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?”
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
After a quiet couple of months in terms of opportunities to see our guys, we suddenly have an embarrassment of shows, starting this week.
The Del Lords have an all too rare NYC show tomorrow, 12/11, at the Rock Shop, a benefit for Mark Spencer, whose recording studio was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Ticket info can be found here.
Scott’s in the middle of an East Coast solo tour with Elliott Murphy, the highlight of which in our POV is a gig this Friday, 12/14, at the Record Collector in Bordentown, NJ, where he shares the bill with Andy Shernoff. That’s two Dictators for the price of one, a sure-fire value in these difficult times. Tix for the Record Collector gig are available here.
Daniel Rey has 3 gigs backing Ronnie Spector’s “Best Christmas Party Ever!,” starting this Friday at BB King’s, and ending Saturday, 12/22, at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun. Your humble reporter will be in attendance for that one.
Finally, what better way can there be to ring in the New Year than to share the mishegas with Manitoba at the Bowery Electric? Tickets are going faster than free hotcakes, but are still available here.
– Salvi C.
Happy birthday (Feb. 6) to Dictator and Del-Lord extraordinaire, the great Top Ten himself — Scott Kempner!
If you had your druthers, and could choose the parameters for the perfect party, what would those parameters be? If your criteria includes a wonderful venue, gracious hosts, amazing food in quantities that could feed a small army, guests who are fellow music fanatics, and last but not least, a kicka** band playing three feet from your face, then Chumley, you really should have been at the Del-Lords house concert this past w/e.
Saturday’s show at the Root Hoot concert house in Peace Dale, RI, was the third leg of the band’s World Domination Tour, after lesser stops at the Lakeside and in Spain. Some 75 lucky souls spent 2.5 hours being regaled by Scott, Roscoe, Frankie and Lucky. The band played two sets. The first set was very tight, and loaded with DLs classics. Then, after a 45-minute break, in which everyone attempted to put a dent in the mountain of food, they played a much more adventurous second set, in the classic “Do we even KNOW this one?? Ah Hell, let’s do it anyway” style. Three or four from the upcoming album were previewed and well received. It also seems that both Scott and Eric are frustrated comedians, as they told very funny stories about Stu-boy King, Screaming Jay Hawkins and “Sergio F**king Franchi.”
Where are the Dictators members these days? Where AREN’T they?
Personally, I’m having great difficulty keeping track of them and their many different projects. Here’s a quick snapshot of where to find who doing what when … if I missed something (and I probably did), please e-mail me or comment below!
In random order, because I love ALL my Dictators (separate but equal, yo!):
(Manitoba, Where You At?)
It all started with a post on The DFFD Blog about Top Ten and the Del Lords doing a “secret” gig at the Lakeside Lounge in NYC, as a warm up to their Spanish shows. Actually, no, it all started when my ex-boyfriend’s band did a co-headlining gig with RTB’s German band in Brooklyn in 2009 … but that’s a story for another day. I had already met 3 current Dictators (the aforementioned RTB, JP Patterson, and Andy Shernoff) and had only two to go. This was my chance to hopefully cross at least one more off my list!! Since I had already friended Scott on Facebook, I sent him a short note asking if the secret gig was still on, and explained that we had a mutual friend so he wouldn’t think I was a stalker. He was kind enough to write back a few hours later to confirm.
Flash forward to 7 o’clock that night, a friend and I are sitting at the bar when, in hushed tones, a gentleman to my right asked the bartender how things were going to work for the gig tonight, as the bar’s website mentioned a $20 “donation.” This sparked a conversation about how we were both huge Dictators fans and were psyched to see one of them in such an intimate venue. He had heard about the gig the same place I had, through Salvi and The DFFD Blog. A few more people trickled in, and we made our way over to the stage area in the back of the bar. My friend and I snagged primo seats, and as I was settling in, I looked over and there was Scott Kempner and his guitar, setting up. I quickly introduced myself to him, we shared an inside joke about someone’s extreme and baffling political views, and I let him mingle with his friends and family.
As I was patting myself on the back for appearing so calm and collected, I spotted a familiar looming figure. It was Andy Shernoff shaking hands with the crowd. Apparently the people at the next table from us were who he was there to meet, and the next thing I knew he was sitting next to me, and he remembered me. More back patting ensued. Andy’s friend introduced himself to me as one of his oldest friends, back from the days of New Paltz and the Teenage Wasteland fanzine, Bobby “the Brain.” He told me how they used to print the fanzine by hand on mimeograph paper. I was truly in awe of being surrounded by Dictators history.
Trees down. Roads closed. Power lost. Basements flooded. Del Lords cancelled.
Yup, stupid Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene put the kibosh on what would have been a kick-a** bash Saturday at the Roots Hoot House Concert in Peace Dale, RI.
Luckily, Tuesday’s gig at the Lakeside, disguised as “The Elvis Club,” gives us an opportunity to catch them before they leave for this weekend’s gigs at the Turbo Rock Festival in Spain.
– Salvi C.
Filed under Live, Top Ten
Happy birthday today to Scott “Top Ten” Kempner!!!
On the 33rd anniversary of the death of Elvis, let us quote the immortal words of the Bard, Sir Scott of Kempner, which are from the Dictators’ Palladium show on 8/24/77:
“For the first time in a long time, rock & roll is without a King. The Dictators want to hereby commemorate, and dedicate, this set and every set from now on, to the King, Elvis Presley. Now, and forever.”
– Salvi C.
Filed under Live, Top Ten