1991: Out of Traction, Back in Action!


Photos courtesy of Kris Quaedvlieg

The summer of 1991 once again found the band with time on its hands. Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom had been dropped by the geniuses at MCA, the Del-Lords had broken up, and our heroes were left with the choice of scattering into the wind (again) or putting the band back together. To quote Manitoba, “We could stay home for the summer and lose money, or go on the road and lose money.” So, in best DIY, 3-to-a-room-at-the-Motel-6 fashion, the road was the choice. The Dictators played 20-plus dates over the course of the summer, the most since the “Bloodbrothers” tour in 1978.

I saw the first three shows from 1991. The 4/27 Palladium show was fun and exciting, but overall a shaky affair. Andy sat this one out, and RTB and Scott both did great jobs carrying the backing vocals. They obviously had worked their tails off rehearsing, but guitar cues were missed left and right, and it took until encores for things to really jell. The Uptown Horns were special guests on a surprise version of “Looking for a Love.”

The first weekend on the road, 5/31 in Providence and 6/1 at the Channel in Boston, were much improved shows, but it still felt like they were playing it safe. The set lists were identical to those from the 1981 shows, and they still seemed tentative. They were still short-arming their throws.


Things started to click on the following weekend in Wash DC and at the Fast Lane. The playing got tighter, and RTB threw a lot of variety into his solos, which led to amazing extended endings to “Loyola” and “Stay With Me.”

The Fast Lane show ended up being Richie Teeter’s last ever gig as a Dictator. Frankie Funaro answered the call, and played the rest of the 1991 shows.

Maybe it was the tumbleweed hairdo on Frank. Maybe it was the addition of the MWK catalog to the set. Maybe it was getting goosed by the Lunachicks, who were the support act for the tour. Maybe it was the tightness that comes with repetition. For whatever reason, the band had become a machine, and the balance of the 1991 shows were absolutely phenomenal. The energy level was off the charts, with oomph coming from the bottom end of the band as if it were rocket fueled. IMHO, these dozen or so 1991 shows this juggernaut played with Frank rank among the most powerful in the band’s history, with the Winnipeg show on 8/19 (“I’d like to thank you for naming your province after me!”) and the final show on NYC’s Marquee on Sept. 6 being the highlights among the highlights. This final leg of the tour is where the rebirth of The Dictators really began.

— Salvi C.

Set list from the Marquee 9/6/91:
1.        Master Race Rock
2.        Science Gone Too Far!
3.        The Party Starts Now!
4.        The Next Big Thing
5.        Stay With Me
6.        Baby Let’s Twist
7.        I Stand Tall
8.        Faster and Louder
9.        Haircut and Attitude
10.       Slow Death
11.       California Sun
12.       New York, New York
13.       Two Tub Man
14.       Weekend
15.       Search and Destroy

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Filed under Dictators Assembled, Live, Live Review, The Cincotta Archives

3 responses to “1991: Out of Traction, Back in Action!

  1. Pingback: Former Dictators / Twisted Sister Drummer Ritchie Teeter Dies at 61

  2. robbiecube1127

    I saw The Dictators/Lunachicks/Spinout @ Tut’s (formerly the Quiet Knight), with Frank Funaro manning the cans. This gig was manna from heaven, who’da thunk The Dictators would ever come back Chicago?
    I snapped up the last Search & Destroy tour shirt available at the merch table. (I still have it here in 2018). The Dictators smoked like a tire fire! My love for the band’s music was rekindled that night, never to be extinguished.

  3. robbiecube1127

    The club in question was The Avalon, the short-lived successor to Tut’s, which was previously The Quiet Knight.

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