Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Dicks From Texas REVIEW from LOVE and Pop!!!

There should be a template for these documentaries… influential band you’ve vaguely heard of, famous talking heads (cue Henry Rollins), fuzzy clips of said band, more talking heads (band mates, scenesters, Henry Rollins) etc etc.  That said, this is The Dicks and they kicked arse!
Led by the charismatic Gary Floyd, The Dicks, along with The Big Boys, blew a hole in the Austin Tx punk scene with their attitude, their gumption and their sound.
Probably best known for their 1980 tune The Dicks Hate The Police (later covered by Mudhoney) this was a loud, aggressive band that yes, hung with Black Flag and Minor Threat (hence Henry’s mug and Ian MacKaye’s appearance – as well as Texas Terri and David Yow amongst others) but more importantly had a rather portly gay man as their front man, immediately shattering the punk rules whilst creating a raw, bluesy, rock and roll/punk sound that still sounds relevant today.

The film is a labour of love from Cindy Marabito and more than a fan’s view this is an insider’s view of the band, with friends who were there right from the start.
As such, you can forgive the sound problems and the way Cindy will occasionally just assume you know who they are talking about when a name is dropped into the conversation because really we are just eavesdropping on conversations and reminisces.  So yeah, this doco fits the template but there’s that personal touch that makes it just a little more ‘real’.

With a bonus half hour of live footage from 82/83 that is raw and powerful this film is a great tribute to the band but a great introduction for new fans as well.  And that’s all a documentary maker could really wish for.
Special Features:
  • Bonus Live (On Broadway 1982 Akron OH 1983)

Available on DVD from MVD Visual.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rest Assured reviews The Dicks From Texas

"Nobody could put their fingeron 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, 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."

Check out the intro below..


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

“The Dicks from Texas”: The influential punk band who were hometown heroes to Austin’s misfits

“If you were a misfit, The Dicks’ music was for you.” Those words open up the documentary The Dicks From Texas, now featured on Night Flight Plus.DICKS FROM TEXAS 8

While the Ramones were the kings of punk rock on the east coast, Black Flag on the west, and the Clash coming out of England, in the late 70s, Austin seemed like an unlikely place for a punk band with a gay lead singer to emerge from.

“Here in Texas, you really have to put this into context of Austin, which kind of seems like a liberal cool place now,” reveals author and photographer Bill Daniel in the documentary. “It just wasn’t like that in 1979 and ’80.”

According to Mark Kenyon: “There was a real cliché of Austin music being hippie music and/or blues. It was an opportune time for something new to happen.”

It’s hard to imagine, especially since in the past decade Austin has become a sort of Mecca of cool — with a deep music scene and Alamo Drafthouses for the cinephiles — that residents are attempting to “keep weird.”


The band was born of conjecture from lead singer, Gary Floyd.

“I started lying, yeah, I got a band called The Dicks.”

They were a poster band, just a made up name that would show up on flyers and posters for shows around Austin. From Floyd’s ruse, an actual band was formed with original members Floyd, Glen Taylor on the guitar, Buxf Parrot on bass, and Pat Deason on drums.

The Dicks combined the hardcore sound with the sardonic silliness of the Ramones and plenty of social and cultural ideology of Minor Threat in three-minute blasts of unbridled, distorted energy.

Floyd was one of the first openly gay punk singers of the era, a behemoth of a man clad in make-up and a nurses dress, singing songs about anonymous sex in “Saturday Night At The Bookstore.”


The band became known for their drunken live performances. “They were always great, but they were always kind of shambolic,” explains Henry Rollins in the documentary.

“If they were really drunk, someone might fall over backwards…oh, it sounds like half the band is playing one song and half the band is… oh screw it, this is great.”

“It had never occurred to me before seeing The Dicks that being afraid of the band could be a cool idea,”
states David Yow of Jesus Lizard.


The Dicks became fixtures of the small but loyal Austin scene, often gigging with other hardcore bands from the Lone Star state such as MDC, The Offenders, and The Big Boys. The group released their first single, “Dicks Hate The Police,” beating both N.W.A and Body Count to the punch by eight and twelve years, respectively.

The documentary, The Dicks From Texas, was released as a 16-year labor of love from film student and fan of the band, Cindy Marabito. The Dicks From Texas has an appropriately D.I.Y feel to the proceedings, with most of its interviews conducted on grainy VHS, in noisy bars, busy streets, and darkened bedrooms, places The Dicks and their fans appear to be the most comfortable.


Sometimes the interviews are hard to hear and subtitles are provided, but if you know The Dicks, this is exactly how a Dicks documentary needs to look.

