Certain Songs #313: The Dictators – “Master Race Rock”

dictators go girl crazy Album: Go Girl Crazy!
Year: 1975.

There may be records that are funnier than Go Girl Crazy! There may be records that rock more than Go Girl Crazy!

But in the four quadrant graph charting records that are funny and records that rock, Go Girl Crazy is right there in the upper right-hand corner. No record in the history of recorded music has combined as many jokes with as much rock ‘n’ roll spirit.

Oh, and by the way, it’s a key record in the inevitable confluence of punk rock and heavy metal, providing a bridge between the Stooges and (especially) the New York Dolls and the late 70s punks, and of course the grunge bands with a sense of humour. (Which I guess was Mudhoney.)

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I purchased Go Girl Crazy! when I was still a teenager, meaning that I was the perfect age for such amazing songs as “The Next Big Thing,” “Weekend,” and of course “Master Race Rock.” Which undercuts its potentially offensive title from the start.

After a charged-up galloping riff from Scott “Top Ten” Kempner (list his all-time top ten), songwriter Adny Shernoff sings the first verse:

Hippies are squares with long hair
And they don’t wear no underwear
Country Rock is on the wane
I don’t want music, I want pain!

I mean, C’mon!! Right there, they’ve totally disassociated themselves from the prevalent trends of the past decade and declared themselves not just lovers of pain, but — by the supercharged music they’re playing — bringers of it as well. So by the time they whole gang piles on the chorus, it only makes sense:

We’re the members of the master race
Got no style and we got no grace
Sleep all night, sleep all day
Nothing good on T.V. anyway!

Gasoline shortage won’t stop me now, Oh no!

And then there’s the guitar solo. I mean, Ross “The Boss” Funicello has already stuck amazing licks into every nook and cranny during the verses, but any guitarist whose motto is “to me, quantity is quality” (a quote I’ve been stealing for 35+ years) utterly kills it on the solo, uncorking a an absolute thing of unholy speeded-up beauty before skidding into the next verse.

My favorite part of growing up
Is when I’m sick and throwing up
It’s the dues you’ve got to pay
For eating burgers every day

As someone who ate burgers ever day for very very long time, I absolutely loved that verse, even if I didn’t have the same reaction as songwriter Adny Shernoff (“I call the shots”) depicts. However, he has a remedy:

Take my vitamin C
Know what’s good for me
Life can take it’s toll
When you’re living
ROCK ‘N’ ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!

YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! This is the guy I wanted to be. This is the guy I practically was. The guy who lived rock ‘n’ roll. Even though I knew it was a stupid fantasy, it didn’t even matter, because it sounded like so much fun. So at the end, when they chanted:

C’mon guys
LET’S GO!
LET’S GO!
LET’S GO!
LET’S GO!
LET’S GO!
LET’S GO!

I was ready to put my sneakers on and go outside to have some fun! Especially if it involved even more amazing lead guitar from Ross The Boss.

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