Millions of Dead Cops, Millions of Damn Christians, Millions of Dead Capitalists,
Millions of Dead Congressmen, Millions of Dead Children, Missile Destroyed Civilization, Multi-Death Corporation, Male Dominated Culture, Marine Death Corps,
Magnus Dominus Corpus
M.D.C. is a musical and political organization always striving to make intelligent, powerful, political statements that scream loudly against political insanity and social malignancy, addressing oppression and the human condition. Their originality challenges and often rivals, with their distinctly blunt and radical views, some of the most iconic bands of the past-and-present punk scene often littered with meaningless personal topical babble. (Just ask the die-hard fans.)
M.D.C. undoubtedly influenced many bands of today, evident in many modern anti-government and anti-oppression oriented groups, as early American Punk folklore blazoned its course through the past 35 years. M.D.C. was on the cover of the FIRST issue of Maximum Rock’n’Roll, which also includes a band interview. They have had major articles in Playboy, Spin, Sounds, and interviews far too numerous to count in local papers and fanzines across the globe. As an integral part of early American Punk folklore, it is not surprising to find references to M.D.C. in the annals of punk history and beyond the boundaries of mainstream music culture–their honorable mention in the alternative duo They Might Be Giants’ song “Rhythm Section Want Ad” and the “Millions of Dead Cops” album ranking #7 on Kurt Cobain’s all-time favorite list are two interesting examples. M.D.C. forged strong friendships and allies through their years of touring such as The Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Ian McKay of Minor Threat, Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman of Rancid, Green Day, and Dave Grohl, to name a few. M.D.C. is active in a number of good causes, recently speaking against the jailing of anarchist Chris Plummer, and more. They have organized and participated in countless benefits for grassroots movements, from the Native American Big Mountain to Food Not Bombs, and have continually campaigned with their best efforts in the furtherance of a better world.
As of 2014, Millions of Dead Cops, a.k.a. M.D.C., is comprised of two original members, Dave Dictor on vocals and Ron “x-con ron” Posner on guitar, along with “Mad Mike” Smith (Brother Spud, No Red Flags) on bass and Jesse Cobb (Valid Effort, Embrace The Kill) on drums. Having just toured the U.S. extensively and a stint in Australia and New Zealand, M.D.C. has just signed with Beer City Skateboards and Records. Many remastered reissues will be coming out on vinyl, CD, and as digital downloads. Also a full line of softwoods as well as some surprises are all in the works. M.D.C. has also been working on its newest full-length release with about two dozen new songs to choose from, so the future ahead looks bright for one of the Pioneers of Hardcore Punk Rock.
[Below is a summary of the band’s 34 year history and discography. Please refer to this website under “M.D.C. 1979-2002” for the complete details.]
In 1981, Dave Dictor, Al Schvitz, Mikey Offender Donaldson, and “x-con ron” Posner put out their first two-song single 7” as The Stains. Shortly afterwards, they were duly christened Millions of Dead Cops by Buxf Parrot, the hardcore bass player of The Dicks. And the rest, as they say, is history…
“John Wayne Was a Nazi” / “Born to Die” (The Stains, 1981) – 7”
M.D.C. (then still known as The Stains, and before that, The Reejex) released what should be considered a legendary punk landmark single on 45. At this point, the band was slower and less polished than they would eventually become as M.D.C. However, the two-song single still has integrity and merit, and captures the essence of what early punk rock was all about. The angry lyrics, the simple chording and riffage (mostly all power chords,–still their favorite kind), make this debut single very outstanding for its time. Its extreme rawness, combined also with surprising competence and sincerity is what makes these early pieces so spectacular. What’s more, Dave’s harsh, sometimes screamed vocals serve to add power and persuasion to the intense and controlled roar that embodies M.D.C., past and present. The debut single’s originality and spontaneous feel would later be overshadowed by their other releases, but this preliminary single retains its purity and classic status in lieu of the repetitive, mass-produced smut that litters most hardcore punk of today.
Millions of Dead Cops (1982, R Radical Records) – 14-song LP
This brilliant album successfully combined personal rage and angst with genuine socio-political concerns. Millions of Dead Cops is fast, heavy, grating, and scathingly political–encompassing everything that is truly classic about M.D.C. “John Wayne was a Nazi” and “Born to Die” from their first single, appear here in cleaner, faster, more precise, and slightly lengthier versions. Also included were now-classic hardcore songs “Business on Parade”, “Corporate Death Burger”, “I Hate Work”, and the epics “Dead Cops/America’s So Straight”, “I Remember”, and “American Achievements”. Each song embodies unique elements of their signature hardcore musicianship, song structure, and writing style, establishing M.D.C.’s full-length debut as an early punk essential. The album was recorded in Houston, with cover art by Carlos Lowry, originally co-produced and released in Europe by the Dead Kennedys.
