dick - The I-94 Bar
If there's one recent (i.e. it came out in late 2009 and is still being spun) Australian album that merits robbing a bank, mugging your neighbour or running down to Cash Converters and pawning your partner so you can purchase a copy, it's "Living With You Is Killing Me" by Brisbane band HITS.
For those of you with attention span issues here's the short version: All killer and no filler. While "D.F.F.D." (Dictators Forever Forever Dictators) is a perfect album title, they could just as easily called the record "You’re Lucky". The new Dictators album is a phenomenal combination of craft, power, and presentation. It puts together everything that’s great about the first three Dictators albums and the Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom CD, which are all really different as far as I'm concerned.
It’s such an obvious idea it’s a wonder somebody didn’t do it years ago. In the ranks of proto-punk/high-energy rock and roll, New York City’s Dictators stand tall (pun intended) so why wouldn’t you compile 20 of their most lethal weapons on one convenient (Australia only) disc?
Dick Taylor, second from right, with the current Pretty Things.
Pretty Things guitarist Dick Taylor is down the line from Tunbridge Wells in the UK, ensconced at his mother-in-law's house, where he's preparing for a band rehearsal and in fine spirits.
HITS are an important band: for those who really care about Australia Rock, the history, the character and breathtaking urgency that some bands at certain times can produce.
The re-tooled line-up of The Dictators is touring Europe right now - on the back of a new single. Now billed as Dictators NYC, the band’s “Supply and Demand” b/w “Kick Out The Jams” is available as a limited edition 45 or download.
The new line-up formed five years ago without founding Dictators member Andy Shernoff and is Handsome Dick Manitoba (vocals), Ross “The Boss” Friedman (guitar), J.P. “Thunderbolt” Patterson (drums) and Dean Rispler (bass.) It’s the first studio recording by any form of the band in 15 years.
The A side was written by Handsome Dick Manitoba, Ross The Boss and Jake Manitoba and is backed by a live take on the MC5 nugget, recorded in San Francisco. You can order the digital download here and the seven-inch from label Striped Music here. And while on the subject of all things Dictators, an expanded edition of “Go Girl Crazy!” is in the wings. More info on that soon.
Last night, Jim Dickson (of the New Christs et al) feigned fear of my venomous penmanship. As if I’d write a bad word about Jim! The trouble began when the Barman sent me a pile of his old rubbish over to review. It’s not my fault he needed someone to put the boot in. Besides, I just called it as I saw it. Now everyone thinks I’m out to do them in. Here’s a review to prove that you only need fear me if you produce crap. I will give you every chance to prove me wrong and I’ll admit it when you do.
The recent passing of legendary American guitarist Dick Wagner is as good an excuse as any to look back on his long and incredible career. Philadelphia-based record label head, manager, writer and all-round music maven Geoff Ginsberg conducted a landmark I-94 Bar interview with Dick in 1999. It's reprised below. - The Barman
New York City landmark Manitoba’s – and it is The World’s Greatest Bar (believe us, we’ve personally checked out a few) - has launched a crowdsourcing campaign to avoid closure in the wake of a legal dispute.
Owners Handsome Dick Manitoba (of the Dictators) and Zoe Hansen (his better half) say their iconic watering hole has no choice but to settle with a litigant or shut its doors.
They’re entering the 53rd year of this career thing but guitarist Dick Taylor and his band, the Pretty Things, aren’t showing any signs of calling it a day.
With a vinyl only live record (“The Pretty Things Live at The 100 Club”) recently released and a new studio album ("The Sweet Pretty Things Are In Bed Now Of Course" ) in the wings, the Pretties have gone a step further by unleashing what’s probably the last word in box sets.
“Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky” (on Madfish through Snapper) does the band’s considerable legacy justice, bringing all of the 11 studio albums together, along with two documentaries and a brace of CDs of rare or previously unreleased material, beautifully presented in one compelling package.
This album did not change my life. It affirmed it. When I was a pre-teen I was way into Pro Wrestling. That translated to automatic retard status among peers and adults. After all, it was fake, only an idiot would be so into it. And having Slade as my favorite band was not earning me any coolness points at school either.
And then, first darned rock mag I ever bought - either Circus or Circus Raves - there was a review by one Gordon Fletcher of this now-classic. Man, it sounded like everything I was looking for. I got the LP right away and was blown away by everything about it.
Most especially the songs of course, but also the graphics - just like my wrestling mags - and the fact that not only did they have wrestling promos on the record, they knew who Verne Gagne and Dick The Bruiser were. They really knew their stuff! Plus, like me, they were Jews from NYC.
It's rare that you find a disc with which you can't find even insubstantial fault. The Dictators, live and amped-up, are simply one of the best things on this musical planet. If you had to come up with something to balance the lavish praise we and fellow Tators fan-atics are spouting about this, it might be that the contemporary tunes on "Viva" manage to sound exactly like their studio cousins. And that's supposed to be a bad thing?