Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba
(born Richard Blum
in The Bronx, New York
, January 29, 1954) is a Jewish American punk rock
singer and radio personality, best known as the lead singer of the New York City
band The Dictators
Manitoba started out his singing career as a roadie for The Dictators. He 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), he was listed as the "Secret Weapon". This is because he sang some lead and some background, but was still considered a "mascot" of the band. He sang more lead on The Dictators' second offering, Manifest Destiny
, a 1977 release on the Asylum
label. On Bloodbrothers
, the third and final Dictators studio recording from the 1970s (also on Asylum, 1978), Manitoba sang lead vocals on almost all the tracks.
The Dictators disbanded in late 1978, but performed sporadically until 1996, when they started to play again regularly.
In 1989, Manitoba — along with Andy Shernoff
(bass, songwriter), and JP "Thunderbolt" Patterson (drums), 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. Manitoba's Wild Kingdom played at the 2008 Joey Ramone Birthday Bash, with a guest appearance by Ross the Boss.