December 29, 2017

An Exciting Gay Adventure for Getaway People

In psychological terms, it will be easy enough to trace back to this habit of mind a certain poverty in our basic religious sense—a lack of pietas, a shrivelled sense of creaturely awe before the numinous. Given that situation, it will seem natural (though infinitely sad) that we should maul the holy liturgy so rudely, that our new churches should be built smart and heartless, that we should chatter so brightly and forget silence, that we should carry on in general as though the following of Christ crucified had been restyled into an exciting gay adventure for getaway people.

This 1966 essay was described by the person who shared it with me as "incredibly prescient," and I suppose it is, save in one respect: it failed to predict that the exciting gay adventure for getaway people would prove, in the end, to be so impressively boring.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:58 PM

Minor Secrets of "Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba" Revealed!

Signature tune, I suppose, and all that that entails.

The amp going out in the middle of the song was a fairly typical mid-tour event. Those amplifiers, God love 'em, were exceedingly fragile and not necessarily soldered together all that robustly in the factory... who'd have imagined they'd rattle around in the backs of vans for hours every day for eight weeks at a time several times a year and run at full heat every single night? I can still hear the "tic tic tic tic" sound of the (never-used) reverb doo-dad as the background soundtrack on the road, till it finally rattled itself loose and went silent. It usually wasn't too long thereafter that other things rattled themselves off as well. Eventually a Fonz-like punch in the side of the face wasn't enough to make them behave when they gave out during a set. After which, we'd just stop at a local music store, buy a new used one, and carry the dead one around, sometimes bringing it out to stack up and look cool on stage. That's how KISS started out I think. (The going rate for those was $400 each.) Anyway, that's why I have so many of them now.

Maybe that's what we did on the way from Seattle to wherever after this show, but I'm not sure; it looks like that one had a few good punches left in it.

Anyway, in this case the punch worked and the crowd luckily was able to fill in for the missing sound by screaming away. A better showman might have stuck around to milk the join-together-with-the-band drama instead of scurrying away to attend to the punching, but you know, there were lots of songs left and we weren't getting any younger. As for the song itself, I've written a bit about it recently when posting other vids of it, here and here.

In "primordial" form this one pre-dates most of the Love Is Dead songs. It was not-yet-finished but buzzing in my head during the lengthy, procrastinatory lag between the recording and release of ...and the Women Who Love Them. I'd considered trying to throw together a quickie acoustic version to stick on one of the formats as a hidden track, in fact (because it seemed likely that that release was to be the MTX's last hurrah: and it would have been fitting.) In the event it was saved for the band's subsequent incarnation. I'm not sure it was ever really "finished." People who have followed some of my recent and not so recent complaints about rhymes and such will notice that this breaks most of my dumb little rules repeatedly and flagrantly. I was only just realizing I had an effective lyric-writing rulebook, but it wasn't like I was unaware of it at the time either. Maybe I could have done it better, but it just seemed okay the way it was somehow. And it is, after all, a slightly rueful celebration of imperfection so...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:36 PM

December 28, 2017

The Red Room Riddle

I was raised Catholic, but it was a hippie-dippie California kind of Free to Be You and Me Public Television Catholicism without much content, so I first heard about the Slaughter of the Innocents from this Scott Corbett book, quite a good ghost story in fact.

(If you would like to see a depiction of the Massacre of the Holy Innocents from a 10th Century illuminated manuscript, go here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:55 PM

You Hit Me with a Tree

Here's another (the only other) song from that found tape that also had the Munsters Theme on it, "Just Your Way of Saying No," one of Jon's best tunes. '85 or '86. We played it too fast, like everything else and like everybody else, but there's a good bit of rock and roll in there nonetheless, thank God.

I think you can see my terrible old Yamaha combo amp propped up on a chair in the back there. That thing really sounded awful. I wonder what happened to it.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:39 AM

December 27, 2017

In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum (et Deus erat Verbum)

I am unable to post pictures to this blog at present, but you're interested in seeing an early 15th Century manuscript illuminated to depict John the Apostle and Evangelist at the moment of receiving the Revelation you can view it here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:46 PM

December 26, 2017

Boxing Day

There was an image posted here but I've deleted it in an attempt to save the archives here. You may view it here if you like.

