November 23, 2015

Thanks for the rock and roll, Casper/Denver


Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:03 PM

October 25, 2015


It is tempting to imagine that a simple idea in the minds of simple people decades past and thousands of miles away can explain a complex event. The notion that local east European antisemitism killed the Jews of eastern Europe confers upon others a sense of superiority akin to that the Nazis once felt. These people are quite primitive, we can allow ourselves to think. Not only does this account fail as an explanation of the Holocaust; its racism prevents us from considering the possibility that not only Germans and Jews but also local peoples were individual human agents with complex goals that were reflected in politics. When we fall into the trap of ethnicization and collective responsibility, we collude with Nazi and Soviet propagandists in the abolition of political thought and the lifting of individual agency.
--Timothy Snyder, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:05 PM

October 23, 2015


So I guess that vinyl sale was a success, in that I have hardly any of the LPs left. Thanks very much folks. I may well do it again next time I find myself with some time and some product so watch this space.

In the meantime, I still have a few inquiries about the remaining odds and ends coming in, so this is a post to make clear what's still left to be got. (Also, I found another box of assorted CDs so the CD inventory has changed a bit.) I'll leave a link to this post on the side panel as well.

Check the original post for the details on how to order something. Also, though it's not noted there, it's a good idea to let me know in your initial message if you're outside the US, because shipping costs more and I have to present the packages personally at the post office in most cases so that information will affect the shipping amount charged and the timeline for sending the stuff out.

LPs ($20): Night Shift

10" ($15): Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood

7" ($8): Tapin' Up My Heart, Andromeda Klein, Bomb Bassets "Please Don't Die", Bomb Bassett/McCrackins "Trip" split.

CDs ($10): Everyone's Entitled, Night Shift, Making Things with Light, And the Women.., Love Is Dead (1 left), Revenge Is Sweet, Show Business, Alcatraz, Yesterday Rules

CDep: ($9) Miracle of Shame

CDR ($9): The Way Things Sound Like, Eight Little Songs

shirts ($20): Dr. Frank / Kepi Euro-tour (M, S, and Ladies' M only), King Dork Approximately, Sam Hellerman

Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:54 PM

Hakker 8

Hakker 8.550.jpg

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:15 PM

Spent Last Night Drinkin' Wine, a Little Bourbon, too, and Listening to the Partridge Family

I have twin aunts who are only four years older than me. When I was a kid they would sometimes babysit me, in concert or, more often, singly, but always with their respective complement of friends. I vividly remember one time when one of these aunts and all of her friends asked the 7 year old me what my favorite group was. Well, I responded with the only "group" I'd ever heard of (the Partridge Family.) They scoffed and teased me about it, and when a Partridge Family song came on the radio they would stand at attention and observe it with mock solemnity in my honor. She used to give me the albums as gifts sometimes. I guess I never lost the taste.

(They also used to say continually "hey babe take a walk on the wild side" and when I first heard the song years later it was a pretty big "click".)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:45 PM

October 20, 2015

While supplies last...

UPDATE: as of now, unless I'm miscounting, all the Love Is Deads are gone, as are most of the other LPs. I Still have some Night Shift, Making Things with Light, and Big Black Bugs, along with the 7"s and the CDs not struck through below. Thanks for shopping!


So, I've still got a bit of Lookout vinyl, though I don't keep track of it too carefully -- or at all really: every now and again I'll open a box and what's in there is in there. I've been selling them at shows recently, and last week, because someone asked, I did a little vinyl "sale" through a post on facebook. People seemed to appreciate it, and I recently discovered a box of LK 134s (Love Is Dead) that I thought were all gone, so here I am doing it again.

Vinyl is clearly the main point, but I've also got some CDs, if anyone's interested. I also have a few of the Dr. Frank / Kepi Eurotour shirts if anyone's interested in them, as well as King Dork Approximately and Sam Hellerman is a Genius shirts. (It's cheaper to order those from Interpunk, but if anyone wants to add them to an order for convenience I won't say no.) Also some Bomb Bassets 7"s. Finally, though it is cheaper and easier to get the digital version, I can make a CDR of the home-made live solo album The Way Things Sound Like for anyone who wants the physical object; and I also found a few old Eight Little Songs CDRs, too, if anyone wants one of those.

