Except that starting today (Feb. 28, '17) King Dork Approximately the Album is available in general digital release. That means the sound files are officially decoupled from the book for those who want them decoupled, and are available to download on Amazon, iTunes, spotify, Pandora, Youtube, etc.
The best way to buy the album, though, is still to get it with the book because doing it that way gets you exactly the same digital files, plus you get a free book. And the best way to do that is to get it from Sounds Radical, because it comes in a sweet custom box with a cool print of Frank Kozik's original cover design, signed by me; plus the other extras that sometimes get offered and thrown in when you order and get on the super special mailing list. This edition of the book also contains the lyrics. You people like lyrics, don't you? Sure you do. The album without the book isn't quite the full "balbum", keep that in mind. They go together.
To commemorate this occasion, Sounds Rad is offering a free "MTX 800" amp head enamel pin for all MTX orders thru 3/6. Also, each order that includes a KDA album download gets the pin free, "in perpetuity", according to Chris Thacker. Perpetuity, that's a long time.
But of course in this day and age, an album isn't seen as "real" unless you can easily get it for free, so spotify and youtube to your hearts' content if you must. Play it in the background without listening too carefully like the value-less vanity it is. (Nb.: I've just learned that there was a goof and tracks 8 and 9 on the digital release are mislabelled/swapped. The titles are in the right sequence but the files themselves are swapped. Sorry about that. There isn't an easy way to fix it, but I'm working on it. The one you get when you download from the link in the book is correct.)
In other balbum news, the vinyl LP version is due to come out later this year, probably in June if all goes according to plan. There will be a gatefold cover, which we have designed so that the subsequent KDA 7" will integrate with the package, whether you buy them separately or together. Hard to explain but very cool (at least, that's the plan!) Oh, you don't know about the 7"? This is two, possibly three, new King Dork-related songs that will come out a bit after the LP, whenever we can manage to get it together, so stay tuned for info on that.
Finally, a plea from me to you. For some reason, our digital distributor (the Orchard) cannot manage to arrange for our product descriptions to appear on any platform. We enter them. They just never show up. (They had ONE JOB...) So it would be a help if you all, or even one of you, would include a description in a review, on Amazon and iTunes so people who aren't already in the club have some chance of understanding what it is. I could do it, but when I've tried it in the past they figure out that I'm an interested party and delete "review." They’ll sell it, sure. They just don’t want anyone to know what it is, apparently.
(For what it's worth, here's the official product description that no one will ever otherwise see:
The Mr. T Experience, known to fans as "MTX", has been a punk pop thorn in the side of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for thirty years now. Typically regarded as among the founders of "East Bay Pop Punk" and led by singer-songwriter Dr. Frank (dubbed "the Cole Porter of punk" by one or two writers over the years) the band has released around a dozen albums and eps on Green Day launchpad Lookout Records throughout its heyday the 90s. Under his real name, Dr. Frank (Portman) has also published three young adult novels, including the bestselling cult favorite King Dork and its recent sequel King Dork Approximately.
MTX returns with their eleventh full length studio album, titled King Dork Approximately the Album and released in connection with the paperback version of Portman's YA novel of the same name, the sequel to his 2006 bestseller, King Dork. The album consists of songs “written by" the novel’s rock’n’roll obsessed narrator and "interpreted and performed” by Dr. Frank’s very real band.
Thanks to everyone who came out the shows in Houston and San Antonio over the weekend.
As with most of the cities we've been visiting here and there over the past couple of years, these were both places we haven't been in well over a decade. The main difference I notice between then and now is that despite the fact that our previous shows occurred in the "hey day" of east bay pop punk when we were all at our collective putative apex, people seem to care more now, and there are more of them. Of course, a lot of these are in fact the same people, who had been there pre-2004 at age fifteen or whatever and were returning now as their adult selves (several with their kids... the next generation, as it were.)
We last played in Houston on the Yesterday Rules tour in 2004. (At the tried and true Fitzgerald's. I was amazed the building was still standing even back then, and still more amazed to learn it's still around now.) Unless I'm mistaken the last time we played in San Antonio was on one of our very first tours, in '88 or '89, and it was a memorable show. The way I remember it, most of the audience was made up of Mexican skinheads (a thing I hadn't realized existed.) It started out pretty well, actually, and I had talked to some of them beforehand and they were friendly. Many of them had these very beautiful crucifix tattoos on their backs that they were showing me, kind of joyfully (or so I imagined.) They liked that I was Catholic. They slapped me on the back and did the cool guy handshake thing that I've never been able to do convincingly. However, as with many "tough guy" types there was this kind of unnerving undercurrent to the technically innocuous interaction, the sense that things could really get weird and scary very quickly if you happened to say the wrong thing or make the wrong move. (You've seen that scene in the movie Goodfellas, where Joe Pesci baits Ray Liotta about saying he's funny... it's that kind of thing.)
