The Dictators’ Kentucky Tour, May 10-11, 2002
Another year, another Dictators-related road trip, this time to the land of the Kentucky Derby, Muhammad Ali, mint juleps, Fort Knox and the Louisville Slugger.
As soon as Salvi arrived at Midway early Friday, we hit the road toward the glorious bluegrass of Kentucky, by way of Cincy, home of our future RTB friend, Dawnowar. Passing Riverfront Stadium (we shoulda caught a few innings), and it’s still-under-construction replacement, crossing the Ohio, into sleepy Newport, Kentucky, home of the Southgate House, site of the Dictators’ first-ever Kentucky gig.
The Southgate House is on my shortlist of cool rock venues. A huge mansion near the river, a bar & restaurant upstairs, and in the basement, a ballroom/concert hall that had served as the birthplace of the Thompson Submachine Gun (see Al Capone). Tables and chairs surrounded a dance floor, great sound, good sightlines and cold, cheap beer.
Cincinnati band Thee Shams opened with a tough set. The Dictators took the stage, clawing through a 19-song, 76-minute set — heavy on “D.F.F.D.” — with HDM proclaiming, “We can’t curse tomorrow night, so we’re gonna curse a lot tonight.” (He did). At one point a tipsy, short-shorts-wearing Kentucky woman hip-checked our table, sending my old film Kodak flying, never to take another picture. But like a bat broken delivering a game-winning hit, it died happy. The Dictators’ set flew by in a blur, it wasn’t until we later listened to Sal’s tape that we realized just how fierce that set was. The weekend was off to a kickazz start.
Author Archives: Robbiecube
The Dictators’ Kentucky Tour, May 10-11, 2002
Poptown Records “THUNDERBOSS” Release Party
BillyMarks West, NYC
Sept. 12, 2006
Approximately sixty-seven minutes after booking my flight to Boston to hang out with Salvi, and to finally see the almighty Radio Birdman play at the Middle East on Sept. 9, I got the call; Thunderbolt Patterson, Ross the Boss, and Dean Rispler, aka THUNDERBOSS, were playing a set at Poptown’s release party for “THUNDERBOSS,” at J.P.’s favorite hangout, BillyMarks West in NYC. And J.P. hisself had cordially invited us to attend!
Salvi and I found our way to BillyMarks, strolling in the door as the band did a brief soundcheck. Mid-song, J.P. spotted Salvi, and yelled “SAL!” After finishing the check, J.P. came over to chat and thank us for traveling so far for his little bash. Not a problem, Mr. Bolt. As J.P. worked the room, we spoke quite a while with Dean, Ross and C.J. Sciøscia. J.P.’s daughter filled snack bags with crunchies, while his wife sold T-shirts and CDs, and searched for gaffer’s tape. Once behind his drumkit, J.P. explained that he and his missus were on the eve of their 17th wedding anniversary … awwww.
Karen (our wunnerful webhostess) and her hubby John arrived, followed shortly by a dapper gent, who turned out to be J.P.’s Dad. We were introduced to Mr. Patterson, and spent most of the non-musical portion of the evening yakkin’ with him. The man’s led a fascinating life being, among other things, a member of the US Diplomatic Corps, traveling the world with his family. Granddad was a professional wrassler, Dad’s a diplomat, J.P.’s a rock drummer/thespian. Now that’s a colorful family lineage! Adrianna, J.P’s sister, arrived from Maryland just as the first set began. Given the family history, I wondered what her chosen calling was. Geophysics? Gourmet chef? Rockette?
Ross had taken his legendary black Les Paul out of protective custody for this gig. Dean played a cool Epiphone bass, J.P. played his usual Pearl kit. With the Poptown/NFL Film Crew in place, THUNDERBOSS launched into their seven-song set, wrapping it up with a rip through Jeff Beck’s “Rice Pudding,” with a dash of Jimi tossed in by Ross. An excellent, smokin’ set, but much too short. But…
As we documented in the last post, the Summer of 1991 had our heroes on the road again. This revamped juggernaut wiped out Chicago on this date in 1991. The boys played the Avalon with the Lunachicks and Spinout in support. Here are some memories of the gig from our Senior Midwest correspondent, Robbie Q:
The Avalon was formerly known as The Quiet Knight, a truly legendary folk/rock/blues/comedy club. It was located on the second floor of a building at Belmont & Sheffield, just a bit south of Wrigley Field.
Many future stars played there in the ’60s & ’70s. Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Bob Marley, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon, the Kinkster, even Jimmy Buffett played there before they were stars. But by the time punk hit, the place was declining, as was the neighborhood, and it finally closed, reopening as “Tut’s,” becoming a cornerstone of the Chicago punk scene, then finally becoming the Avalon. I don’t believe it stayed open as the Avalon very long, either. Too bad, it was a cool and historic room. The building is still there. Last time I went by, several years ago, the second floor was now occupied by a beauty/barber college. I wonder how many future cosmetologists knew the real history of the place?
DATELINE – 1975 LOCATION – THE SOUTHWEST SIDE OF CHICAGO
The thrill was gone. The fun was dwindling. Awful, boring music by Pink Floyd, The Dead & The Eagles was oozing out of every radio. Led Zep was the biggest band in the world, inexplicably more popular than The Who. The Stones were still up there, too. Most of my favorite bands were either on the way to oblivion, or were already there. The Coop had just replaced his band with dancing toothbrushes. The mighty Sabbath was sputtering. Blackmore had ditched The Purps. Jimi was still dead.
Acts like Blue Oyster Cult, Aerosmith, Queen, Thin Lizzy, The Nuge & Kiss had steadily built large followings, all would break into the rock & roll stratosphere in the next couple of years. AC/DC was unknown. We upper midwest record store geeks had just found our great white hope, a band from up Rockford called Cheap Trick, who were blowing our earflaps off in the bars and clubs around Chicago. Man, they were the most exciting live band this side of J. Geils! The Trick brought back some of the thrills, fun, and power we’d been pining for, but it’d be almost two years before they got an album out.
It would be another year before the two headed dog of punk and disco would begin to howl at each other.
THE DICTATORS RE-FORM TO HEADLINE
“THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF PUNK”
CONCERT AT THE RITZ, NYC
NYC? The Big Apple? Me? It was January, 1986. I was 32, and had never been east of Dayton. But when the call came from Salvi, telling me about the Dictators reforming to headline the “10th Anniversary of Punk” at the Ritz, I did what any red-blooded Dictators fan would do … I borrowed $250 from my then-girlfriend and headed to Midway Airport! I hopped a Thursday night flight to Newark via People’s Express, a budget airline that required passengers to pay in cash once the plane was in the air! People’s Express made traveling by Greyhound seem like a first-class trip in comparison. But I got there in one piece. Who knows what fell off that plane en route?
I landed at Newark, no plans, no room, ending up crashing at the Ben Franklin Inn (“Where a Penny Saved…”). Friday dawned bright and crisp, I grabbed an eventual bus to downtown Newark. A nice gentleman sat next to me immediately, asking me lots of questions, several times inviting me to hop off the bus for “a drink or two.” People sure were friendly in Newark! And I’d heard such bad things.