Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Dicks From Texas .. a new documentary on old Dicks written by Kevin Curtin

The Dicks From Texas

"Nobody could put their finger on why everyone liked the Dicks," assesses filmmaker Cindy Marabito. "Here's this fat, cross-dressing, flamboyant-but-macho lead man, these criminal-looking bass and guitar players who looked like they'd slit your face open, and a fuckin' kickass drummer. But it just worked.

"That music struck a chord."

The Dicks From Texas, Marabito's raw documentary about Austin's great commie punk band, premieres Wednesday at the Spider House Ballroom, kicking off the RxSM Film Fest. Loaded with unseen live footage, the film traces the uncompromising quartet of Gary Floyd, Buxf Parrot, Glen Taylor, and Pat Deason from gigs at Raul's to the infamous Rock Against Reagan tour and beyond. Marabito, a lifelong Dicks friend, captures the band's close-knit family element as well as their national notoriety through interviews with band members, local scenesters, and big-name fans like Henry Rollins, David Yow, Mike Watt, and Ian MacKaye.

"A snot-stain on a wall would've done justice to the Dicks!" exclaims Dicks singer Gary Floyd, "but Cindy went out of her way to tell a very honest story of the band."

Floyd's particularly enthused about the doc's companion album, featuring 27 bands covering Dicks songs. The disc, organized by Marabito and poster artist Lonnie Layman, pairs punk heroes the Jesus Lizard and Mike Watt with local Dicks disciples like the Bulemics, El Pathos, and the Beaumonts.

"To get all these people to get together and record Dicks songs 300 years later?" Floyd wonders aloud. "I'm as touched as you can be."

Wednesday's premiere party, 6pm-2am, includes a movie screening (7:30pm), a Dicks Q&A (8:45pm), and 15 bands doing Dicks covers. To Floyd, that's better than a reunion.

"Who wants to see a bunch of old dicks?" he cracks.

Read Kevin Curtain's full piece here:

Friday, January 1, 2021

Dangerous Minds article by Christopher Bickel

Can we just talk about how great The Dicks (the band) were?

‘80s punk band, The Dicks, are the subject of a documentary being released this month titled The Dicks From Texas, as well as a related compilation tribute album. I recently had the opportunity to screen the documentary, which can be pre-ordered here, and it rekindled my love affair with The Dicks—who, in my opinion, are a top shelf American punk act, worthy of as much attention and admiration as Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, or Minor Threat.

Head Dick, Gary Floyd

Hailing from Austin, Texas at a time when the town wasn’t quite the bastion of liberal hipsterocity it is today, the self-proclaimed “commie faggot band” featured singer Gary Floyd, a flamboyantly queer, communist behemoth who often performed early gigs in drag.  Floyd’s larger-than-life stage presence wasn’t mere shock value, he had the pipes to back it up. His, please forgive this played-out term, soulful vocals lent an impassioned urgency to the band’s sharp trebly guitar attack. In my opinion, no other singer from the “hardcore” era can touch him. Bad Brains’ HR and Fear’s Lee Ving may sit in his court, but Gary Floyd is the king.

The band began humbly as not even a band, but as a “poster band”—a fake name put on posters as sort of an “art piece.”

The Dicks from Texas producer, Cindy Marabito:
The Dicks started when singer Gary Floyd returned to Austin, TX after seeing the Sex Pistols in San Francisco. He started claiming he had a band called the Dicks. This was known as a “poster band.” Fliers were made with fake shows and non-existent groups.
Gary Floyd would go around town putting up posters advertising The Dicks with crazy ass pictures and promises that the ‘first ten people with guns drink for free.’ It was a wild and crazy time in Austin, back when ‘keeping Austin weird’ got you thrown in jail.

The title cut from The Dicks’ first single, “Hate the Police,” released in 1980 is one of their most well-known songs, but everything they recorded in their original incarnation from 1980 to 1986 is gold. The Peace? EP, the split live LP with the Big Boys, the Kill From the Heart LP, and the These People LP are all monsters and I’d be torn on trying to recommend any one of those over another. Alternative Tentacles put out a compilation titled Dicks: 1980-1986—that’s a good “greatest hits” type starting place.

