The original recording lineup consisted of bassist/vocalist Andy (aka "Adny") Shernoff, lead guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman (aka Ross Funicello), rhythm guitarist Scott "Top Ten" Kempner, and drummer Stu Boy King (who was, in fact, the band's fourth drummer since forming in 1973). It was this lineup - along with roadie/occasional vocalist and "Secret Weapon" Handsome Dick Manitoba - which recorded the band's 1975 debut album, The Dictators Go Girl Crazy for Epic Records, produced by Sandy Pearlman and Murray Krugman (best known for their work with Blue Öyster Cult). Although the album sold poorly at the time, today it is considered one of the most important albums ever recorded by a New York punk band of the period, and still stands as arguably one of the funniest records ever made.
Frustrated by the lack of sales, the band broke up for a few months in late 1975, but reconvened in early 1976, with bassist Mark "The Animal" Mendoza replacing Shernoff. After a few months Shernoff was persuaded to return to the group as the group's keyboardist. This lineup soon secured a contract with Asylum Records (at least partly due to the notoriety the group had developed following a well-publicized brawl between Manitoba and Wayne County) and released their second album, Manifest Destiny, in 1977. The album - again produced by Pearlman and Krugman - is usually considered the weakest of the group's first three albums, and featured a considerably more mainstream sound. The band resisted playing songs from Manifest Destiny for several years because the album hadn't been re-released on CD.
During this period the band was christened with their nickname, "The 'Taters." This culminated in an incident during a tour with Uriah Heep and Foreigner in which Foreigner's roadies strung a net filled with potatoes above the stage and released it during the Dictators' set.
By 1978 Mendoza had left the band (he soon joined Twisted Sister) and Shernoff had returned to his original position on bass guitar. It was this lineup of Manitoba, Shernoff, Friedman, Kempner, and Rich Teeter which recorded Bloodbrothers (yet again produced by Pearlman and Krugman). At the time it was - and still is - generally considered to be a stronger album than Manifest Destiny. It was the first album to feature Manitoba as the group's vocalist on all the songs, though Bruce Springsteen - a big fan of the group to this day - can be heard counting "1-2-1-2-3-4" during the album's opening track, "Faster and Louder." The album's "Baby, Let's Twist" was a minor hit on a number of east coast radio stations, but the lack of mainstream success caused the band to split the following year. Shortly before the split drummer Mel Anderson had left Twisted Sister and joined The Dictators, replacing Teeter. After the breakup, Manitoba drove a cab, Shernoff worked as a producer, and Friedman became something of a gun-for-hire; working first with the French hard rock band Shakin' Street, then becoming a founding member of Manowar in 1982, and producing the first demo for Anthrax. (wikipedia) (BUY IT, SHITHEAD!)