For those of you not in the know, Handsome Dick Manitoba was the front man for New York punk rock band the Dictators back in the late seventies, and were peers of other N.Y. underground bands such as the Ramones and Blondie. The Dictators were a street band, much like the New York Dolls, playing a party-down KISS influenced brand of punk with a touch of glam. In fact, if KISS had been a punk band, the Dictators is what they would have sounded like.
In 1990, Handsome Dick Manitoba and his Dictator cohorts Andy Shernoff (bass) and Ross the Boss (guitar) released this CD, MANITOBAS WILD KINGDOM: …AND YOU? This CD continues in the party-punk rock vein that the Dictators were infamous for, but this CD is much more polished, heavier, and louder than the Dictators albums, with more of an emphasis on ROCK rather than punk. Andy Shernoff wrote most of the tunes, just like he did for the Dictators, and also produced this CD. The end result is a total balls-out, loud guitar ROCK album, with an emphasis on good times.
The party songs include The Party Starts Now, New York New York, The Perfect High, D.W.I., and Haircut and an Attitude. The album also includes a few fast and furious rippers, Fired Up, Prototype, and Speedball. You can probably tell by the song titles what this album is about — good, good times, New York style. Handsome Dick isn’t into singing about politics or pseudo-intellectual bull, he and his boys just want to rock out with no pretensions! Many of these songs actually feature big butt-rock type beats and some very tasty Marshall-driven riffs –this is BIG ROCK with a punk attitude, baby, wang dang power chords, cool hooks, and choruses that will have you singing (or yelling) right along with Handsome Dick. There are no weak songs on this CD, it rocks strong all the way through.
I still remember the first time I heard the song “Fired Up” on the radio – the song immediately caught my attention. I heard the announcer mention Slayer, so for a long while I thought Slayer did the song — I thought, “Wow, Slayer actually got GOOD!” An old room mate of mine had this CD, and that’s when I found out who really did the song. I’ve always been a fan of the Dictators, and I really love this CD, I actually prefer it over all the Dictators albums. It also is the only album the boys released under the name MANITOBAS WILD KINGDOM.
If you’re a Dictators fan, you will love this CD. If you are a fan of big, loud ROCK ala KISS, you will more than likely also love it. True, Handsome Dick Manitoba’s slightly gruff vocals may not appeal to all — he ain’t no Axl Rose — but like I said before, these guys just rock out with no pretensions. This CD is perfect for your next rock’n’roll party, I guarantee it. Good, good stuff…