MDC, Verbal Abuse, The Elected Officials, Strychnine 99, Authentic Sellout


MDC, or Millions of Dead Cops, began in 1979 in Austin, Texas under the name the Stains. Singer and ringleader Dave Dictor was a BU drop-out from Long Island who dabbled in leftist activism as well as drugs and queer culture. Before punk rock, he played the bluegrass festival circuit with his group the Solar Pigs. He was living in Austin when punk hit and in 1979 he put together his own punk band. They released the classic "John Wayne was a Nazi" 7" in 1980, half of the pressing was under the Stains name, half "MDC-Stains". The title track set the tone for the band's witty, incindiary political lyrics. The music was slow, danceble punk-funk with jangly guitars similar to the sound of other Austin bands. The name and sound of the band changed for 1982's Millions of Dead Cops LP. Here, Dictor's ironic political rants were set to the new US brand of speeding hardcore. The band had been out to California after hooking up with Maximum Rock'n'roll, Jello Biafra, and Black Flag. Witnessing a violent police riot at their show with Flag in Orange County inspired the new name (the change was necessitated by fellow opening band the Stains from LA). That year MDC relocated to San Francisco, following the lead of fellow leftist Texans the Dicks. They squatted in an empty beer factory known as the Vats, also home to Texas expatriates like the Dicks, DRI, and Verbal Abuse.

Dictor wrote protest songs with less irony than Biafra, and the band ignited an inferno of controversy with their extremely leftist ideas, which many considered preaching. Aside from the DKs, few hardcore bands expressed serious political agendas in 1982, and in many cities (such as Boston and Detroit) the sentiment was more right wing/conservative. MDC soon fanned the flames of this fire of outrage by launching the 1984 Rock Against Reagan tour. Sponsored by the Yippies, they took the Dicks, Crucifix, and DRI around the country expousing the evils of capitalism, multinational corporations, and meat-eating. Another target of MDC on tour was the Bad Brains, who had disgusted them with their extreme homophobia, sexism, and general sleaziness while in Austin.

All MDC releases were released domestically by the band's own label: R Radical. In the beginning at least, MDC epitomized the political nature of DIY punk. They not only railed against "businesses on parade," they presented a defiant alternative. Dictor's lyrics, while often joking, were intelligent and went beyond the simple "Reagan sucks" sloganeering that many accused them of. He was especially keen in his focus on corporate capitalism rather than the arms race, the most popular hardcore political topic. "I Remember," a call to arms against cops and their unconstitutional tactics, is an especially potent anthem with its personal approach. Also, while there were many openly gay figures in the Austin punk scene, Dictor was the only one to address gay rights in his lyrics. MDC quickly caught the eye of Crass, the notorious English anarchopunk band/collective/label, who released their first 7" Multi-Death Corporations in England. In 1984 they continued to break new ground when they released the Millions of Dead Children 7", perhaps the first US hardcore record to advocate vegetarianism. All of these stances earned them a mix of reactions from the hardcore community. Some loved and admired their convictions, others felt they went to far with their "preaching," and many simply hated them.

In 1984, Dictor released the P.E.A.C.E. double LP on R Radical. This compilation is probably the most important international hardcore record of the '80s, with MRR's Welcome to 1984 being its only competition. Dictor managed to assemble a collection of amazing hardcore punk bands from all over the world, an admirable feat in an era of self-obsessed, often xenophobic local "scenes."

Rumors (which you are free to believe or disbelieve) flew through the scene about MDC's demands for high guarantees at shows (meaning they demanded money to play). Regardless of how compromised their stance was, the music couldn't be saved. Perhaps ravaged by speed abuse and addiction, MDC became a bad rock band - sporadically releasing several albums worth of inferior material. Drummer Al Schultz ended up in jail on drug charges. MDC evolved a constantly shifting line-up, one incarnation of which included Matt Freeman (of Operation Ivy), and another which did a hectic tour of Russia chronicled in MRR. In the late '90's, a cleaned-up Dictor resurfaced with an MDC that contained no original members. Back in Long Island now, he keeps the band going and still performs with the energetic zeal for which he's known.

Verbal Abuse

US Punk / Hardcore band formed in 1981.

The Elected Officials

Strychnine 99

$10.00 - $12.00


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