The Dicks : The Backstory
The Dicks, a Commie Faggot Band, emerged during the halcyon days of Austin, Texas punk. The scene centered around the local dive bar Raul’s frequented by local freaks, artists, and soon-to-be punk rockers. The band was the creation of Gary Floyd, a 26 year old from Palestine, Texas who had been a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and was openly, flamboyantly gay. Although he was advertising the Dicks before they were even an actual band, Floyd soon joined forces with three “terrorist thugs” to complete the group: guitarist Glen Taylor, bassist Buxf Parrot, and drummer Pat Deason.
They started writing burly, blues-drenched punk anthems and began playing raucous, shows with local heroes the Big Boys. Unlike that band’s funk-infused, high-production value drag show, the Dicks opted for a cruder but still spectacular approach. Gary Floyd would assault the audience with chocolate frosting pulled from his panties, inviting any rowdy audience members to suck his dick.
The band’s first single, the masterful Dicks Hate the Police was dropped onto the world in 1980 on MDC’s R Radical label. The title track to this EP is unlike anything else before or after – a total powerhouse of a song. The B-side found the band playing faster and harder than most other U.S. punk bands at the time.
Like most of their Texas peers, the Dicks had a sound that didn’t fit any one mold or genre. Sometimes punk, hardcore, blues, or free-form ranting, they were always playing music on the edge of insanity. Their next record is one of the ultimate documents of Texas punk – a split live LP with the Big Boys recorded at Raul’s. While the Big Boys don’t sound as great as their studio material, the Dicks really explode off the vinyl with a ripping live set that captures both the great songwriting and amazing energy they brought to the table.
Having caught the attention of punk producer Spot, the Dicks recorded their first full length for SST. Kill from the Heart finds the Dicks’ blues punk attacking conservatism and especially racism with unbridled fury. In 1982, before the album came out, Gary and the Dicks moved to San Francisco, followed by MDC and DRI who took up with them at a squatted beer plant known as the Vats.
Along with their new neighbors Crucifix and Michigan’s the Crucifucks, they embarked on the 1983 Rock Against Reagan tour: an exhausting 3 month extravaganza organized by the Yippies. The tour took a lot out of the band, and after its completion only Gary returned to the city by the bay. There he reformed the band with three new musicians: drummer Lynn Perko, guitarist Tim Carroll, and bassist Sebastian Fuchs.
This line-up recorded the PEACE? EP, a concept single attacking the injustices of war. While the record is powerful, especially the scorching “I Hope you Get Drafted,” it also demonstrated the cleaner, more rocking direction that the new band was taking. 1985’s These People LP, released on Alternative Tentacles, showcased a Dicks who were severing ties with “punk” sounds to play more straightforward, longer bluesy rock songs.
Nonplused by the reaction from punk audiences (“play faster!”), Gary decided to end the Dicks in 1986. He and Lynn Perko started Sister Double Happiness, who recorded for SST. Gary later went solo and has a new project called Black Kali Ma on A.T. Glen Taylor, unfortunately, passed away. Alternative Tentacles has reissued a collection CD of Dicks material that is a good starting point, and bootlegs of the LP (good quality) and first 7″ (bad quality) aren’t too hard to come by. Go get them now.
Here’s the sample referred to in the comment to this post. rdj
Thorne Webb Dreyer, Editor
January 12, 2021
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