The Ramones

Just as the Ramones have watched alternative band after alternative band achieve a level of success that has always eluded them, the Mr. T Experience have sat back (by design) and watched a band who once opened for them sky-rocket to the top. Furthermore, it was a style of music that they are actually credited with starting. That's right, the Green Day, East Bay pop/punk sound was actually created by MTX.

Naturally, one would assume there would have to be a little jealousy or animosity towards the band who gets all the recognition, while MTX puts in all the hard work.

"No animosity," says the bandleader Dr. Frank. "You got to be honest, and I have to conced that it's hard not to feel a little envious of people who are in fact millionaires. Anybody who is a songwriter as a vocation feels that even if one person hears it, that's something, and that's really how I feel. However, I can't imagine how it would be to have every single song I write automatically paid attention to by 10 million people. We work just as hard if not harder than any real band. We've got to just kill ourselves to sell 30,000 records. So that would be amazing. I guess I envy them for the possibilities they got that I'll never have." It's that kind of self-deprecation that fuels the MTX sound.

Over and over, Dr. Frank makes it sound like MTX is just some cover/garage band that will never get a chance to play out. And if you give their eighth CD, REVENGE IS SWEET, AND SO ARE YOU a listen, you'll hear how that kind of thinking is reflected in their short, sweet pop/punk songs. Aside from Frank, the band consists of bassist Joel Reader and Drummer Jym (apparently he's achieved the kind of one name success).

There is one nagging question regarding the title "Dr. Frank." What does he have a doctorate in? His answer is quite honest. "I use the title though I have not earned it. A good old American tradition. It has its drawbacks because everyone is confused by it. One advantage is recently I've had some friends in rehab and when I call to leave messages for them they treat me with a great deal of respect. You get special treatment at rehab facilities around the country." Remember that next time you're calling mom.

When it comes to listening to music, the name of the band usually has little effect on your opinion. But Mr T's Experience? That's the name chosen by founding member Dr. Frank over a decade ago. "After 10 years, it's sort of come full circle. It was really, really stupid when we first thought it up and then it was pointless as time went on. Now it's come to the point where it has a charming stupidity. I don't associate it with the guy in my mind. Our fans don't either. A lot of them don't even really know who the guy is. It has a charming obsolescence?" What?! Like the Rolling Stones makes a lot of sense?

MTX has cornered the market with that pop/punk sound in which most songs are three minutes or less. Dr. Frank explains what he is after when he writes a song. "A well constructed song that sounds simple and flows effortlessly is about the hardest thing to do. The people that do those well have to really put a lot into [songs]. The paradoxical goal of writing that kind of pop song is that you don't want the listener to listen to it and think, Ooh, how complex and clever. You want them to just think Yeah, and not even realize. 'Oh yeah, that's what it feels like to miss your girlfriend.' The seams shouldn't show. It should just come out as 'yeah, this is what someone would say if life rhymed and had verses and choruses.'"

Just as all bands start out unknown, MTX has maintained their anonymity throughout their career. Naturally, this has its downside, but credit must be given to the band. They have continued their brand of music without reshaping it to fit the current music scene or style. Dr. Frank talked about how he envisions MTX.