DICTATORS GO STIR CRAZY!

Three years of silence, but now they're back ...

By Alan Betrock
Bomp!
Winter '76-'77


"I'm not a dictator," declares Adny Shernoff, guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and head songwriter for the band of the same name. Well it all depends upon the 'case' ... Shernoff recently rejoined the Dictators formally, bringing with him over a dozen new songs and a businesslike, almost calculated attitude towards success. Since being dropped by Epic, the Dictators career has veered awkwardly, with months of friction over musical direction, personal and management conflicts, reworking old concepts, scrapping some, altering others, and weathering a storm of controversy in the aftermath of the still-in-litigation Wayne County case. All that is behind them now, however; the Dictators have just signed a major deal with Elektra/Asylum Records.

Some old-time followers of the band may be less than enthusiastic over the absence of satiric humor this time around. Most of that direction has been shelved, replaced by a hard-rock tenacity the equal of most of the top acts on the current national R&R circuit. This should come as no great shock, for the Dictators have always appreciated (if not emulated) bands like Kiss and Aerosmith (not forgetting their intimate ties to Blue Oyster Cult, with whom they share management and producers), and it seems that these are the footsteps they're hoping to follow in.

The new album will be recorded at New York's Record Plant in November, under the production helm of Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman, aided by engineer Shelly Yakus. Andy sees the LP as heavy metal punk, but with clear pop overtones. "There'll be a few long cuts, over 5 minutes, and a couple of short songs suited for AM airplay." Some titles that seem likely for inclusion are "Steppin' Out", "Disease", "How Does a Brain So Small Move Fingers So Fast", "Dogs", "Sleepin' With the TV on", "Heartache" and "Science Gone Too Far", the probable title cut.

Obviously this band has tired of its cult status, prefering the attraction of mass adulation and mucho moolah. "We could never be as bland as Peter Frampton in order to sell 10 million albums, but maybe as bland as Aerosmith and sell 2 million." Andy's talking a bit tongue in cheek, because he doesn't really feel that he's "sold out" or gone bland.

"The humor thing was fun the first time around, but nobody (at least on a consumer level) really got the joke. This band is so much better, and so is the material ... The thing is we're still somewhat off the wall, occasionally metaphysical, and compared with most other bands, we're still pretty original."