This nifty flier is from a weekend of gigs our boys did in Toronto, one of the final tune-up weekends before the June 25th release of “Bloodbrothers.”
I bet these were fun gigs. The pre-“What I Like About You” Romantics were a raw and rocking band, and we all know how lethal the 1978, stripped down to a five piece version of the Dictators were.
— Salvi C.
Photo credit: Mike Dewey
This date in 1991 found our guys on their second weekend road trip of 1991. After a couple of tentative shows in Providence and Boston the prior w/e, this show in Washington, DC, presented a confident and tight band, in one of their best shows of that year.
While we don’t condone bootlegs, we certainly do enjoy them, and this show is one of the very best. It’s from the Ross the Boss Megamix series, with his amp 3 times louder than anyone else on stage. Sometimes these things happen for a reason. This night’s reason was to make sure we could appreciate his Dharma-esque, extended and exciting solos in “Loyola” and “Stay With Me,” the likes of which were unheard before or since. Thrilling stuff.
This date in 2003 once again found us taking a road trip to see the Dictators. Being longtime fans, we were aware that there were often long gaps between gigs, so we tried to see as many as we could to tide us over between breaks.
This particular trip took us to lovely Philadelphia. The “lovely” part, we’ll have to take their word for. We got seriously lost in South Philly, the worst burned-out ghetto this side of “Superfly.” Around and around we drove, 2 of the palest white boys you have ever seen, as we tried to work from the vague directions the pre-Mapquest search provided. With the dome light glaring, we could not have called more attention to ourselves if we’d had an air raid siren shrieking. We simply could not find the club!! The hotel, we found no problem, as we passed that twice! Once we saw our second upside-down car on fire, we figured it was time to call the North Star Bar and ask for directions. My friends, it’s never a good sign when you tell the club your location, and they reply with “Oh my God, get the hell out of there now!”
Yale University, the epicenter of Yuppiedom. A student population dominated by Biffs and Muffies, getting edumacated on daddy’s dime, all the while planning their next excursion to the Hamptons to watch the yacht races and lament on the price of good help.
On this date in 1977, these future WASPs of America must have dropped their monocles, wet their whale pants, and gasped in terror, as Yale University’s Woolsey Hall was invaded by a NYC punk triple bill of the Ramones, the Dictators, and the Cramps.
This was the only show ever at this venue for all three bands. One has to wonder if school administrators simply found the entertainment too out of character for a room designed for symphonies.
Woolsey Hall has been the site for Yale’s graduation ceremonies since 1901, and has been graced by both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during in their frat boy phases. I like to think that the antics of those 2 party boys provided cosmic inspiration for Lux’s onstage pants-dropping insanity.
— Salvi C.
Feb. 1 means two things to us in DFFD land: 1, winter is halfway over, and more importantly, B, we have an excuse to run a couple more of these fantastic pictures from the Dictators’ first-ever New York concert, which took place at the Capitol Theatre on Feb. 1, 1974.
Photos are property of Ross Friedman, and are not to be reproduced without his permission.
— Salvi C.
Courtesy of the Roubick Archives
Here’s a great-looking poster from a gig that never actually happened. The Dictators were on their way to this show when they were mistaken for a then-prevalent German terrorist faction called the Baader-Meinhof group. If you’re wondering how a bunch of greasy, long-haired musicians paying the dinner fare with foreign cash could be mistaken for a bunch of murderers, then here’s the short answer — Mark the Animal.
The guys were held captive for hours, on their knees in the mud, with helicopters overhead and machine guns in their faces, until they finally convinced the authorities it was a case of mistaken identity.
The entire incident was immortalized, virtually word for word, in the band’s final 1978/1979 recording of “Too Much Fun.” TMF ranks as one of the very best “lost” Dictators tracks, and it featured a one-time line-up of Scott on all guitars, RTB on bass, Andy on keys, Rich Teeter on drums, Clarence Clemons on sax, and Tish + Snooky on backing vocals. The track was started in the summer of 1978, and finally finished up in early 1979 to serve a solo demo for HDM. The “Lonesome” Dick demos were meant to showcase HDM as a potential soul man a la the Wicked Pickett, while the rest of the band planned on soldiering on as the Rhythm Dukes, but it was never to be.
Look for “Too Much Fun” to be included on “Every Day Is Saturday Vol. 2,” currently scheduled for a fall 2027 release.
— Salvi C.
This week in 1977 found the Dictators at the mid-point of their first-ever European tour. In support of the Stranglers, who were the biggest band in England at the time, the guys were stuck in the dreaded opening slot for most of the tour.
Opening acts here in the US of A are met with disdain and indifference. Opening acts in the UK were literally spat upon, which invariably was met with physical threats from either Scott or Mark. It’s a safe bet that the waiting rooms at local dentist offices were standing room only when our guys were done distributing the hurt.
The tour wasn’t all phlegm and broken teeth. Seeing the CIash and Generation X enthrall their audiences led our guys to transition from their alignment with the heavy metal dinosaurs (looking at you, Heep) to the younger, sharper, stripped down sound of the new wave. The now-classic “Bloodbrothers” sound — no frills, all thrills — was conceived right here.
October 1999: The WMBR concert report for the week ended with “Oh yes, there’s a Dictators show in Middletown, Rhode Island, on Saturday.” What better excuse could there have been for a road trip! After checking the map to find out just where the hell Middletown was, we hit the road, and finally stopped for info at a 7-11 on Rte 138, which was really the only way in or out of this podunk. The very helpful girl behind the counter said, “Well, I never heard of your band, but the only place they could be playing is Sebastian’s. Take a right, go behind the Ames, and you can’t miss it.”
To me and anyone from Massachusetts, “behind the Ames” was either where the dumpsters were stored, or where the homeless set up. But we weren’t in Mass. any more, Dorothy, and behind this Ames, sure enough, stood Sebastian’s, a bowling alley/billiards/nightclub, the entertainment mecca of southern RI.
The first thing we noticed when we walked in was that there was a drunken dwarf staggering around the place. Or maybe he was the last of the Oompa Loompas. In any case, the little person, who we shall refer to as Stumpy from here on in, was falling down drunk, and staggered from table to table, at one point literally resting his head on our table while exclaiming “Yer purty!” to my date for the night.