Here's what I've got:

LPs ($20): Alcatraz, Show Business is My Life, Revenge Is Sweet, Love Is Dead, Milk Milk Lemonade, Making Things with Light, Night Shift

10" ($15): Big Black Bugs

7" ($8): Tapin' Up My Heart, Andromeda Klein, Bomb Bassets "Please Don't Die", Bomb Bassett/McCrackins "Trip" split.

CDs ($10): Everyone's Entitled, Night Shift, And the Women.., Love Is Dead, Show Business, Alcatraz, Yesterday Rules

CDep: ($9) Miracle of Shame

CDR ($9): The Way Things Sound Like, Eight Little Songs

shirts ($20): Dr. Frank / Kepi Euro-tour (M, S, and Ladies' M only), King Dork Approximately, Sam Hellerman

If you want in on this, drop me a line (at saying what you want, and I'll calculate the shipping and total and tell you the amount to paypal to: Include in the paypal order a list of what you're ordering so I don't screw up. And when you do the paypal order, please do it as an order for goods/services and include your address in the order. (Avoiding the fee by making it a gift instead is a nice idea but in fact makes the whole thing more of a hassle, plus the shipping often winds up costing more.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 08:32 PM

October 13, 2015

The Way It Sounds Like


You can get a digital version of this here if you want one.

I put it together as a CDR to sell on a solo acoustic tour of Europe that I did with Kepi in the Fall of 2012. We had a bunch of printed "covers" and would make ten to fifteen discs on Stefan's laptop in the car on the way to each gig. We probably unloaded around a hundred of them in all. Its purpose was to be a souvenir item for people who went to those particular shows, a purpose which was served, and then pretty much to disappear and fade away thereafter, which it pretty much did. However, I do get regular requests to make it available, which is what I'm doing now.

They're all live solo acoustic songs from a variety of sources, basically whatever I could lay my hands on in the few days before flying to Italy. The quality varies (so this is fair warning of that) but that's life, and they are what they are, and it is to be honest pretty much what I sound like live solo acoustic, mostly.

Doing this only via bandcamp, and I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up before I take it down, so get it while it lasts.

Songs: I Just Wanna Do It with You / She Turned Out to Be Crazy / I Don't Need You Now / Danny Partridge / Sorry for Freaking Out on the Phone Last Night / King Dork / How'd the Date End? / I Wanna Ramone You / Jill / Goody Goody Gumdrops / Knock Knock (Please Let Me In) / Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend / I Wrote a Book about Rock and Roll / You Today / Cingular Wireless (Worse than Hitler)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:13 PM

October 09, 2015

Thought for the Day

JoAnn Wypijewski in the Nation, addressing the strange paradox of putative liberals' calls for greater state power as a way of addressing state abuses of power:

Now, so drilled are we in the language of crime and punishment that any skepticism about the central role of victims seems scandalous. It is an effort to recall that due-process rights belong to the accused. It is an effort to presume innocence of the accused, to see a trial as the opposite of a forum for the aggrieved, to acknowledge that the state is not free—under that crumpled thing the Constitution—to do whatever it takes to “get the bad guy,” and we are not free when it does.

(via Fredrik deBoer.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 10:20 PM

October 08, 2015

Show Update once again


So the new stuff here is the details for the Oct 10 daytime YA convention and the Casper WY show on 11/20. More to come.

Saturday, Oct. 10

Two things happening. First:

I will be speaking (and probably doing a song or two) at the San Mateo County Library YA Novelist Convention. Also: Courtney Alameda, Alexis Bass, Linda Covella, Maurene Goo, Ann Jacobus, Stephanie Kuehn, Gretchen McNeil, Tamara Ireland Stone. Burlingame High School cafeteria building, 1 Mangini Way, Burlingame, CA 94010. 2PM-6PM. I'll be on near the beginning.