Yes, M.D.C.’s early material is rough and raw, but a listener must appreciate the band’s unique appeal, as well as their simplicity, innocence and honesty–essential values for an effective critical approach that is often lacking in the “punk” of today, obvious exceptions withstanding. M.D.C. never tried to be anything they were not, and they never changed their tune due to pressure from the status quo. This first album is truly considered a classic landmark punk album by most, and it is well-deserving of such a title.
[R Radical Records was M.D.C.’s own record label and also released D.R.I., C2D (Condemned To Death), The Dicks, BGK, Reagan Youth, The Offenders, and more. It should be noted that R Radical Records was only established to release theirs and other bands’ music in a collective spirit, and not for the furtherance of aspirations in the music “business”, which are essentially distasteful and not in line with M.D.C.’s political motives and roots. Before disbanding, R Radical Records released a very ambitious double-LP compilation called “P.E.A.C.E.” featuring 52 bands from around the world.]
Multi Death Corporation – 4-song EP
The band’s musical maturity and lyrical development is obvious, as is the clever way they assume the first-person of the bad guy persona — “We’re the Multi Death Corporation… opportune on any situation…” — unabashedly equating the suffering of the poor with the indulgence of the rich. In particular, “Selfish Shit” effectively notes the unbridled callousness of the Me Generation’s quintessential mindless individual, without whom the “Multi-Death Corporation” could survive. “No Place to Piss” and the beautifully nasty “Radioactive Chocolate” make this EP another essential classic in the hardcore canon. The cover art is visually disturbing, depicting a skull tank branded with well-known names of soulless American enterprise rolling over a war-torn landscape of human remains, and illustrates destruction personified and all of its grave implications.
Millions of Dead Children (Crass Records) – 3-song EP
The “Chicken Squawk” EP is a collection of diverse tracks, from the speed power of “Kleptomaniac” and all-out assault of hardcore “Death of a Nun”. The amped-up country parody “Chicken Squawk” (of Tony Hawk / Jackass TV fame) features Dave Dick (The Witnesses) on acoustic guitar and was written years earlier by Jimmy Brighton, Butch Zito, and Dave, but Dave’s spiffed up lyrics make it the vegetarian anthem it is today. As noted, this single was released by the band Crass on their own UK label — M.D.C. was the only U.S. band they ever put out!
[This EP is an essential for the die-hard M.D.C. fan, but if one only desires the music and not necessarily the memorabilia of having the EP itself, these three songs along with the previous EP “Multi Death Corporation” can be found on the 1988 career-retrospective release “More Dead Cops.”]
*1983 — By this time, M.D.C. completed two nationwide / Canadian tours and two of Europe, the first of which offered 18 gigs opening for the legendary “Dead Kennedys”, who were on their fourth tour abroad and generously shared their huge popularity with M.D.C., a virtually unknown band at the time. Upon their return, M.D.C. were surprised to have been chosen as the YIPees “Album of the Year” band and offered a 50-city YIPee-sponsored tour, including a live set on a float traveling through New York City, beginning at Washington Square and ending in front of the U.N., and a July 4th gig in front of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. They returned to the top floor of the Beer Vats and took a well needed sabbatical.
M.D.C. + Crucifix – Live On Broadway (Target Video, 1983) – VHS video
Although relatively difficult to find, it is amazing. The sheer power that the band emits live on stage is enough to knock you off your couch and on your ass.
M.D.C. + The Dicks – Live at Olympic Auditorium (Flipside, 1983) – VHS video
John Lieb (The Sluglords and Morally Bankrupt) is killing it on drums for that one.
[*M.D.C. appeared on several other videos and bootlegs, to be detailed soon on the site.]
Smoke Signals – 13-song LP
The title of this release directly relates to a political flyer included with the LP version concerning the Big Mountain Elders Relocation Resistance March in Big Mountain, Arizona, on July 7, 1986. This album contains many different and interesting musical textures, and should be commended as one of M.D.C.’s broader efforts, although it was not as hard or driving as the past releases, and didn’t glean great reviews. Many more of M.D.C.’s trademark short, simple songs appear here, as well as the instrumental title track, “Missile Destroyed Civilization”, and “The Big Picture” (a cover of Canada’s The Subhumans) which are often performed live to this day. This would be the last studio record (until 2005) with xcon ron, who had submerged himself in a thriving skateboard business that made huge demands on his time and energies, and debuts guitarist Gordon Fraser who would remain for the next several years.
