This date in 2003 once again found us taking a road trip to see the Dictators. Being longtime fans, we were aware that there were often long gaps between gigs, so we tried to see as many as we could to tide us over between breaks.
This particular trip took us to lovely Philadelphia. The “lovely” part, we’ll have to take their word for. We got seriously lost in South Philly, the worst burned-out ghetto this side of “Superfly.” Around and around we drove, 2 of the palest white boys you have ever seen, as we tried to work from the vague directions the pre-Mapquest search provided. With the dome light glaring, we could not have called more attention to ourselves if we’d had an air raid siren shrieking. We simply could not find the club!! The hotel, we found no problem, as we passed that twice! Once we saw our second upside-down car on fire, we figured it was time to call the North Star Bar and ask for directions. My friends, it’s never a good sign when you tell the club your location, and they reply with “Oh my God, get the hell out of there now!”
Today in 1996 found the Little Kings playing their only Boston gig ever. The Little Kings were a combination supergroup/superstar comeback. Living legend Dion DiMucci teamed up with Scott Kempner and Frank Funaro from the Del-Lords, and Mike Mesaros from the Smithereens.
Dion, was, is, and always will be one of the coolest and most important artists in rock. He was an originator and an emancipator. But instead of working the oldies circuit and resting on his laurels, a right he most certainly had earned, Dion’s vision with the Little Kings was to do it again, from square one, as a new band.
While the concept was noble, the downfall of being a new band is that you sometimes get the shoddy treatment a new band suffers. This show, sadly, found the band treated quite poorly by Mama Kin. The set time got moved twice, the sound guy was rude and dismissive, and they were told not to bother with the second night of the booking before they’d even played the first night! I remember Frank exclaiming, “Why did they invite us if they didn’t want us?”
“It doesn’t exist,” they said. “It’s a thing of legend, like trolls, leprechauns, and eskimos.” Well bunkies, today’s episode of “Mythbusters” is dedicated to you.
I found this under a pile of off-brand clown wigs, in a thrift store in Mooselip, NH. Our next quest will be to locate a functioning eight-track player, to see if “Two Tub Man” has that familiar 8T “Ka-CHUNK” in the middle of it.
– Salvi C.
Andy Shernoff’s Song Workshop is in the middle of a month-long residency at Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th Street in NYC. We caught the set last Wednesday.
These gigs are rare chances to peek behind the songwriter’s curtain, and witness songs as they are being brought to life. The musicians barely know the tunes — experiments are made, risks taken, mistakes shrugged off. It’s endearing to hear the material in this manner, and it’s a unique experience for the audience.
This was the first time I’ve noticed just how amazing Brian Hurd and Tricia Scotti truly are, and how they are both perfectly suited for their supporting roles. They both display musical intuition that sometimes borders on the telepathic. Brian, who’s rocking the largest set of mutton chops since the heyday of Andre the Giant, never overplays, and always supplies what the song needs. Sometimes it’s a wailing solo, sometimes a background fill, but he’s always spot on and soulful. And Mother of God, what a voice on Tricia Scotti. It is a wonder of nature. I would pay to hear her sing the phone book.
Three of the night’s tunes were new to these ears, and all were memorable. “I Just Want To Save Your Soul” is almost spiritual in tone, while “I Know a Song To Save Your Life” has a Paul McCartney vibe (the GOOD Macca, not the “Just Another Day” Macca). “I Cried Love” was the best of the newbies, with a simple, soothing feel that is reminiscent of “Stay With Me” while sounding nothing like that classic.
The Otto’s residency wraps up tomorrow. There are more shows coming in Queens, and another soon at Café Nine in New Haven. There will be lots of Shernoff to go around in 2013.
It’s word eating time. In our Jan. 16 post, we unfairly dismissed the 1/16/81 “Guitarmania” gig as “just another garden variety rent party.” Well, through an incredible case of serendipity, we turned up a recording of said show, and guess what? It was tremendous.
The night’s billing as “Guitarmania,” with Ross billed above Wayne Kramer, was actually a bit misleading, and no doubt an attempt to pad the room with Dictator fans. It actually was a Wayne Kramer Revue, with a couple of MC5 songs, a couple of solo things, a few obscurities, and a few covers.
I know that doesn’t sound compelling at face value. But Brother Wayne assembled a top-notch backing band for the night, with Charlie Giordano from the E Street Band on keys, Carol Coleman from Kid Creole and the Coconuts on bass, and of course RTB on lead guitar. They completely delivered the goods, as both the material and performance were top shelf.
We’re working to get a copy of this show into Brother Wayne’s hands for possible inclusion on a live cd.
2. I Still Hate
3. The Harder They Come
4. 25 Miles (Edwin Starr!)
5. Ramblin’ Rose
6. Everybody’s Taking Something
7. Modern Romance
8. Shake the Beat
9. It’s Only Money
10. Valentino’s Moon
11. Tutti Frutti
12. Kick Out the Jams
13. (encore) Shout
– Salvi C.
Yale University, the epicenter of Yuppiedom. A student population dominated by Biffs and Muffies, getting edumacated on daddy’s dime, all the while planning their next excursion to the Hamptons to watch the yacht races and lament on the price of good help.
On this date in 1977, these future WASPs of America must have dropped their monocles, wet their whale pants, and gasped in terror, as Yale University’s Woolsey Hall was invaded by a NYC punk triple bill of the Ramones, the Dictators, and the Cramps.
This was the only show ever at this venue for all three bands. One has to wonder if school administrators simply found the entertainment too out of character for a room designed for symphonies.
Woolsey Hall has been the site for Yale’s graduation ceremonies since 1901, and has been graced by both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during in their frat boy phases. I like to think that the antics of those 2 party boys provided cosmic inspiration for Lux’s onstage pants-dropping insanity.
– Salvi C.
Scott Kempner celebrates a birthday today. Here’s some extremely rare vid of him during his brief reign in 1980 as the guitar god in the Helen Wheels band. Thanks to the videographers at the Local East Village blog for hanging on to this stuff for 30 plus years!
– Salvi C.
Filed under PSA, Top Ten, Video
Feb. 1 means two things to us in DFFD land: 1, winter is halfway over, and more importantly, B, we have an excuse to run a couple more of these fantastic pictures from the Dictators’ first-ever New York concert, which took place at the Capitol Theatre on Feb. 1, 1974.
Photos are property of Ross Friedman, and are not to be reproduced without his permission.
– Salvi C.
Happy Birthday to HDM!! Here’s proof that “The Handsomest Man in Rock and Roll” was not just an empty boast. Be still, my heart.
– Salvi C.
Can you imagine how great this might have been? When two guitar monsters face off, declare “we don’t need no stinking vocal mics” and rip through instrumental versions of “Rambling Rose” or “Science Gone Too Far?” Maybe they trade off on the long instrumental break that used to be the prelude to “Two Tub Man,” or dust off “Interstellar Overdrive.”
It could have been a gig for the ages. Unfortunately, Reality kicked Imagination’s a** yet again, and it was merely your garden variety rent party. Brother Wayne had just left Gang War, and was in dire straits financially, allegedly reduced to sleeping in abandoned cars on the LES. Ross had just left Shakin’ Street, and the Dictators reunion, which had kicked off the previous November, was on hold for another few weeks until Richie Teeter cleared his calendar.
RTB’s recollections of the night were succinct — ”Wayne did most of the singing. We did some MC5, some reggae.”
– Salvi C.