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An Interview with the Doctor: The Mr. T Experience

This interview was sent to me by Christinah. It appeared in the Winter Quarter 1998 issue of KDVationS, a program guide put out by the UCDavis college radio, KDVS. Thanks, Christinah!


[ KDVS DJs Justin and Marie interviewed the infamous Dr. Frank from the Mr. T Experience. ]

frank's quote Justin: So Iíd just like to ask you, what do you think are the problems facing the youth of today?

Dr. Frank: The problems facing the youth of today...uhm well uh...

Marie: And do you think love songs will help?

F: Well I donít think the youth of today have any different problems in that area. I mean, I think life just keeps getting easier and easier - thereís more and more channels and thereís more and more games, computer games and if it continues at this trend then the youth of tomorrow wonít have anything to worry about. The youth of today should just sit back and wait until they become older and...uhm thereís gonna be a thousand channels pretty soon. If you have a thousand possible things to watch I canít see how you could have any trouble. I canít see any looming problem. So like you said...you know the French theologian * complex name * believed that inherently life included a progression from where we are now to something better. I didnít believe it until I heard that thousand channel thing, but now that...a thousand channels, you could change one every five minutes and it would still be 5000 minutes till you got back to the beginning...Iíd say thatís great.

M: Where do the love songs fit into the equation?

F: Uhm, I mean I donít know...I guess writing a love song is different from listening to one. Itís a topic that you can write a song about. If you hear it and you understand it, that means that you are comparing it to something that happened to you and itís clicking. Thatís always gonna happen. Thereís always gonna be people writing love songs and thereís always gonna be someone who wants to hear them. And uhm in my case there arenít gonna be that many people that want to hear them. But for some reason I keep doing them. And thereís small pockets of people that have been kicked around on loveís dusty trail and they can relate to the songs. I donít think it has anything to do with that 5000 minutes of switching channels I was talking about but itís all part of life equally - a broken heart and a remote control. If youíve got them both, youíve got it all.

M: Speaking of broken hearts, what is your remedy for a broken heart?

F: Uhm, well I donít have a remedy, what I usually do is drink to excess and arrange my life so that I have accomplished absolutely nothing. So that I have something to regret later on, and then sort of alternate between self-loathing and plans for revenge somewhere down the line. Iím not recommending that to everybody but thatís just kinda the way it worked out.

J: When you were growing up did you have a male role model?

F: Yeah I did, but I had some kind of weird ones. Professor Henry Higgins from the musical My Fair Lady, J.R.R Tolkien the author of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and Mr. Rogers, and Keith Richards; I tried to incorporate the best of all those figures, and all my affectations can be traced back to those towering figures.

M: Who are your male role models now?

F: Uhm, Chris Applegrin of the Peechees is probably the main one.

J: So where did the heart over the "i" in your new logo come from?

F: Where did it come from?

J: What was the inspiration for that heart?

F: I think it was just to look interesting and to sum up the content...itís where if you were to read it completely straight I suppose it would seem kind of cutesy and everything; but if you know the content then there's an inherent irony in it. But I don't really know, but actually it was Chris and I, Chris Applegrin from the Peechees came up with that just sitting around and someone said hey how about a heart over the "i" and we started cracking up and thatís how it happened.

J: Could you tell us a little bit about your high school prom?

F: I didnít go to my high school prom...I didnít really consider going. If I had wanted to go I would have been really dissappointed because I wouldnít have had anyone to go with, but I think on the night of the prom I probably watched The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island after that, and then there was Saturday Night Live followed by SCTV. That was my prom night.

J: You seem to like TV, do you have a favorite all time TV program?

F: You know, part of the secret of enjoying television is never watching an entire program all the way through, you have to switch every five to seven minutes and if you do it right the original show should be over by the time you make it around the dial. But Iíll go ahead and say Nanny and the Professor.

M: So how is Joel responding to being the international pop punk heartbreaker mack-daddy? F: I really couldnít say.

M: He isnít getting a big head or something, is he?

