This poet’s life

frank andrick

Photo By Larry Dalton

Frank Andrick (or frank andrick, no caps, as he poetically prefers) has been one of the longtime hosts of Joe Montoya’s Poetry Unplugged (at Luna’s Café & Juice Bar, 1414 16th Street). When he’s not hosting that, he’s hosting a literary radio show (The Pomo Literati on San Francisco’s KUSF 90.3 FM), writing and dreaming up new ways to introduce poetry to the community. He’s brought a diverse set of writers to Sacramento, like the feminist hell-raiser Michelle Tea and the porn star-turned-poet (and this month’s Penthouse Pet) Kayden Kross. The Baudelairian scholar who lives and breathes literature is currently in the process of editing a stunningly diverse anthology of Luna’s open-mic poets that’ll hit the streets on October 30 of this year, out on Rattlesnake Press. He’s humble, of course, but a quick Google search of “Frank Andrick” gives new meaning to productivity and insight into the esteemed title of “Name-Dropping Whore.”

What do you do?

I would like to primarily call myself a poet, although recently I have been called an “art fag,” a “lesbian,” a “poofter"—

What’s that?

I think it’s a reference to gayness.

Why do people say those things?

I think people say more about what they are when they say things like that.

The old “I’m rubber you’re glue” theory?

Or bad Psych 101.

How do you know if you’re a poet?

I take the Charles Baudelaire and Jean Cocteau definition of poet—that it’s a way of looking at and dealing creatively with the world. It’s a commitment to live by your creativity.

How long have you been hosting the Luna’s open-mic series?

I’m going on nine years. At this point, I’ve actually hosted longer than the series founder Joe Montoya, who blessed us all by starting this series … that 14 years later is still happening. And we’re about to finally publish our anthology.

How many poets are in the anthology?

It’ll be in excess of 120 people in it. It’s going to be massive. I almost hate to say this, but … it’s hard to imagine anything that’s come out so far that will have the scope of this. Everyone will find fault with it; everyone will find great things with it. It’s going to reflect a lot of the writing that’s gone on in this town.

You had a show called Frank Andrick is a Name-Dropping Whore. Is it true?

Yes it is. I am a name-dropping whore. I kind of made that up about myself. There were too many situations where I’d be talking about my past lifetime, music, business stuff or whatever, and I’d be like, “Yeah, Bono and I did this,” or “Robert Smith and I did that,” and “I was hanging out with Throwing Muses and we did this,” and it just got where it sounded like I was dropping all these people’s names. But for me it was my job, so it wasn’t really a big deal. It just seemed like I was incessantly name dropping all the time, so I thought I’d own up to it. I view most people, including myself, as being whores.

What was your job?

I played, as they say in the business, “both sides of the desk.” I did radio, moving up from college radio into commercial radio and becoming a music director. My commercial radio experience was at KSJO in San Jose and KQAK in San Francisco. Actually working with the music was real cool, but all the butt kissing, pretending you like things and playing things you don’t like and all was certainly whorish. And working for a record company, a lot of people would say, “I’m surprised you don’t work for smaller alternative record companies, because that’s the kind of music you like.” But the answer to that was absolute whoredom. Two words: Expense account. When I used to work at Warner Brothers, we used to call our expense account “Bunny money.”


Because Bugs Bunny was the symbol of Warner Brothers!

Ohh! Nice.

And when I worked for A&M, it was for Herb Alpert [the “A” in A&M Records], so it was like, “Herb’s picking up the check today!” So you’re promoting things you don’t like: I detest Sting, but I certainly pushed Sting records.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?

It’s a tossup between Bono when he wasn’t famous at all and Václav Havel [the first president of the Czech Republic].

That’s a mix. What were you like as a little boy?

Very, very different. Literary. [Informed] a lot by French Canadian ideals and French culture. My stepfather was a rocket scientist and we moved from French-speaking Canada to here.

That’s where the brains came from.

Yeah, he was my stepfather, though.