous to a record jacket you might have purchased with an LP in days of old, with lyrics and artwork as usual, but also with a whole novel crammed inside as well; the record itself is virtual, but if you close your eyes and imagine a spinning disk, and maybe a few pops and skips, you will be able to approximate the meat space album experience. Then, perhaps, open them and gaze lovingly at the cover. Kiss it. Hang it on the wall. Draw the logo on your math book cover. That kind of thing.

That said, there will likely be a vinyl edition at some point in the future, if the backlog at the sole remaining pressing plants in Croatia and Slovenia ever allow for it. (Yes, or the purposes of this post two plants can be "sole".)

Tell your friends. Pre-order here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:39 PM

July 28, 2016

You Owe Me a Move Say the Bells of St. Groove

One of the things I found in a recent excavation of a box of my old stuff that was in my mom's garage was a photo envelope containing some fuzzy snapshots I took of the Clash at this daytime show at the Oakland Coliseum in 1983.

I remember the show very well, though I don't remember having taken any photos, a very unusual thing for me to do. For at least some of the set I was in the backstage / side stage area because I and the girls I went with were dressed sexy allowing us to flirt our way past security. (I admit, they did most of the work.) When the band came out we were three of around fifteen people who got to do that cool-guy thumb-handshake with Mick Jones and say "hey man" before he plugged in. (The other guys came from the other side of the stage, otherwise I'm sure we would have tried to hey-man them.)

Here's one of the photos:


I love how you can see the gear. (Mesa Boogie combo!) And the beret. And the jumpsuit.

This was a "day on the green", and the Clash were the support act on the Who's "It's Hard" tour. Those girls and I gloried in the bravado of being so "punk" that we saw the Clash and left before the Who went on, which is what we did. Doing that doesn't seem nearly so cool now. In fact, it was pretty stupid. Still, we and us man, youth. It was a heady time of fun, horny, fake rebellion that has basically been forgotten in a box for thirty-three years.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:49 AM

July 26, 2016

Summer Holiday & Me

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:05 AM

July 21, 2016

I Wrote an Album about a Book about Rock and Roll

This is by way of a progress report on King Dork Approximately the Album.

The recording for the KDATA is almost completely done. It's coming out great, I think, best stuff we've ever done in many ways. Its exceeding my expectations anyhow. We've certainly had a great time recording it. The line up is me, Bobby J., Ted Angel, and Jaz Brown, plus guests. Ted engineered the bulk of it at Hypnotone in Sacramento, but three of the songs were recorded with Denny Muller at the Static Room in Jingle Town, Oakland. I'm giving Sam Hellerman production credit, but there wasn't really a producer per se, beyond me humming my dumb ideas and everyone else chiming in. (And curse you auto-correct for trying to make me type "Kellerman" there. I hate you more than life itself.) The drums sound great.

I often get asked how "punk" it is going to be. My guess is that it probably won't be "punk" enough for people to whom it occurs to ask that question, but since you ask, I'm going to have Ted turn up the "punk" knob in the mix just in case. Twelve good songs, none of which sound the same as any of the others, done as well as we could do them. For free with the book, which is a pretty good deal if you're into the music ($9.99 is the list price) even if you already have the hardcover. There's an appendix in the new edition with the lyrics of the album and the cover matches the album artwork; they are meant to complement each other. Think of the book as the equivalent of the record jacket of old, with the record itself being non-physical, plus there's a free novel crammed in there as well. (We're working on a plan for a possibly expanded vinyl edition later on, but more about that as and if it develops.)

Also got lots of cool fun stuff in the works so stay tuned for another update to see if any of it comes to pass.

You can pre-order here if you like.

Some people count Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood and ...and the Women Who Love Them as full length albums rather than eps because of the CD comps, but if you don't count them (and if you count Road to Ruin) King Dork Approximately the Album will be the eleventh MTX album. Yesterday Rules was released in 2004, so it will be the first in twelve years. Ye gods.

(And though I have no idea specifically how, when, or if it will come about, I mostly have the twelfth one written too, though that's a post for another time. The theoretical track list for it keeps changing and I've been on a mysterious songwriting streak lately.)

Basically, I feel like a pretend rock star once again. It's good to be back.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:31 PM

Things Wikipedia Taught Me

The peace sign is suddenly a lot more interesting once you learn that its designer intended it to depict "an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad."

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:28 PM

July 20, 2016



Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:35 PM

July 19, 2016

Carrie, film, 1976:


Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:30 AM

Swell Poster from Our Friends at Windmill Library, Las Vegas, NV


Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:23 AM

July 17, 2016

This could get long

One of the many theoretical irons I have in the theoretical fire these days is an idea that dates back to a few years ago when I came across all my old lyrics notebooks that I'd stopped using when I switched to typing everything in to a vast array of confusing text files.

