August 14, 2005


Longtime readers of this blog may remember Ethan Stoller, the man behind the "band" Dynamite Ham, and his longterm concept album project contrasting my songs with those of Frank Loesser, by means of quirky and imaginative covers.

Well, now the album, entitled I Believe in You, is actually available. You can order it here. You can hear samples here. Quite something.

Posted by Dr. Frank at August 14, 2005 07:25 PM | TrackBack

Explosively non-kosher.

Posted by: Wes at August 14, 2005 10:08 PM

Wow. That certainly is....different.

Posted by: michele at August 14, 2005 10:23 PM

I was pleasantly surprised to see Thinking of You (one of my favorites) on there. The lounge country vibe fits the song pretty well, but I still prefer the quirky production of the original.

Posted by: mike c. at August 14, 2005 11:30 PM

Mostly awful, with the exception of Let's Be Togethe r Tonight. I don't know why but I kind of liked that.

Posted by: Zaphod at August 15, 2005 06:19 PM

It's pretty cool, although the quality sounds like what I made with my friend's 4track and my accordion. I might buy it.

Posted by: Mike at August 15, 2005 07:39 PM

I'm with Zaphod, although I kind of enjoyed Two Martinis from Now. I probably wouldn't if it had been more than 30 seconds, though.

Posted by: josh at August 15, 2005 08:39 PM

Jeez, I knew when I made the record that it wouldn't be for everybody; I didn't realize that it wouldn't be for anybody!

Posted by: Ethan at August 15, 2005 08:54 PM

Hey Ethan - *I* like it...

Posted by: Dr. Frank at August 15, 2005 08:55 PM

Thanks, Frank, that means a lot. Your gracious support has kept me going lo these many years.

Posted by: Ethan at August 15, 2005 09:07 PM

I have I Believe In You- I think it's deeply excellent + emotional + dry and sweet and funny & musical and academic made me quite hot for & awestruck by the songwriting of Dr. Frank.

Posted by: risa mickenberg at August 15, 2005 10:24 PM

hey pussies!!! i had no idea dr frank had so many beeotches! i quite liked all of the covers on ethan's cd. very much so. i always always like a cover. at the very least it's interesting. who would believe that joe cocker, or anyone, could cover the beatles. yet his version of 'she came in through the bathroom window' stands alone in my heart, as much as i love abby road. don't be so closed minded. dr frank can take it.

Posted by: superastic at August 16, 2005 12:23 AM

i liked it, i thought it went without saying it's awesome. zaphod is a republican anyway.

Posted by: melody chest at August 16, 2005 05:51 AM

Yeah, I like a couple of those tracks a lot, especially two martinis. I also LOVE the Geoff Darrow artwork. As a huge comics AND Dr. Frank fan, it's awesome to see the two meet. Darrow's work on Shaolin Cowboy is amazing. Maybe the best of his career. Poking around the DH site I kinda got interested in using Ethan for one of my short films or another project.

Posted by: Jonathan London at August 16, 2005 09:22 AM

This seems like an appropriate place to note that the Chimpunks have a "plugged" version of "Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend" up on our site:

Posted by: The Chimpunks at August 16, 2005 12:02 PM

Sorry, Ethan. That was a bit harsh. Don't worry about me, I didn't like Deep Blue Something either, but look what happened.

Posted by: josh at August 16, 2005 02:19 PM

ahem, that's Libertarian/Constitutional Melody.

Posted by: Zaphod at August 16, 2005 05:26 PM

Okay, the Chipmunks stuff was pretty damned cool!!!

Posted by: Zaphod at August 16, 2005 05:33 PM

No, Zaphod, that's ASHAMED REPUBLICAN. People who come up with name variations on a certain party but still support George Bush are the political equivalant to ravers who claim they are fans of "ambient/house/down-tempo/jungle/drum and bass" music. No, sorry, you're a raver. And you're a republican.

Anyway, you should join the log cabin Republicans. They're kind of cool. Kind of.

Posted by: Melody Chest at August 16, 2005 05:58 PM

I don't support George Bush, I just couldn't image life under John Kerry or God forbid, Al Gore. There is a BIG difference in the Libertarian and Constitutional parties. I think you should read up on the subject before Pigeonholeing people,Melody.
I'll pass on the Log Cabin Republicans as I'm not a fan of Abraham Lincoln.