Millions of Damn Christians: This Blood’s For You (1987) – 14-song LP
M.D.C. decided to expand their musical range after several preliminary expressions in the forms of their first four releases. The album begins as an attack on religion, hence its title. These fourteen songs frighteningly depict life in the midst of the Reagan years. M.D.C. covers a variety of topics ranging from Reagan (“Bye Bye Ronnie”), the agricultural imperialism of coffee-growers (“Chock Full of Shit”), intolerant and violent punks (“S.K.I.N.H.E.A.D.”), bureaucrats (the rapid, short “Henry Kissmyassinger”), and junkies (“Your Death Wish is Sick”). “Politician” pays tribute to their old, old school roots — a Cream song, played like Led Zeppelin, changing only one line from “I’m a political man” to “We’re a political band”). This Blood’s For You has been dubbed by many as one of M.D.C.’s best albums, presumably due to its musical diversity and overall integrity. This album marks the band’s ability to successfully utilize and incorporate elements outside of the range of hardcore–melodies, guitar solos, and acoustic guitar–resulting in a more rock-feel in the end result, particularly noticeable in “Chocked Full!”’s Latin-style percussion. The album cover art parody of da Vinci’s “Last Supper” depicts St. Al Schvitz, St. Dave, St. Franco (subbing for those other apostles John, Thomas, and James the Greater), and our lord savior and raging guitarist Gordon “Jesus” Fraser. The Christians Right considers this one of the ten most evil and satanic albums, or so sayeth the 700 Club and PTL. (Well, so much for the Pope’s approval…you can’t please everyone!)
More Dead Cops (1988) – semi-anthology LP
On the heels of another worldwide tour and a guest appearance on Michelle Shocked’s “Short, Sharp, Shocked” album, “More Dead Cops” begins with that old cowboy “Texas Schvitz” asks John Wayne the musical question: “Just whaddya fixin’ to do about us M.D.C. boys?!” This semi-anthology has as much previously unreleased stuff on it as not — “Pecking Order” (the alternate version of “Death of a Nun”), two rare compilation tracks “Evolution in Rock” and “Pay to Come (Cum) Along” (an attack in response to the Bad Brains tour), and two previously unreleased and amusing covers from 1987 (Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic” and the Albert Kings’ blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign” with Gordon Fraser on guitar). Although it was not intended to be a typical “Greatest Hits”, it combined all this with the early x-con ron years (1979 – 1985) — including both sides of their debut single (“John Wayne was a Nazi” b/w “Born to Die”), the four-song Multi-Death Corporation EP, and the three-song Millions of Dead Children EP. It really is what it says: “More (from the) Dead Cops”!
Elvis in the Rhineland : Live in Berlin (1988) – 25-song LP
M.D.C. viciously blasts through this live set in a kind of career-retrospective style. Two of these songs are Michelle Shocked covers: “Fogtown” and “Secret to a Long Life.” The song “Dead Cops Rock” is an M.D.C.-style parody rendition of Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock”. Dave would wear an Elvis suit for every show of this period. This album hails the return of x-con ron, the power-chord god, and marks historical significance for the band. However, this reunification would once again be temporary, as was a short stint with Mikey Offender soon after.
Metal Devil Cokes: It’s the Real Thing (early November 1989) – 16-song LP
While it maintains the M.D.C. traditions, this album was never considered especially impressive, however quite diverse and musically intricate. Highlights of the album include the acoustic number “Acid Reindeer”, the crazy blues of “Hole in My Soul”, and “Three Blind Mice”, which pokes fun at every fairy tale and fantasy epic imaginable. M.D.C. even goes so far as to cover the old classic: “when I kissed a cop down on 34th and vine… he broke my little bottle of Love Potion #9!” Eric Calhoun debuts on guitar, and contributed to the this diverse collection of amusing and satirical songs. For those who especially enjoy M.D.C.’s scathing political commentary mixed with humor and differing styles of music, Metal Devil Cokes delivers!
Live in Maribor (Slovenia, September 1990) – 17-song LP
Significant to note that this live album was recorded prior to the disbandment of Yugoslavia. Matt Freeman of Operation Ivy (and later, Rancid) became M.D.C.’s bassist in the spring of 1990, debuted with them in April, and subsequently appears here. Also at this time, Tim Armstrong (Rancid’s lead singer to-be) was an M.D.C. roadie! Live in Maribor is truly a rare find–totally out of print–so if you happen upon it, consider yourself lucky.
