Manifest Destiny

The Return of the Dictators

"The music industry was a fraction of the size it is now," Shernoff remembers. "Today, you have a lot of different niches. Back then, there was no alternative music; it was just something in my mind." Today, though, the Buzzcocks and Iggy are selling cars and cruise ships, and the September issue of Teen Peoplefeatured punk fashion from D & G and Moschino. Things that were once wild and shocking are now mainstream. And the face of American punk, Joey Ramone, is no longer with us.

Maybe the Dictators can pick up the slack. They remain a thunderous experience live, and Manitoba can still fire up a crowd. Offstage, though, he has mellowed considerably. He is getting married next June, and his Avenue B bar, Manitoba's, has become something of a local institution. When asked today if the world might finally be ready for the Second Coming of the Dictators, the most unlikely frontman in rock and roll laughs. "I ain't holding my breath," he says. "We're going to do what we do. As long as we are loving it from the inside out, having a great time, and people respond, we'll keep doing it."

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