Throwing you back for Thursday: Dr. Frank and His Shiny Robot Monkeys, 2004. Stefan posted this poster from the 2004 Rotterdam Rumble. Hard to believe it was 15 years ago, in a way, but in another way it seems like an universe away. I was at a loose end in the aftermath of the Yesterday Rules tour and album, which at that time very much looked like it would be the final gasp of the MTX... the label and the whole music industry was in just as much disarray, or nearly so, as we were. Music was "free" now, meaning there didn't seem to be any practical way to do it anymore, even at our low-rent level, and even if we'd had a functional drummer. It felt very different from all the previous times when an album-tour ended in a shambles, the band at a seeming end, only to re-assemble itself a bit later with a new album and a new shambles in the making. This one felt permanent. (And of course, though it wasn't, it was to be all of ten years before the re-assembly happened.) Anyway, in 2004 Stefan invited me to play at this festival in Holland and I jumped at it, just for, you know, something to do. It was there in Stefan's old house, where I stayed for around a week that I started fooling around with typing out text that was to become King Dork. Writing a novel seemed an impossible, outlandish idea at that time, and I was going with a "fake it till you make it" plan, never quite expecting to "make it" but unable to think of anything else to try, running out of ideas on what to do with my life. Nevertheless, I did write the novel, and that was the "life after rock" chapter of my life, so to speak. I really didn't expect the rock and roll to return ever, but of course when it did it was by means of that novel's sequel. It all makes sense now, sort of, but at the time it was utterly inscrutable. The Shiny Robot Monkeys were actually the UK band the Zatopeks. I came up with the name randomly and they went above and beyond the call of duty by showing up in monkey masks and silver jumpsuits, which, on information and belief, were ridiculously uncomfortable and life-threateningly hot during the set. Their commitment was such that they even wore the masks during our rehearsal, though, God love 'em. I believe I posted a pic of that rehearsal recently when I stumbled across it in email -- unfortunately I don't appear to have any photos of the actual show. I remember it being quite a good time, and fortunately all the Shiny Robot Monkeys survived to play another day, despite all odds. The lesson is, I suppose, that it ain't over till it's over. And even then, you never know. And I was so much closer there, I'm further than that here. #music #memoir #tbt #minds

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