From this point on in time and up the page, by the way, all image posts were left off this blog and posted on social media and may be found on; and text posts here exclude the images. This is, I hope only temporary but we'll see.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:09 PM

St. Stephen

There was an image of the stoning St. Stephen posted here but I've deleted it in an attempt to save the archives here. You may view it here if you like.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:07 PM

December 25, 2017

1 Manger Square, Bethlehem

Image from Bethlehem deleted, posted here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:14 PM

Almost Nearly There

Image of girl by white tree deleted, posted here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:58 AM

December 24, 2017

Cat Creche Crash

Image of cat creche crash deleted, posted here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:57 PM

December 23, 2017

Ding Dong Merrily

Image of child with scary Santa mask, bell, and baby deleted, posted here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:34 PM


Image of St. Victoria reliquary deleted, posted here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:01 PM

Mylène Demongeot 1968

Image of Mylene Demongeot decorated for Christmas deleted, posted here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:40 AM

Munsters Theme

My buddy Will found this on a VHS tape (all it had on it was two MTX songs from this same performance and the Quincy punk episode.) If it's not obvious, the method of transfer was his taking a cell phone video of the TV. This had to be 1985 or 1986, probably before Everyone's Entitled... was recorded, and it's the only document that I've seen of our Munsters theme cover, which we used to play in all our sets in the beginning. No idea where this is from, but it kind of looks like a campus room of some kind.

This "move," mining your childhood for bits of pop and trash culture to recapitulate semi-ironically, is something we used to do all the time and it has had a long history in punk rock and alterna-culture generally. You know the kind of thing I mean: you take a Brady Bunch song, or a song from or about the Partridge Family, feed it through your own machine and make it your own. (Well, "your own," except that, everyone else is doing that too.) I probably learned it from the Dickies. I can tell you that for 13 year old me there was nothing in the world more amazing, more brilliant, more perfect, more meaningful, or more transcendent, than the bare fact of the existence of a recording of a punk band playing the Banana Splits theme. (I've kind of, you know, gotten used to the idea by now.)

But what I was thinking was, what's the contemporary equivalent? I doubt very many people under 35 are familiar with the Munsters or the Banana Splits, and like so much of what amused us to death back then it's completely incomprehensible to them now: but they must be aware of SOMETHING. What stuff from twenty years ago do "the kids" mine for semi-ironic thrills in 2017? i.e., what would the 2017 version of the 1985 Mr T Experience present a warped re-capitulation of from the year 1997 that would be suited to this use? Well, the answer is, there isn't one, so: nothing. Rock and roll as "the now sound" is gone, for good, probably. But if there were? Some video game thing I'd expect. Is there still "trash culture," and if so what is it?

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:21 AM

December 22, 2017

My soul doth magnify the Lord

Visitation image deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:45 PM

Close Enough for Holland

Was surprised to come across this vid of me attempting Del McCoury's "Queen Anne's Lace" at Stefan Tijs's place in Rotterdam in 2012. I must have been pretty drunk. That's Kepi's guitar, before United Airlines got their hands on it.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:13 PM

December 21, 2017

Merry Xmas

Image of Dr. Frank ornament deleted, viewable here.

And buyable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:13 AM


The Creatrix - Mark Ryden

Image of The Creatrix by Mark Ryden deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:02 AM

December 20, 2017

Domingo de Silos embraced by Ferdinand I

Image deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:34 PM

Look Ma, I'm Quasifamous

Rhymes with "infamous" if you take out the "n."

Ed Masley put KDATA on his Best Albums of 2017 list. Yes!!!

And I'll be pulling these quotes:

'a title track that sounds like the mid-'60s Kinks doing country'


'“High School is the Penalty for Transgressions Yet to Be Specified” filters the essence of Ray Davies at his most theatrical through Dr. Frank’s distinctive lyrical and vocal sensibilities.'

You got my number, Ed!

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:33 PM

I Wish...

... we could re-animate Philip Larkin so we could see what "High Windows 2017" would look like.

Also just generally.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:22 PM

Minor Secrets of "More than Toast" Revealed!

When you make a sacrifice you're supposed to get a wish... another one of these from '98. T

he kernel of this song was just the idea of playing around with metaphors for love and loss and such, and it evolved into an unstated hypothesis that you can plug just about anything (e.g. "staplegun") into these kinds of statements with no erosion of emotional meaning for all their absurdity. Eh, it's hard to explain. It's never a good idea to try to explain a song: just listen to it (if you want.)

The other element was the old Les Paul Jr. and Marshall half stack I'd lately acquired, which stimulated a nice run of pretty good songwriting. "More than Toast" and "Swallow Everything" (another metaphor deconstruction song, in a way, I guess) were the first songs I wrote using this machinery. More on that general situation here.

