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BLOODBROTHERS

As 1974 turned into 1975, the rock'n'roll landscape looked bleak. The beauty,flash and firepower of the music and culture we loved had somehow mutated into something corrupt, meaningless and, worst of all, boring. And where oh where was THE FUN!!??!!
The Stones and the Who were still around but the best American music was being made and appreciated in small isolated pockets of the country. In our little world, the MC5, the Stooges, the Flamin' Groovies ruled, but in the bigger picture, America's teenage hearts and minds were being rotted by screechy English pussies wearing their mommy's clothes and playing a parody of American blues (and often stealing the writing credit).
And that wasn't all. There were rednecks in football jerseys with their beards and beerbellies playing crappy songs with guitar solos long enough to make us think these assholes were being paid by the note. And let's not overlook the crop of singer-songwriters for whom the word wimp falls miles short of the horrifying level of lameness they slung.
A harbinger of the even more disturbing New-Agers to follow, this trend begat all manner of cocaine corporate cowboys and whiny, tree-hugging snoozers. And perhaps worst of all was DISCO. Despite the fact that for the first time since the early fifties, blacks and whites were joined together in spear-heading a musical movement, this time the novelty was IT SUCKED! Twenty years later it seems that no amount of revisionist critical air-freshener will permanently remove that stench from our world. Yes, children, Disco not only sucked, it stunk too.
It was into this ugliness that 'THE DICTATORS GO GIRL' CRAZY! (Epic Records) was perpetrated. We were all pretty damn certain in our deluded but innocent teenage heads that this little slice of our lives was going to be received like a secret language that we had all known and forgotten. It was going to change the world by liberating and reuniting us, and it was going to drive the infidels from the castle, returning Rock'n'Roll to everyone. Well, that's what we thought anyway. Yes, sadly, we had changed but the world remained very much the same. It seemed no amount of guitar firepower, over-the-top lyrics or five out-of-control20 year olds with a recording budget were gonna turn that foul tide.
But, hey!, CBGBs and the Clash were just around the corner. 1976 saw the release of MANIFEST DESTINY and our second record label, Elektra-Asylum, official home of half the aforementioned cocaine corporate cowboys we so dearly despised. Oh, the irony. MANIFEST DESTINY was partly a reaction to the remarkable commercial failure of GIRL CRAZY, Adny Shernoff's continuing growth as a writer and our still unshakable belief that we shoud be bigger than those fuckin' Eagles. The sound was slicker, fuller, more "professional", but it still was hardly in step with anything currently popular, and was not exactly "radio friendly". With the simultaneous emergence of CBGB, an underground "punk" movement, and yet still no real circuit of venues, we spent about two years treading commercial waters by having one foot in this new punk scene and the other foot opening shows for every bunch of arena geeks that could get their fat unholy asses out on the road. It was time for album #3 and we were still not big, or famous, or even not broke.
In November of 1977, at the request of new fan and friend Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers, the Dictators shipped off to Europe to open English shows for the Stranglers and tour the continent on our own. 1977 was a magical year for England, a musical revolution which began the year before was in full swing and was by that time dominating the charts.
The Sex Pistols had a #1 album that was banned by all the chain stores as well as the radio. The audiences and bands were no longer separated by some fake illusion of pseudo-aristocracy. The bands were of the audience and spoke with as well as for them. Everyone played loud and hard. It was the Rock'n'Roll movement that we had always dreamed of. Our minds were blown. For the first time we were accepted and respected for the music we sometimes thought we were making in private. Home at last.
The CD you are holding is a re-issue of the record, we made when we returned home-full of piss and vinegar and the spirit of the good fight ahead. Only now the war seemed winnable and victory all but imminent. BLOODBROTHERS was about 90 percent live in the studio and even a good portion of HDM's lead vocals were recorded with the tracks. Set it and forget it was the by-word and we tore through these songs like our lives depended on it. And they probably did. BLOODBROTHERS saw the return of Adny to bass, as he played in the original line-up. Also Handsome Dick handled all the lead vocals for the first time. Ross and I did what it was we did.
We're mixed left and right and if you want, you can imagine us the way we imagined ourselves, which is the way Wayne and Sonic looked in that live shot inside HIGH TIMES by the MC5. I remember Adny, in a fit of inspiration, coming in with "Stay With Me", "No Tomorrow", "Faster and Louder" and "Borneo Jimmy" the week before we started pre-production, all of which made the final cut for the album. I remember a few free Chinese lunches, an inspirational poster of Brigitte Bardot and a guest spot on the record all courtesy of our pal and next door recording neighbor Bruce Springsteen. Hey, can you spot the (other) Boss? Compared with the six months and every piece of outboard gear known to man that went into MANIFEST DESTINY, we turned up and burned through BLOODBROTHERS in about about two weeks. It is a pretty reasonable representation of what the band sounded like live at that time. So go break a window at your old school or tell your parents to go fuck themselves. Or give BLOODBROTHERS a spin.

D.F.F.D.,
Top Ten
New York City
August 1998