If you’re among the Dangerous Minds readership that has somehow never been exposed to the glory of The Dicks, I have a few favorites I’d like to share that have been mixtape staples of mine for decades.
Can I pick a favorite song by The Dicks? No, but this one’s up there: “Rich Daddy.”
You got money?
Well, then you’re livin’ the good life
You got a big fat daddy at home
Writin’ checks tonight
You got nothing?
Well, then you’re livin’ a bad life
You got a big, fine car
And you eye me while you pass me by
A rich daddy? No! I never had one!
A rich daddy? No! No! I never had one


Another favorite, “Kill From the Heart,” off the album of the same name:
When I see you walking down the street
It’s so hard to take
Come on and give me a break
You’re spending all your fuckin’ time with school
Those lessons you learn
Are making you a fool
Daddy’s boy got some brand new cash
Now you’re messin’ with REDS
Who are gonna kick your ass
Come on fucker!
Give me a break!
You fuckin’ Pig
Death is your fate!
It’s from the heart
You need to be shot

This is the first song I ever heard by The Dicks, “I Hope You Get Drafted.” It appears on their Peace? EP and on the P.E.A.C.E. Compilation, which is where I first heard it. I think about these lyrics every single time I ever hear anyone arm-chair quarterbacking U.S. foreign policy:
You don’t care about nuclear war -or how many people die
You’re always laughing in the face of death
I’ll look you straight in the eye -and say:
‘I hope you get drafted,
I hope your mama cries,
You apolitical asshole,
I hope you’re the first to die’

The new documentary got me on this kick and I’ve dug out all my original vinyl (including that original press of the “Hate the Police” single—don’t ask how much that set me back, I don’t wanna talk about it). The documentary itself is an obvious labor of love.

I’m not certain that I would recommend it to someone who wasn’t already a fan, but if you’ve followed the history of The Dicks at all, it’s pretty charming. It’s a lo-fi DIY affair which mainly consists of old friends reminiscing about the group. It paints a pretty good picture of what Austin, Texas was like in 1980—certainly a different place than it is today.

The documentary includes some crucial live footage—I found myself wishing there was a lot more of that! If your interest is beyond passing, I recommend it. The importance of this band as an in-your-face outfit singing about queer issues (check out their “Saturday Night at the Bookstore” and “Off Duty Sailor”) when it was still rather dangerous—even in the punk scene—to do so, and as a band that influenced other groups with their refreshing originality in a hardcore wasteland becomes more and more clear upon viewing.

Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, and Mike Watt all make necessary appearances (what? no Dave Grohl?), expounding on how blown away they were upon paired with The Dicks on bills. Until the documentary gets released later this month, you can always hit up the YouTubes to further explore more of this classic “Rock Against Reagan” band.

Flyer for the ‘Rock Against Reagan’ tour—organized by The Yippies!

So, today, can we just talk about how great The Dicks were?
Here’s The Dicks live in 1984:
And in 1985, with Gary Floyd looking a bit like a chubby Jeffrey Lee Pierce:

And my favorite live footage I’ve seen of them, this was originally released as a VHS tape in the ‘80s titled ‘Fun With Dicks and Jane.’ It has great sound quality and some fun interviews (with Gary Floyd in full drag):

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Punk Under Reagan: Texas in the 80s

Posted by Christopher Bickel

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Impaler Speaks about The Dicks From Texas

The Dicks From Texas
The Dicks From Texas | directed by Cindy Marabito

The tagline for The Dicks From Texas is ‘the men, the myth, the music’ – certainly a fitting description for this documentary film about one of the most outrageous and influential punk bands of all time.

First-time director Cindy Marabito has pulled off a real coup with this documentary, delivering a film that looks and feels more like a lovingly curated compilation of family movies than anything else – a perfect touch for her subjects. Friends, family, and fans tell the Dicks story, from their Austin, Texas, origins in the late 1970s – a place and a time when concepts like embracing homosexuality and holding an affinity for communist revolutionaries like Chairman Mao were not exactly going to win you many friends in the above-ground world – to their induction into the Austin Music Awards Hall Of Fame in 2008, and beyond.

Interviews spanning decades – with subjects including original Dicks (vocalist Gary Floyd, also of Sister Double Happiness; late guitarist Glen Taylor; bassist Buxf Parrott, and drummer Pat Deason), latter-day Dicks (like drummer Lynn Perko, also of SDH), Texas punk compatriots (late Big Boys vocalist Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner; Offenders drummer Pat Doyle; late Offenders guitarist Tony Johnson; Scratch Acid/The Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow; Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey; rawk bad-ass Texas Terri), national punk admirers (Minor Threat/Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye; S.O.A./Black Flag vocalist Henry Rollins; Minutemen/fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt; Black Flag/DC3/Misfits guitarist/vocalist Dez Cadena), and an amazing array of friends and family – are cut with live footage and hundreds of vintage photos to tell the tale of how a ‘poster band’ that didn’t actually exist not only came to life, but actually went on to influence 4 decades (and counting) of punks, activists, and oddballs.

The biggest thrill in this package, for me, is the bonus live footage: 7 songs captured by Target Video mastermind Joe Rees at San Francisco’s On Broadway in 1982 and 5 more filmed by Vicki Sprague at the Akron, Ohio, stop on 1983’s Rock Against Reagan tour.

