A spin-off of the Dictators, MWK has one CD to their credit, the amazing ...And You? Formed in late 1986 by ex-Dictators Andy Shernoff and Handsome Dick Manitoba along with fifth Ramone Daniel Rey (Rabinowitz), the band quickly earned a rep as a great live band in the New York/New Jersey area. Legendary Dictator/Manowar axeman Ross the Boss replaced Rey in 1989, and the band's CD was released in 1990. Twenty-five minutes of blazing, cleanly recorded punk/metal, the disc is close to perfect, if a bit short. Combining Manitoba's throaty vocals with Shernoff's fast, catchy, hook-filled songs, and hysterically funny (and sometimes chilling lyrics), it is a must. MWK evolved back into the Dictators with the return of Scott "Top Ten" Kempner to the fold in 1991. (AMG)
This is the first great punk record of the Nineties – ten songs in twenty-six minutes, all balls, no ballads. And it's brought to you by the same guys who made the Dictators' 1975 party-animal masterpiece, Go Girl Crazy!, one of the first, and best, punk records of the Seventies. In hearty defiance of middle age, former Dictators Andy Shernoff (bass and songwriting), Ross the Boss (supershred guitar) and Handsome Dick Manitoba (big mouth) have formed Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, tightening up their rogue fusion of punky metal raunch, mock teenage angst and junk-culture worship into a speed-metal barrage of beer-blast apocalypse. Simply put, ... And You? is the aural equivalent of the Ramones and Metallica busting jaws in a Bronx schoolyard.
Manitoba's mob is in high gear right from the start. The opening torpedo "The Party Starts Now!!" is a killer mix of the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right to Party" and the Routers' garage-rock classic "Let's Go," with a clenched-fist shout-along chorus over J.P. "Thunderbolt" Patterson's booming staccato drumbeat. After that, it's strictly nuke-your-boombox time: the souped-up thrash of "Fired Up"; the blistering love-hate song for the Big Apple from the Dictators' archive, "New York, New York"; the mutant teen-genetics anthem "Prototype."
Believe it or not, this stuff is intellectually stimulating as well. In Shernoff, the Dictators had a gifted tunesmith who documented the triumphs and traumas of adolescence with sly wit and bruising riffs. He's still got the knack. "Haircut and Attitude" is a simple, inspired celebration of rock & roll populism ("It don't take no melody/To make some music history"), while in "Had It Coming" Shernoff addresses the pointless tragedy of a drug OD with brutal honesty and black humor: "You got fired from your job/Man, you blew a good career/So you slept on my couch/And my TV disappeared.... No one sent you flowers/And no one could deny/You had it coming."
As they did in the Dictators, Ross the Boss and Handsome Dick bring Shernoff's observations to boisterous life with slice-and-slam guitar and raw vocal bravado, respectively. In fact, ... And You? is really a great new Dictators album in all but name. "This is my life/It's not a phase," bellows Manitoba proudly in "Fired Up." So you wanna get fired up? All you need is this record and a little attitude of your own. The haircut is optional. (Rolling Stone)
01. The Party Starts Now!!
02. Haircut and Attitude
03. New York, New York
04. D. W. I.
05. I Want You , Tonight!
06. Fired Up
07. The Perfect High
08. Had It Coming
Vocals: "Handsome" Dick Manitoba
Guitars: Ross The Boss
Bass: Andy Shernoff
Drums: J.P. "Thunderbolt" Patterson