ATN Philadelphia correspondent Chris Nelson met with the
leader of The Mr. T Experience, some guy who calls himself Dr. Frank, last Sat.
(Feb. 17). From what Nelson tells us, Frank is the only original member of MTX.
He plays guitar, sings and writes the songs. Today we offer the conclusion of
Nelson's interview, which took place before and after the group's Philadelphia
performance with headliners, the Queers. As we pick up in mid-interview, Joe
Queer himself has just arrived. Interrupting myself and Dr. Frank, he says,
"This guy is the best fuckin' songwriter in the fuckin' world today, and you
can take that to the fuckin' bank, pal."
Dr. Frank replies that, "Joe
Queer is my biggest fan. You could do worse than that."
Noise: Have you heard the Saturday Morning Cartoons album with the
Ramones doing "Spider Man?" You guys did it five years before, and you're
always called Ramones-esque. You predated 'em by five years, here, it had to
feel pretty good.
Dr. Frank: Well yeah, plus their version wasn't
all that great. I think they could've done a little better.
But these kind
of things happen all the time. One of my songs was recorded for a movie, that,
I don't know if the movie's ever gonna come out. But the movie has a band in it
playing "Now We Are 21," and the actual recording of it was made by a band
including a couple of Ramones. I mean the ultimate irony of like, you know, a
fifth generation Ramones rip-off band being covered by the actual Ramones
themselves, I mean, that's weird. I won't say it feels good, but it's absurd
enough that it's exciting.
ATN: How is the band's relationship with
Lookout Records today?
Dr. Frank: There was a lengthy period when
practically everyone in the world thought it [the Mr. T Experience] was a
pointless, worthless, useless thing. There were some dark days for awhile. The
two previous records, Our Bodies, Ourselves and Milk Milk
Lemonade, aren't perfect, and there were aspects of Our Bodies,
Ourselves that alienated people.
The line I always use to describe our
relationship with the label is that Lookout loves us like a mother loves here
retarded child. No matter how many things we break, how many times we spill
stuff, or screw up, they always let us make another record. And I don't think
David Geffen would let us do that.
ATN: Have you ever been
approached by Geffen or other major labels?
Dr. Frank: Not in any
serious way. Sometimes someone will give you a card and say, "I really like
your band." For a band like mine to get a contract, we would have to do a lot
of politicking. And sometimes it's all we can do to get to the shows. The Mr. T
Experience is not going to be a household name. I'm just hoping to be on the
sidelines.... It's always been that way. You don't need to be big, you just
need to keep going.
That's the secret to success: you just have to keep
lowering your expectations. I'm the master of