Born Lester Bullocks, Kingston, Jamaica, 1953. One of the second wave of Jamaican DJ?s who sprung up in the early 70s, heavily influenced by the likes of their heroes U-Roy, Big Youth, King Stitt, Count Machuki and Dennis Alcapone. At a very young age he was going to Coxsone Dodd?s Downbeat and Lloyd the Matador?s dances before becoming a follower of Dennis Alcapone?s El Paso and Prince Jackie?s sound systems. Initially he would help load and unload the soundboxes but this eventually led to him being passed the mic at dances. When Alcapone left Jamaica for the UK in 1973 Dillinger took his place on El Paso, the youth being dubbed ?Dennis Alcapone Junior?. His humorous and innovative mic work brought him to the attention of Lee Perry, who invited him in to the Dynamic studio where he cut a number of tunes including his debut, ?Dub Organiser?. It was at this session that Perry persuaded ?Dennis Alcapone Junior? to change his name to that of another US gangster ? ?you're different from Alcapone? Perry said, ?you're Dillinger"
The following year, 1974 Dillinger cut ?Freshly? for up and coming producer Yabby You, a song about Rastafarian dietary strictures over the now classic ?Jah Vengeance? rhythm. It was a big hit and Dillinger was now in demand ? in 1975 he cut numerous singles for a whole host of producers including Augustus Pablo (?Brace A Boy?), Joseph ?Joe Joe? Hookim (CB 200, Plnatation Heights) and Clement "Coxsonne" Dodd (?Killer Man Jaro?) It was Coxsone Dodd who released his debut album, ?Ready Natty Dreadie? which appeared in 1976, and, as to be expected, featured Dillinger's toasts over a selection of classic Studio One rhythms.
Whilst this album cemented Dillinger's standing as a DJ in Jamaica it was his next album, ?CB 200? (a tribute to his beloved Honda CB 200 motorbike) released on Joseph ?Joe Joe? Hookim?s Channel One label that brought him international success. Here Dillinger lets rip over a series of Channel One speicals, many of which had originally been hits for vocal group the Mighty Diamonds, who were huge in Jamaica at the time. The album sold in massive quantities and featured hit singles such as the title track ?CB200? (a version of Gregory Isaacs' ?Sun Shines for Me?), ?Plantation Heights?; ?Crankface?, (where he?s joined by friend and fellow DJ Trinity) and ?Cocaine in My Brain?, which became a huge international hit, thanks largely to British punks adopting the song as one of their own
In late 1976, on the back of this new found success Dillinger came to London where he performed to rapturous crowds of young punks and whilst in the UK he recorded his next album, the Clement Bushay produced ?Clash? which saw the DJ team up with his old friend and sparring partner Trinity. Whilst several tracks from the album were hits in Jamaica it fared less well internationally with a public hungry for another ?Cocaine In My Brain?. ?Bionic Dread?, his next album saw him working back with Hookim and did well in Jamaica but once again it didn?t capture the international success of ?CB 200?
Between 1977 and 1979 he had a number of hits in Jamaica with Bunny Lee and during this prolific time he recorded the albums ?Talkin' Blues?, ?Top Ranking?, ?Corn Bread? and ?Answer My Questions?. None of these made any impact outside Jamaica but on the island they were well received. Dillinger, however, still hankered after international success and in 1979 he released the long awaited follow-up to ?Cocaine In My Brain?, ?Marijuana in My Brain?, which shot to number one in the Dutch pop charts and spawned a huge selling album of the same name. This second wave of international popularity led to a deal with A&M, who the following year released the ?Badder Than Them? album which saw the DJ experimenting with Electro and New Wave music. It was a bold attempt but only succeeded in alienating his existing fans and A&M immediately dropped him
However, Dillinger's British fans remained loyal and it was there he recorded ?Live at the Music Machine? which was released in 1981. It was clear that his live performances were still electrifying and a second live album, ?Live in London? appeared later that same year, recorded with one of the most popular DJ?s from the early 80?s, Clint Eastwood, older brother of Dillinger's old sparring partner Trinity
In 1982 Dillinger produced a series of 12" singles on the British Oak label, both of his own material and that of other artists. His next album was the self-produced ?Join the Queue?, released the following year. For the disco funk of ?Funky Punk?, his next album he brought in the production duo Sevitt and Shrowder, who also produced 1984's ?Blackboard Jungle?. Two more albums, ?King Pharaoh? and ?Tribal War? appeared before Dillinger dipped out of the spotlight for a few years until Bunny Lee and Superblack got him back into the studio for 1993's ?Say No to Drugs? (!)
A compilation album, ?3 Piece Suit? and a collection of Bunny Lee produced cuts along with a number of King Tubby dub versions renewed interest in the DJ and in the late 90s. The ?Rebel With a Cause? compilation showed how much quality material he recorded over his career. Many more of his records have since been reissued and today he still continues to release new singles and perform live