The Upshot: Red wax 10” goodie released as limited edition for Black Friday, it finds the seminal NYC protopunks hitting an early peak via choice tracks remixed by Andrew W.K. and unreleased goodies, all in advance of the expanded reissue of their 1975 debut.
BY FRED MILLS
Released as part of the annual Record Store Day Black Friday event for indie record shops, The Next Big Thing EP—a 10” red vinyl goodie limited to 1,950 copies—is one of the relatively few essential purchases this time around for what is generally being viewed as a lackluster collection of releases (go HERE to view the full list and you’ll see what I mean). But this being the friggin’ Dictators, it more than makes up for the Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, Queen and Alan Parsons Project crapola; point of fact it was the main reason I got up early and headed out to the local store.
Did I mention this is the friggin’ Dictators?!? For those not in the know, 1975 saw the release of the NYC combo’s long-playing debut, The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!, on Epic Records, and it’s no understatement to say that it is every bit as seminal a protopunk platter as earlier titles from the Stooges, MC5 and the New York Dolls. In fact, it’s long been considered one of the Seventies’ links between the protopunks and the punks thanks to its proximity to, but not specifically alliance with, both camps. After all, 1975 was a very different year from 1972, and while the seeds of punk were being sewn in the Big Apple in 1975, by the time of punk’s full flowering in ’77, the decade’s midpoint was already pretty far in the rear view mirror. At any rate, Go Girl Crazy! was chock full of amped-up garage rock aggression (a two-guitar frontal assault bolstered by a brawny rhythm section) and a heapin’ helpin’ of classic Noo Yawk attitude (thanks in no small part to in-your-face frontman and professional wrestling fetishist “Handsome” Dick Manitoba).
The record is being remastered and expanded for a 40th anniversary December 4 CD reissue that will boast 7 outtakes (one of them, “Backseat Boogie,” was only recently discovered) along with Andrew W.K. remixes of 2 album tracks. But if you are a Dics completist (and who isn’t?) you also want the vinyl EP at hand for the presence of an addition AWK remix and a cut not included with the reissue’s bonus material. (Below: closeup of the EP’s side A label and red vinyl)
Side A comprises AWK’s handiwork, billed as “remixed, over-produced and totally ruined/reimagined” by the Destroy Build Destroy icon, and indeed, “Next Big Thing” is so perfectly swaggering, rocking and over the top that one readily imagines Andrew W.K. being the perfect auxiliary member to the band had he been on hand back in the day. “Two Tub Man” emerges as a prototype for the incoming British wing of punk (those “I-I-I” chants could just as easily be “Oi-Oi-Oi”), while the third album track remix, “Weekend,” is an archetypal slab of teen angst anthemism that will never go out of fashion, sounding like vintage Alice Cooper Group in places.
Over on the flipside you get the outtakes, originally cut at CBS Studios in ’74 with Blue Oyster Cult producers Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman starting with the aforementioned “Backseat Boogie” in all its straight-up meat ‘n’ potatoes hard rock hirsute glory. An alternate version of “The Next Big Thing” is next, a bit slower and sludgier than its final, released incarnation, followed by the non-CD reissue track, an instrumental take of “Weekend” that’s not specifically essential to one’s grasp of the Dictators but, like I said, if you are a completist…
Got all that? Then what are ya waiting for, ya bums? The Go Girl Crazy! reissue hits stores in just a few days!
DOWNLOAD: “The Next Big Thing” (remix), “Backseat Boogie” (previously unreleased)