Category Archives: Thunderbolt

Happy Birthday JP!!


On the eve of the band’s first West Coast invasion since 2003, let’s wish happy birthday to the Human Metronome, J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson.


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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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Celebrating the Thunderbolt!

What better way to celebrate your big day than with your own damned theme song?!?! Rocking the “Thunderbolt Theme” with Thunderboss back in ’06 is birthday boy and drummer extraordinaire, J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson!

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It’s Too Late To Turn Back Now


December 6 marks the 16th anniversary of JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson’s first gig as a member of the Dictators. The El’N’Gee club in New London, CT, played host for this momentous occasion. JP had sat in as a guest Dictator once in 1989, but the El’N’Gee show was his official debut with the band. 16 years of bringing the thunder!!

The set from 12/6/97:

• 1. New York, New York
• 2. Science Gone Too Far!
• 3. The Party Starts Now
• 4. Haircut and Attitude
• 5. Who Will Save Rock and Roll?
• 6. I Am Right
• 7. Baby Let’s Twist
• 8. We Aint Got Nothing Yet
• 9. Weekend
• 10. Channel Surfing
• 11. Savage Beat
• 12. Master Race Rock
• 13. Faster and Louder
• 14. Search and Destroy
• 15. Next Big Thing
• 16. Stay With Me
• 17. Minnesota Strip
• 18. Sonic Reducer

— Salvi C.

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A Hot Time at the Bowery Electric

The Dictators NYC, the band with more name changes than P. Diddy, hit the Bowery Electric this past Thursday for their first New York show of the year. As always, BE was packed with the sweaty faithful, wanting it fast and loud, and our boys did not disappoint.

Sometimes it’s big things (Oh my God, they’re actually playing? It’s been five years!) from shows that make for the memories, and sometimes it’s little things. Here are a few of the little gifts the show had to offer:

• A much-needed pitchfork was taken to the set list. “Savage Beat,” “I Stand Tall” and “Minnesota Strip” are in; “Haircut and Attitude,” “Pu**y and Money” and “American Beat” are on the bench. (The lobbying committee to add “Master Race Rock” and “Cars and Girls” meets on Wednesdays at DFFD HQ. All are welcome. Conference Room B, bring a snack.)        

• Having Dean do the perverted whispering BV during “Minn Strip,” and never go near the mic for the rest of the show, is genius.
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Happy Birthday to the Thunderbolt!


Beat the birthday drums for Dictators/Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom/MANITOBA percussionist extraordinaire, Thunderbolt Patterson!

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‘Coal for Christmas’

JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson’s brand-spanking new holiday tune, “Coal for Christmas,” is ready to drop. It will be available as a free download at starting on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

We got a sneak preview of the song during a recent visit. It’s a witty tune, anchored by toy piano and sleigh bells, full of great quotes such as “working hard on my business, with St. Nick as my witness.” The intro is reminiscent of Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis,” and Dean Rispler’s solo channels the best of Robertson/Gorham.  

Save a slot for the song in between the Kinks’ “Father Christmas” and the Reducers’ “I Ain’t Getting Nothing for Christmas.” It’s a welcome relief from the holiday horrors.

— Salvi C.

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