Then, later that night:

I'll be part of a truly impressive line-up of satirical writers, presented by Litquake under the name Foolishness, Stupidity, and Vice, Z Space, 450 Florida St., San Francisco CA. 8PM. Tickets available here.

w/host Ben Griffin and featuring Lisa Brown, Will Durst, Mark Fiore, Daniel Handler, T. Geronimo Johnson, Frank Portman, and Tom Toro

Friday, Nov. 20

This is the 20th anniversary Lillingtons show, with the Queers, MTX, PEARS and Chesterfield, Hall of Champions, Central Wyoming Fairgrounds, 1700 Fairgrounds Road, Caspar, Wyoming.

Saturday, Nov. 21

Queers, MTX, Lillingtons at the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood, Colorado. Tickets here.

More MTX shows TBA in December... soon.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:49 PM

Guitar News

The attempt to get my old Les Paul Jr. (the white one) into playing condition had hit a major snag a ways back because one of the bridge posts seems to have been epoxied in at some point and wouldn't come out without risk of major wood loss. (The reason it has to come out is a problem that is pretty typical of the 50s Juniors apparently: over the last 60 years the posts had gradually leaned forward and were actually touching the pick up. I think this was a problem early on that I didn't quite notice, because in order to play it halfway in tune, I learned to play the parts of chords on the upper strings a half step down and bend them up as I went up the neck, requiring a real re-adjustment of technique when I finally switched to a less idiosyncratic instrument.)

Anyway, just got word that the damn thing finally did come out, with no drilling necessary even. Smooth sailing from here according to the guy who's working on it. Best news ever, because it always sounded great and here's how cool it looks:


Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:40 PM

October 02, 2015

Uber Convo

You know, Uber rides often make me feel pretty good about America. Last night's driver was Egyptian and we had a very interesting conversation about authoritarian governments, media spin, history, and Egyptian politics. He said his family and friends back home don't really grasp what freedom or liberty is, and that he first realized there was something different about the US when he first witnessed police officers waiting in line with everyone else, something that had been simply beyond his comprehension previously. There's lots wrong with America obviously and plenty to criticize; nevertheless I won't soon forget that statement, and there's definitely something in it.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:13 PM

"Those people, the American writers of the 1920s and thereabouts, knew how to conjure two universes at once, the ordinary one in front of us, and the invisible one that occasionally winks at us from behind a column..."

Paul Berman talks Popes and Catholicism:

It is sometimes said of Chateaubriand, the author of The Genius of Christianity in 1800, that he was drawn to every aspect of the Catholic Church except its Christianity; and I find this understandable. In modern society it is the Catholic Church that most assiduously cultivates the memory of ancient Rome and its civilization—the Roman arts and their medieval legacies, and the Roman philosophical doctrines and their own legacies. The idea that some corner of modern culture is devoted to maintaining those particular legacies seems to me immensely moving. Now and then I read that a 100-year-old church in Brooklyn or the Bronx or some other American place is about to be sold to real-estate developers, and I become nearly as agitated as the half-dozen elderly parishioners who are sorry to see their old temple get torn down. The exterior architecture of those churches is often of merit, and, whatever the quality of the interiors and the statuary and artwork may be, I regard those buildings as temples to temple-ness. They house whatever is left of Rome.
Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:26 PM

September 20, 2015

No idea what it is really, but Johnny Thunders played it once


So I reached under the bed and pulled out another guitar. This is the second electric guitar I ever owned and was the main guitar for a stretch in the late '80s.

I've never been able to identify it precisely. The body is an SG shape, with a dark brown finish where you can just make out the wood grain, but it doesn't look much like the standard SG. For what it's worth, the neck feels 60s to me, and the decal on the headstock looks like the one on my late '50s and early '60s Les Paul Juniors, but unlike them it has uncovered humbuckers and tune-a-matic bridge as you can see. It could well be from the '70s. I really have no idea what it is or whence it came. No serial #. Not the easiest guitar to play, but it sounds pretty good. (I got a more traditional SG after this, which lasted only a few months before the neck snapped off. But it was easier to play and was the main Milk Milk Lemonade guitar, I'm pretty sure.)

