September 30, 2016
I Wrote a Thing
About how King Dork Approximately the Album and King Dork Approximately the Paperback Edition of the Novel came about, and explaining the mechanics of the procedure for acquiring the aforementioned. (Posted on Medium.com to make it seem special and look better.)
Here Be Shows
Okay so I'm updating the show list, as much for my benefit as yours. Lots going on in my world these days, and it's easy to get confused.
Fri- Oct 7th- San Francisco at the DNA Lounge, with Captain 9's & the Knickerbocker Trio, The Four Eyes, and Destroy Boys. Facebook event page. Buy tickets.
Sat- Oct 8th- Sacramento, CA at the Blue Lamp, with Captain 9's & the Knickerbocker Trio and the O'Mulligans. Buy tickets.
Sat - Oct 22nd: Dr. Frank solo/acoustic, Windmill Library, 7060 West Windmill Lane, Las Vegas NV, 1 PM. Free, all ages. It's a book event, so I'll be talking about the book and maybe reading but it'll probably mostly be songs and goofing around, knowing me. Facebook event page.
Sun- Nov 13th- Los Angeles, CA at Redwood Bar with Toys That Kill +?? Buy tickets.
Fri- Nov 18th: TBA
Sat- Nov 19th: TBA
Thurs. Dec 8th: Dr. Frank solo/acoustic, at the Westchester Public Library, 10700 Canterbury Street Westchester, IL 60154 708-562-3573. Free all ages. Details TBA. Will probably start at 7PM.
Fri- Dec 9th- Chicago, IL at Reggies, with Nobodys and the Reaganomics. SOLD OUT!!!
Sat- Dec 10th- Green Bay, WI at Lyric Room, with Nobodys, Rev Norb & the Onions, George's Bush. Buy tickets.
More to come, if we survive these.
September 28, 2016
It's weird to do the math on stuff like this, but it turns out I've known Last Will for over thirty years. (He was my mailman, used to listen to KALX on his route, realized I was on the air over there and started writing messages on my junk mail.) He's been one of my favorite people ever since. He's going to be interviewing me on KALX on 9/30 at 9PM and on KPFA on 10/6 at 11:30 AM. I'll play some songs too. The practice run we did at KFC today went pretty well I thought.
September 26, 2016
They Call Me Dr. Love Is Dead Tape Soup
September 25, 2016
Yes, It's a Poster.
By Matt K. Shrugg.
September 24, 2016
In the Ghettos
I have noticed that even very smart, quite thoughtful people who have been around the block can have trouble distinguishing fiction from reality when it comes to assessing art. e.g. it can be surprisingly difficult for people to get their heads around the idea that a song or a novel might well be a fictional narrative in a character's voice rather than a straightforward expression of the writer's own literal experience and convictions. (Sometimes novels and songs are that type of simple personal "cri de coeur", but often they are not. Most of mine are not, and in all cases not uncomplicatedly so.)
It seems to me this problem, if it is a problem, is on the rise, though I may be mistaken about that. No doubt I notice it a lot more than I would if I weren't a songwriter and a novelist. There are lots of ways you might account for it, perhaps, but mostly I just marvel at it, because it comes up over and over again when I discuss my stuff with people who are so smart and discerning and analytical about other people's stuff.
These are fictional narrators, I'll say, they're there to animate a particular narrative or conceptual conceit... but it rarely sinks in, and in a few minutes it's back to "why do you hate Catcher in the Rye so much?" or "Why do you hate the Doors?" or "why haven't you ever been able to find a girlfriend?" or "that wasn't very nice of you that time you asked that girl to get another job and send you the money" or some such. (Well, okay, I do kind of hate the Doors, not gonna lie.) The question about why I can't find a girlfriend has in fact been asked of me by girlfriends, which is conceptually interesting in itself.