To paraphrase Jello BiafraDicks ├╝ber alles! The Impaler
Official website: The Dicks From Texas | Twitter: @texasdicks

Tiny Mix Tapes BRILLIANT review by Dustin Krcatovich

The Dicks From Texas Dir. Cindy Marabito

Grackle; 2014]

Styles: Music documentary 

Others: We Jam Econo, The Decline of Western Civilization Parts I and III, Another State of Mind 

On a certain level, it would be easy to say that punk rock as a concept in 2016 is irredeemably stupid and retrograde (and let’s face it, you probably could have said the same in 1977), but to be fair, the important service it provides as a hate vaccination for stammering misfit youth has yet to be properly supplanted (maybe someone could get Martin Shkreli working on that?). Besides, one must concede that punk — in its pure, non-poseur state, anyway — has also been an extremely important signifier for freakoids searching for their place in the world, a fact which goes a long way towards explaining why it holds a special place in the hearts and minds of so many otherwise-reasonable adults.

In Cindy Marabito’s new documentary The Dicks From Texas, we get to see that special power in full and brilliant display: it is a film which, though ostensibly about a band, is primarily a document of the myriad oddballs which were drawn into that band’s drunken, radical orbit during Reagan’s Morning in America.

The Dicks were, and remain, Austin’s greatest punk band (unless you’re a skater, in which case it
might be their peers the Big Boys, or if you’re one of those moldy figs who use “punk” as a synonym for “1960s garage,” in which case it’s the 13th Floor Elevators… but y’all knew that). In a time when it was still weird and dangerous to even be a new wave band in Texas, this self-identifying “commie fag” hardcore band, fronted by “fat queer” Gary Floyd (who frequently took the stage in loud vintage dresses and bits of Maoist regalia), were basically asking to get the shit kicked out of them.

Lucky for them, then, that they were also the scariest bunch of motherfuckers in town, a sloppy, ugly band who made little conceit to either cautious tastes or conservative mores. That fearlessness, along with Floyd’s Divine-meets-Chris-Farley-meets-bear stage presence and the band’s trainwreck energy, endeared them to the nascent Austin freak scene while also making an indelible impression upon touring heavy-hitters like Black Flag, Minutemen, and Minor Threat (it wouldn’t be an 80s punk doc without a couple words from Rollins, Watt and MacKaye… where are Thurston and Jello, I wonder?).

MacKaye recalls the band as genuinely intimidating, having been told before coming to Texas that The Dicks “were run out of Austin because they were wanted on charges of terrorism.” Whether that anecdote is partial truth or gleeful mythmaking, its believability is telling.

A slick and artful documentary would hardly be the appropriate document for such notorious gnarlers, and The Dicks From Texas is not that. No-fi and personal, the film stumbles hazily down memory lane, interviewing its subjects in shitty bars and sprawled out on beds, laughing about old pals and relating disjointed anecdotes for which most viewers will have little context. This makes it a far cry, in both construction and cohesion, from the likes of The Filth and the Fury or even We Jam Econo, but frankly, I couldn’t imagine the story told any other way. How could a Texas punk doc NOT be this folksy and weird?

The Dicks From Texas probably isn’t an ideal entry point for the casually curious, and I would be hard put to call it a great film. It is, however, honest and passionate as fuck; any dirty dog who’s ever blasted “Dicks Hate the Police” on a shitty stereo in a shitty apartment will get everything they need out of it, plus a desire to hug the cuddly Gary Floyd of today as a bonus treat. If you want anything more than that, you’re probably a poseur anyway.

Screens as part of Sound Unseen in the Twin Cities on February 10th, 2016.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tony of the Dead Movie Review of THE DICKS FROM TEXAS

Published on Feb 9, 2016
***AVAILABLE 2/12/16***

Gary Floyd would go around town in Austin, Texas putting up posters advertising 'The Dicks' with crazy ass pictures and promises that first 10 people with guns drink for free. It was a wild and crazy time in Austin, back when 'keeping Austin weird' got you thrown in jail.

Gary was a flamboyant outwardly gay personality with a voice that still rivals the hardest heaviest bluesiest singers from Texas or anywhere else. He ran into Buxf Parrot and Glen Taylor at Raul's Bar on Guadalupe and the Dicks became a reality. Pat Deason joined the band just in time for the legendary first live performance at the Armadillo World Headquarters. 

The Dicks were together for nearly four years and put out 'Dicks Hate the Police" 45 and two albums, "Live at Raul's" and "Kill From the Heart" which have lived on for coming up on four decades, inspiring other musicians and fans with songs like "Bourgeois Fascist Pig," "Dead in a Motel Room," and "Dicks Hate the Police."

The Dicks never sold out, never budged one fraction from their militant principles at the cost of no big record deals and acclaim. What they got in return was the respect of longtime hardcore followers who still turn out at the rare live reunion shows where the Dicks still deliver.