Michael Totten

Meeting Dr. Frank

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has been dubbed an Internet rock star. But Sunday night Shelly and I got to meet a real Internet rock star, punk-rockin’ Mr. T Experience front-man Dr. Frank, also known for his eclectic sometimes-political blog named What’s-It.
I started reading Dr. Frank’s ruminations on all things political and international long before I created this blog. He doesn’t know it, but he helped inspire me to start up my own. Here was a guy with a site named The Blogs of War (before he later changed it to What’s-It) who wasn’t exactly what Tim Blair would call a Right Wing Death Beast. Here was a blog for the sensitive warmonger, as he himself described it. He’s wasn’t Rush Limbaugh or even Andrew Sullivan. More like a “Daily Show Democrat” or a “Reno 911 Independent” as he now puts it. And yet he had a war blog. So somehow, I can’t quite explain why, it gave me a sort of permission to start up my own.
Some of my co-workers at my day job know Dr. Frank first and foremost as the cool punk rocker dude from the Bay Area who used to tour with Green Day. Like the rest of us, Dr. Frank has mellowed with age. The new MTX album Yesterday Rules softens up some of the punk rock edginess with some pleasant, even soothing, sometimes funny acoustic pieces. London starts out quiet, almost folksy as Dr. Frank delivers “You have to hate the world / It’s required by your clothes” with deadpan earnestness. The crunchier songs are fun, too. “Let’s keep the freaking out to a minimum” he sings on Sorry For Freaking Out on the Phone Last Night.
Dr. Frank’s most famous piece of blogosphere music is probably the Internet hit Democracy Whiskey Sexy, inspired by the famous liberated Iraqi’s quote about what America means to him. You can download the song for free and if you like it, hey, why not, order his Eight Little Songs CD, every one of which, like his blog for the “sensitive warmonger,” is mellow and cool.
So anyway, after reading and listening to Dr. Frank for over a year, Shelly and I finally got to meet him. His band blew through Portland on the second day of their tour and we met up for beer before the show and stole his attention from the groupies who tagged along.
There were a few, shall we say, problems figuring out where the concert was supposed to be. I couldn’t find the place and, oddly enough, neither could the band. Dr. Frank and I played tag on our cell phones trying to help each other figure out where the dang venue was located. That’s not how it’s supposed to go down. It was like something out of Spinal Tap, but hey, it wasn’t his fault. (Nor was it mine. I only live here.)
Frank doesn’t act like the rock star he is. (Just how, exactly, is a rock star supposed to act? — Ed. Heck, I don’t know. But he’s cooler than I’ll ever be, and if he knows it he doesn’t show it.) We talked music, politics, Internet dating, San Francisco, and blogs. He’s a great guy, a smart writer, and a fantastic musician. If you don’t know him already, you’re missing out.
Thanks, Frank, for the beer and for coming to Portland.
Dr. Frank’s What’s-It.