Are you like me? Did you miss the Mr. T Experience too? Did you glance past the fliers a million times? And hear but ignore the small underground West Coast buzz for years? You didn't dislike their melodic punk rock sound, you simply disregarded it, for no explainable reason. Life tends to steer us toward some things and away from others without explaining why. Then, sometimes it throws an obstacle in our path, telling us to turn around and try again.
...And the Women Who Love Them, the latest "best-of" compilation release from the longtime Berkeley foursome, is a chance to make up for that missed opportunity one handy package of 25 smart, catchy tracks. You like poppy punk? You got it.
I often cringe when I hear bubble-gum punk. Typically, it doesn't excite me. But lead singer/songwriter Dr. Frank, the mastermind behind Mr. T Experience, writes with such candor, humor and wit, and the band plays so tight and controlled while also being willing to venture outside punk's three-chord, two-beat religion, that rather than cringe I smile. Their sound is so fun and light-hearted, you feel like you're taking life too seriously when you hear it and tap your toes, bob your head and sing along.
And Dr. Frank's lyrics are pretty hilarious. They may be frank and stupid, but they do the job. Sometimes they mock: "There's a brand new sound that's sweeping the nation/ Every mall/ Every radio station/ The name of the sound: alternative" from "Alternative Is Here to Stay." Or confess jokingly: "I shifted gears/ I faced my fears/ I cried some tears/ I did a lot of heroin/ I went astray/ I lost my way/ I did some macramé" on "Now That You Are Gone."
Or they tell a story: "At the restaurant/ Things were in full bloom/ She said she had to visit the ladies' room/ It may have been just a visit/ But I guess along the way/ She decided that she'd extend her stay/ Did she ever come back?/ No she never came back/ And the waiter was laughing as I paid the check" on "How'd the Date End?" And how did it end? Well, he failed at picking up another chick, then got sloppy drunk and hauled downtown. "I don't care who the audience picked," Frank sings. "I'd rather be killed with a big sharp stick/ I'll stay on my own/ It's my natural state/ Whether or not I have a date."
If you're a longtime Mr. T fan, I suppose you have most of these snappy, wide-eyed rockin' tunes, which are drawn from the band's decade-plus-long career. But if you missed the gravy train, the more than two dozen poppy punk tracks included here could jump-start a Mr. T obsession. Believe me, now that you've got a second chance, take it! It's worth the double-back.