Archival footage of Dicks shows are combined with photographs, old flyers, and interviews with former members of the group, other “poster bands” from the area such as The Torn Panties and fans (some of whom moved to Austin because of the Dicks and have remained in Texas) not only provide insight into the Dicks’ career, but provides those who weren’t there — which is most of us — with a snapshot of a scene.

It’s a treat watching all these elder statesmen and women reminisce about their old haunts and the bands that they loved.


Singer Gary Floyd left Austin for San Francisco with a new Dicks lineup including Tim Carroll, Sebastian Fuchs, and current Imperial Teen drummer. Lynn Perko. The band released albums on SST Records and Alternative Tentacles before disbanding in 1986, save for an occasional reunion show.

The original lineup (save for deceased guitarist Glen Taylor) got back together in 2004 and have since filled Taylor’s spot with Austin musicians such as Mark Kenyon, Brian McGee, and Davy Jones.
The Dicks’ influence can still be felt today in hardcore punk and the “queercore” movement that some would credit them with starting.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

InSite Atlanta's The Dicks From Texas review

Mass Movement Dicks From Texas review

The Dicks
A bit of a treat for us 80s USHC fans given the relative scarcity of Dicks material available.

If you’re not familiar with them, The Dicks were an Austin  band fronted by the openly gay, cross dressing communist Gary Floyd. Musically, although part of the nascent Austin punk scene, the band were quite experimental, particularly guitarist Glen Taylor whose mixture of punk, jazz and funk helped shape the future sound of bands like Scratch Acid, and vocalist Floyd who brought a soulful, blues-iness to the proceedings.
The ‘Dicks from Texas’ follows the now well-trodden path of talking head interviews interspaced with live footage and flyers, particularly from the Dicks early period when they were only a Poster Band (a band that existed on flyers posted as a practical joke and something of an Austin tradition).

Featuring mainly interviews with the band’s members and friends, with the odd peer perspective (Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins, Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner) the interviews  run more like friendly recollections  of the late 70s/early 80s Austin scene, giving this documentary the same kinda vibe that Texas HC scene seems to have comprised of back in the day, a consensus of supportive outcasts who hung together making art, music and social statements.

Giving Floyd’s aggressive stage delivery it came as a surprise to find him speak in such gentle, lisping tones and at times, between my increasing deafness, the thick Texan accents and the low quality of the voice recording it was difficult to make out everything he was saying (an issue which occurred with other interviewees too).

The film celebrates the Dicks not so much from a musical perspective (although both Rollins and MacKaye attest to the bands musical chops), but from a social perspective; the band acting as the glue between the hippies, gays, punks, drunks and drug users that made up the Austin scene in the early 80s.

As a final note it’s worth pointing out that the live footage is a real treat and worth the price of picking up this DVD alone.   Ian Pickens


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Scott Adams Ink19.com REVIEW!!!

The Dicks

The Dicks From Texas


The great American hardcore explosion came at just the right moment for a generation of misfits, freaks, and weirdos; people who for whatever reason just couldn’t fit into normal life or even into the existing youth cultures.
Austin, Texas hardcore band the Dicks was a prime example of this. Fronted by Gary Floyd, an oversized openly gay man in the middle of Texas who was likely to dress in drag, a nurse uniform or a Klan outfit, the Dicks would have had their place in punk history cemented by the release of The Dicks Hate the Police, a bluesy howl of a song using black humor to make a point against police harassment, and a true American punk classic.
The Dicks from Texas, is the latest documentary delving into a slice of punk history unknown by many casual fans, and strives to show the influence and importance of both the Dicks and the early ’80s Austin punk scene.
Floyd saw both the Ramones and Sex Pistols in Texas and was so inspired he started telling friends he was in a band called the Dicks. The band existed in Floyd’s mind and a series of posters until springing into existence with founding members Buxf Parrott, Pat Deason and Glen Taylor. Self-described “stars with sweaty armpits,” the Dicks formed friendships with fellow Texas punks the Big Boys and MDC, toured the country, released two albums as well as the groundbreaking debut 7″ and built up a fan base in Austin that felt more like a family a like-minded weirdos than a usual band-fan dynamic.
Amateurish in the best way, the film captures subjects speaking directly to the people behind the camera with asides like “… y’all were at that party,” which adds to the documentary’s homemade charm. Along with surviving band members including a bearded, genial Floyd, the documentary features punk documentary mainstays Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins, as well as a large number of female interviewees, which is a surprisingly nice change from the usual male-centric documentary subjects. Utilizing old photographs and previously unseen performance footage The Dicks from Texas is as much a love letter to friends and family of the Austin punk scene as it is to the band and is recommended to fans of punk history and groups of freaks and misfits sticking together to form a community in the midst of indifference or outright hatred.