Here's a starter:

Posted by: Zaphod at August 16, 2005 06:04 PM

No thanks, pigeonholing is much easier than researching.

You don't support George Bush, yet you voted for him?

Posted by: Melody Chest at August 16, 2005 08:17 PM

I voted for Kerry even though I detest the guy and his wife 10x more because economic history shows that after an economy has taken a downturn with a republican in office who is then replaced with a democrat then the economy takes a strong upturn. I was playing the historical trends and not voting for the man. I didn't like either.

Posted by: Zaphod at August 16, 2005 08:36 PM

why did you/do you detest kerry? and if you didn't vote for bush, what does the following statement mean: "I don't support George Bush, I just couldn't imagine life under John Kerry..."

Posted by: r at August 16, 2005 09:04 PM

i agree with superastic. sad to think that someone like dr. frank who writes such clever, witty songs should be stuck with the dim-witted likes of zaphod as a representative fan (though it was somewhat reassuring to see that his musical taste appears to be as pathetically developed as his politics). ethan's album is a very clever, artistic interpretation and it makes perfect sense that dr. frank would be able to appreciate it. i know that i certainly did!

Posted by: lana at August 16, 2005 09:25 PM

Oh man, this is getting good!

Posted by: Melody Chest at August 16, 2005 10:09 PM

Yep just like a democrat to start name-calling rather than actually try to understand the other side of an issue or to debate it using logic. Bring it on Lana and others. You only make yourselves look more pathetic in the process. I'm sure Frank could care less about my political beliefs as long as I continue to pay my $9.99 for an album on iTunes or $12.99 at Best Buy. I am sooooooo unworthy of you and your obviously superior intellect and I can only dream of aspiring to be on your level of love, understand and world view. May I please have the pleasure of shining your shoes Miss? I bow before you and bask in your awe inspiring aura.......

Now to answer a question that was asked: Why I detest John Kerry 1. Is a Kennedy Wannabe 2. His big mouthed idiot wife 3. His smug New England demeaneor 2. His track record in office for favoring the increase in taxation of the middle class as opposed to the upper or lower. 4. His constant flip-flopping and inability to make a commitment and take a stance on an issue just to appease the polls. 5. His stance on the war on terrorism 6. His disgusting book that he wrote after returning from Vietnam. Much much more that I won't take space to list.

Posted by: zaphod at August 17, 2005 12:03 AM

People! I implore you! Can we please get back to the topic at hand? Namely, how awesome my album is. Thanks.

Posted by: Ethan at August 17, 2005 12:20 AM

Zaphod, you make Dr. Frank sound like a money-hungry mercenary. And you shop at Best Buy and iTunes? EWWWWWW!

Posted by: Melody Chest at August 17, 2005 01:27 AM

big surprise the commenters on this blog didn't whole heartedly embrace something, and were pretty judgemental. alert the media! snooty nerds on the rampage!

Posted by: blark corkwooden XVI at August 17, 2005 05:57 AM

Now, to answer a question I wasn't asked: Why U detest George Bush. 1. Is a George H. Bush wannabe 2. His idiot bigmouth 3. His smug Texan bullshit 4. His track record in office for favoring the increase in profits for big businesses over empowering the impverished 5. His refusal to flip-flop on obviously wrong decisions like invading Iraq and his refusal to pay attention to polls showing Americans are fed up with his bullshit 6. His stance on the war on terrorism 7. the disgusting book Robert Wood wrote about what really went down in the White House. Much more that I won't blah blah blah....

Hey, while I was noticing this I noticed you numbered your reasons 1. 2. 3. 2. 4. 5. 6.


Posted by: Melody Chest at August 17, 2005 06:40 AM

Best Buy is a purveyor of quality merchandise.

Reasons I destest the Queen's Privy Council for Canada:
1. It was established by the British North America Act 1897. Nuff said.

2. Under Paul Martin, Parliamentary Secretaries have alse been swprn into the Privy Council.

3. Members are entitled to the title "The Right Honourable". EVEN PAUL MARTIN!!!!!! How can a man I've never heard of be "Right Honourable"? Where's the honor in that? Seriously.

