Punk can be for everyone. Clothes don't mean a shit or if you like Taylor Swift.
What is punk Mr. Dictor?
Well punk to me is name chosen by those that lived in the seventies... about our reaction to the way society would want you to conform to their rules and norms. Dress a certain way, follow a code of behavior, behave the way society wants you to behave. Believe in their gods and their goals. Fit in to society and its rules.
Have you ever felt there was a strong difference in the early days between punk emerging in the USA and punk emerging in the UK?
I believe both sides of the pond (Atlantic Ocean) took cues from each other. I can say I lived that era and witnessed the hippie culture just combust. Consumerism collided with the ideals of hippie culture. The rock star leaders went for the big bucks. So there we were, aware of this and we were still angry about the rules of society. Riches for some, hunger for others for one.
I think I read somewhere you are a teacher. I’d love to take your class! What did you teach and where? And did your students know or care you are a punk rock singer?
I have taught Special Education on and off the last 15 years. My students were in general, developmental disabilities students with emotional challenges. I went where the need was greatest and actually found preparing students with lower IQ's the opportunities to get and hold employment to be very satisfying. If you don't work your life as a someone in an adult home in that situation you can find your life to be very limited. With work people can be out in the world and interact. They can buy presents for loved ones as well as themselves. I love my work in education. The only grief from my job was from fellow teachers who I worked with finding out I sang for Millions of Dead Cops. Particularly after 9/11 -World Trade Center terrorism and all the death of police and firemen.
I must admit I still have to buy your book and read it (I am awaiting cataract surgery - once that happens will get the book). Is it easy to write about the punk rock past?
Well the stories that are memorable are easy to retell, but weaving it into a way that entertains and makes good reading is the knack. I like to have a beginning a middle and an end with a punch line that ties it all together so the reader is hungry to go on and on. As well, I want any reader, a house wife for example, who doesn't know Jello Biafra or Minor Threat to relate to the story and to me. That is a trick... I get bored easy. I want more than say... this happened and then that happened and this is what the final outcome was. Everyone is different, I had these goals besides telling of the events. 5)Remembering this,
I will miss your Bangkok performances as I’m in home in Jersey a while but just noticed a new solo show for you at Mezzanine on January 26th before your show at Soy Sauce Factory. How would you describe your solo acoustic show?
Well it's not solo, it's with my bassist Mike Smith and we have been doing it slowly for 10 years. Our music and performance tries to capture the punk message in a harmonic, acoustic and easy way that anyone can hear and be able to relate too. I really love it. Some are suspect of it like it's a sellout of "loud, hard, fast" but well too bad.
In an interview I saw, you talked about how you came to join a punk band. Do you wan to tell us how you got into punk? Is punk for everyone? Do I need to dress a certain way? Is it OK if I have some pop music in my head? I am thinking about friends of mine who play hardcore punk but also like Taylor Swift - it sounds inconceivable but is punk defined by a set of rules?
Well I was a musician and at the right age (early twenties)... I showed my songs to many types of people. The punker types were enthusiastic from the beginning others less so. That was easy. I have found there are different types of punks. I have recently discovered literary punks from my book reads. Some are 70 and more. Punk can be for everyone. Clothes don't mean a shit or if you like Taylor Swift. I love Bjork, Lou Reed, and my present music collection has many non punk forms of music.
Does it get more difficult to perform with MDC as you get older?
Having the stamina of a younger person makes it easier to perform etc. Now having said that we did 97 gigs last year. I like to go and go. I like having my lover with me on tour. It has worked out that way in the last year after meeting up with someone and her liking the road with me.
If anyone is on the fence coming to see you solo or you with MDC in Bangkok, what would you tell them?
I try to show them what the lyrics and thought behind the songs are. I don't want to beg or over ask people to come. Check it out, try it or don't.
Besides anything remotely punk, what music are you a fan of?
I've always liked an array of music and styles. Very into soul, rhythm and blues, old country, rap, classical, Irish music, really open to all of it.
Dave Dictor and Mike Smith are performing at Mezzanine on Soi Rangnam on January 26th.
MDC is performing on January 27th at Soy Sauce Factory with The Elected Officials, Cold Black Vines, License To Kill and Lord Liar Boots. Sign up here.
Check out Dave's memoirs here.