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Clip: Dr. Frank tries a new experience at Quiet Storm acoustic show

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  • Carl Abraham Zimring
    http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/20030430drfank0430fnp3.asp Music Preview: Dr. Frank tries a new experience at Quiet Storm acoustic show Wednesday, April 30,
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 30, 2003
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      http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/20030430drfank0430fnp3.asp

      Music Preview: Dr. Frank tries a new experience at Quiet Storm acoustic show

      Wednesday, April 30, 2003

      By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic

      Dr. Frank of the Mr. T Experience is stepping out without the band tonight
      when Ian Brennan's tour of acoustic California rockers hits the Quiet
      Storm, Garfield.

      Now in its sixth year, the Best of the West tour -- with Carlos Forster and
      Bart Davenport of Loved Ones fame -- grew out of a Monday night series of
      shows Brennan staged in a San Francisco laundry.

      The idea, Brennan says, has been "to get people to play acoustically who
      didn't normally do it."

      As opposed to Lilith Fair.

      "It started kind of at the height of that whole Lilith Fair thing," Brennan
      says. "And the last thing I wanted to do was have people who did that kind
      of stuff. It was more about trying to convince somebody from a hardcore
      punk band to try to play acoustically -- or people who felt uncomfortable
      doing it pushing those limits. And a lot of times, they were better when
      they were acoustic, whether they thought so or not, just because usually it
      wasn't really cliche the way it was when they were approaching an electric
      instrument from an electric perspective or the way an acoustic artist
      approaches folk, in that Christopher Guest kind of way."

      For Dr. Frank, it's not that far removed from the quieter songs he often
      plays alone at Mr. T shows.

      Not in theory anyway.

      "It's scarier," he says, "because you're all alone and every mistake sticks
      out. And I make a lot of mistakes. But luckily, the crowd always helps me
      out when I forget how a song goes. It's challenging to make a whole set
      interesting when your guitar is the only instrument. You need to have all
      the pacing and variety provided by the songs themselves rather than the
      'style' -- especially when you have rudimentary technique like mine."

      There are times, he says, when "it's a challenge to present my songs as
      solo acoustic 'folk songs,' but that's what makes it interesting." And he's
      written a couple of new ones -- "Blinking in the Light" and "Nepenthe" (a
      song about Prozac) -- on the road.

      He'll be taking requests and has been doing Mr. T songs.

      "But part of the reason I'm doing this is to test out and solicit feedback
      on new and unreleased songs, so I'm playing a lot of them."

      The Mr. T Experience is recording an album this summer -- in time, it is
      hoped, for an October street date. He's been working on a second solo album
      for a couple of years but says, "I have a good new lineup for the band, so
      we decided to do a new MTX album first."

      In the meantime, he's been selling a CD of bedroom demos at the shows. And
      you can find his song about the war online at
      www.lookoutrecords.com/doctorfrank/.

      This being Dr. Frank, of course, it's not your average song about the war
      -- inspired by an April 2 item in The New York Times about an Iraqi who
      told reporters he hoped Americans would bring "Democracy, whiskey and
      sexy!" to Iraq.

      In the song, a truly "classic" rocker that sounds a bit like a mix of the
      early Who and, well, "Who's Next," Dr. Frank concludes, "Our day is just
      his night, but I want him to be right/So I'll drink to him/Please don't let
      him down."

      "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy" is also on the CD he'll be selling at the show,
      surrounded by such instant classics as the "Rushmore"-worthy
      "Institutionalized Misogyny" and "Big, Strange, Beautiful Hammer."

      The show starts at 7:30 tonight; cover is $6. Call 412-661-9355.

      Ed Masley can be reached at emasley@... or 412-263-1865.
    • Steve Gardner
      ... I am totally stealing that idea. steve
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 30, 2003
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        > The idea, Brennan says, has been "to get people to play acoustically who
        > didn't normally do it."

        I am totally stealing that idea.

        steve
      • samchecker
        ... acoustically who ... Where have I heard this idea before? Oh yeah, it was called Unplugged. One of my very favorite comments from the bluegrass mailing
        Message 3 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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          --- In fearnwhiskey@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Gardner" <steve@t...>
          wrote:
          > > The idea, Brennan says, has been "to get people to play
          acoustically who
          > > didn't normally do it."
          >
          > I am totally stealing that idea.
          >
          > steve

          Where have I heard this idea before? Oh yeah, it was called
          Unplugged.

          One of my very favorite comments from the bluegrass mailing list
          BGRASS-L was somebody going off on Unplugged. This guy was going on
          about how, when he tuned in, he saw lots and lots of plugged-in
          instruments on stage. In fact, the only difference he could see
          between the show and a regular rock concert was that everybody was
          sitting on stools. So, he proposed that they change the name to MTV
          Stool.

          Mark
        • Steve Gardner
          ... Yuck. Okay, I m not stealing that idea. steve np: yeah yeah yeahs fever to tell
          Message 4 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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            > I am totally stealing that idea.
            >
            >Where have I heard this idea before? Oh yeah, it was called
            >Unplugged.

            Yuck. Okay, I'm not stealing that idea.

            steve
            np: yeah yeah yeahs "fever to tell" <--the full length. i just got it. i'm
            only on song 3, but the first three are so great that i've already got my
            money's worth ($9.99).
          • Jim Caligiuri
            is playing an acoustic show here on Saturday. Is he worth seeing these days? I seem to remember someone having a bad time at one of his shows a while back.
            Message 5 of 5 , May 1, 2003
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              is playing an acoustic show here on Saturday.

              Is he worth seeing these days? I seem to remember someone having a bad time
              at one of his shows a while back.
              Something about drugs, right?


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