Hey Cop, If I Had a Face Like Yours – Millions of Dead Cops II (1991) – 15-song LP
Despite containing classic tracks like “The Jew That Got Away”, “Millions of Dead Cops”, and “U.S. War #54”, this record is sadly neglected in many reviews and reference sources. Dave and Al (still “guilty as charged”) and Matt Freeman (bass) teamed up with the talented guitarist, Bill Collins (Special Forces, Fang), who significantly contributed to the songwriting for this album. Matt Freeman played bass on this album as a member of M.D.C. during 1990, but called it quits with M.D.C. after touring with them for the duration of the year. Hey Cop is a great album and very listenable, incorporating many different styles once again.
Shades of Brown (New Red Archives Records, 1993) – 15-song LP
This diverse recording would be M.D.C.’s last full-length release for several years. The album as a whole touches upon many of the musical styles of the 1990s: metal, rockabilly, hip-hop, and yes–M.D.C.’s classic and expected hardcore. This LP is easier to find in some circumstances, but still elusive. Highly notable tracks include the single “Thanks For Giving Me What I Didn’t Want,” and the title track with its impressively poignant lyrics. Chris Wilder (Stikky), as the latest madman on guitar, rolls out an extensive vegetarian rap in “Real People, Real Food, Real Bullets”, and Erica Liss (Gecko Valour, also with Al Schvitz) shines on bass, the only other female M.D.C. alumni since Amy Mann. This lineup embarked upon a four-month European tour, accompanied for the most part by dyke-core band Tribe 8, pinnacling in Moscow on an MTV set.
Liberty Gone – M.D.C. + Capitalist Casualties (Slap-A-Ham, 1994) – split 7” EP
Shortly after the Shades album was completed, M.D.C. recorded two cuts entitled “Bombs, Not Food” and “Nazis Shouldn’t Drive (Cars)”. The latter is a different kind of ode to the late Ian Stuart, singer for Screwdriver, not to mention a really good song with a lot of Cali hardcore. This EP is also quite difficult to find (but what M.D.C. album isn’t?)
“I Don’t Want to Hurt You Dude, I Just Want My Shit Back” / “Dark Clouds” (Honest Don’s Records, 1997) – 2-song 7”
This release would be the first of two collaborations with Tom “Pig Champion” (Poison Idea) and focuses on the struggles of drug addiction. Dave (who moved up to Portland to be with his son, Jesse, in the summer of 1995) teamed up once again with Metal Devil Cokes’ guitarist Eric Calhoun and dubbed the new single “Pig Champion”.
“My Dog Has No Girlfriend” – M.D.C. + the Repeat Offenders (Honest Don’s, 1998) – split 7”
Tom “Pig Champion” (here, of The Repeat Offenders) appropriately lended his talent to the title track which also features Joe Go (Speed Racer of SF, and founder of Suburbia Music Studios in Portland) on bass for M.D.C.
*Tom and Dave also collaborated in The Submissives, who released a great album about sex, pain and perversion in 1996 (An Anvil Will Wear Out Many a Hammer), reminiscent of the 1980 Imperialist Pigs. However, the collaboration with Tom led to more drug use, as was the trend during the speed-fueled Submissives’ sessions, and this led to more problems, including those with the law. As The Dicks’ song says: “If you can’t find justice… IT’LL FIND YOU!” — yet this chapter of the M.D.C. history and legacy did not dampen M.D.C.’s spirits, as the history makes apparent, and seems to have fueled their music and made them more angry with the state of the world.
Now More Than Ever : M.D.C. 1980-2000 (2000) – 30-song anthology LP
M.D.C. heralded the new century with a 20-year retrospective compilation of the band’s work, highlighting many of M.D.C.’s previous releases and includes some rare material and a really great new song called “More Squawk” — an offshoot of the early single “Chicken Squawk”.
*By 2003, Dave had moved back to New York City. Dave hooked up with Matt Van Cura and they decided to begin a new M.D.C. line-up, the first after an almost 10-year hiatus. The line-up combined Dave Dictor on vocals, Brendan Bekowies (Stockyard Stoics) on guitar, Matt Van Cura on bass, and Al “Albatross” Bazin (Ludichrist, Big Sniff, The Plungers). They recorded a song, “Sick of It”, and toured Europe in the Spring of 2003. Another European Tour was booked, but Brendan’s father had health issues which prevented him from going. It was then when original guitar player “x-con ron” rejoined the band to fulfill the tour obligations. Albatross wasn’t able to attend and recommended his friend, Mike Pride (Dynamite Club, From Bacteria to Boys) to take over the drum duties. The 2003 European Tour was a success and plans were made to work on a new release and more tours.