Anyway, while "More than Toast" is by no means perfect as a song, it does do pretty much everything it's supposed to do without going too far off the rails, rare for me at the time and harder to achieve than you'd think.

The dating in the lyrics is accurate: the spirit of '91 indeed. Because of that metaphor stuff, I've always thought of "She's Not a Flower" as a kind sequel to it. But I guess everything's a sequel to everything else in a sort of way but not really.

This is one of the most popular tunes in the songbook, #1 in fact if you go by an informal poll conducted on my blog quite some time ago in response to a query about what should be on an MTX best of comp. (The compilation never did come together, though it may yet in future, and we'll probably do another kind of poll for that.) The song was featured on the soundtrack of the NCAA 06 Football video game, and many people I've spoken to have said they became fans after hearing us for the first time in that format. That is indeed probably the furthest "reach" any of my tunes has had. Whatever works, ya know? This is the tenth posted out of 16 songs in that set, by the way.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:14 PM

December 19, 2017

Yeah, whose baby are you

Image of Yvonne Craig in a Santa outfit in sleigh deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:22 PM



This is a pin, available jointly and severally from Sounds Radical.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:38 PM


Image of pin-up girl putting gun in stocking deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:20 PM


Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:25 AM

December 18, 2017

Minor Secrets of "I'm Like Yeah, but She's All No" Revealed!

And these are ships that I can't board...

If I am remembering correctly, this was one of two Love Is Dead tracks that we more or less threw together while mixing at Hyde Street, because we'd run out of time during the tracking at Bay Records. (The other was "That Prozac Moment", and I think you can hear the slap-dash-ness in both, though it suits TPM a bit more than ILYBSAN, I'd say.) For what it's worth, that "I'm Like Yeah..." recording is way too fast. We were in a rush, I guess, and I'm sure we saved a few minutes of mixing time thereby.

That opening arpeggio guitar figure owes a bit to "A Quick One..." by way of "Mirror Star," I suppose. The song is solid, and certainly one of the most popular of my songs. One thing I like about it is that it takes that "like" / "all" / "going" conceit, which could easily have descended into lazy ridicule, and uses it in aid of "characterization" instead. I love it when that happens, and it turns out it works in narrative fiction as well.

Share, link, like, up vote, subscribe, comment, dance around the room, wish your dog a merry Christmas, kiss your husband, drink a milkshake, please and thank you.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:38 PM

Nuestra Señora de La O

Image deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:35 PM

December 17, 2017



Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:27 PM

December 15, 2017

St. Nino, Sweet Mother of Wine


Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:41 PM

St. John of the Cross

Image deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:44 AM

December 13, 2017

Love Is Dead

Another song (the eighth one so far) from that 1998 Seattle show I've been posting bit by bit. Why? Well, why does anyone do anything? I think it's an interesting, and unusually clear and distinct, "snapshot" of the way it was during a period a lot of people are interested in. Plus, I want people to get used to going to my fledgling youtube channel because I plan to post more stuff there in the coming year..

So.... Why is the song "Love Is Dead" not on the album Love Is Dead? The song was already mostly written when we were mapping out the album, but not recorded in those sessions. The album was "officially" untitled during the recording, though the notebook I had all my lyrics in did have "NAME: Dr. Frank / SUBJECT: Love is Dead!" scrawled on the cover (which I discovered and was surprised by a few years ago when I stumbled on it.) I think I probably didn't want to commit to the title prematurely, just in case something better came along, though obviously it didn't.

Anyway, the title had clearly been kicking around in my head, and when that happens a song often results. Leaving the "title track" of the previous album for the following record is a fun gimmick to connect the two that some of my idols have done (Robyn Hitchcock, Elvis Costello) and when it did come to organizing what came to be Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You it was like joining a kind of tradition. But at the time, it was just kind of random, the result of everything being tentative and chaotic. As was the case with the song that contained the line that named that album -- "I Was Losing You All Along" -- which wasn't on its album because we didn't finish recording it; and as with the song from whose lyrics Yesterday Rules was drawn, which may well be on the next MTX album, should there be one. These things happen.

For what it's worth, I do think this song would have weakened the Love Is Dead album by being too prominent as a "title track." It's better that the theme is danced around, so to speak, and not literally spelled out, and that's the case with lots of things. Which certainly makes it easier on those of us who aren't all that good at spelling things out. I've been asked about this a lot and I usually say something like "it's just one of those things," which is true as well.