F: I really donít know. I think the damage thatís being done now will only be clear to the world somewhere along the line.

J: That guyís quite a charmer, do you think heís ever had a zit?

F: I really couldnít say.
Alexis (from Lookout): Iíve seen them!

J: So have any of you guys ever taken off your shirts during a performance?

F: I used to do that sometimes, I canít think why, but sometimes I did that...not lately.

M: What was the audienceís reaction?

F: Horror, disgust, disdain, they made a mental appointment to see their Father confessor at the nearest opportunity.

M: In the band who do you think would win in an arm wrestling competition?

F: I think weíd all lose if thatís possible.

J: Do you have a definition of a real man?

F: No, not really...I donít know what that means.

M: Do you guys ever go hunting?

F: I have been hunting. There hasnít been a band hunting trip, but yes I have gone hunting.

M: Where do you hunt?

F: Well Iíve been on several, I actually went on a full fledged American rite of passage, a coming of age deer hunt but I couldnít bring myself to shoot anything on that one. Not because I didnít want to shoot anything but because the deer really looked kinda sweet. I kinda didnít identify with the deer. And it really makes me sound kinda bad but Iíve shot things before. Itís been a long time.

(Enter Jym the drummer, looking for a beer)

M: Jym, are you prepared for January 23rd?

Jym: Uhhhhhhhhhhhh...oh itís the opening of the Spice Girls movie. (ruckus) I know, it took me a minute but I got it.

M: Are you prepared?

Jym: Yes, I am preparing, you know what? See what I got? Somebody gave me a blow-up Sporty Spice.

M: Is she your favorite Spice Girl?

Jym: No sheís not my favorite but sheís got an earring.

(Marie takes a picture; Frank and Jym talk, Jym leaves)

J: So on that hunting trip did you go with your dad?

F: Uhm, I went with my grandfather and some other people. My momís family is a bunch of hillbillies.

J: When youíre songwriting do you ever use a thesaurus?

F: No, but I have used a rhyming dictionary. I havenít found it particularly useful...the rhymes that are so tough that you have to look in a book usually arenít solved by a book. Theyíre very limited.

M: Theyíre really good if you want to start a rap group.

F: I think all you need to do in a rap group is make sure that you pronounce every word so it rhymes with motherfucker, but I canít ever recall using a thesaurus in writing a song.

J: Would you ever consider male modeling?

F: Runway shows...no I donít think so, I think the world has seen enough.

J: Are the love songs ever going to settle down? Are there wedding bells in the future for any of you?

F: I am engaged to be married and if that actually pulls off then itíll happen, I donít know. And so far the other guys are confirmed bachelors and not international playboys but at least interstate playboys. Who knows, it could happen to anyone at anytime. You know thatís not to say the content of the songs is dependent on something like that. You certainly...basically if youíve had one unfortunate experience with having your heart broken you could write a million songs about that one thing. But people say "Dr. Frankís going to start saying ĎThis is a song about a wife,í" but who knows, maybe that will transpire, Iím not worried about it.

J: Do you still keep up with all the buddies from the old school Mr. T Experience?

F: The four former members? I see Jon Von fairly frequently. Heís here tonight...a good guy. The others sort of drifted off...we went our separate ways.

M: All the Samiam members?

F: Yeah, I just sort of lost contact with those people. They escaped the Mr. T Experience and they donít like to be reminded of those years of hell they spent in the galley.

J: Ok I think thatís about it, do you want to plug your newest release?

F: Our newest release is called "Revenge is Sweet and So Are You." Itís the latest chapter.

M: Have you been touring for a while or are you planning on going out?

F: We just did a pretty extensive tour and weíre taking a break and sort of starting over again probably in a couple of months.

J: How bout those Go-Nuts?

F: You know...Iíd hate to see the stage right now. Iím a little worried that Iím not going to be able to keep firm footing on it. Thereís nothing like them.

M: Youíre lucky thereís a band in-between.

F: Iíll tell you...Iím so glad that the Phantom Surfers are mopping up.

M: Well, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

F: Sure.