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The Mr T Experience



There was a big hubbub about pop-punk a few years ago, and for a while it seemed that you couldn't throw a punch without hitting a member of Green Day or a carbon-copy knockoff band. The hype finally died down, but thankfully some of the better bands are still going strong. Berkeley's The Mr. T Experience (MTX to its fans) has been quietly churning out records for well over a decade now, and they show no signs of slowing down. In spite of the great Green Day hype, soaring Bay Area rents, and a revolving door membership, they have remained committed to creating smart and catchy punk rock. The band's current lineup is founding member and singer/songwriter/guitarist Dr. Frank (he's not a real doctor, but he does have a Master's Degree), drummer Jym, who joined in 1994, and former Tilt bassist Gabe Meline, who joined the band in 1999.

Though the members of MTX have a running joke that all of their songs are about girls, Dr. Frank actually tackles an impressive array of topics with cleverness and finesse. He once even penned a two-minute version of his Master's Thesis, "The History of the Concept of the Soul," complete with footnotes. Since 1985, MTX has released more than a dozen albums filled with clever lyrics, infectious melodies, and snappy titles like Everyone's Entitled to Their Own Opinion (1986), Love is Dead (1996), and Revenge is Sweet and So Are You (1997).

1999's Alcatraz (Lookout!) continues MTX's tradition of happy, catchy, poppy punk laced with snappy lyrics, but on this record the band looks beyond the pop-punk formula and explores a broader range of pop traditions. Slowed-down tempos and additional instrumentation -- including organ, piano, and horns -- give the songs a fleshed-out maturity without sacrificing any youthful exuberance. "Naomi," from that album, is about...a girl.

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