As for the song itself, it's a pretty good essay at that Tin Pan Alley approach to lyrics and structure that I've sometimes stabbed at. The bridge is particularly ridiculous (meaning good), illustrating the initial vague notion of "emotional vertigo" with subsequent climbing of what turns out to be a tree, one of the limbs of which the narrator is "out on" etc. I love it when you can take things too far, to the point of stupidity, and somehow it simulates brilliance as long as your words are nice. Or so I like to think.

Share, link, like, up vote, subscribe, comment, dance around the room, please and thank you.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:11 PM

St. Lucy

Image of St. Lucy deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:01 PM

December 12, 2017

¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?

Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:08 PM

Newishly Old?

Tuesday read: a post-mortem on Evergreen College, though the corpse is still twitching and its spirit lives on apparently. It is quite a tale, of which I'd only heard bits and pieces before now.

This quote from Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind might have been written about Evergreen President George Bridges rather than the 1969 faculty at Cornell he described:

Students discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears.

Then again, I'm not sure academic freedom is part of the catechism anymore, as this incident seems to indicate.

One thing that strikes me about the current wave of campus demonstrations is how quasi-liturgical and "religious" the program seems to be, the crowd repeating en masse sentence by sentence words of an officiant orator, the chanting.. it always reminds me of church. Check out the "canoe ritual" in the video.

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of Heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen..." the words are different and the objective is arguably different, but it's a familiar sound and cadence from my childhood that I hear every time I see video of one of these protests. The ideologies of the past couple of centuries have always been ersatz religions by some reckonings (including mine) but this sacerdotal style seems to bring it full circle and to be something new, or newishly old. Where did they learn it? I wasn't aware of much of anything in '69, but the protests I remember from my college days in the '80s weren't anything like so liturgical. Maybe I'm misremembering though.

At any rate, they certainly seem to have mastered the art of shaming, casting out, and ostracism of non-believers and dissenters.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:00 PM

We Ae the Future People of Tomorrow

Yet another bit of that '98 RKCNDY show, for my sins.

This was an "orphaned" song from that great big chunk of material that was whittled down into Love Is Dead, released on the Joe Queer-curated comp More Bounce to the Ounce a few years later. I've always been fond of it, and considering that it's kind of a one-off throw-away tune it has always seemed to punch a bit above its weight at shows and such.

How anyone can hear it and not grasp that it's a sort of parody is beyond me, but it regularly happens (though possibly some of these folks are doing it just mess with me.) On the other hand, I do stand for freedom etc. if I stand for anything and I suppose I'm opposed to oppressionism as well, and opium in your masses must suck very much indeed. So maybe... irony-proof people, we are not so very different you and I.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:28 PM

Makes a Great Gift


Gearing up for some Dr. Frank releases in the next year and kicking it off with a limited "pop up" Christmas package from Sounds Rad. All your Christmas shopping sorted, right here. Only 50 available so now's the time.

Shirt, pin, Christmas ornament, sticker-- check it out.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:46 AM

December 11, 2017

Novum Opus

Manuscript page of St. Jerome's letter to Pop Damasus deleted, viewable .

December 10, 2017

John Baptist in Prison

Image of John the Baptist in prison deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:34 PM

December 09, 2017


Individually and in the co-ordinated and purposive groups which constitute a healthy society, men and women display a certain capacity for rational thought and free choice in the light of ethical principles. Herded into mobs, the same men and women behave as though they possessed neither reason nor free will. Crowd-intoxication reduces them to a condition of infrapersonal and antisocial irresponsibility. Drugged by the mysterious poison which every excited herd secretes, they fall into a state of heightened suggestibility, resembling that which follows an injection of sodium amytal or the induction, by whatever means, of a light hypnotic trance. While in this state they will believe any nonsense that may be bawled at them, will act upon any command or exhortation, however senseless, mad or criminal.
--Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun
Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:02 PM

December 07, 2017

Hiroshima mon Amour


Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:02 PM

St. Ambrose

Image of the relics of St. Ambrose deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:29 PM

Thank You for Not Being One of Them

Here's another one of these from that 1998 RKCNDY show. It took some doing to come up with an undone take on "us against the world" but I think this one does it. It was one of a handful of songs whose sensibility and narrative voice was appropriated for the King Dork books.

If nothing else, its existence is justified by the lines: "you don't hesitate to exaggerate and say that it's okay" and "later that night we hold each other tight and plot their destruction", the latter of which I've seen as a tattoo at least once, along with the song title's acronym. (And yes, it is so an acronym rather than an "initialism": pronounced "TIFF-un-boot.")

I often used to remain silent for the stops and let the audience fill in the line endings, which was great when it worked, but a bit embarrassing when it didn't, and you never know which you were going to get. For whatever reason I didn't do it this time, but you can hear the crowd joining in anyway (and if you were there, thanks.)

