Building near Eastman Lake in Rochester, New York
Building near Eastman Lake in Rochester, New York

Peggi’s reading the the Steve Jobs book on her iPad so I get glimpses of it as I fall asleep. I gather there is a lot of pages devoted to nurture vs nature,
“Do not fold, spindle or mutilate” vs open source, the merits of a college education vs dropping out and pot smoking vs the corporate mindset. I’m happy we have moved beyond all that and I’m looking forward to the cyberdelic future.

John Gary joins Margaret Explosion on bass tonight while Ken Frank joins the masses in Armory for the Pixies. I hear they open their show with a screening of “Un chien Andalou


Bare Light Bulb

SLT Dead Gone Dead cd cover - Watercolor by Paul Dodd
SLT Dead Gone Dead cd cover – Watercolor by Paul Dodd

Ken Frank was in “5 Star Buffalo”, one of my favorite bands in the Scorgie’s days. I played with Personal Effects back then and we released a few albums on Earring Records. Colorblind James Experience released their first lp on Earring Records. Ken Frank joined Colorblind in the nineties. Ken plays bass with Margaret Explosion and he never sounded better than he did last night at the Little. His bass amp crapped out so he’s been playing his stand-up bass acoustically and he sounds more melodic and punctual than ever. The overall band volume is lower now and his bass notes have a clarity that gets lost when it’s amplified. It’s subtle but an earful! And subtlety counts for a lot in my book.

But back to Earring Records. They have just released a new recording by SLT called “Gone Dead Gone” and it’s on the other end of the volume spectrum. It’s dedicated to a gone dead old friend, Luke Warm, the one who took to the dj booth at Scorgies to remind the patrons to, “Don’t forget to tip the bartenders for keeping you drunk.” Ken Frank plays bass in this version of SLT along with Phil Marshall and they asked me to supply the cover art, specifically something with a bare light bulb and moths. It sounded like Philip Guston territory to me. Ken co-wrote and produced this rip roaring hard core pop anthem.

Listen to SLT – “I Should Have Been A Guru” on Earring Records.

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Give The Bass Player Some

Ken Frank on bass
Ken Frank on bass

We had our second Margaret Explosion rehearsal last night in preparation for this upcoming WXXI Sound Stage thing. I am beginning to see way we never rehearse. It gets complicated. Trying to play a song better than it was the first time is next to impossible but if you’re gonna try you need to discuss a few things. We started with a few nice jams and then played our set. Since we generally arrange songs as we play them we found ourselves offering opinions as to what would make these prearranged songs better. It would help if I could play better, I know that. The band works like magic and if you know the trick, its not magic. It’s a delicate thing. I was really happy when rehearsal was over.

Today I kept thinking how lucky I am to play with such amazing musicians. Peggi tosses off creative, original melodies as naturally as she smiles. Bob has a world of sounds and at his fingertips and the musical ability to express any emotion. Ken is the best bass player in the world. Rock solid when he wants to be yet as wild, inventive and musically adventurous as anyone I’ve met.

The Poet ((Chuck Cuminale) from the "Community Icons" series by Paul Dodd. Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54" wide by "60" high, 1989
The Poet ((Chuck Cuminale) from the “Community Icons” series by Paul Dodd. Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54″ wide by “60” high, 1989. Ken Frank is shown in silhouette.

I guess the first time we met Ken was when our bands played together at Scorgies. He was in 5 Star Buffalo and I was in Personal Effects. They blew us away. Ken wound up in Colorblind James after Bernie Heveron (former Personal Effects bass player) left and I painted Ken behind Chuck when I did my “Local Icons” series in the eighties.

I checked in on a few of my favorite blogs today and found a great interview with Angel Corpus Christi by the Next Big Thing. Lloyd Mintern used a live Margaret Explosion track as a backing track to a video of his photos. Frank Paolo described his cancer diagnosis and Kevin Patrick started a column on Alan Vega that found its way to local dinosaur rock station, WCMF, Roger McCall’s murder and even mentioned a band we were in a long time ago. The links in the right column should take you there.

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