But I do have one theory, and it has to do with the respective "pop punk" and YA fiction "ghettos" -- I've observed before how similar these ghettos are. To put it more directly, writers of fiction in the YA marketing category face much the same dismissive attitude from book people that writers of songs performed by "pop punk" bands do from regular punk rock people or music people in general. These folks come to the table (the "kids' table", naturally) with such a low opinion of the material to begin with sight unseen, sound unheard, that they're blind and deaf to anything interesting that could be going on in it. Like the actual song or book doesn't exist, but has been replaced by an imagined version of it that doesn't warrant real attention or consideration. Or they will smile conspiratorially and confess to taking "guilty pleasure" in it: "I actually really like teen fiction/pop punk," they'll say, because "sometimes it's nice to be able to turn off your brain for awhile." Well, I reply, at least it's good for something.
Another tack is, finding fault with the material for not living down to their low expectations of what should be found in "the genre," like (as I've observed before somewhere) someone watching a Korusawa film and saying, "man, this is the worst Kung Fu movie I've ever seen; Bruce Lee is rolling in his grave."
So they expect to find something dumb, embarrassingly naive, not quite "real" -- and even if it's good, it's going to be good in an "aw how cute" way only -- so that's what they see and hear. And certainly some bits of this sort of art are indeed like that, and some of those are really really great as well. I'm not knocking ingenuousness or dumbness in rock and roll, nor necessarily in literature either. But there are many songs and novels that are not quite like that. And turning off your brain isn't the best way to approach them.
Which is a longwinded way of saying that there's no swifter road to dumbness than being too smart to listen. They don't even realize they're doing it, I'm sure, which is the interesting and irritating part. But well, I guess I would say that, wouldn't I?
September 23, 2016
Links and such
-- longtime friend of MTX Ed Masley says "Cinthya (with a Y)" is one of "15 songs you need to hear right now. I became aware of "Gwladys" by means of P. G. Wodehouse. It all checks out.
-- Sweet blurb from Stereogum, by Tom Breihan who once called King Dork the "best punk rock book ever" (in the Village Voice) a quote I will recycle continually till the end of my days, no doubt.
-- I linked below but here it is again: Paper Mag premiered the "Cinthya" video with a write-up by Alex Scordelis.
-- Here's a long interview I did in a San Francisco cafe with Brian Heater for the RIYL podcast. "In this extra long edition of RiYL, the artist discusses motel laundry, the publishing industry and not being Green day."
-- Chris Fabulous played "Cinthya (with a Y)" on the Weekend Quality podcast. Thanks, Chris.
-- Some of it won't be functional till the Oct. 4 release date, but if you want to see the virtual album art and credits, you can go to the KDATA download page and click "Artwork & Credits".
-- my buddy Jesse Michaels social media'd a really kind mini-review of the album that I'm gonna quote here: "It is possibly their best record yet. pays homage to an encyclopedic array of influences from Rasberries / Big Star -type power pop to the classic Stiff records sound without ever sounding derivative or retro. 3 cheers." If you say nice things about my stuff, I'm gonna link and quote, that's just the way it is.
-- Finally, for now, the news that "Cinthya" is on spotify prompted this lovely sentiment from our own Maria Surfinbird:
99 cents (cheap)
"Cinthya (with a Y)" is now (finally) up on Amazon digital, 99 cents (cheap).
September 20, 2016
Cinthya (with a Y)
This is my band's new single. I'm not saying it's rock and roll, necessarily, but it does appear to be intentional:
Nice write up, Paper Mag!
September 17, 2016
I recently did an interview (via twitter direct messages) that formed the basis for this Love Is Dead "retrospective". There was a question about songwriting, and this is what I dashed off:
1. Have a clear topic and “conceit” (usually that means a title) and try to make sure it’s not identical to something else someone else has done better.
2. Know what you’re going to say – make sure you do in fact have something to say;
3. Know what you want the lyrics to do, as lines, as verses, and in the overall narrative structure. That is, try to have strategic goals for the lyrics and what they are meant to accomplish;
4. Make sure that each element/line/chunk meets at least a couple of these goals at the same time, and discard lines that don’t “multi-task.”
