Category Archives: Live

Make Mine a Bel-Aire!

This date in 1985 marked the debut of the Bel-Aires, opening for the Ramones at NYC’s Irving Plaza in 1985. Not to be confused with the car, the brand of cigarettes, or the 3 or 4 other bands with the same name, these Bel-Aires were a short-lived Andy Shernoff project, born at the very height of the roots-rock heyday of the mid ’80s, when it was nigh-on impossible to swing a dead cat in any major city without hitting a four-piece covering Woody Guthrie and singing songs about the Swampland.

The band consisted of Andy Shernoff on rhythm guitar and most of the vocals, Paul Skelton on lead guitar, Andy Bale on bass, and JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson on drums and the balance of the lead vocals.   Paul Skelton was “the twangmaster of the Telecaster” in the Cornell Hurd Band for 22 years after moving to Austin. Andy Bale was a longtime member of the Sic F*cks, and later married Snooky.

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Rock and Roll’s Big Bang

Property of Ross Freidman

Property of Ross Freidman

Feb. 9’s well-deserved fuss over the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” serves as a reminder that Feb. 2 was our very own equivalent thereof. That date marked the 40th anniversary of the first-ever appearance in New York by the Dictators. It took place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester. It was the second Dictators show ever, and our boys opened for Blue Oyster Cult and Iggy and the Stooges.

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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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Más Diversión que la Marcha de los Toros!

On stage at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom on Sept. 7, 2013 (Photos courtesy of Mike From Akron)

On stage at Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom on Sept. 7, 2013 (Photos courtesy of Mike From Akron)

Hola, senoritas y caballeros! ¿Estás listo para el rugido majestouso?? Las leyendas del punk rock, El Dictators NYC, será invadir España en Octubre y Noviembre.

Traer el ritmo salvaje, los rasgos del grupo a Ross the Boss y Daniel Rey en las guitarras, Dean “El Sueño” Rispler en guitarra baja, JP “El Rayo” Patterson en la batería, y Handsome Dick Manitoba en las voces.

Ayudarles a salvar el rock & roll en estos espectáculos:

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‘Hello Cleveland!!’

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Also, “What’s up Pittsburgh!!,” “How ya doin’ Detroit!!” and, finally, if the Dictators NYC find their way out of the basement in Cleveland, it all wraps up on Sunday with “Greetings Chicago!!”

This is your first opportunity to go under the Thunder since 2003, Midwest. Show the band the love they deserve.

Salvi C.

Dictators NYC Tour Dates and Ticket Info

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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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Little Kings at Mama Kin

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Today in 1996 found the Little Kings playing their only Boston gig ever. The Little Kings were a combination supergroup/superstar comeback. Living legend Dion DiMucci teamed up with Scott Kempner and Frank Funaro from the Del-Lords, and Mike Mesaros from the Smithereens.  

Dion, was, is, and always will be one of the coolest and most important artists in rock. He was an originator and an emancipator. But instead of working the oldies circuit and resting on his laurels, a right he most certainly had earned, Dion’s vision with the Little Kings was to do it again, from square one, as a new band.
 
While the concept was noble, the downfall of being a new band is that you sometimes get the shoddy treatment a new band suffers. This show, sadly, found the band treated quite poorly by Mama Kin. The set time got moved twice, the sound guy was rude and dismissive, and they were told not to bother with the second night of the booking before they’d even played the first night! I remember Frank exclaiming, “Why did they invite us if they didn’t want us?”

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Filed under Frank Funaro, Live, The Cincotta Archives, Top Ten