And in fact, that is exactly what happened.
I have this song "The History of the Concept of the Soul" that is a song version of a paper I wrote in college. I used to introduce it that way from the stage, saying, "I went to college and..." As it happened these guys took that introduction as an insult, like I was saying I went to college so I was "better than them." This was explained to me after the fact. Never in a million years would I have guessed this reason. But I could tell things were all of a sudden going wrong from the stage. I was used to hostility from the pit, but this was of a different order somehow. After we finished up, the show organizers pulled me aside and said, "look, there are some guys out there who want to kill you, and, you know, they don't mess around, they will really do it." They arranged to spirit me out the back way and hid me this closet while the rest of the band loaded out. And then we got the hell out of there. This really happened, and it wasn't just some excuse of mine to get out of loading out, I swear.
That's how I remember it anyway, but over the years with such memories, you start to wonder how much is real. As it turns out, there was a guy at last weekend's show in San Antonio who had been there, who remembered it too. He described it as "problems with Nazis" and lamented that our quick departure had prevented him from getting his Night Shift LP signed. This we rectified. (It was the original Rough Trade / 6th International version, that he had bought at that show. It now says "Dr. Frank" with an arrow pointing to my little spiky head.) He said that record had meant a lot to him at the time, and quoted some lyrics at me, with feeling. Now there aren't a lot of lyrical high points on that record to say the least, but then again, you and I haven't had his childhood. He sold it. I got it. San Antonio, we meet again, under much better circumstances, thank God.
Anyhow, I must have talked to over a hundred people over those two nights, each of whom had their own story of their history seeing the band and account of what particular songs had meant to them growing up, just like this guy, albeit less fraught. It was like being in a receiving line of testimonials, one after the other, kind of, maybe, like how I'd imagine my funeral might be conducted, were I to be alive to hear it. Now, I've had a great many of these conversations, at pretty much every show, so it's nothing new per se. But there was something different about this Texas version. It was more emotional, more intense. I've never had my lyrics quoted to me so often and with such... emphasis, I guess. A couple of people choked up while doing it. And, well, I'm a sentimental guy and I got a little misty too.
So thanks again to the folks of Houston and San Antonio, and to Screeching Weasel, 30 Foot Fall, Nobodys, Turnaways, and Capitalist Kids who played with us. (Capitalist Kids: love those guys.) It was fun, and a whole lot better than being murdered by "skins," or so I assume.
We have more shows coming up if you want to get in on this action. And, as always, you can buy our new book + album (= "balbum") at Sounds Radical, if you haven't already done so. Peace.
(Crossposted at Medium.
"You read the magazines?" I said.
"So do I," Sally Reine informed me. "My old man gets heaps of them from the States. I like the detective-story ones, where the characters aren't allowed to swear, and the Chicago gangster cries, 'Good gracious!' It's nice to see the tough racketeer become a pathological case at one sweep of an editor's blue pencil..."-- John Dickson Carr, Castle Skull
Dave from the Four Eyes!
Here's the current show list again, updated with buy links for tickets.
Thurs. Feb. 9: Books & Brews II. Dr. Frank solo/acoustic, with Kepi, and DJ Sid Presley. "Daly City’s Department of Library and Recreation Services presents Books & Brews II, the Beers of Bavaria." Cafe Doelger, 101 Lake Merced Blvd, Daly City, California 94015. 6PM-9PM. $25, incl. beer. Non-drinkers free. Tickets here. Facebook event page here
Sat. April 1: Dr. Frank solo/acoustic, with the Avengers, Pansy Division, the Plus Ones. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., San Francisco CA. This is Joel Reader's birthday, and as far as I'm aware I'm going to do two short acoustic sets amidst the electric bands. Tickets here. Facebook event page here.
Thurs. April 6: MTX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Nobodys, Happyness. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. San Francisco, CA. Tickets here.
Fri. April 7: MTX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Nobodys. Soda Bar, San Diego, CA. Tickets here.
Sun. April 9th: MTX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Nobodys. The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA. Tickets here.
So these Valentine cards were created as extras to go along with Sounds Radical's limited edition Love Is Dead shirt/hoodie. The shirts and hoodies are, I understand, pretty much all sold out. But if you want the cards, you can still get them with any order, through Feb. 14. (There are four. They're funny and cool.) Head over to the Sounds Rad store and order something!
Update: Here's what's left on the Love Is Dead product as of now:
Hoodies: Sm - 2; M - 1; L - 2; XL - 2; XXL - 2
T-Shirts: Sm - 4; M - 2; L - 1; XL - 3; XXL - 1
Get 'em while they last.
This is the next thing coming up: me, Kepi, DJ Sid Presley, beer, and German food on Thurs. 2/9, 6PM at Cafe Doelger, 101 Lake Merced Blvd, Daly City, California 94015. $25, free for non-drinkers, all ages welcome.
Also, this is real:
(Other shows here.)