As part of Black History Month, DFFD salutes Mel “Starr” Anderson, the only African-American to serve as a member of the Dictators. Mel was with the band for their last 10 or so shows in 1978, replacing the then-departed Ritchie Teeter.
Brother of Al Anderson from Bob Marley and the Wailers, Mel came over to the Dictators in a complicated personnel swap with Twisted Sister, in return for Mark the Animal and a roadie to be named later. Although he only played a handful of shows with the Dictators, he manned the drums for one of their highest-profile gigs ever, the band’s very first farewell show at the Bottom Line on 10/20/78.
Here is an excerpt from a band interview following that show. This originally appeared in “Ffanzeen” in 1980.
FF: “How many drummers did you audition before you found Mel?”
Top Ten: “I saw Mel play in his old band, Twisted Sister. He used to wear this big rainbow-colored afro wig and he used to twirl his sticks and all these cool things. Fred Heller, Mott the Hoople’s manager after Ian Hunter quit, wanted Mott to do ‘Sleeping With the TV On,’ so me and Andy, this other guy from Queens and Mel made a demo in a friend’s basement. Mel called Andy while Teeter was telling us he was leaving and asked if we knew any bands that needed a drummer and we said, ‘It just so happens we do.’”
FF: “Mel, how does it feel to be a Dictator?”
Mel found himself a ex-Dictator less than a month later, and returned to the cover band circuit on Long Island from whence he came.
HDM summed up the entire Mel era when he introduced him by saying, “Great public relations move, no?”
– Salvi C.
Andy Shernoff is currently in Canada with his “When Giants Walked the Earth: A Musical Memoir” solo tour — Thursday was Toronto. Next up: London, Ontario (Friday), and Hamilton, Ontario (Saturday). Details.
Get caught up on all the latest press on the show, which he just took south to Tennessee and will soon be bringing to several places in the Northeast:
GoMemphis.com: Rock pioneer Andy Shernoff kindles music and memories
Nashville Scene: A lesson in the history of rock ‘n’ roll according to Andy Shernoff
Über Röck: Andy Shernoff – The Dictators/Master Plan: Interview Exclusive
Everyone’s Wrong and I’m Right: Andy Shernoff Breaks His Silence
Join the Andy Shernoff Appreciation Society on Facebook.
If you see any other relevant new links out there, please let us know in the comments!
Filed under Adny, Interview
We’ve stumbled across lots of news bits to share, which means it’s time for another edition of ‘Tators Tracker. Here goes:
* HDM, Andy and J.P. have all taken part in a new Joey Ramone solo album. More info as we get it.
* Andy’s heading out on tour with the can’t-miss “When Giants Walked the Earth: A Musical Memoir” show. First stop: a guest appearance at tonight’s Carla Rhodes show in Brooklyn, then a very special opening slot for David Jo at New Jersey’s Brighton Bar tomorrow night (more info). During the next few weeks, he’ll hit Tennessee, Canada, Pennsylvania, NYC, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Details here.
* A new Ross the Boss audio interview has been posted at Blabbermouth.net.
* Scott Kempner gets listed among some pretty heady company by the legendary Dion DiMucci.
* Cool photos of Thunderbolt Patterson at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash are posted here.
* Time Out offers a sweet portrait of family life at Chez Manitoba; plus, HDM merits another Page Six mention, just by showing up: NYPost.com.
For those of you planning to kick it old school with the Master Plan this Friday and Saturday and during their upcoming two-week tour of Spain, we share a taste of the band’s recent live action, courtesy of Veer Magazine.
[Edited to add: The Spanish dates have been updated here.]
The spanking-new single from Holland’s the Works (www.theworksrock.nl) is a reworking of the ‘Tators/MWK classic “New York, New York.” In Dutch, “Mokum, Mokum” is a tribute to the Works’ hometown of Amsterdam (nickname “Mokum“). Hear it here: www.myspace.com/cheesetheworks. (Be sure to check out the lyrics, translated into English, at the end of this post.)
We at The DFFD Blog were impressed and intrigued, so we e-mailed some questions to the band’s singer, Marko ’5 ft 7′ Petrovic:
Robert Barry Francos’ Ffanzeen blog features new goodies as well as archival treasures from his New York music magazine, which he published from 1977 to 1988.
A couple of weeks ago, he delivered a couple of oldies and goodies for Dics fans in a post called “The Dictators Can Sing! Two early pieces on the DFFD band.”
The first is a 1977 live report by Todd Abramson (now co-owner of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.) of an unannounced CBGB’s show, during which the band performed songs from the upcoming Bloodbrothers album:
It’s the dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation. Our favorite trio of Walpole High students, CJ Romeo, Pat Maloney and Casey McGuill, continue to garner good press for their recent tribute song about the King of Men.
We had hoped to scoop the world and run their first-ever interview a couple of weeks ago, but had to postpone due to time constraints on the band — they had to study for mid-terms. Since then, the accolades have been rolling in, and they have aced this interview with the Walpole Times, which suspiciously asks almost the exact same template of questions we were going to ask! (I’m not saying they stole our material, but there was a power outage at DFFD headquarters, and Tyler, the guard dog, did wake up the next morning with the scent of chloroform and Liva Snaps on his breath. I’m just sayin’.)
The song is available on iTunes, and you can catch the band on the last Friday of every month at Newbury Comics on Route 1 in Norwood, Mass.
Here’s a clip of them doing their “smash hit single” at the store last Friday night.
– Salvi C.
For you this YouTube Tuesday: Some fun stuff filmed at Manitoba’s bar (99 Avenue B, between 6th and 7th). First up, in the clip above, the Handsome One regales the Brew Yorker with a story about Sid Vicious’ jacket. (Let the ending serve as a lesson to us all.)
Meanwhile, more good stuff with HDM from Josephine’s New York: a chat and personal tour of the bar’s many fine artifacts.
C’mon, let’s rock ‘n’ roll with the Dictators — four of whom hit the radio waves this week:
Wednesday (12/16), 2 p.m. ET: Thunderbolt Patterson joins host Lou Molinaro live on Indi101 FM in Hamilton, Ontario, and simulcast online at http://indifm.ca. Featuring cuts from Thunderbolt’s The LP Is Dead.
Thursday (12/17), 8-11 p.m. ET: Ross the Boss guests on the Internet-based show Metal Meltdown.
Archived from Sunday, 12/13: Andy talks wine and song on the Mr. Cutlets Show.
And, last but not least, for your daily entertainment:
Weekdays, 8 p.m-midnight ET: The Handsome Dick Manitoba Program, on Sirius Satellite Radio, Underground Garage, Channel 25.
For a look at radio host HDM at work, check out this video clip of him interviewing Iggy Pop — the only man we dare not mock for rocking mandals.
[Edited to add: Congrats on that Hall of Fame thing, Iggy!]
My esteemed colleague Salvi C. brought this illuminating interview with former Dictators bassist, and current Twisted Sister, Mark “the Animal” Mendoza to my attention. From the Twisted Sister website, the article — of indeterminate age — features a wealth of nuggets from possibly the only person on the planet who refers to Andy Shernoff as “the keyboard player.”
On hearing The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! for the first time:
“I listened to it and thought it was the worst crap I ever heard! And I said that there’s no way I’m playing in this band. I’m sorry. I’m just not playing this crap.”
On how he impacted the band:
“When I joined the Dictators I kind of changed their style of music. All of a sudden these guys had to play pretty hard to keep up with me. It was like all of a sudden ‘super charging’ the band.”