Frontman for Bay Area

"buzz" band Mr. T Experience, is not really a doctor, although he did have the chance to pursue that title. After completing a B.A. degree in history at Cal, he was all set to attend graduate school at Harvard. Just one little thing stood in his way. "I kept deferring, because I wanted to be in my stupid punk rock band--'Just one more record...and then I'll go to Harvard!'" he relates. "Finally, I realized that I had to face the fact that I'm never gonna do it!"

Some might say that the singer/guitarist made the correct choice. After "10 years of laboring away in absolute obscurity," MTX has suddenly risen to the point where every pop-culture publication in California is waxing poetic about the band's upbeat punk charm via their latest Lookout! Records release, Love Is Dead.

"Mr. T started and continued as a joke, with a cast of characters that's kept changing," Frank laughs. "We've had--let's see--three bass players, two drummers, one genius...that would be me."

The aforementioned comment would probably be the most conceited remark attributed to the band, as Dr. Frank takes an absolutely nonplused attitude toward the Berkeley punk scene in general. When asked about his band being around longer than former labelmates Green Day (whom MTX has opened for on tour), and whether Berkeley purists respect MTX simply for reasons of their "indie" credibility, the singer snorts. "I think that whole thing is exaggerated. The problem is that there are only a few slots available for Berkeley punk rock millionaires. And a lot of bands are jockeying to fill that one slot open to become the 'third punk rock millionaire band.' We aren't trying to become the third punk rock millionaire band, we're just sorta playing the role of the spoiler."

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of MTX's new record is its naive lyrical content, tales of love, crushes...and, of course, loss. Dr. Frank, 31, claims, "It's a universal experience--being unlucky in love. It's not really an age thing, either--it's an experience that you feel whether you're 15 or 31." (No big surprise, then, that Dr. Frank is a fan of country music, George Jones in particular.)

And MTX's new teenaged bassist Joel Reader is following somewhat in Dr. Frank's footsteps, deferring his enrollment at Cal to tour and record with the band (much to his mom's displeasure). So, is all this wasted scholastic potential gonna pay off? Dr. Frank--who whiles away his free time with such endeavors as teaching himself Greek in order to read the original Plato--is optimistic. "If you can't do it in school, you do it on your own."

Hey, that sure sounds a lot hipper than any scene at Gilman lately!