The Dicks Still Hate the Police : SXSW

The Dicks : Time has not dimmed their power.
By Danny Eccleston / Mojo / The Rag Blog

It is hard to overstate the importance of this Texan outfit. Covered by Mudhoney, worshipped by David Yow and lauded by The Butthole Surfers (hear their homage to Dicks singer Gary Floyd on their 1985 debut album), The Dicks are part of US punk lore.

Their return over the years has been intermittent but tonight they prove that time has not dimmed their remarkable power. Tonight, the wonderfully rotund Floyd – whose post-Dicks’ outfits have included Sister Double Happiness – is his typically engaging self, sporting a minuscule pointed party hat which, cocked to one side, gives the impression of a single devil-horn. His fetching blue skirt is offset by a black T-shirt provocatively emblazoned with the slogan ‘Tell Your Wife’, while his southern-styled roar remains the defining element of a band unafraid to match classic rock sensibilities with their overtly politicised brand of hardcore thrash.

The Dicks’ unrelenting attitude is exemplified by bassist Buxf Parrot’s pronouncement following the rapacious No Fuckin’ War. “You like that one?” he sneers. “Fuck you! You don’t like that one? Fuck you!” The band’s closing salvo is the seminal Dicks Hate The Police – their very first single back in 1980. It solicits an outbreak of furious slam-dancing that leaves at least one ageing punk injured and several more clutching their noses. Away from the eye-of-the-stomp, it leaves MOJO grinning inanely before joining the rush at the T-shirt stall.

We leave the Elysium safe in the knowledge that we have just enjoyed a truly momentous performance. The time is 2.15am. Whether it’s the jetlag, the alcohol or The Dicks that have made our head spin with giddy glee, it’s hard to tell, although the Hyatt beckons invitingly. We will however be back tomorrow.

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From Carlos Lowry / The Rag Blog

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

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2 Responses to The Dicks Still Hate the Police : SXSW

  1. my favorite Dicks song is “Marilyn Buck” — I’ll send a bootleg to Thorne & RJ to post up here!

  2. CenTexDem says:

    I use to drop by Raul’s and see the whole scene every Thursday and Friaday. What a place. Wonder what ever happened to the band’s old foil Steve Bridgewater, the APD officer who got into a pushing-and-shoving incident in Raul’s one night. He was actually a good guy who actually liked the music. One of the better places in town during that period. I liked the fact that 90 per cent of Austin didn’t even know Raul’s existed.

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