MAGNUS DOMINUS CORPUS (2005) – LP
Dave and Ron began work on another full length in 2003 and managed to contact Mikey Offender and plans were made to get together at Dave’s house in Glen Cove, Long Island. Work on the new CD commenced with Mike Pride on drums. After 10 hours of rehearsals at Funkadelics rehearsal studios in New York, the guys were ready to record. The entire album with scratch vocals was recorded at Don Fury’s Cyclone Sound. With three original members reunited successfully, they celebrated with a show at the Knitting Factory with D.O.A. followed by another European Tour.
[The album title hints back to a “personal request” of Pope John Paul, for whom M.D.C. played during his visit to S.F. in 1987 until the Secret Service practically threw them off the roof across the street from the Mission Dolores Church.]
*In September 2005, Alschvitz, original member, took up the duties on drums for their next US Tour, but with Al unable to get a passport, M.D.C. did several European Tours with different drummers. The first was with Dejan “Poda” Podobnik in May 2006 and again in March 2007. Then in March 2008, M.D.C. embarked on a landmark tour commemorating the passing of Mikey Offender, with fellow Texan, Felix Griffin of D.R.I. fame tearing it up on drums.
M.D.C. Unplugged “It Can Happen” + John the Baker (Tankcrimes Records, 2006) – split 7”
*Now a long term Portlandia resident, Dave, in 2006, began playing with Dave Dahl (Dave’s Killer Bread) on guitar and “Mad Mike” Smith on bass, a project loosely referred to as M.D.C. Acoustic which debuted in 2004 when “Boxcar” Dave and “x-con ron” played acoustic versions of M.D.C. songs on a Winter European Tour as M.D.C. Unplugged. As Dave Dahl became more involved with his bread business, drummer and guitar player, Russ Kalita, took his place and with Al Schultz on drums, released several projects. You can see the latest incarnation of this side project as “Mike and Dave Country”, with Dave Dictor on guitar and vocals and “Mad Mike” Smith on bass.
Solid EP – M.D.C. + Citizen Fish + Embrace The Kill (ETK) + Mouth Sewn Shut (Crash Assailant / Rodent Popcycle Records, 2008) – split 7”
Human EP – M.D.C. + The Restarts + Phobia + ETK (Crash Assailant / Rodent Popcycle Records, 2009) – split 7”
Mobocracy – M.D.C. + The Restarts (Crash Assailant / Rodent Popcycle Records, 2009) – split
M.D.C. “2012” + Naked Aggression + Raw Power + Som Hi Noise (Jailhouse Records, 2013) – split
*Sadly, M.D.C. (and the world) lost Franco Mares in 2009 and Mikey Donaldson in 2007. Both were good people, brothers, and leaders of the early American punk rock and hardcore movements. Mikey was an incredible bassist and musician having written for and played with The Offenders, M.D.C., D.R.I., Sister Double Happiness, Direct Control, The Nitwitz, and Brutalized Super Stars. He was a musician and artist way ahead of his time, playing “speed metal”, before the term was coined, coupled with his signature style of melodic bass lines. Mike Smith was playing bass for the acoustic trio and he was the natural candidate to step into Mikey Donaldson’s place in M.D.C. Electric at the end of 2007. As the story goes, M.D.C. was rehearsing at No Red Flag’s practice room with Mikey before a short West Coast Tour. Mikey met Mike there and, after some shared shows with NRF, he told x-con ron, “If there’s anyone out there that can replace me, it should be Mike.” …and so the legacy continues…
[Please refer to M.D.C.’s website for the entire details: http://www.mdc-punk.com/M.D.C._2003-2008.html]
2014 finds M.D.C. continuing its tradition, rehearsing for a new full length album, doing light touring on the West Coast, and looking for the next adventure. The sun never sets on a legend, so look forward to M.D.C. in a city near you, your hometown, your backyard, your local bookstore, organic grocer, or independently-owned free-trade coffee shop–be sure to say hello…
Tom Albino (guitar, The Dicks) : collaborated on Missile Destroyed Civilization
Brendan Bekowies (guitar, Stockyard Stoics) : Europe Tour
Dave Hahn (guitar, Dub As a Weapon)
Lee “Scratch” Perry : the Brazil Tour
Al “Albatross” Bazin : (drums, Ludichrist, Big Sniff, The Plungers)
Matt Van Cura : (bass, Thought Crime) : Brazil and Europe Tours
Mike Pride (drums, Dynamite Club, From Bacteria to Boys) : Magnus Dominus Corpus
Dejan Podobnik (drums, Patareni, Ohlo de Gato)
Felix Griffin (drums, Crotch Rot, D.R.I., Blunt Force Trauma, B.A.T.)