The Dictators

With Lesbianmaker. Saturday, December 9, at the Beachland.

Proof of Life
When the Dictators released their now critically hailed debut Go Girl Crazy! in 1975, rock and roll seemed ripe for a serious kick in the ass. The New York Dolls' dim star had just faded, and the seminal New York punk movement was yet to be born. So Andy Shernoff, Ross Funichello, Scott Kempner, Stu King, the tireless "Handsome" Dick Manitoba, and their band of misfit modern culturalists took the low road and molded a love for television, professional wrestling, fast food, cartoons, and cheap beer into a pastiche of '60s garage/British Invasion pop that set the stage for all things punk to come. The loud-fast rules were set, as was the scope and potential of punk rock. There would be no more taboos after the Dictators first began kicking at the music world's doors on that enthralling debut. But most of all, rock didn't have to be taken so damn seriously anymore -- or, if it were to be serious, it would be done with a wink and a nod, not the bombast and insularity of the mid-'70s corporate/arena/dinosaur rock. After all, if a bunch of punks from New York City could sing about their affection for comic books, bubblegum, and girls, why couldn't punk geeks everywhere? Twenty-five years after the fact, it seems as though times haven't really changed. Corporate rock and pop abound once again, and rock and roll seems to suck more than ever. The Dictators have always thrived on this premise, but sadly, the question now is whether anyone under the age of 30 wants to hear from a band that first made its mark when Gerald Ford was in the White House.

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