11. They spell "honorable" with a 'u'.

4. Their beedy eyes and flapping heads.

7. The last meeting of the full Privy Council was in 1981 to give formal consent to the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. A woman whose great grandmother was the AMERICAN heiress Frances Work. I say!

R. Their smug Newfoundlandian/Labradorian affectations.

Posted by: josh at August 17, 2005 01:58 PM

Can't we all just get along. C'mon, let's hold hands and sing. Ready? 1,2,3......

Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbaya

Someone’s singing lord, kumbaya
Someone’s singing lord, kumbaya
Someone’s singing lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbayah

Someone’s laughing, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbaya

Someone’s crying, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s crying, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s crying, lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbaya

Someone’s praying, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s praying, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s praying, lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbaya

Someone’s sleeping, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s sleeping, lord, kumbaya
Someone’s sleeping, lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbaya
Oh lord, kumbaya

Posted by: Zaphod at August 17, 2005 03:17 PM

can we get back to the cd?

Posted by: saar at August 17, 2005 03:48 PM

do we really have to? i think the zaphod/melody exchange is more interesting than a bunch of people saying the same thing over and over. the cd sounds good, though there's not much more to say about it, is there?

oh, except for the righteous indignation. i love it when fans get like that.

Posted by: kendra at August 17, 2005 05:18 PM

I love Melody, she's a fine lass, fiery and spirited she is.

Posted by: Zaphod at August 17, 2005 05:58 PM

Yeah I never understood people who get stressed out when internet disussions get "off topic" - though I can understand Zaphod's desire to retreat to a simpler time in his life when he was in cub scouts and any negativity rippling through the boy-rape scene was easily quelled with a round of Kumbaya. I mean, dude is getting shredded left and right for his musical tastes, political theories and purchasing habits. But what do you expect will happen when you admit that you vote for president based on, what was it again, the Chicago Cubs tend to have a better record when a Pisces is replaced in office by an Air sign- historically speaking?

Posted by: Melody Chest at August 17, 2005 06:04 PM

don't you think zaphod's used to the abuse after all of these years?

Posted by: kendra at August 17, 2005 06:13 PM

I happen to like Ethan’s interpretations of Dr. Frank’s songs, but sadly not enough to pay for the CD. No offense, Ethan; there is just too much music in the world to ingest.

The Do-It-Yourself movement of the late 1970s spawned some great stuff. Bands scraped up enough cash to put out honest to goodness vinyl records. Adventurous kids looking for something un-Led Zeppelin could pick up “Forming” by the Germs or “We’ve Got the Neutron Bomb” by the Weirdos at the local (non-chain) record shop. Today any kid, including Ethan, can sit in his/her bedroom with a computer and generate a series of MP3s. And it seems as if everybody is doing it – creating a glut of music. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible, a lot of it is mediocre – but there is just too much to absorb and appreciate. It was fairly easy to mine a few choice gems from the import section at Licorice Pizza. The Internet seems to yield fewer pleasant “discoveries” among the overwhelming volume of no budget, soulless, bedroom-produced MP3s.

With that said, thanks for entertaining me – Ethan, Melody Chest, Zaphod and Dr. Frank.

Now go listen to my foray into the world of cheap, MTX inspired “music” –

Posted by: j. francis at August 17, 2005 07:39 PM

Yes ladies, let your anger out, vent your frustration, release your penis envy, shave your legs and make the world a better place for you, for me and for America. God Bless you Melody!

Posted by: Dr. Phil at August 17, 2005 08:04 PM

J Francis,

I've tried to avoid sounding defensive through this whole peculiar thread, but I'd like to address a couple of issues you raised. Yes, I did "do it myself" but the CD was mastered by a professional in a real mastering studio. And I didn't cobble together a few songs with a Radio Shack mic and an acoustic guitar. In addition to all the electronic trickery I played a couple dozen real instruments on the CD including piano, upright bass, glockenspiel, clarinet, bass clarinet, jew's harp, accordion, mandolin, ukulele, musical saw, theremin, washboard, mbira, organ, vibraslap, and various percussion instruments.

