Misty Water-Colored Memories Last night was Valborgsmässoafton, otherwise known as Walpurgis Night, otherwise known as, you know Tuesday, somehow. I hope you all had a wild one. And now it's May Day, which means the children dance around a great big phallic pole, if they still do that, and a certain sort of person calls in sick to work and heads out into the streets for some class struggle theatre, if they still do that. And yet, with all that happening, or not happening, it is still Wodnesdæg and time for another Song for Odin™. The songs go on, without regard to anything outside themselves, eschewing "relevance," evading topicality, ignoring the here and now in favor of aiming at some sort of universality, and falling well short of that mark, as they must. At least they're trying, though, sort of: you've got to give them that. So, here's "Big Mistake" from Gilman, Berkeley, 1988, one of the earliest songs in the repertoire dating back to before this band was a band, springing from some inarticulate angst that is quite unrecoverable from the extant "text." https://youtu.be/iwHdWIlCJ90 When I think of the songs of the twenty-ish Dr Frank, "Big Mistake" is a pretty apt metaphor for most of them. You can often sense a genuine song buried deep inside all the fumbling, one that, had it been cultivated and shaped more competently, might have emerged as something good, even great, or, at least, much, much better. If only I'd had some real adult supervision, of the writing and execution, someone to point out what I was doing wrong and what could be done better, I could have avoided a solid decade of lazy, meandering trial and error and got straight to the good stuff leaving behind a much less awkward and embarrassing "legacy." If I could go back in time and have a chat with him I'd know exactly what to tell him, though I don't know that he'd have paid any heed. Probably I just would have made it worse. The Dr Frank of that time embodied chaos and randomness in pretty much every aspect, not thinking too much about what he was doing but just doing it for no particular reason. I doubt he could have been disciplined in any meaningful or effective way. I just thought standing up there strumming and yelling was enough, I seriously did. The thing is, it didn't matter that much in those days. The difference between writing and playing a great song and writing and playing a not-so-great one mattered not at all in any practical sense. (In a way, it still doesn't, let's be honest: if you do it well, if you put any effort into it at all, you're doing it Quixotically, for its own sake, God love ya.) Those kids at Gilman didn't care whether your song was firing on all cylinders, doing all it could. I chose not to work so hard, the only excuse being that I didn't have any idea what working hard would entail, and I didn't care all that much and didn't realize it would ever matter. What I would have told the young doctor is, go to your record collection, identify five songs you like better than all the others, and think seriously about what you like about them and how what you like about them was accomplished; and when you try to put these techniques into practice, make sure you know what the song is supposed to be about and what you want it to do, and don't let anything "slide" just because you can and no one is paying much attention. And if it's not great, don't "release" it till you've made it great. And also, get the drummer to play a steady, uncomplicated beat that stays at the same tempo for the entire two minutes. So simple, yet so hard to see in the moment, somehow. It's weird seeing this picture of the past so stark, glaring, and in your face. I'd prefer misty water-colored memories. I've got those too, probably. Somewhere. #music #video #songs #regrets #minds
4Upvotes
1Remind

More from Dr Frank

Don't listen to those dopes.... #cats #art #comics #frankenstein #minds

34 views ·

Tape notes: this is the Yesterday Rules hard drive being backed up. I expected it to be an easier process, but it was more difficult than expected because, as it turns out, there really is no straightforward dongle to adapt Firewire 400 to USB-c. (I had lots of suggestions from people recommending that I buy and install an extra bridge converter in my laptop, which wasn't going to happen. I can just image the carnage that would have resulted had I tried to open the case of this MacBook to solder in some kind of bridge just to be able to connect this volume for an hour. No.) What I had to do was revive my old, semi-functional laptop, which does have a Firewire 800 port that is dongle-able. This was easier said than done, as the old computer had been retired for a reason. I got it going with some work, though it is still a little rickety. But I did manage to copy the files. As of now though, I can't listen to them because they're in a format that nothing I have can read: "Sound Designer II". I'm sure there's a way to convert them to .WAV files, though, once I get to that stage. There was a non-trivial chance that this old hard drive wouldn't even start up. At which point I wouldn't have known what to do -- remove the actual metal disks from the La Cie enclosure and re-install them in new casing? Thankfully that didn't happen. The rock and roll is safe after all. This is the first MTX album, and the only one in the Mtx forever "window," to have been mixed digitally. (We recorded basic tracks to tape and then did overdubs and mixed in pro tools -- the tapes are no loger extant.) Tape is fragile and hard to store and copy and such, but no part of this project has caused more trouble, anxiety, and possibility of fatal mishap than the one preserved on the most convenient, superior format. And after all that, I still can't listen to it. Give me tape any time. What I'm saying is: Yesterday Rules. #music #tapes #archive #mtxforever #minds

1.08k views ·

More from Dr Frank

Don't listen to those dopes.... #cats #art #comics #frankenstein #minds

34 views ·

Tape notes: this is the Yesterday Rules hard drive being backed up. I expected it to be an easier process, but it was more difficult than expected because, as it turns out, there really is no straightforward dongle to adapt Firewire 400 to USB-c. (I had lots of suggestions from people recommending that I buy and install an extra bridge converter in my laptop, which wasn't going to happen. I can just image the carnage that would have resulted had I tried to open the case of this MacBook to solder in some kind of bridge just to be able to connect this volume for an hour. No.) What I had to do was revive my old, semi-functional laptop, which does have a Firewire 800 port that is dongle-able. This was easier said than done, as the old computer had been retired for a reason. I got it going with some work, though it is still a little rickety. But I did manage to copy the files. As of now though, I can't listen to them because they're in a format that nothing I have can read: "Sound Designer II". I'm sure there's a way to convert them to .WAV files, though, once I get to that stage. There was a non-trivial chance that this old hard drive wouldn't even start up. At which point I wouldn't have known what to do -- remove the actual metal disks from the La Cie enclosure and re-install them in new casing? Thankfully that didn't happen. The rock and roll is safe after all. This is the first MTX album, and the only one in the Mtx forever "window," to have been mixed digitally. (We recorded basic tracks to tape and then did overdubs and mixed in pro tools -- the tapes are no loger extant.) Tape is fragile and hard to store and copy and such, but no part of this project has caused more trouble, anxiety, and possibility of fatal mishap than the one preserved on the most convenient, superior format. And after all that, I still can't listen to it. Give me tape any time. What I'm saying is: Yesterday Rules. #music #tapes #archive #mtxforever #minds

1.08k views ·