Category Archives: Dictators Assembled

It Was 40 Years Ago Today!*

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On November 30, 1973, the Dictators played their very first gig, in the gym at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. They were the opening act for Blue Oyster Cult and Iggy + the Stooges. With the ink still wet on their freshly signed contract with Epic, Andy, Ross, Scott, and Stu-Boy, with pre-Handsome Dick Richie Blum in tow, drove the 4 hours south to what they thought would be stop one on the road to stardom.

It would be almost mythic if they had a fantastic gig, were overwhelmed by applause, got props from the other 2 bands, and were rewarded royally for their efforts. Unfortunately, not everyone can be Bobo Holloman and throw a no-hitter in his first start. With their musical chops still in the embryonic stage, they were sparsely rewarded with golf applause from the tolerant audience. Mostly, they were ignored. So, less than an hour later, with all the money from the gig going straight to their managers, they made the trip home. Much like a teenager’s first attempt at sex, it was over before they knew it, and they wondered what the hell just happened.




* Well, we think it was today. No one in the band remembers the exact date, and the librarians at Prince George’s CC, while enormously helpful, could only narrow it down to a Friday in November 1973. There were 5 Fridays that month — 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23, and 11/30. BOC had gigs in other cities on 11/9 and 11/16, so those dates are ruled out. 11/23 was the day after Thanksgiving. The campus would have been a ghost town, so it’s unlikely there was a concert scheduled that night. So, by process of elimination, our boys made their debut either 11/2/73, or 11/30/73. We’re going with 11/30 until proven wrong, and we’re not waiting underwater for that to happen.

— Salvi C.

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Dictators at the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto 6/21/78  

Dictators at Horseshoe Tavern

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.

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Dictators at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC (6/7/91)

Photo credit: Mike Dewey

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.

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Lost in the City of Brotherly Hate

north-star-phillyThis 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!”

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The Night Yale Trembled

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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.

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2 for Feb. 1

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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.

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Eric’s in the Mud, and He’s Got No Shoes!!

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.

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