Stereo Embers The Podcast: Handsome Dick Manitoba (The Dictators)

Written by on 05/15/2024

Thursdays 2pm-3pm EST 11pm-12pm PDT 7pm-8pm BST
Stereo Embers Magazine #StereoEmbers#podcast#RadioShow#AlexGreen,
Repeats Fridays 1am EST and Sundays 11am EST


The Bronx-born Richard Blum took his love of wrestling and Catskill Mountains humor and created Handsome Dick Manitoba, the wildly charismatic frontman of the legendary proto-punk outfit The Dictators. Along with his childhood best friend Scott Kempner, Andy Shernoff, Ross Friedman and Stu Boy King, The Dictators tore out of the gate with all the fuel-injected energy of the MC5, and absolutely demolished the stage with high octane live shows that were nothing short of legendary. Although not huge commercial successes, albums like Go Girl Crazy! and Manifest Destiny were instant classics and still sound as urgent and alive as they did over 40 years ago. So why weren’t they commercial successes? I don’t know. The Ramones had their leather jackets, and The New York Dolls had their sleazy glamour, but hook of The Dictators was a mystery? I mean, come on–a fevered cultural cauldron of cars, girls, television, and raging weekends, The Dictators’ hook was simple: it was an adrenalized and fevered vision of the modern world, simplified into three minute blasts of feral punk wrath. But it was also funny. A big Jewish flex of humor and irony, The Dictators weren’t messing around about messing around. They were enjoying themselves. Using an updated blast of Borscht Belt comedy with youthful frustration, The Dictators weren’t a high concept band–they were economical in their approach and somehow this went over a lot of people’s heads and even though their members had nicknames like Top Ten or The Boss or… Handsome Dick Manitoba, they were taken literally and not ironically and the point of the fun was totally missed. They covered The Stooges and Sonny and Cher, they even took a gleeful stab at California Sun–not too shabby for kids from New York, Look, the songs are as timeless and anything The Ramones or The Dolls ever did, and their lack of massive success seems a huge generational oversight, but what can one do? The band dissolved like bands do, Handsome Dick later fronted Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom, fronted a later iteration of The MC5 and is now playing under his own name with a killer band behind him. ( (

Twitter: @emberseditor
IG: @emberspodcast
Email: [email protected]

Continue reading

Bombshell Radio

Current track