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.
New York City