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The Dictators


The Dictators (1973-1978, 1996-2008, 2020-present): a Punk band from New York, New York, USA.


roving to be the breeding ground for what would become the brand of heavy metal extolled by Manowar and Twisted Sister some years later is part of the legacy of Dictators. Indeed, Manowar founder Ross "The Boss" Funicello (guitar/vocals), along with Mark "The Animal" Mendoza (bass; who took over from Andy Shirnoff after the debut), Stu Boy King (drums; who was subsequently replaced by Ritchie Teeter after the debut), Scott Kempner (guitar/vocals) and "Handsome" Dick Manitoba (Real Name: Richard Blum; vocals) entered into the New York punk scene at the same time as bands like Ramones, but more in the style of pre-Motorhead thrash metal like pounding. The presence of "Handsome" Dick Manitoba got the band the nick name of Manitoba's Wild Kingdom. That name became official in 1986 after The Dictators split tgo reform under that tile, only to reform again later in 1996.

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Despite the excitement and sonic energy they possessed, their debut album Go Girl Crazy! (1975) was poorly received. Even featuring a cover of Sonny & Cher's I Got You Babe. After the failure and the aforementioned line-up changes, they would change from 'Epic' to 'Asylum' to release the improved Manifest Destiny (1977), a hard rocking album that even featured a cover of The Stooges' (as Iggy & The Stooges) Search & Destroy (one of the first singles to be released in 12" format), a single that made it to 49 in the UK and featured the departure of Mendoza who would eventually join Twisted Sister. The follow-up third album, Blood Brothers (1978) failed to garner them any more support in the punk rock scene nor in the heavy metal world so after their final set, Dictators, in 1980 they shut it all down with Funicello moving on to fame with Manowar under the name Ross "The Boss" Friedman.

In 1996, the band would reform to release D.F.F.D. (2001) and Everyday is Saturday (2008) before splitting again in 2008.

Former drummer Richard Teeter between 1976 and 1979, died on April 10, 2012, due to complications from esophageal cancer; he was 61.

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The Dictators
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