The early 1970s saw the start of the on again, off again New York punk band the Dictators. Andy Shernoff led a trio originally into auditions in a rented New York house, joined by an occasional drummer. Stu-Boy King settled in as drummer for the band’s first recording, along with ‘secret weapon’ – vocalist Handsome Dick Manitoba. Their first release The Dictators Go Girl Crazy was a poor seller but has become the album that many critics declare to be the starting point for punk rock.

The Dictators recorded a second 70s album. Bloodbrothers featured Manitoba on all vocals although Bruce Springsteen – a big fan of the group – can be heard on one song. While the album had one minor hit single, overall it was a sales failure. This led the group, discouraged by the poor sales, to disband. Manitoba went on to drive a taxi and Shernoff became a record producer working the first demo for Anthrax.

Occasional reunions started in the early 80s, accompanied by a cassette only release. In 86 Shernoff and Manitoba reunited in a new band called Wild Kingdom. In the late 90s Shernoff announced that the band was recording new music, eventually released in 2001.

Life moved on for everyone, and the Dictators continued their occasional reunion performances through the 90s, before releasing a live album in 2005. In 2020 Shernoff again announced that the Dictators were working on new material. It will be a very different lineup should anything be released. Manitoba has been out of the group since 2008 and two of the original band members have died.