September 2018 is a monthlong celebration of the 40th anniversary of the ‘Bloodbrothers’ tour. After the huge misstep that was ‘Manifest Destiny,’ aka ‘The Dictators Get Housebroken,’ ‘Bloodbrothers’ was seen as a fresh and enthusiastic, stripped-down display of both the band and their sound. It took three tries, but it finally looked like it was best foot forward with this chance at grabbing the brass ring.
There was a five-week delay between the album’s release on June 25 and the beginning of the tour on August 2, presumably to allow for reviews to roll in to build the press kit. While it’s now common opinion that BB was the best album of the original three, it really wasn’t received all that well at the time. Reviews, while generally positive, weren’t glowing. There were disses about “one-dimensional sound” and “still not musical enough” and a whole lot of faint praise: “at least it’s better than MD.”
It was an ominous sign that Asylum’s enthusiasm in the band seemed to drop off between MD and BB. The promo ads for BB were few and far between, and the label didn’t even bother to prepare a “push” 45, where MD got three. A promo edit of “I Stand Tall” was prepared, but was never pressed, and I never once heard it on the radio. The album cut got a smidgeon of airplay, as did “Baby, Let’s Twist.”
Behind the Aragon in Chicago
It seems inconceivable that “Stay with Me,” the most enduring track of the album, and indeed one of the highest profile songs the band ever had, was almost completely ignored at the time of the LP’s release.
With hindsight being 20/20, it seems a shame that the album was recorded so quickly in April that there wasn’t time to include “New York, New York,” which was already in the live set by early June. Imagine how much stronger the album would have been with NYNY replacing one of the weaker tracks from Side 2. You pick which one.
Bubble gum cards have a long and rich history of being a fun way to waste spare change while indulging our inner desire to collect useless junk for dubious purposes. Who amongst us didn’t spend way too much of their allowances trying to complete that jumbo picture of Curley-Joe (as if there could have been any other kind) on the back of the 3 Stooges cards?
Punk rock’s mainstream exposure was at its apex in 1977, leading to a set of punk rock bubble gum cards foisted on the impressionable youth of the Netherlands. Neder punk seemed to be loosely defined to include no actual Neder bands, but did include Dwight Twilley, Split Enz, and these 2 shots of our boys. Go figure.
It’s obvious to me that whoever made these was not a baseball card guy. They left the backs of these things blank, and missed the priceless opportunity to post useless filler on the back of these as my old baseball cards used to have, such as “Eddie was voted Most Likely to Die a Fiery Death in high school,” or “Young Johnny Rotten was voted Most Vile by his peers in 1st tier.”
The problem with buying bubble gum cards is that the companies always salted the packs with a zillion copies of nobodies, the Joe Schlobotniks of the world, thereby forcing you to buy a lot of packs to find the stars. Judging from my stack of approximately 75 1968 John Bocabellas that were accumulated while searching for that Nolan Ryan rookie card, if my luck with punk rock cards held true to form, I would have wound up with 65 Babys and zero Sex Pistols.
Please tell me that these came with beer-flavored gum!
— Salvi C.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the very first Dictators gig in New York City. Our boys invaded the Coventry on March 13, 15 and 16 of 1974.
The Coventry was the only club in NYC that allowed original bands a place to play and grow. It was located on Queens Blvd in Sunnyside, Queens, and was a big place with a 700-person capacity. Kiss spent their embryonic years there, and Joey Ramone hung out there in his pre-Ramone days. The current occupants at the club’s old address are a Bliss Drugs (provide your own joke here) and a Chase bank.
— Salvi C.
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.
The scene: MCA marketing department, summer 1990.
Faceless Minion #1: “So, how are we going to push this Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom album? We need an animal-related theme.”
Faceless Minion #2: “Hey, how about if we have them play promo gigs at each major city’s zoo?”
FM #1: “Great idea, but it takes forever to get the smell of monkey poo out of their equipment.”
FM #2: “OK, how about if we do some licensing thing with an endorsement from Tony the Tiger, or maybe Toucan Sam?”
FM #1: “They’re both in rehab. Besides, we blew 99% of the budget on the video, we can’t afford big names. What can we do that costs practically nothing?”
Here’s what they came up with…
May 27 marks the 25th anniversary of the premiere of “Mondo New York.” This cinematic disaster was given more attention than deserved here.
So, if May 27th was the opening date, then the closing date was what, May 29th? Were you one of the unlucky few who wasted your shekles on this 83 minutes of misery? Was nothing else on your dance card? Anything this side of a colonoscopy would have been a more pleasurable way to spend your time.
— Salvi C.
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?”