They included this:


As I explained/claimed at the time, writing that on the composition book cover was done with at least a bit of irony; nevertheless it really was the book I carried around to scribble in ca. '94-95, and it does indeed contain the lyrics to the Love Is Dead songs, as well as some of the Revenge songs. It also contains, among many misfires and quite a bit of embarrassing nonsense, quite a few actual songs from that era in various stages of completion, most of which I've forgotten about completely. The LID recording sessions were absolutely concise and yielded no out-takes at all, but here, in a sense, were some "virtual" out-takes from a period of material that a lot of people seem to be quite interested in.

So, I thought to myself, if the time ever comes to re-issue that album, it would be kind of fun and interesting to try to re-construct some of these songs and record them for an expanded version in lieu of the traditional bonus material that is usually included in projects like that. I'm thinking, an ep of six songs or so, something like that. Especially since we don't actually have any of that traditional material.

Well it is easier to say than to do, like most things, and the idea is still kicking around undone as of yet. But it could happen.

And the reason for writing this post is that in trying to take stock and do an inventory of the contenders and I happened across a slew of other such tunes in a place I hadn't yet looked, including surefire hits like "I'm in Love (with Your Pants)" and "Librarian Fatale." This could get long. Still aiming for an eps worth only, if it happens, but there's more to choose from than I thought.

(And just by way of an update on that old post, "You Have Won Second Prize in a Beauty Contest" turned out to be un-reconstructible as found, and I basically wrote a totally new song with the title. I want to put that on a future record, but it's not a contender for this idea. "She's a Snowman," though, is probably in.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:23 PM

July 08, 2016

Boy Howdy

Here's the kickstarter for that Creem Magazine documentary you may have been hearing about.

Believe it or not, this photo appeared in the September 1988 issue of Creem magazine:


Rod Stewart was on the cover.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 10:15 PM

June 30, 2016

Two Minute Itch

Almost forgot how good this is:

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:41 PM

Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf. You disgrace to the noble architecture of these columns! You incarnate insult to the English language! I could pass you off as, er, the Queen of Sheba.

From Freddie deBoer:

...Meanwhile, the grubby masses, lacking access to the kind of private liberal arts colleges where one learns these Byzantine codes, now can add political and moral poverty to their economic and social poverty. This is the next great project of the American elite: building a political system that ensures the winners in winner-take-all enjoy not just the fruits of material gain, but the certainty that their elevated station is deserved thanks to their elevated moral standing.
I think you can probably learn a version of it from reading Gawker and Slate, taking buzzfeed quizzes, and watching MTV, but it won't be quite good enough to pass as a duchess at an embassy ball.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:19 PM

June 27, 2016

Nice Shirt, William S. Preston, Esq.


Artist Evan Dorkin managed to slip quite a few "shout outs" to unlikely bands into this and other comics. (This was found on Instagram but I remember it well because it made me feel like a big shot at the time.) Thanks, Evan.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:49 PM

June 26, 2016

It won't stop

From Thoughts on the Sociology of Brexit by Will Davies:

What was so clever about the language of the Leave campaign was that it spoke directly to this feeling of inadequacy and embarrassment, then promised to eradicate it. The promise had nothing to do with economics or policy, but everything to do with the psychological allure of autonomy and self-respect. Farrage’s political strategy was to take seriously communities who’d otherwise been taken for granted for much of the past 50 years.

This doesn’t necessarily have to translate into nationalistic pride or racism (although might well do), but does at the very least mean no longer being laughed at. Those that have ever laughed at ‘chavs’ (such as the millionaire stars of Little Britain) have something to answer for right now, as Rhian E. Jones’ Clampdown argued. The willingness of Nigel Farrage to weather the scornful laughter of metropolitan liberals (for instance through his periodic appearances on Have I Got News For You) could equally have made him look brave in the eyes of many potential Leave voters. I can’t help feeling that every smug, liberal, snobbish barb that Ian Hislop threw his way on that increasingly hateful programme was ensuring that revenge would be all the greater, once it arrived. The giggling, from which Boris Johnson also benefited handsomely, needs to stop.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:00 PM

June 24, 2016

Q, A

From facebook:

Q: Hey Frank I was just listening to revenge is sweet (my personal favorite from your catalog) and I've always noticed the guitar on that album is a bit crunchier and distinctly different from any of your other work. Were you going for something specific? Was that a certain pedal or what did you do to achieve that sound?

A: As I recall the main guitars used on that record were the Epiphone Coronet and a 50s era Les Paul (borrowed) with soap bar pickups. The amp was a Marshall 800 in a big room but heavily baffled and blanketed.; what your'e hearing is a result of the single coil pickups and old wood, Kevin Army's vintage pre-amps (can't remember their name atm), quadruple tracked and then really severely compressed with the whole mix. As for what I was going for I wanted it to sound "big" but because we ran out of budget and time and had to scramble to complete the vox II wasn't able to do much more than the basic tracks so it wound up a lot more "minimal" than planned, which is why I consider it "unfinished" but that probably adds to the fact that the rhythm guitar is so central to the sound.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:49 PM