#1 is the most important. There’s no point whatever in rewriting someone else’s song if you don’t add something distinctive to it.”
It's quite good advice. And if I ever make good on my threat to teach a songwriting workshop sometime it could serve as a rough agenda.
While it is true that #1 is the most important, it was when I started trying to wrestle with #4 that my songs started to get noticeably better.
September 15, 2016
Love Is Dead It's What Makes a Subaru a Subaru
Strange to think how large this image looms in my life. Chris Appelgren and I used to go to the junk store up the street from Lookout to mine old magazines for art fodder. It was a good time even when we didn't find anything. Before coming across this, I think we'd thought the cover would be, like, a coffin or something. (I think we briefly considered changing the title to "Come Clean," because of the soap.) It was a stroke of Appelgren genius to colorize it blue. It's also funny and strange that Chris and I are pretty much doing that exact same thing again these days. Not a whole lot of difference between 1995 and now, except everything.
It's a tradition!
September 12, 2016
Forever and Ever
The video for the forthcoming single "Cinthya (with a Y)" was created by our own Augustus Rachels, who made this video as a school project last year:
Very talented guy. Going places. He's also been a lifelong MTX fan from a good MTX family -- his mom told me he attended his first show in utero, in fact. (The things you learn...)
Anyway, the song and video is out on Sept. 20. Watch for it, it's a humdinger.
(King Dork Approximately the Album will be downloadable from a link in the paperback edition of the book starting Oct. 4. Here's a pre-order link.)
September 10, 2016
The Link to the Buying of the Stuff
There will soon (I hope) be a comprehensive one stop web location for links to buy the new stuff and the old stuff, basically all or most of the stuff. Watch this space for that announcement.
In the meantime, this post summarizes what is currently available or pre-orderable.
1. Pre-order the paperback edition of King Dork Approximately, which comes with a free download of King Dork Approximately the Album. The release date is Oct. 4, but it can be pre-ordered now.
2. Other books:
King Dork Approximately hardcover (note: this edition does not come with the album download).
The King Dork paperback.
3. The MTX digital catalog on iTunes.
4. The Dr. Frank digital catalog on iTunes.
5. The Way It Sounds Like, home made live solo album on bandcamp. (I know I said I was going to take it down a ways back, and that's my plan because I want to host it myself when I get my act together. This act getting together has not happened yet, so it's still up.)
As I said there will be much more available soon, but in the interim, this is what there is.
September 09, 2016
New single from KDATA coming soon
The Publicity that Never Comes
So, I'm not planning to kill myself scrounging, scheming, and pleading for the PTNC this time around. (As I have certainly done in the past.) I don't have time for it and it never really works that well. Maybe this thing will be just for us, our secret society, no normal people allowed or wanted, and I'm good with that.
That said, if you are a writer or somesuch who'd like to do something or pitch something somewhere, feel free to drop me a line. If not, that's totally cool, I probably didn't want to be in your dumb magazine anyway.
August 31, 2016
MTX SHOWS - FINALLY!
So as I've been banging on about, the new album comes out Oct. 4 as a download with the paperback edition of the book. You can pre-order (though the download itself won't be "up" till day of.) Or come get it at shows, download to your phone, listen to it instead of live us, complain about it on tumblr, etc.
So, herewith, the first batch of the aforementioned MTX shows. (Oh and, before you ask, we're only doing weekend dates right now, so we can’t add anything to these.)
Fri- Oct 7th- San Francisco at DNA Lounge
Sat- Oct 8th- Sacramento, CA at Blue Lamp
Sat- Nov 12th- Santa Ana, CA at The Constellation Room
Sun- Nov 13th- Los Angeles, CA at Redwood Bar
Fri- Dec 9th- Chicago, IL at Reggies
Sat- Dec 10th- Green Bay, WI at Lyric Room
Special guests TBA. Ticket info TBA!
Oh, and don't forget this show on Sunday Sept. 18 at the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz, with me Kepi, Kevin Seconds and Dan Potthast:
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.
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:
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.
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.