Saturday October 21st 2017

The Dictators – “Blood Brothers”

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The Dictators – “Blood Brothers”

 

The Dictators were one of those bands that really, “set the stage,” for punk to happen.

I first became aware of them with their first release in 1975, Andy a little later with this album. What was different with their first album than with other rock records of the time, was their use of humor and lyrics that reflected real, city life. That was, obviously, to become quite common in the punk years to come. But at the time it was rare.

They had a connection with a very good, hard rock/metal band- Blue Oyster Cult, but they still contained that New York energy, real city, gritty lyrics and gigged in the original CBGB scene along with The Ramones, Dead Boys etc. and continue to be an influence and inspiration to young bands.

The following is a dual texting review where we are required by law to inform you that, any loss of sanity during it will not be reimbursed by TNB or any of it’s affiliates.

So strap yourself in, adjust any release of chemicals entering your system at this time. As we enter into the wild, the unknown, the unfathomable regions of existence that we now, rightly refer to, as dual texting-

 

Slimedog- I always thought that the first Dictators album was my favorite, but when I checked out their third one, “Blood Brothers”- I realized it was the stronger album.

Andy- I agree. “Blood Brothers” was the first album I got by the Dictators. And I think it contains most of their best tunes.

Slimedog- Yeah, I remember that was the first one you heard. I heard the first one when it was released in ’75. I bought it from recommendation of Creem magazine. How did you find out about them?

Andy- I heard “Baby Let’s Twist,” on the radio and decided to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised.

Slimedog- Great song. I think this band is one of those great, proto-punk bands along with Patti Smith, The Modern Lovers, Iggy & The Stooges and others. I wouldn’t really classify them as punk or metal but they certainly belong here for their influence.

Andy- Yes. They have a nice edgy metal feel to their guitars combined with a punk pop style. They also seem to exude a distinct New York vibe. In the same way The Ramones did.

Slimedog- You mentioned “Baby Let’s Twist,” which is my favorite on the album. It’s about a messed up young girl who doesn’t fit into society. Also, “She looks for love where the sun never shines.” Meaning, I guess, that she only dates assholes.

Andy- Or in unusually dark places, like dive bars. It’s one of my all time favorites. It’s a very interesting song. Kind of dark, but driven to a happy place with a cool jerky guitar lick.

Slimedog- The music is fun and happy but the lyrics are sad. “She crying, I’m so strange. I’m so strange.” This is a beautiful, desperate song- probably implying, we’re doomed so we may as well have fun (dance). Let’s check out the opening song on this album- a fast, loud tune called “Faster And Louder.”

Andy- Yes it is a bit faster and louder and another cool tune. Straight ahead faster tempo with nice guitars and poppy chorus.

Slimedog- New York rock bands always have that bit of energy and push, that emulates the pace of the city itself. Handsome Dick says nonsense over the last chorus like- “mow the lawn,” and “get down, Denise.” The last line we thought was hilarious. Do you remember why?

Andy- Yah. It was because one of our co-workers in the mailroom was named Denise. Kind of silly now but back in ’79 it seemed funny.

Slimedog- Now let’s check out a more serious song- “Minnesota Strip.” If I recall correctly it had to do with an area in New York where prostitutes were shipped in from the Midwest to work.

Andy- I think one of the most likable traits about The Dictators is their tongue in cheek approach. They may sing about serious subjects but yet they never seem serious. Which switches the focus to their hard rockin’ style which makes for great listening. The “Minnesota Strip” starts with a kind of nice dissonant Sabbath feel and explodes from there.

Slimedog- “Stay With Me” is next- a great rockin’ pop tune with an added bonus of a neat, funk rhythm guitar lick.

Andy- Yeah, more of a pop punk tune with a poppy chorus. Less focus on metal guitars.

Slimedog- Local band The Manglers always cover this song and Stop Calling Me Frank played it when I saw them recently. (I got to sing the seven “my’s” on one chorus line.)

Andy- Cool. It’s a fun tune.

Slimedog- I feel the need to add, “What It Is” to the mix. It’s similar to a Jackson 5 song with it’s falsetto “Wooh-Wooh- Wooh’s.”

Andy- Yeah I guess it’s as close to a funky tune as The Dictators get. Another fun tune.

Slimedog- I find only one clunker on the album. This is a band we both came upon before we met, that meant a lot to us.

Andy- True. The Dictators were/are a great and influential band and “Blood Brothers” is their flagship album. I think as far as we’re concerned they’ll always be viewed as an important cog in the rock’n’roll continuum.

Slimedog- And we should add, because their bass player was named Andy but spelled it “Adny” – to this day if I e-mail you or text you, I refer to you as Adny.

Andy- I’ve always considered it a badge of honor.

Slimedog- As anyone should. So next time it’s your pick. I hear you’re leaning towards Air Supply’s “How Many People Must Want Ours Shut Off.”

Andy- Yeah it’s either that or the Best of The Muppets.

Slimedog- Excellent, people do say we look like the two critics in the balcony.

Andy- I thought we already became them.

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