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The Music

mostly True Stories

by UniversalDice.com

Released 2000
Infidels Records
Released 2000
Infidels Records
Compelling stories that are either true or true-to-life make this CD an emotional roller coaster unlike any other in rock and roll.
NOTES


This Gerry Dantone & UniversalDice.com CD was released in 2001! "mostly True Stories" is mostly great!

Infidels Records is pleased to present this thematic CD from Gerry Dantone & UniversalDice.com! "mostly True Stories" is a compelling follow-up to the band's rock opera "My Name Is Thomas...", with 16 new tunes from Gerry Dantone and Sam Cimino that are engrossing and enlightening in the unique UniversalDice.com way.

Singer/songwriter Gerry Dantone creates songs in a style that is unique in popular music. Tunes such as "Man & God," "Where They Kill Love," "Vengeance" and "Love Is" are the rarest of the rare - completely original ideas and in these difficult times, nearly prophetic. Bassist Sam Cimino takes an iconoclastic approach as well, adding his trademark black humor, his melodic bass lines, and wicked slide guitar. Between them you will find lyrical and musical references to Shakespeare, the bible, Robert Burns, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Godfather, and more!

Critics are sold on the band: Good Times Magazine called "mostly True Stories" "one of the top CDs of the year" LIE magazine said that, "the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 'My Name Is Thomas...' is about exactly what you'd expect from them... carefully arranged, thoughtfully assembled... a musically catchy and lyrically astute journey."

Past Dantone/UniversalDice.com releases have consistently charted in the Top 40 of any college radio station that had their release. "My Name Is Thomas..." charted on all 14 Long Island stations, in addition to receiving airplay on 4 commercial radio stations as well, reaching Top 10 on 4 of the stations, all without the support of professional record promotion. The public is hungry for music with depth!

The band is rounded out by Bob Barcus on lead guitar (check out his solo on "Vengeance") and Tom Beckner on keyboards (check out the many textures of "BQE"). Although no single song completely represents this band, a style still emerges, one based on creative songwriting, strong vocals, accomplished musicianship and clever arrangements. We hope you enjoy the new CD.
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REVIEW
Good Times Magazine
November 13, 2000
Richard Hughes

Most music fans have probably never heard of Universal Dice. They have not yet played out at clubs, and they don't have dozens of press clippings to their credit from the local music papers. It will probably come as a surprise to people, then, that this, "Mostly True Stories," is one of the top CDs of the year 2000.

Universal Dice is fundamentally the child of the creative duo of Gerry Dantone and Sam Cimino. They wrote the music, they sing the vocals and they play most of the instruments. "mostly True Stories" is their follow-up to "My Name Is Thomas…," an ambitious rock opera released in 1997. The musical style can't be described in a word or two, primarily because there isn't just one style. Instead you've got your blues, you've got your alternative, you've got your straight-up rock, and you've even got your Middle Eastern meditative music. This might sound like a mish-mosh of styles, but actually the CD has a nice balance to it.

The soul of the CD can be found in the 4th track, a slow heart-wrenching number called "Vengeance." A song about the terrorist acts of zealots, and the emotional devastation left in their wake, it focuses on two separate but equally shocking acts of violence. The first is the murder of three young brothers killed by a firebomb in Northern Ireland; the second is the massacre of 30+ Muslims praying in a mosque in Israel. The song is all the more painful because both incidents really happened. ("Three young brothers, asleep in the night/Innocent children in Ulster's fight/In their garden/A man with a bomb/In their garden") This is definitely one intense song.

Other highlights of the CD include the trippy opening number, "Love Is"; the tragic love song "Bosko and Admira," ("He prayed to Jesus, she prayed to Allah/They loved each other, it was forever"); the lusty BQE ("She's not the kind of girl you take home to mom/Try to hold her hand, you might lose you arm"); and the lovely sad "Man and God." There are also some humorous numbers on the CD including Xena, an ode to TV's warrior princess, the rocky "Circling the Drain" and the armed-and-dangerous "Charlton Heston High School," ("Where guns and Jesus rule.")

Musically this is a very strong CD. The one thing that might detract some listeners from fully enjoying it is the preachiness of the lyrics. Like "My Name Is Thomas…" the CD explores issues of faith and religion. But whereas "Thomas…" told a single tale in story-form, "mostly True Stories" goes back to these themes again and again in individual vignettes. The effect can feel like being bludgeoned over and over again with a single message: religion = bad. In a weird kind of a way, although "Thomas…" sprang from the same Ethical Humanist belief system, it worked better from a lyrical point of view, because it focused on things Dantone and Cimino believe in (qualities such as love and respect for others) instead of their opposites (fanaticism, and terrible acts in the name of God).

Nevertheless, the richness of the music far outweighs any minor complaint about the words. This is a CD worth buying, and worth listening to again and again.

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