In light of the recent passing of original Dictators drummer Stu Boy King, we at the DFFD Blog are proud to share with you the only interview he ever granted, to our own Sal Cincotta, published by rock magazine Ugly Things in November 2015. Our deepest thanks to Ugly Things for allowing us to republish that article here, supplemented with some new nuggets Sal dug up from the original notes for the interview. (For you collectors out there, this story originally ran in Ugly Things #40, which is still available here.) Here are Part I and Part II. The interview continues below with Part III. (The fourth and final part is coming soon.)
Let’s talk about Nazareth. You drove out to Winnipeg to open a tour and were sent home after one show. So what was their problem?
We drove 19 hours to open for them. Hudson-Ford were the middle act. I remember that it was a beautiful venue to play in. We did our sound check, and the acoustics in the place were perfect for the Dics. All the vibrato and feedback made us sound great, we couldn’t go wrong. Nazareth’s LP with “Love Hurts” had just come out, and this was their shot at the big time. They didn’t want anything to interfere with their moment in the sun. We were loud and amped up, and sounding really good. In sound check we were jamming to “Diamond Dogs,” me and Ross, and blowing it up. Nazareth saw this, and wanted no part of us trying to steal their thunder. They came in with a tight and precise package, and here come these young, fired up hooligans stirring the pot. We scared them, and got sent home after one gig!
Was the album cover the only concept you considered, or was there anything else that didn’t make the cut?
The original concept for the LP’s cover was to have a Frankie and Annette Beach Blanket Bingo type scene, and superimpose the four members of the band into the picture. This idea faded as Murray and Sandy realized they’d have to pay for copyright clearance, and also as the Handsome Dick Manitoba wrestling character evolved. HDM’s wrestling outfit wasn’t completed until after we got back from Winnipeg. We were all huge fans of old school wrestling.
How long a gap was there between the album sessions and the actual release?
The LP was recorded in August and September of 1974, came out in March of 1975, and we became eligible to go out on the road. The week the album came out, we went down to Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom in Atlanta to open for Rush. The band got mad at me there over a couple of incidences. Someone in the band wanted me to get together with one of the groupies, and pushed one of the girls towards me. I was embarrassed–she couldn’t have been more than 13 or 14, and she’s pulling inappropriately on my pants. I had more decency than that. This was the deep South, I was expecting the farmer dad to come along with the shotgun! It was humiliating.
They also got mad at me because I got friendly with Neal Peart from Rush. Rush were really something new to my ears. They caught us all by surprise. They were quite organized, with complex chords and arrangements, and complexities between the bass and the drums. Neal Peart (drums) could play his ass off. During one show I challenged him. I showed off a little too much, and they didn’t like it. I didn’t care–he was not going to play better than me. Ross was also challenged by Alex. Both of us were guilty of showing off. Peart shook his fists at me in a friendly way, but the Dics were doing that to me as well in a not friendly way, because I took showing off to a whole other level, and stepped all over everyone’s parts. Patrons at the show were walking around yelling, “You’re just as good as Peart!” and that busted people’s chops.
We were booked for two sets a night for four nights, but they booted us early. I think we played five or six shows total. We were told that we weren’t acting professionally and that they wouldn’t continue with us as openers. Some of it could be my fault, some could be Ross, or it could have been lack of experience. It could have been smart-ass nonsense from a meeting with the press. It could be that we were just 21-year-old knuckleheads!