by Robert Bell
You read that headline correctly. Half Japanese — the veteran experimental rock band that has been a cult favorite among music geeks for 35 years — really dug Hot Springs.
The group played a weekend-long residency at Maxine's back in October, at the behest of Thick Syrup Records, the Little Rock label that has released and reissued several works from the band. Half Japanese played, along with solo sets from founding members David and Jad Fair and performances from kindred spirits Ezra Lbs. and The Bloodless Cooties. There were exhibitions of the Fair brothers' artwork, and a screening of the documentary "Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King." (Side notes: 1. The film is totally entertaining and compelling even if experimental rock isn't your exact specific jam. 2. Here's one of my favorite Half Japanese tunes, this one's with Don Fleming, who also has records on Thick Syrup.)
Apparently, so much fun was had that it necessitated a book to commemorate the occasion. And thus, "All the Doctors in Hot Springs," which is a lyric from Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues." It's a 48-page book of photos, fliers and more from the weekend, which saw the band performing the song "Lucky Times Lucky Plus Lucky Times Ten" (written just for the occasion) as Thick Syrup founder Travis McElroy proposed to his now fiance Samantha Pirtle.
As the band wrote in the introduction to the book, "What a great time!" They thanked McElroy and Pirtle and all the other folks involved, including Kevin Rogers and Agnes Galecka, who own Maxine's, "the coolest music venue west of Hoboken."
You can pick the book up at Amazon raht cheer.