Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doctor Frank & The Bye Bye Blackbirds- Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend

In thinking back on my younger days of getting into pop punk, Frank Portman is most certainly a creator in this genre who was so easy for me to gravitate towards with his wonderful skill as both a musician and masterfully poetic lyricist. The Mr. T Experience is such a great love in my life and the song "Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend" has been a favorite of mine for many years. When news of a single with this great song being played in a different way came out, I rushed to procure it for my collection and am quite pleased with my choice. That's what I'd like to talk to you guys about this time!

The songs were recorded during the February of 2012 at The Wally Sound in Oakland, CA by Wally Sound with additional recording done by Daniel McMahon at The Midwest Sound in Rockford, IL. Mixing was done by Chris Palmatier at New, Improved Recording and mastering was done by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering Co. The cover which was designed by Christopher Appelgren is a bold yet simple representation of both parties involved in the release. A cartoon of Dr. Frank on the front side, with his fondly memorable heart shaped glasses and a black bird on the other. You'll also find the lyrics for both songs printed on the inside. Those little touches paired with the art made this a really nice layout. Release happened on April 21st, in the form of a 7" with digital download included from Goodland Records. It is available on your choice of: black(300 pieces), ultra clear(100 pieces), or bone/grimace purple/black splatter(100 pieces) which is lovely, and what I chose when I ordered. For those that fail to see the total importance of vinyl(shame on you!), the tracks can be obtained through iTunes.

Let's move on to the best part in all of this, the songs! I was not familiar with The Bye Bye Blackbirds and in asking the good Doctor about them, I did find out some interesting details about this collaboration. This is the current band of Aaron Rubin who is the second bass player of MTX and lineup member on "Our Bodies Our Selves". One night in Oakland, Dr. Frank did a solo set with them on the bill and arranged these two songs to be played in electric form with the guys as his backing band. Things went over well with the performance so it was decided shortly after to head into the studio and track these updated versions. Dr. Frank's vocal tone sounds brilliant, seeming to only get better as the years go by paired with the excellent talent of The Bye Bye Blackbirds in a great presentation of "Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend" and side b's selection of "Population Us" from his solo album, "Show Business Is My Life". That's one I've always been pretty smitten with as well! It's not quite a traditional Mr. T Experience sound that you'll hear from this session, lacking the heavier distortion but certainly a lovely rendition of the songs leaning towards a more of a 60's/70's pop rock 'n' roll sound with the full band bringing them to life. They turned out really cool and it's awesome to see the changes that can be made when music is revisited years later. So essentially, now there's four songs to love and what could be wrong with that? Nothing at all!

There's my impression of this single. I positively enjoyed it and if you find yourself to be a fan of anything MTX or what Dr. Frank does as a solo artist, definitely add it to your collection. With the color variants being super limited, they're disappearing fast! I did see the splatter is already dwindling down to the last few copies so hurry up and place an order with the label if you want it.  Also, I wanted to put the word out there that the sequel to his well loved book, "King Dork", entitled "King Dork Approximately" is slated for release on December 9th. You can pre-order it here, which I highly recommend as well and will be having him on Ramona Confidential for an interview around that time, so stay tuned!!  

Doctor Frank & The Bye Bye Blackbirds are...
Dr. Frank- Vocals
Lenny Gill- Guitar
Aaron Rubin- Bass
Bradley Skaught- Drums

Additional Vocals/Musicians...
Chuck Lindo- Backing vocals
Ian Robertson- Guitar, backing vocals
and Daniel McMahon- Organ

Both songs written by Dr. Frank, Itching Powder Music (BMI)

Side A
Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend
Side B 
Population Us

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