There was originally a third verse that looked toward a future of growing old together and cultivating an insular life of splendid isolation and loving misanthropy. I can no longer remember how it went, though it's written down somewhere no doubt, but "Population: Us" was in effect an elaboration on it.

(Please share, like, and subscribe. TYFNBOOT)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:50 PM

December 06, 2017

Deus, qui beátum Nícolaum Pontíficem innúmeris decorásti miráculis: tríbue, quǽsumus; ut ejus méritis et précibus a gehénnæ incéndiis liberémur.


Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:43 PM

The new kid on the chopping block...

I remember this song being received with skepticism and a decided lack of enthusiasm by band and producer... someone (I can't remember who) tried to nudge me toward ditching it by saying it resembled something the Mentors might do. If only, and also, yeah, I didn't get that either and still don't. Of course, in the circumstances in which they enountered it (tiny practice room, inadequate PA, inept "chops", and total chaos enveloped by a miasma of defeatism and demoralization) its special un-Mentorsy qualities were no doubt rather hard to spot.

Nevertheless it became one of the more popular tunes and largely set the tone for what was to come in the next few years, song-wise and arguably sound-wise. It's got some pretty nice lines and it performs what I like best in a song fairly well, the feat of taking a dumb or unlikely conceit and making it work by sheer force. I brought in my old pal Dallas Denery to sing some basic backups for the recording. His verdict on the lyrics: something like "far out, daddy-o." Well, they are that. And that cat was dynamite.

I was studying Greek at the time I wrote this and the other "...and the Women Who Love Them" songs while hanging out at a Cole Street cafe in between visits to my father in the hospital, scribbling lyrics in the margins of Plato's Meno and wondering what to do with my life. (The fact that the answer turned out to be "the Mr. T Experience" is as questionable now as it would have been then. What can I say? I wish I had a better life's work, but you work with what you've got and it's the only one I had.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 01:33 PM

December 05, 2017

The relics of St. Sabbas the Sanctified, taken to Venice by Crusaders in the 12th Century, returned to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1965

Image deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:18 PM

December 04, 2017

Ready Set Go

Another one of these from Seattle, '98. I was quite surprised to see this song in the set. It was not often performed, that I recall, by any line-up. (Maybe it was a request that we tried to "wing" -- there's some chord flubs in the bridge, not that that proves much as there are almost always a few of those.) Anyway, I do remember having the sense, at the time, that songs such as this from the 1992 Milk Milk Lemonade album were ancient, obscure artifacts that could be excavated from time to time as kind of stunt. Six years is a long time at any given point, perhaps, but nearly twenty years on from that point it all seems like everything is pretty much of a piece.

As for the song itself, it's a rather lazy attempt at an extended metaphor (the romantic object as terrarium pet) that goes off not fully "cocked", so to speak, like many songs of its era. Songwriting negligence of this kind always embarrasses me a little still, even as I recognize that such half-cockedness and the resulting blurred correspondences and off-kilter focus can be the most interesting thing about them, hardly achievable on purpose should that be a thing you'd ever want to do. I know this song is beloved by many, whatever the case. Maybe it's all in that riff, which, though I say it myself, would rule per se, whatever it was used for or in.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:18 PM

'twas Long Ago


Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:22 PM


For a brief period we used to close our sets with this Austin Powers / “Ming Tea” song. It was fun, trust me.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:11 PM

St. Peter Chrysologus

Image deleted, viewable here.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:07 PM

December 01, 2017

Another Yesterday

"Okay, I'm gonna make a deal with you: I'm gonna try to sing all the words to every song. Unless you knock the microphone away from me, then I'm not gonna be able to do it. So the choice is yours, you wanna hear all the words or not?"

"Another Yesterday" was an attempt to rein in my tendency to over-write and do something simpler than usual, almost a songwriting "exercise" in a way. I think it's got quite a lot going for it despite/because of that. I was always pretty dissatisfied with the recording: it feels rushed and slapdash. I'd meant it to be darker, more melancholy, and I had a pretty specific production concept to use a "Help You Ann" type vibrato on a few guitars layered and delayed. I wanted it to sound harsh but beautiful. I didn't get a chance to try that, though a very slight bit of it is mixed in in the recording (and it does sound pretty cool, just not anywhere near what was imagined.) So this is another one of those "what might have been" songs, a bit bittersweet like those always are.

It has a good energy live though, and it always gratified me how much people responded to it, given that there's nothing remotely "novelty" about it.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:31 AM