Dito Montiel

Dito Montiel

Dito Montiel doesn't want to be thought of as a dilettante. Though he's written well-received books and directed an award-winning film, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, he is first and foremost a songwriter. In a press statement, he has said: "The book was simply a song on paper. The movie is a big one on a screen, and the ones on my album happen to have some music mixed in." Evidence to back him up on that isn't as skimpy as it might be for other jack-of-all-trade artists. Montiel's musical dabblings weave through the narrative of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, a chronicling of his hardscrabble Queens, NY, coming of age that was published as a memoir in 2003 and became a Sundance-winning film in 2006 (best director). The son of a hot-tempered Nicaraguan typewriter mechanic who once boxed Sugar Ray Robinson and his long-suffering Irish-American wife, Montiel joined his first punk band, Major Conflict, in 1983 as a 13-year-old. Six years later, Geffen Records signed another punk band he fronted, Gutterboy. Though his budding musical career flamed out quickly before Gutterboy could make any kind of impression on a large scale, Montiel never stopped writing songs. To claim that the movie and books -- including 2007's fiction debut, Eddie Krumble Is the Clapper -- are songs may be stretching it, but he has also managed to amass a bounty of more traditionally recognizable songs during his ascent as an author, screenwriter, and director, and 15 of them have found their way onto Dito Montiel, an indie rock collection whose songs will feel familiar to anyone who got to know the many quirky characters in Montiel's life through A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. ~ Tammy La Gorce, Rovi