Going 'Girl Crazy' with The Dictators

Ross The Boss looks back on landmark punk LP
By Peter Lindblad

The Dictators - The Dictators
Go Girl Crazy
If ever an album was deserving of a midlife crisis, it's The Dictators' Go Girl Crazy! Having just turned 40 this year, it ought to be living the high life, and against all odds, it is.

Rather than racing around in expensive muscle cars, sporting a bad comb over and sidling up to trashy, tattooed strippers, telling them dirty, tasteless jokes over 25-cent tappers in vain attempts to wear down their resistance, Go Girl Crazy!  the Rodney Dangerfield of proto-punk records – is finally getting some respect.

"When it came out, people were laughing at us," said Ross The Boss, a founding member of punk trailblazers The Dictators and guitarist of a band that showed everyone from The Ramones to the Beastie Boys how its done. "People were mocking us, laughing at us. 'Ooo hoo, look at that guy with the wrestling outfit on the front cover and the back. What’s going on with this?' You’re talking about cars, girls, surfing and beer and American culture, and we thought, 'Ohhh, yeah!' But it seems as if 40 years later, Uncut magazine votes it No. 1 greatest American punk rock record of all-time. Uncut magazine … yeah. Uncut magazine … greatest American punk rock record of all-time."

Misunderstood almost from birth, The Dictators' seminal debut LP, released in March 1975, had its own special neanderthal, politically incorrect charm that, over time, has ... well, it's grown on us. It was after simple pleasures, and it was a stone gas, honey – just loud, obnoxious rock 'n' roll laced with grabby hooks, irresistible melodies and sun-kissed harmonies, such as those found in "Weekend," "Teengenerate" and "(I Live For) Cars and Girls," and a penchant for goofy humor. Take for example "Back to Africa" and "Master Race Rock," a precursor to Black Flag's "TV Party." Did I mention the political incorrectness?

Primitive, naive and just out for a good time, this was savage, street-wise garage rock played with surprising skill and a wild, brash attitude. It had an appreciation for bad TV, political incorrectness, indiscriminate sex and youthful hijinks and, according to "Two Tub Man," it had "Jackie Onassis in my pants." Oh, and it hated hippies.

"It was amazing. It was our first time, my first time, in the studio.We had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but we had the songs," said Ross The Boss, who later resurfaced with traditional metal heroes Manowar. "We knew what we wanted, and we recorded that record and it’s hanging in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. The first thing you see is [Handsome Dick] Manitoba (The Dictators' indomitable front man) stuff, and the band has never been bigger, never been bigger – working harder than ever."

Soon, Go Girl Crazy! will get what it so rightly deserves, that is a proper reissue from CBS Sony. However, on Black Friday, Sony Legacy will release an appetizer of sorts, a 10-inch EP of five songs from Go Girl Crazy! that's entitled the Next Big Thing EP. A special 40th anniversary reissue of the original album is due to follow. Ross The Boss is enthused.

"Andrew W.K. has remixed three tracks. And he asked us to do it," said Ross The Boss. "We dug up the fucking two-track, excuse me. He remixed three songs … amazing remixes. I never thought I’d hear them remixed, and they are reissuing a double CD with alternate takes, odds and sods, that stuff that they found. And now it’s coming out again 40 years later. So now I’ve lived and the tables have turned. So this is going to be a great fall."

The two releases are separate, as the 40th anniversary CD reissue of Go Girl Crazy! will include the full album, plus alternate takes and different mixes.

As for Ross The Boss, he's got more than a few more irons in the fire. His melodic power metal band Death Dealer just released its sophomore album, Hallowed Ground. And there's new Dictators' material on the way.

"So this is going to be a great fall. [Along with] the new Death Dealer, also we’ve written our first new single, The Dictators, without Andy, with the new lineup," said Ross The Boss. "So we’re moving into new territory. And everything is hitting on all cylinders my friend."  

There's no rest for the wicked, or Ross The Boss. And his work ethic is stronger than ever.

"I’m honored, I am honored, but at the same time, I wake up and I work my ass off every single day," said Ross The Boss. "I don’t take a day off. So we work on it all the time. And I would say maybe pass that bit of info on to other musicians. Instead of sitting there on their couches every day, waiting and waiting for their break, you can’t wait for it. It’s not coming. You have to go out and get it."

Just like The Dictators did all those years ago.

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