I agree with what you say about there being a glut of music choices out there; which is why I try to offer the consumer more than just music, namely the numbered discs by a world-class artist. Still, I appreciate that this isn't enough for you to shell out the ten bucks--you're in good and plentiful company.

Posted by: Ethan at August 17, 2005 08:43 PM

I've done it before without much attention. but since we are plugging our websites now please visit and listen to my band. Click "vermuntica" on the left hand side and scroll through the list of songs. Ethan from Dynamite Ham says "Awesome Friend" is his favorite. Dr. Frank says he thinks "Chinese People" is "one of the best casio keyboard-based songs ever written" and Ben Weasel says he "only wishes he could write songs as good as Utica Monday Nite." Go give them a listen.

Posted by: Melody Chest at August 17, 2005 08:46 PM

Okay Melody, I actually took the time to view the site and listen to a couple of trax and now everything is suddenly clear..................

Posted by: Zaphod at August 17, 2005 09:08 PM

are you the guy with half a moustache and a blender hat? or is that some other chicagoan? have you ever seen that guy, on channel 11's wild chicago?

Posted by: lark woodpile jr, at August 18, 2005 10:02 AM

Man, if I had a nickel for every time I was asked that...

No, I'm the non-descript guy with the really cute wife.

Posted by: Ethan at August 18, 2005 10:22 AM

Hey, do you like to swap? I don't have a wife of my own, but you can play with my dog.

Posted by: Sgt. Swinger at August 18, 2005 02:37 PM

I'm still laughing about those smug Labradorians.

Posted by: Wes at August 19, 2005 11:48 AM

this blender hat guy had a cute wife too, but she was pretty chubby. he also had two male assistants named carol and merril. (only frank will get that reference.)" wild chicago"..great show in its heyday (w/ ben hollis)

Posted by: lark woodpile at August 21, 2005 04:28 AM

j francis, you pretentious shmuck. how freaking condescending can you get? people don't make music to entertain and appease the likes of you, they make music because they like it, love it, or just plain want to. if someone else digs it, great! there's enough people out there for every band to have at least one or two fans. don't lay your indie tightass hierarchy on unsuspecting humans. "music" is what YOU listen to, pal.

Posted by: lark woodpile, jr. at August 21, 2005 04:33 AM

have you seen melody's chest? apparently she really likes to advertise it.

Posted by: anonymouse at August 21, 2005 07:08 AM

Melody Chest is not a "she" you numbskull. I am about as manly as men come these days, I have to shave twice a day or I get the Homer Simpson. I eat meat, smoke smokes and drink burboun. I am called Meldy Chest because I have huge pectoral muscles and like to slap out a nice melody on them wen I'm feeling blue. Get it straight.

Posted by: Melody-Chest at August 22, 2005 04:01 PM

Hey J., was "the gretchens" music DYI? Cuz if someone else did it for you, you better get your money back!

Posted by: Meldoy Chest at August 22, 2005 04:02 PM

ouch. nice work chesty, kudos.
sorry about the gender confusion,
but just remember, today's rippled pectorals are tomorrow's heaving man-boobs.

something to mull.

Posted by: lark woodpiler at August 24, 2005 07:59 AM

I really enjoy these songs. Especially even hitler and babababa. the beginning of two martini's from now sounds like the beginning of that ween song "baby bitch" (its been a while since i've seen you smile..) when played at that speed.

Posted by: fan at August 31, 2005 10:25 PM

Fan, Thanks for the kind remarks. I'm a Ween fan; 12 Golden Country Greats is one of my "desert island discs". Dr Frank wrote the "it's been a while" line, of course. Direct all lawsuits his way.

Posted by: Ethan at September 2, 2005 08:20 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Fan. I like Ween too. 12 Golden Country Greats is one of my "desert island discs."

Posted by: Ethan at September 2, 2005 09:51 PM

Thanks, Mom, er, I mean, "fan." I like Ween too. They influenced my early years of recording. "12 Golden Country Greats" is one of my favorites.

Posted by: Ethan at September 2, 2005 10:53 PM

i would select draft number two for submission.

Posted by: melody chest at September 3, 2005 07:24 PM

heh heh, damn browser made it look like it didn't go thru. Man, I look stupid.

Posted by: Ethan at September 4, 2005 03:52 PM