Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba
(aka The Handsomest Man in Rock n' Roll
) (born Richard Blum
in The Bronx, New York
, January 29 1954
) is an American musician and radio personality, best known for his 30-year stint as lead singer of the proto-punk New York City band The Dictators
Manitoba started out his music career as a roadie for The Dictators. Manitoba made his "official stage debut" with The Dictators at Popeye's Spinach Factory in Sheepshead Bay
, in 1975. On their first major-label album, The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!
, 1975), Manitoba was listed as "Secret Weapon". This is because he sang some lead and some background, but was still considered a "mascot". Manitoba sang more lead on The Dictators' second offering, Manifest Destiny
, a 1977 release on the Asylum
label. On Bloodbrothers
, the third and final Dictators recording from the 1970s (also on Asylum, 1978), Manitoba sang lead on almost all the tunes.
The Dictators disbanded in late 1978, but played reunion gigs occasionally until 1996, when they started to play again regularly. In 1989, Manitoba—along with Andy Shernoff (bass, songwriter), JP "Thunderbolt" Patterson (drums) and a man known as the "fifth Ramone", Daniel Rey (guitar)—released an album under the name Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, on MCA Records. Ross the Boss, the original lead guitarist for The Dictators, eventually replaced Rey.
In 2001, The Dictators released their first studio album in twenty-three years, D.F.F.D, on their own label, The Dictators Multimedia. A live album, Viva! Dictators, was released on the Escapi Music label in 2005.
A new Dictators record, Everyday Is Saturday, came out in 2007 on the Norton record label. It is a collection of demos, B-sides, out-takes, and old radio commercials for the band. The band and crew contributed the liner notes for the record.
Life with MC5
Since February 2005, Manitoba has been singing lead with the MC5
, a Detroit
pre-punk rock and roll band. Manitoba also has his own show, "The Handsome Dick Manitoba Radio Program" on Little Steven Van Zandt
's Underground Garage channel, on Sirius Satellite Radio
Manitoba opened Manitoba's, a New York City rock 'n' roll bar, on January 14, 1999. It is located at 99 Avenue B, in Manhattan's East Village.
In November 2007, Manitoba, along with author Amy Wallace, put out The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists on BackBeat Books, a small book company owned by Hal Leonard Publishing.