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Every Day Is Saturday

The Dictators

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Album Review

Of the bands that emerged from the early New York punk rock scene, the Dictators were on the scene before nearly everyone else (their first album preceded the Ramones' debut by a year), and while they dug the fast-loud stuff, their sound was informed by hard rock, '60s garage punk, and the glories of American trash culture as much as anything that was happening at CBGB. Being ahead of the game had one unfortunate consequence for the Dictators — while they had a valuable ally in Blue Öyster Cult producer Sandy Pearlman, trusting a guy with a taste for smart heavy metal to get this band's intelligently dumbed-down sound on plastic may not have been the best strategy, and though the band made a pair of great albums in the '70s (The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! and Bloodbrothers), it wasn't until 2001's reunion set D.F.F.D. that the Dictators finally hit the right balance of simplicity and force in the studio. The sad irony is that the Dictators had the formula worked out all along if someone had simply trusted them to do it themselves, judging from the evidence presented on Every Day Is Saturday, a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks from the group's archives. The highlights of this disc are a five-song demo recorded prior to the sessions for The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! and eight more demos recorded at the band's rehearsal space featuring all the original tunes from Bloodbrothers, and in both cases the rough tapes beat the official versions for energy, attitude, and sheer rockability (and if the fidelity isn't always as great, fans should be more than willing to make that tradeoff). The Go Girl Crazy! demos also include two songs that didn't make it onto the album, "Backseat Boogie" and "Fireman's Friend," and they shake out hard and wild. Every Day Is Saturday also offers up an early and clearly superior recording of "Sleeping with the TV On," two takes of Andy Shernoff's ode to Peter Pan Syndrome "16 Forever," the fine B-side "Loyola," a pair of outtakes from D.F.F.D., and a handful of radio spots (including one in which New York's proudest sons play a barbecue festival in Kentucky!). In lieu of the "greatest-hits" album the Dictators' deserve, Every Day Is Saturday offers an admirable summary of their career to date, complete with liner notes from Scott Kempner and Handsome Dick Manitoba, and serves up their music like a good steak — hot, rare, just a little bloody, and without a bunch of garnish getting in the way. It's a real treat for fans, and not a bad introduction for the uninitiated (and if you fall into the latter category, what are you waiting for?).

Biography

Formed: 1974 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed in 1974, N.Y.C.'s Dictators were one of the finest and most influential proto-punk bands to walk the earth. Alternately reveling in and satirizing the wanton excesses of a rock & roll lifestyle and lowbrow culture (e.g., wrestling, TV, fast food), with their world-view defined by bassist/keyboardist and former fanzine publisher (Teenage Wasteland Gazette) Andy (occasionally Adny) Shernoff and renegade rock critic/theorist Richard Meltzer, the Dictators played loud, fast rock & roll...
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