This, by the way, is the guitar played by Johnny Thunders in the incident mentioned here, which is a tale for another day.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:18 AM

September 19, 2015

Drunken Rumination of the Day

The thing I've never been able to understand about campaigns to have this or that bit of art or culture suppressed or bowdlerized is: if your ideological worldview is such that the thing in question depicts an evil important and terrible enough to exercise you to that extent, why would you want the depiction to disappear? It would seem to me you'd want to preserve it, "curate" it even, as an example bolstering your argument about its awfulness, or about the awfulness of the world or cultural context out of which it emerged. Otherwise, to the degree to which you're successful, no one will know what you're talking about when you condemn it. I guess I've never really understood iconoclasm tout court. (And no I'm not saying there's nothing that deserves condemnation; only that the condemnation is only intelligible when you have the thing in question to hand.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:37 PM

September 18, 2015

Not Sure Why I Do This, But Doing It Anyhow


Upcoming things are listed here. (There are more as-yet-unannounceable shows to fill in when the time comes and I'll try to update the list as soon as they become announceable.)

First off, as I've mentioned here and there, I'm going to be teaching a class in novel writing (focusing on building and developing narrative voice) through the good people at Writing Pad. (They've just started operations in San Francisco, being previously an LA thing.) It'll be five weekly three hour evening sessions beginning Wednesday Sept. 30. If you want to join, now's the time: sign up here. (There's a payment plan if that helps, so inquire within.)


Sunday, Sept. 20

Punk Rock Sewing Circle Presents..., Impatient Youth, Dr. Frank, Yo, Edge City Ruins, International Cafe Revue, at Eli's Mile High Club, 3629 MLK, Oakland CA. All ages. 6PM.

This is the inauguration of an East Bay edition of the now annual SF Punk Renaissance festival. International Cafe Revue features J.D. Buhl of the Jars, plus members of Psychotic Pineapple, the New Critcs, and Young Adults. (Way back when I used to imagine that when I grew up and became a rock start I'd write songs like the Jars' "The Time of the Assassins" though I never actually managed to do it, so I hope they do that one.) Edge City Ruins features Jules from Kwik Way and Ike from the Boneless Ones, Fang, etc. I'll be playing a solo set.

Saturday, Oct. 10

Two things happening. First:

Well the details are quite sketchy on this but I will be participating in some form in the San Mateo County Library YA Novelist Convention. This will occur sometime between the hours of 2PM and 6PM at some location on the Peninsula.

Then, later that night:

I'll be part of a truly impressive line-up of satirical writers, presented by Litquake under the name Foolishness, Stupidity, and Vice, Z Space, 450 Florida St., San Francisco CA. 8PM. Tickets available here.

w/host Ben Griffin and featuring Lisa Brown, Will Durst, Mark Fiore, Daniel Handler, T. Geronimo Johnson, Frank Portman, and Tom Toro

Saturday, Nov. 21

Queers, MTX, Lillingtons at the Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood, Colorado. Tickets here.

More to come, so... yeah.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:35 PM

September 15, 2015

Hello Goodbye Columbus

I've often thought, and probably written a time or two, that as so much of my "serious reading" was done many years ago when I was young and stupid, my opinions on these books are unreliable and not to be trusted. The thing to do, if ever granted the time, say in the event of a long illness or big lottery win, would be to re-read everything methodically, book by book, and compare the results. I scorned Moby-Dick and went around casually disparaging it and its author for years on the basis of mere teenaged prejudice, till I re-read it (while recovering from a car accident as it happens) and was blown away by it. What changed? Well, apart from being older and more receptive to it, I'd recently also read the Bible-as-literature for the first time. This process, ideally, should be repeated with everything.

But of course there's no time to do this. The best I can manage is doing it here and there, on a random basis. In the present case it happened because I tripped over Goodbye, Columbus when I was looking for the silicon spray I use to maintain my swords. And of course the thing you do when you trip over a book, if you do have the time, is to plop down and start reading it, sword maintenance be damned. (But don't neglect your swords of course; you really don't want them to rust.)