Scott Adams

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Scanner Zine Reviews The Dicks From Texas

THE DICKS FROM TEXAS {MVD} Subtitled ‘The Men, The Myth, The Music’, this 70 minute documentary tells the story of one of the most confrontational and incendiary bands that not only Texas ever produced, but Punk Rock as a whole. For those who don’t know, THE DICKS formed in Austin, Texas in 1979 and were fronted by Gary Floyd who was openly gay and would frequently dress in drag. He was also bellicose, politically challenging, had a fixation for Maoist symbolism and had a voice that was powerful and rich, just like some of the finest Blues guys, but imbibed with the spirit and fury of Punk Rock.

After a few soundbite interview snippets, the film starts with a Gary Floyd interview telling the story of his formative years - and of seeing the SEX PISTOLS in San Fran. From there, it’s the familiar story of band formation including the fake posters Floyd made before the band got together and the band’s live debut at the Punk Prom in 1980. Those interviewed include all band members, many from the Austin scene of the time and notables Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, David Yow, Texas Terri, Mike Watt, Pat Doyle (OFFENDERS) and Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner. The interviews are separated by some great stills and excellent home-movie footage of not just the band in concert but of its environs.

Of course, with a band like THE DICKS, there are myriad stories but several people mention that the band looked like it had just crawled out of prison and were a genuinely frightening experience to the uninitiated. One story included was that of Floyd stuck liver down his panties and then threw it into the audience. Elsewhere there is reference to the all-inclusive attitude of the Austin scene at this time; there were no unwritten ‘cool’ codes of dress more a case of if you were there, you were already included. Rollins makes an interesting analogy in that the Austin scene was more like a "weirdo Collective" than what he knew from the West Coast.

The legendary Raul’s venue is discussed, as is the band’s close ties with the BIG BOYS and its first move to San Francisco that resulted in its inclusion on the Rock Against Reagan tour with MDC.

The film climaxes with the passing of guitarist Glenn Taylor, Floyd moving back to San Fran and the formation of SISTER DOUBLE HAPPINESS (although no mention of THE DICKS Mk II or the ‘These People’ album) before looking at the reunion of the original line-up some 20 years after they split and the band’s induction into the Austin Music Hall Of Fame.

As for bonuses, you get a couple of live gigs. The first is recorded at On Broadway (San Francisco) in 1982 and opens with a FLIPPER-challenging ‘Kill From The Heart’. The second gig is from Akron, Ohio on the Rock Against Reagan tour from 1983 and it’s a brutal, intense gig opening with ‘Dicks Hate The Police’ that sees slammers launching from all angles and the band in totally destructive musical form while ‘Bourgeois Fascist Pig’ sees Floyd go crowd surfing.

Director Cindy Marabito has crafted an informative and highly entertaining film that’s essential viewing for anyone with an interest in this Punk Rock thing. It’s been a genuine labour of love too, having taken 16 years of work. If there is a negative, it’s that some of the interviews are either recorded somewhere with a lot of background noise (usually a bar), lack clear diction or have a DICKS backing track playing under them that’s too loud. The narrative also tends to wander a little rather than sticking to a distinct time line.

Somehow though, the lo-fi attitude kinda works to its benefit and the resulting film is sincere, intimate and grabs the attention. 

Now - I wonder if there is any chance of a sequel, called THE DICKS FROM SAN FRANCISCO? (09.03.16) 
Hit HERE for material review prior to 2015 including:

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 über alles! The Impaler
Official website: The Dicks From Texas | Twitter: @texasdicks

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Great review from FFANZEEN!


Text © Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2015
Images from the Internet

The Dicks from Texas
Produced and directed by Cindy Marabito
MVD Visual
70 minutes, 2015

Bands less-subtly named after body parts arose in the late ‘70s. The first I knew of was the Tits (from Rhode Island, I believe), an art rock performance duo that I saw at Max’s Kansas City. This was followed by the Clits (saw them at Irving Plaza), the Cunts, the Kuntz, and arguably, the Dickies. Likewise, Queercore has its forerunners to the Dicks, such as Lance Loud and the Mumps, the Student Teachers, and again arguably, the Speedies (who were definitely more pop, but had a punk edge). But the Dicks were a whole ‘nother ball of leather.

At a time when Texas was possibly even more rigid than it is now (including Austin), the ‘80s spawned a number of scenes around the State that would change and charge up some of the less countrified young’ns, if not the old guard (or most of the rural countryside, as their voting direction indicates). The Dicks were in the front line of that change, fronted by the self-proclaimed out of the closet and overweight Maoist, Gary Floyd. The rest of the band kind of formed around him, from 1980 through 1983, and then again in 2004.

