Scott Kempner; The Life of a Dictator.

Scott Kempner, born in the Bronx, is a lifelong Yankees’ fan and according to the fifty – five year old; ‘Mickey Mantle is God.’

Living in California – does not change that ..

dictators
The Dictators

“Its part of the genetic make-up when you come from America. Baseball is part of the DNA …” Says Scott.

Kempner was the rhythm guitarist for The Dictators, a band formed in New York in 1974. They were part of the pre –  Sex Pistol invasion and helped enormously (along with bands like The Ramones), in the Pistol’s rise to fame.

Ironically, Kempner is replacing Tommy Ramone as the opening act for ex – (current?) Sex Pistol Glen Matlock on a tour which will bring the pair to Montreal in March.

“We are both going into this cold, no one wants to put pressure on anything – it will take a life of its own.  It will fall together naturally. You throw it all up in the air and you really don’t know what will come out of it and creativity gets released by that process. You have to have faith!”

Matlock Now
Matlock Now

” I have never met Glen …” Admits Scott. “I knew Sid Vicious through Nancy. She was from my neighborhood so I knew her before she met Sid. I am looking forward to meeting Glen. He is responsible for writing so many great songs. He is one of my idols, I have all his albums and  I have high expectations for this tour! Foremost – Glen is a songwriter.”

Songwriting is the demon which has pursued Kempner since he was seventeen. Always considered a great guitarist – Scott believes he finally ‘grew up’ and into his ability to write great tunes about twenty years ago.

” It’s something which needs to be settled deep within. At a particular time in my life, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get it …! Suddenly, in the past years, it is easy for me to write. Thankfully – because it is something that has haunted me my entire life.”

Kempner explains  he never felt ‘whole’ as a musician without the writing as part of his résumé.

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” I came out of the shadows of songwriting. I now have  the ability to not have to wait for someone else to write a song. Suddenly I was doing it better and I felt whole as a person. It was pretty frustrating for a while. I became a songwriter once I was able to express myself. If you are able to look in the mirror without squinting, really open your eyes and look, take it all in and feel good – you are a better person and in my case – a songwriter….”

Kempner’s  rock n roll life started because of what he and his friends ( band mates) thought was the end of rock music in the mid – seventies. He was ‘floored’ by The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, overwhelmed after seeing The Who live and arrived complete, vision wise, after hearing Bruce Springsteen in 1975.

“As far as the band was concerned, garage rock was dead. The Stones’ last good record was Exile ( at that time ), Zeppelin not the same and even The Who were on to their thematic phase. The Kinks were the only band left that were still vital …! That was the attitude. We were young kids who did not know any better than the ends of our noses. We thought of ourselves as a rock n roll band which wanted to get as big as possible, doing things within our limits. I guess we were embodying the punk limits, yet that word was not part of the vocabulary at the time. We thought we were putting our stamp on things …”

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The Del – Lords now

Scott Kempner, aside from The Dictators and The Del -Lords, has released two solo albums. Tenement Angels in 1992 and Saving Grace in 2007.

After twenty years, in 2009, the Del – Lords played together on stage and a new album, Elvis Club, is set for release on May 14th, 2013. A tour will follow in June.

“If you don’t move forward – you don’t move up. If you don’t grow up, you become a fundamentalist. Then what do you have …?”

How about memories of Mickey Mantle?

Kempner

Listen to Scott’s Music here !

Scott and Glen are playing The Piranha Bar in Montreal on March 28th

680 Sainte-Catherine Street West Montréal, Québec

514 996-0761

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