So here's what I dashed off on the facebook thing in the aftermath of the re-reading:

re-read Goodbye, Columbus for the first time since I was a kid. 1. It is truly impressive how much is conveyed by the deceptively simple narrative; that the voice feels so casual and natural is a testament to a subtle artistry I had no way of recognizing the first time around, but rather just took for granted. 2. The sex and romance and the characters' struggles and conflict about it is, it seems to me, rather alien to contemporary folkways and behavior, while I'm sure at the time it was perceived as (and was actually) an unvarnished tell-it-like-it-is look at things you weren't supposed to talk about; nevertheless the character Brenda is splendidly drawn and feels as real as any genuine person, and the relationship dynamic between the two of them is likewise authentic despite the "retrograde" oddness. 3. This is embarrassing, but I think my memory had conflated this book with Dan Greenburg's Scoring and there were a couple of episodes that my memory had interpolated from the latter to the former, and I missed them. 4. The class satire still feels dead on. 5. Such vivid characterization in just 100 pages is really quite a feat. Appreciated it far more this time around.

I'd add that a great writer's first, shambling, perhaps comparatively naive attempt to thrust himself on the world can have a strange, dazzling energy and that's sure the case here. Of course, one of the many things that has changed for me in the past 35 years is that I started trying to write novels myself, and if I've learned anything from that experience it's not to take good writing for granted as I always used to. Great writing like this is a kind of miracle, really.

It'll be terribly time consuming to re-read every Philip Roth novel, and I probably won't ever manage that project, but in theory at least, I'm up for it.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:14 PM

September 13, 2015

Can You Believe They're Still Letting People Like Us on the Radio? Me Neither.

Hey folks, I'm going to be visiting Last Will on his show on KPFA tomorrow at 11 AM. (Yeah, he's back on the air, which is good news in itself of course.)

John of Vktms SF is going to be there too I believe. Also my guitar. We're gonna be talking about the show at Eli's on 9/20, the SF punk renaissance operation, punk rock and whatever. Tune in, turn off, drop down. (Do I have that right, hippies?)

As for the show it is Impatient Youth, me (solo), Yo, Edge City Rebels, and International Cafe Review on Sunday 9/20, 6PM, at Eli's Mile High Club, 3629 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland CA.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:18 PM

September 12, 2015

Woulda been fun to see one of those Strawberry Alarm Clock / Lynyrd Skynyrd double bills ca. 1971


Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:06 PM

Jerry Reed on Scooby Doo

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:44 PM

September 11, 2015

Guitars I Have Known, cont.


So, continuing to rummage through the junk under the bed -- see below --I pulled this out. It's a Les Paul Custom I acquired sometime in the late '80s. According to the Guitar dater serial number lookup thing, it was made in Nashville on August 19, 1983 (Production Number: 3) -- more info. than I needed, probably, but kind of fun to know. I've heard people say that all the post-Kalamazoo Les Pauls were "weight-relieved" or "chambered", i.e., they had huge hunks of wood hacked out of them to make them lighter, and I agree that that seems like a terrible, terrible thing to do. But there's no way this particular one was "relieved" in any way. It's crazy heavy, shoulder-destroying heavy, the heaviest guitar I've ever lifted, the guitar equivalent of a medium sized anvil or a set of encyclopedias. So I guess some specimens must have escaped the chambering.

It was my main guitar for a couple of years there in the late '80s/early '90s, after my old SG's neck snapped off. (I had it repaired but looking down at the scar made me sad.) Then when I got the white Junior in '91 or so I immediately retired it, partly because of the weight, but mainly of course because pretty much nothing could compete with a Les Paul Jr. from 1957, funky though it always was.

I gotta say though, this thing is solid as they come and hasn't suffered at all from being bashed around by a guy who didn't know how to play for a stretch and then neglected, forgotten, and stored under a bed for 25 years. Been playing it all morning (through that old Mesa Boogie Mark IV I used to use back then) and it's a stout dependable beast, all the sustain you'd want, and a great tone considering the fact that it has those humbuckers. Plus, if I were ever to have to face a horde of marauding Viking warriors on stage, I know the guitar I'd choose as a shield. Sturdy, man.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:13 PM