October 18, 2003

Listening to Stuff

One of these days I'll have a free moment and enough presence of mind to write a little something about the whole mini-tour. In brief: some of the shows may have been a bit more "intimate" than we might have liked, but still, it's been great fun playing with TV Smith. He's very smart, very funny, and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. And his shows are great, very intense. He's definitely working and glorying in the angry folk singer tradition, but with an endearing sense of humor you don't often find in that idiom. He plays all sorts of songs, including a handful of Adverts songs (GGE, One Chord Wonders, Safety in Numbers, even Bored Teenagers and No Time to Be Twenty-One.) I've seen him do it several times now, but it's still a thrill for me. Those songs are etched into my brain, a feature of of my consciousness, and hearing them performed so intensely and in such close quarters, by a guy who I suddenly know personally, is amazing and not a little surreal.

More surreality: our good friend Rebekah drove down from Portland to Sacramento and ended up staying with us at Bobby's house. The following morning (we couldn't say no) we let her listen to the new album on a boom box in the kitchen. With TV Smith seated over by the window sipping coffee with (I think) a quizzical expression from time to time. How weird is that? When "Fucked Up on Life" came on, he even said "I like that one, you know." It seemed to get a good review from Rebekah, which was reassuring, though she'd have been too polite to give it a bad review in mixed company I'm sure.

Another listening party happened the following night in L.A. Matt Welch and Ken Layne couldn't make it to the show, which was very early, as they had to practice for the debut Corvids gig tonight. But afterwards I went over to Matt's and Emanuelle's place for a kind of back yard party, during which the guy from the studio brought by a CD of various mixes of the new Ken Layne and the Corvids album. So we stood in the patio drinking beers and listened to the whole thing. It sounds great-- very "alive," if you know what I'm saying. I can't wait to hear the mastered version. Rootsy, honky-tonky, Stonesy, alt country, you probably have an idea of the general thrust. But it really rocks. Jumps out of the speakers. The guitar sound is crisp and punchy, even while the whole thing has a sort of lazy feel. Great drummer. Great songs, too. Dr. Frank says check it out. When it comes out, that is, whenever that is.

So then, I'd had a few and was feeling kind of good and so, to my own surprise, I have to say, offered to let 'em hear mine. We stood in the patio and listened to the album from beginning to end. They had a lot of nice things to say, which was encouraging. I'm still at the stage where it sounds extremely different to me every time I hear it-- and I have to admit it sounded weird on that kitchen boombox. Maybe it was the Pacificos, or maybe it was just the result of my own neurotic randomness, or maybe it was the soothing words of encouragement from Welch and Layne, or maybe it was something I haven't thought of yet, but it sounded pretty great on Matt's little stereo. Anyway, there was a surrealness about that experience, too. Very few people other than the band, engineers and label have heard it. Anyway, it was a good time, one of the most enjoyable instances of subjecting a captive audience to my "music" that I can recall in some time.

Anyway, check out that Corvids album when it comes out. It's a hit.

Oh, by the way, about my show tonight at X Records in Norco: supposedly you get 50% off record purchases with paid admission. Sounds like a good deal to me, even if you have to sit through some bumbling singer-songwriter stuff.

Posted by Dr. Frank at October 18, 2003 07:59 PM | TrackBack

"...some of the shows may have been a bit more "intimate" than we might have liked..."

Expand, elaborate, and enlighten us :-)

Posted by: Lynn at October 19, 2003 04:25 AM

What was the last song Frank played in L.A. anyone?

Posted by: Stephanie at October 19, 2003 05:58 AM

Stephanie, he played "If You See Mary" last. I was part of that rather intimate gathering -- always a good time.

Posted by: Wes at October 19, 2003 10:19 PM

I might seem naive saying this, but I never heard of TV Smith before Dr. Frank mentioned him. I checked out his website and was blown away by his song samples from his new album. He's playing in NY this week and I will definitely be at the show. It's always so exciting when you "discover" great music for the first time. Thanks Dr. Frank for expanding my musical horizons.

Changing subjects, I find it very frustrating that the new album is done and we have to sit around until next year and wait around for it. And Lynn, I think Dr. Frank meant not a lot of people were there, thus it was intimate. That's a shame. After hearing TV Smith, seeing him and Frank would be an amazing experience.

Posted by: jq at October 20, 2003 12:13 AM

Wish I could've been there Frank. I'm the road myself going from city to city gets a little tough.

Posted by: Bill at October 20, 2003 01:08 AM

Thanks Wes, I'd never heard it before and it was good. That was the smallest gig i've ever been too, but it was awesome to see TV Smith, he really is a stellar performer, and of course it was awesome to see Frank.

Posted by: Stephanie at October 20, 2003 02:50 AM

Just saw Dr. Frank & TV Smith here in San Diego at the Muse. Dr. Frank was unimpeachably entertaining. There were only about a dozen people there but my girlfriend and I were highly entertained. I'm still actually in dazed fan-boy mode so I'm not coherent, but I had an absolute blast. Go see him if you can!

Posted by: DSE at October 20, 2003 05:27 AM

I should add that Dr. Frank was not only unimpeachable, he was practically ineffable!

Posted by: Don at October 21, 2003 03:01 AM