Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

By Paul Silver

Getting old isn’t fun. It gets harder to stay awake late at night, especially after getting up at 5:00 am the same morning for work. That makes it harder to get out to shows, especially on Monday through Friday nights. But on this particular Friday night, one of my pop punk heroes was going to be playing at San Diego’s Soda Bar. I’ve been listening to and loving the various incarnations of Dr. Frank’s band since the late 1980s, yet I hadn’t seen them live until a couple of years ago. Now, with a brand new album out a few months back (with the paperback release of his book, “King Dork Approximately”), The Mr. T Experience was touring again. This time out, they were doing a long weekend in the West, with Teenage Bottlerocket and The Nobodys. Sleepiness be damned! I was not going to miss this show!

The Nobodys

Opening the night were The Nobodys, a band from Colorado that’s been kicking around since the mid 1990s. They released a raft of LPs and EPs up until the early 2000s, but have just recently released a new split 7” with the Raging Nathans and a new full-length LP, both on Rad Girlfriend Records. They played a thirty minute set of classic funny punk in the vein of The Queers, or going back even further, Doggie Style. The music is fast and loud, simple straightforward punk with humorous and ironic lyrics. They even have a song called “Joe Queer Kicked Me Out.”

Mr. T Experience

Next up were The Mr. T Experience. Dr. Frank has great stage banter. Introducing the songs, every third one or so was, “This is a song about a girl.” He complained about his “temperamental” guitar every time he had to tune it, and the band asked for and gave out jokes during tuning breaks. “What do you call four Mexicans in quicksand?” asked bassist Bobby Jordan, “Quatro sinko!” was his punch line. “What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?” shouted an audience member. “Dam!” came the retort. Between rounds of banter, The Mr. T Experience played some fine loping pop music with a punk edge. Only a couple of songs from the new album, er, “balbum” were played, but there were plenty of old favorites, including probably my favorite of his songs, “Swallow Everything,” Wait, “balbum?” Dr. Frank repeatedly cajoled the audience, imploring them to visit the merch table (after the set, not during, that would be rude, he said) to purchase what he called his balbum. It’s the new album and it comes with the reprint of his book. It’s a book and it’s an album! Besides making up new words for the English language, Dr. Frank is one of the great writers of pop songs, and the set was tons of fun, though at only three quarters of an hour, I wished it could have lasted longer.

Teenage Bottlerocket

Finally came Teenage Bottlerocket. This was my first time seeing the Wyoming band since the untimely death of drummer (and twin brother of front-man Ray) Brandon Carlisle. New drummer Darren Chewka though, fit in nicely, but Ray took over the task of shouting Brandon’s ubiquitous “One two three four!” to start most of the songs. The crowd was obviously really into the band on this night. There were many singing along enthusiastically with Nobodys and The Mr. T Experience, but all hell broke loose during Teenage Bottlerocket’s hour-long set. While there wasn’t a full-fledged pit, there was plenty of movement going on in the crowd, and holding one’s spot became a fun challenge. TBR played plenty of old favorites that night – mainly because their most recent album is already a couple of years old. They’re getting ready to release a new one this summer, but it’s an LP full of covers of other bands they’ve played with over the years that deserve wider recognition. The TBR sound is both raw and polished at the same time. It’s raw with power and energy, but polished in that the band is incredibly tight and well practiced. Seeing them is always a treat and tonight was no exception.

Getting old isn’t fun. But it happens to us all. Including the bands that played this show. Yet they keep hitting the road, touring, playing music, and enthusiastically keeping the energy flowing night after night. And after this night, absorbing all that energy, I didn’t feel quite as old and tired as I did when I entered the club. And that’s worth a lot.

 is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

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