Jennifer Joseph, Publisher of Manic D Press introduces Dave Dictor at his first ever book store appearance to promote MDC: Memoir from a Damaged Civilization: Stories of Punk, Fear, and Redemption, co-presented by 924 Gilman St Project. The punk singer and now author candidly talks about finding Raul’s club in Austin Tx in the late 1970’s and how it lead him to release the “John Wayne Was A Nazi” single, and begin a multi decade global odyssey of politically charged punk rock.
More excerpts from this talk forthcoming, subscribe for more. To learn more about Dave Dictor see his new website http://DaveDictor.com
To get Dave Dictor’s autobiography, request at your local bookseller or try this online link : http://amzn.to/29grKPh
Overall Dave’s book would be interesting to anyone interested in the behind the scenes history of D.I.Y. punk, with Dave’s personal path also being a parallel tale of a subculture, where punk music is not merely a fashion, or memorialized like a long gone artifact, but is treated as a living breathing movement.
Dictor’s book holds anecdotes and adventures as told through the eyes of a world weary Woody Guthrie-esque citizen soldier who has taken his lumps, learned lessons, and is still inspired to travel the road less traveled, and make a glorious din whenever and wherever he still can.
The die hard punk rock world MDC traverses is not that of the corporate sponsored festivals and action sports soundtracks, but one of more idealistic people powered shows, grass roots political benefits and the loosely connected friends and fellow travelers motivated not merely by money, but by a need to help each other network and navigate from town to town, nightclub to VFW Hall.
Dave Dictor’s view from the stage has included thousands at large sports halls and theaters, but more often than not was maybe a gig put on in a basement, squat or a community center, much like it was back when he first started touring in the early 1980’s.
Conveniently I scored my copy of Dave Dictor’s book at a reading he was doing at a local bookstore in Berkeley CA, and the audience there was rapt with attention as Dave regaled us with numerous stories of his 3 decades plus journey through American Hardcore Punk’s early days. Dave’s tales start even before that era, back in the late 60’s, when he was already becoming an iconoclastic teenager, dealing pot with the aide of a friend’s mom, bending gender & norms, and seeking out a vegetarian diet in an age when the only two people he’d heard of who’d existed like that were Hitler & Gandhi. Fortunately for us, Dave abandons his wannabe teen hippie persona behind on Long Island, and eventually hits Austin Texas just as Raul’s was starting to put on punk shows, where bands like The Big Boys and The Dicks were also forming, creating a feisty brand of Texan hardcore unlike the somewhat more macho & commercial flavors available in the more urbane coastal cities.
In the book you’ll read of Dave leaving his seventies singer songwriter stylings behind to and eventually hit the West Coast full throttle as a punk rock pioneer living to the pulsebeat of politically aware subculture, subsisting through squatting and D.I.Y. touring, living out of vans, eating at soup kitchens and deftly dodging police and skinhead violence whenever possible. The book has tales of many shows including an early 90’s run behind the Iron Curtain, where border guards and paper work pose problems, and Russian promoters threaten to pull the plug on the tour if the band doesn’t come up with $5000 dollars overnight. You’ll learn about his friends and family, like his long time drummer Al who Dave met as a fellow Monkees fan in the 60’s, to both of ’em doing separate stints of prison time in the 1990’s.
As a memoir, and much like a friend telling a meandering adventure that no one is sure where it ends, the storyline occasionally drifts back and forth through time. Dave has met many thousands of people and magnanimously, many names are dropped briefly, while exact event details might get glossed over. Over 30 years of touring means some great stories got left out, while some chronological anachronisms occasionally appear, such as when he mentions a gig with Husker Du, where Dave relates feeling “like Prince was gonna show up, mount the stage” at First Avenue in Minneapolis “and do a few bars of Purple Rain” even though the MDC show referenced was back in 1982, and Prince was still several years away from creating that iconic cinematic moment.
Enjoy the vicarious rambling ride through these pages, Dave sure has, and one gets the feeling if some medical setbacks hadn’t sidelined him momentarily a few years ago so he’d have time to share these tales in print, most of these stories would’ve gone untold. Dictor had a serious health crisis and spiritual awakening just before penning the manuscript and feels lucky to be alive to still share his happiness and life story.
One criticism I heard of the book is that, despite conflicts and complications in a long career, this MDC book itself is not full of “dirt” and that Dave doesn’t talk hella sh/t about anyone. That is just the type of person he he is, and the author courageously, if not naively, still strives to find the positive side to everyone and everything. While allusions are made to occasional nefarious conduct by bit players in the book, Dave moves on rather than dwell on the painful parts. It is perhaps good advice for all of us. As he mentions near the end of the book on page 180, freshly leaving the hospital he almost died in, he tells a cab driver “From now on, only love will come from my mouth and be on my breath”.
Video was made at Dave Dictor’s first ever bookstore reading , the Mosh Lit release celebration for MDC: Memoir from a Damaged Civilization: Stories of Punk, Fear, and Redemption held at Pegasus Books in Berkeley CA May 25th 2016.
For over an hour, the author gave us all an informal, humorous, but deeply reflective overview of his multi decade journey through punk, as well as familial anecdotes, and life lessons. The tales dated as far back as his first cross dressing session with a 4 year old playmate to opinions on the 2016 Presidential campaign and the origins of his recently revived 40 year old slogan “No War , No KKK, No Fascist USA“.