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Friday, July 27, 2007

On This Date in 1977 - The Dictators!

Scott "Top Ten" Kempner and Ross the Boss in 2004

Yes, on this date in 1977, New York's Dictators were holding court at the Whisky A Go Go on a 4-day run that featured opening bands The Nuns from San Francisco, and LA's own punk rock It Girl, my constant partner in crime, Pleasant.

jennifer NUNS
Jennifer Miro and the Nuns

pleasant bedroom a small

I didn't really get it back then. The Dictators seemed to be such dudes and on a completely different page than me, but I'm glad now that I did bother to see them back then. I've seen them a few dozen times in recent years, and its like time stood still for Handsome Dick Manitoba. The Most Handsome Man in Rock n Roll was complemented on the 1977 Whisky stage by the blonde and brunette beauties of California punk. There was indeed something to "Go Girl Crazy."

Denise & the Handsome One
Handsome Dick Manitoba, 2005

The Dictators "Go Girl Crazy" was released in 1975, just as punk was about to make itself known. The Dics, as they are affectionately called by their fans and themselves, combined the cream of trash culture (yes, an important clash of terms!) and set the tone for all the garage rock with a punk edge that would succeed them. Girls, beer, wrestling, tv, cars, girls, beer, drugs, sex n rock n roll.

While the Handsome one was the band's mouthpiece, it was guitarist Adny Shernoff (yes, it is ANDY. you know - "Adny" is the punk spelling) called the shots, wrote the songs and played some fine guitar. In fact, he's still doing all those things, contributing to other records as a player and songwriter AND he's quite the oenophile. That's a two dollar word for "wine expert."

andy shernoff
Andy Shernoff, 2006

If you are in NYC, or if you visit the Big Apple, your punk rock sight-seeing will not be complete unless you spend some time at Manitoba's Bar in the East Village - owned and operated by the Handsome one. The walls are lined with all the punk rock photos that established the visual foundation of NYC punk rock - images by Bob Gruen, Mick Rock, Stephanie Chernikowski and others are there to be admired. The jukebox is one of the best in the city and behind the bar, Handsome Dick Manitoba, that is, when he's not on the satellite. He's also a DJ on Sirius Satellite Radio's Underground Garage channel. You can hear him weekdays from 8PM - Midnight. Finally - since Handsome Dick occasionally performs with the MC5, you can see him kick out the jams in his own inimitable way, right alongside the original punk rockers Wayne Kramer, Michael Davis and Dennis Thompson.

Punk rock never sounded so good.

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