The Next Big Thing

Before the Ramones, before the Sex Pistols, there were the Dictators.

The Dictators were, “one of the finest and most influential proto-punk bands to walk the earth,” wrote rock critic John Dougan. “Radio hated them, critical response was lukewarm, and lots of audiences didn't get the jokes. Ironically, what didn't help at all was the rise of the New York punk scene, which only diverted attention away from them and onto bands they influenced.”

Epic Records released the band’s debut album, The Dictators Go Girl Crazy, in 1975, with production by Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman (best known for their work with Blue Öyster Cult). Although the album sold poorly at the time, today it is considered one of the most important albums by a New York punk band of the period. Some scribes have called Go Girl Crazy the missing link between late-'60s rock and '70s punk.

“We formed The Dictators mostly because we had no other choice,” said bassist and sometime vocalist Andy/Adny Shernoff in an interview. “We were all friends before we formed the band, but, the band was formed mainly because we didn't seem to fit in anywhere else. Music was the only place we all felt comfortable. I, personally, didn't know what else to do with my life.”

In a separate interview with Billy Bob Hargus for Furious.com, Shernoff talked about why the Dictators didn’t hit it as big as some of their New York brethren: “We were unfocused. We had all different people singing songs. There were internal problems. We didn't get the right tours very often. We'd go back and forth between stadium shows with Kiss to doing a show with Billy Preston,” he said.

“There was no place in the music business for what we were doing. It took a year or two for people to accept the idea of what we were doing. Twenty years later, it really got accepted. The fact is that twenty years later people are still interested in the band. Rhino is doing a compilation and there's tribute record being done in Spain. People still talk about us and write about us and I'm flattered.”

(I Live for) Cars and Girls.mp3
California Sun.mp3


At 9:02 AM , Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Sadly, the people of Seattle would not buy enough tickets to see this band when they were on tour in the early '80s resulting in the band cancelling their Vancouver show for economic reasons. Many other bands were forced to make the same decision over the years.

When the Dictators finally played my town in '93 our souls were saved by rock 'n' roll.

At 11:31 AM , Blogger aikin said...

probably the same old thing - people didn't get it.


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