As part of Black History Month, DFFD salutes Mel “Starr” Anderson, the only African-American to serve as a member of the Dictators. Mel was with the band for their last 10 or so shows in 1978, replacing the then-departed Ritchie Teeter.
Brother of Al Anderson from Bob Marley and the Wailers, Mel came over to the Dictators in a complicated personnel swap with Twisted Sister, in return for Mark the Animal and a roadie to be named later. Although he only played a handful of shows with the Dictators, he manned the drums for one of their highest-profile gigs ever, the band’s very first farewell show at the Bottom Line on 10/20/78.
Here is an excerpt from a band interview following that show. This originally appeared in “Ffanzeen” in 1980.
FF: “How many drummers did you audition before you found Mel?”
Top Ten: “I saw Mel play in his old band, Twisted Sister. He used to wear this big rainbow-colored afro wig and he used to twirl his sticks and all these cool things. Fred Heller, Mott the Hoople’s manager after Ian Hunter quit, wanted Mott to do ‘Sleeping With the TV On,’ so me and Andy, this other guy from Queens and Mel made a demo in a friend’s basement. Mel called Andy while Teeter was telling us he was leaving and asked if we knew any bands that needed a drummer and we said, ‘It just so happens we do.'”
FF: “Mel, how does it feel to be a Dictator?”
Mel found himself a ex-Dictator less than a month later, and returned to the cover band circuit on Long Island from whence he came.
HDM summed up the entire Mel era when he introduced him by saying, “Great public relations move, no?”
Andy Shernoff is currently in Canada with his “When Giants Walked the Earth: A Musical Memoir” solo tour — Thursday was Toronto. Next up: London, Ontario (Friday), and Hamilton, Ontario (Saturday). Details.
Get caught up on all the latest press on the show, which he just took south to Tennessee and will soon be bringing to several places in the Northeast:
We’ve stumbled across lots of news bits to share, which means it’s time for another edition of ‘Tators Tracker. Here goes:
* HDM, Andy and J.P. have all taken part in a new Joey Ramone solo album. More info as we get it.
* Andy’s heading out on tour with the can’t-miss “When Giants Walked the Earth: A Musical Memoir” show. First stop: a guest appearance at tonight’s Carla Rhodes show in Brooklyn, then a very special opening slot for David Jo at New Jersey’s Brighton Bar tomorrow night (more info). During the next few weeks, he’ll hit Tennessee, Canada, Pennsylvania, NYC, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Details here.
For those of you planning to kick it old school with the Master Plan this Friday and Saturday and during their upcoming two-week tour of Spain, we share a taste of the band’s recent live action, courtesy of Veer Magazine.
[Edited to add: The Spanish dates have been updated here.]
The spanking-new single from Holland’s the Works (www.theworksrock.nl) is a reworking of the ‘Tators/MWK classic “New York, New York.” In Dutch, “Mokum, Mokum” is a tribute to the Works’ hometown of Amsterdam (nickname “Mokum“). Hear it here: www.myspace.com/cheesetheworks. (Be sure to check out the lyrics, translated into English, at the end of this post.)
We at The DFFD Blog were impressed and intrigued, so we e-mailed some questions to the band’s singer, Marko ‘5 ft 7’ Petrovic:
The first is a 1977 live report by Todd Abramson (now co-owner of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.) of an unannounced CBGB’s show, during which the band performed songs from the upcoming Bloodbrothers album:
It’s the dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation. Our favorite trio of Walpole High students, CJ Romeo, Pat Maloney and Casey McGuill, continue to garner good press for their recent tribute song about the King of Men.
We had hoped to scoop the world and run their first-ever interview a couple of weeks ago, but had to postpone due to time constraints on the band — they had to study for mid-terms. Since then, the accolades have been rolling in, and they have aced this interview with the Walpole Times, which suspiciously asks almost the exact same template of questions we were going to ask! (I’m not saying they stole our material, but there was a power outage at DFFD headquarters, and Tyler, the guard dog, did wake up the next morning with the scent of chloroform and Liva Snaps on his breath. I’m just sayin’.)
The song is available on iTunes, and you can catch the band on the last Friday of every month at Newbury Comics on Route 1 in Norwood, Mass.
Here’s a clip of them doing their “smash hit single” at the store last Friday night.
For you this YouTube Tuesday: Some fun stuff filmed at Manitoba’s bar (99 Avenue B, between 6th and 7th). First up, in the clip above, the Handsome One regales the Brew Yorker with a story about Sid Vicious’ jacket. (Let the ending serve as a lesson to us all.)