The reformedDictators - three founding members Andy Shernoff, Ross The Boss and Top Ten, and Albert Bouchard from Blue Oyster Cult - are back with a fun secxiond single from their recent recording sessions. Top Ten has since stood down from the band due to health reasons but "Let's Get The Band Back Together" was recorded before he made his decision.
The reformed Dictators have announjced the sad news that Scott "Top Ten" Kempner is being forced to retire due to ill-health.
The band made the announcement on Facebook overnight, saying the rhythm guitarist and member of the Del-Lords has early stage dementia:
The Dictators are sad to announce that our brother Scott Kempner will be leaving the band due to health reasons. Scott has been diagnosed with early stage dementia, We spoke to him yesterday and he wants everyone to know he is feeling fine.
Our relationship with Scott goes back 50 years. The band was a shared vision and Scott’s sense of rock and roll history and our place in it along with his arrangement and songwriting skills kept us on the right course over the years. We will be forever grateful.
As many of you know, The Dictators recently reformed, Scott’s enthusiasm played a major role in our decision to make music again. We will miss his contributions in the future.
Hugely influential pre-punk pathfinders the Dictators are reforming to record and possibly play. But it will be without longtime vocalist Handsome Dick Manitoba, with the 'Tators reverting to their original configuration.
Bassist-vocalist Andy Shernoff confirmed the move today, saying he and guitarists Ross The Boss and Top Ten would re-convene with ex-Blue Oyster Cult member Albert Bouchard on drums. Shernoff, the songwriting member of the Dictators, said the line-up would soon be "recording a few tunes to feel things out".
Proto-punk legends The Dictators have a Best Of compilation "Faster...Louder: The Dictators Best 1975-2001" out on Australian label Raven. Compiler Ian McFarlane spoke to Andy Shernoff, bass-player/keyboardist for The Dictators, in January 2014. Here's the full interview.
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?
First up I confess I only know one of the members, Peter Ross the bass player, and love him and label head The Barman. Even so, I wouldn't say I liked a record just to please them. They know if I didn't like this, I'd (1) tell them, and (2) refuse to review it.
The Barman asked if I wanted to review this. Funny, when friends ask me to review stuff, the paid professional refuses, because if the disc is shit, how do you say it's shit without pooping on your friendship? Also, the Chief Editor or Drunk In Charge will squeak about conflicting interests. Well, for some people that's invariably the case. Our pollies have always had a talent for entertaining us with stories like “I didn't know”, “It was like that when I got here, honest” and “Look, define blackmail...”
You've all been in a similar situation, I'm sure. Perhaps not as a reviewer (nor, indeed, as a blackmailing fuckstick), but maybe rolling out on a Friday or Saturday to see your friend's band and, boy, did they suck the fat one. Thereafter, each weekend until the band thankfully collapses amid acrimony and blame, your excuses come thick and fast, from “her indoors is sick” to “I crashed the car” via “the dog ate my mobile” and “the police found my nightstick”...
Compiler Geoff Ginsberg of Real O Mind Records nails it in the opening words of the liner notes when he observes that rock and roll is music for old people, made by old people. Not only is no-one appearing on this collection of 20 songs aged under 40, some have offspring who have been on the planet for longer than three decades. The clattering of canes and rattling of Zimmer frames never sounded so good.
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.
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.
The Dictators Debonair Music Hall Teaneck, NJ USA November 2, 2022
By Geoff Ginsberg (with help from Frank "Geoff couldn't edit his way out of a wet paper bag" Friedman)
Dictatorsassemble! They're baaaack!!
And there was much rejoicing.
Andy Shernoff and Ross The Boss have reconstituted the band and they're doing gigs and recording again.
Before I get to the show itself, a bit of semi-recent history. I'm going to assume if you're bothering to read this, you already know the big picture history - punk forefathers, the NYC band between the Dollsand the Ramones, etc.
In 2006, CBGB was wrapping up their historic run on The Bowery. Many CB's legends came out of their apartments to perform on that stage one last time and give the venue the send-off it so richly deserved.
The penultimate night featured Walter Lure (RIP) and The Waldos, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and the first performance by the Dictators in several years. They had done some gigs in 2003 as a four piece since Scott "Top Ten" Kempner had moved out west, but this was the full complement: Handsome Dick Manitoba, Ross, Top Ten, Andy and JP Thunderbolt Patterson.