This doc is, on one hand, your basic history of the nascent scene (basically Southern Rock), how the Dicks formed, and then how an almost new scene emerged around the band. Most of the talking head interviews are from the Dicks, the other bands on the scene such as the Torn Panties, Sister Double Happiness and especially the band-members-in-arms, the Big Boys (no mention that I noticed of MDC), and from other regular members of the audience (including the film’s director), many of whom went on to their own fame as writers, photographers and artists. Then, of course, there are the big name cameos that all punk/hardcore docs must have these days, in this case the nearly omni-documentary-presence of Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat, Fugazi, etc.), Henry Rollins (Black Flag) and Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE, etc.). Making a rare appearance is Texas Terri, who is an interesting person in her own right. But I digress…

But then, on the other hand, this comes across more like an Oral History, which improves the narrative a bit. Rather than single set-ups where the person tells his story and then has it sewn into the fabric of the story, the main players are shown in various locations, and also with others, who spurn on stories that would probably not have been inspired if they were by themselves (such as Floyd bringing his mother to… well, you’ll have to see it). Amusingly, for example, three members of the aforementioned Torn Panties are laying (dressed, but under the covers) in a twin-sided bed that is too small for all of them, or others are sitting in bars, at home, etc.

Laced into the history are tons of still photos and videos (b-roll type) of the Little Mexico area (the Bowery of Austin, apparently) both then and now, including of many of the people in the video. The documentary, though, is actually broken into two pieces, which is appropriate because the Dicks had more than one life. After moving to San Fran, the band went on tour, and when they played their home turf at the end of it, the band stayed and Floyd went back to SF.

Following that segment and a brief “In Memorium” not just for Glen Taylor, the guitarist from the Dicks who passed, but also members of the scene, the band reformed on a lark in 2004, and is still playing. It picks up Phase 2 at 55 minutes or so, and continues on. At 70 minutes, the film is the perfect length to keep the audience both informed and interested.

There are some fun outtakes during the credits, and the only extra is actually quite a special one, namely two live shows from 1982 and 1983, when the band was in its prime and with the original line-up. Considering it was obviously VHS tape masters, the first is pretty clear in both sound and visual. The second has a bit more noise and fuzz in the sound, but still helps give a better picture of why the Dicks had its cult following.

One of the differences between this and most of the other band/scene combo documentaries is that this does not discuss the end of the scene, its main focus at the end is the band. This was a nicely done film.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Kickass REVIEW by Slug Magazine's Eric U. Norris

Review: The Dicks From Texas

Posted February 26, 2016 in
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The Dicks From Texas

MVD Visual
Street: 02.12.16

Trekking the stories of one of the most underrated yet influential punk rock bands that became the harbinger for the hardcore and more notably, the queercore movement throughout the 1980s, The Dicks From Texas cites the band that made a splash in their hometown of Austin, TX and sent the waves crashing down on the dawn of hardcore punk. This 70 minute feature documentary provides an intimate insight into the weird, crude, and alienated legacy that was one of Texas’ first big punk bands—before Dave Dictor penned his first lyrics of slandering cops, and before Randy “Biscuit” Turner slipped on the infamous ballerina tutu with cowboy boots, the Dicks were redefining what it meant to be a misfit in an already rebellious subculture.

The Dicks was the brainchild of lead singer Gary Floyd who “started” the band after seeing the Sex Pistols in San Francisco and told everyone he had a band under that moniker. In Austin, the Dicks gained popularity as a “poster band” in which fliers were made for fake shows for non-existent bands to play. The Dicks, however, became a reality when Floyd teamed up with bassist Buxf Parrott, guitarist Glen Taylor, and drummer Pat Deason making their debut performance on May 16, 1980 at the Punk Prom with fellow Austin punks Big Boys

Floyd’s outwardly gay and flamboyant personality was reflected in his stage presence in which he’d sport the tackiest, ugliest, thrift shop dresses, plus-size pantyhose, and intentionally whorish makeup with a purple mohawk to round it out that would make anybody of a sound mind gape in awe. The idea, of course, was to play some of the loudest, fastest, and scariest music and have the lead vocalist look so bizarre and so outlandish that it would just emphasize that nobody could fuck with them—they were challenging a lot of political, social, and sexual conventions through their performances. Ian MacKaye put it best, “They were a force to be reckoned with.” 

The Dicks stayed as an active band for four consecutive years before ultimately disbanding in 1986. Their discography, consisting of a 7” entitled The Dicks Hate the Police and two albums— Live at Raul’s, their split live album they did with Big Boys and Kill From the Heart,  which all became inspirations for punk’s most important era. The Dicks were instrumental in shaping not only the sound of hardcore, but also the attitude—the fact that you can have an even more intimidating presence when your dressed in drag and screaming songs like “Bourgeois Fascist Pig” and “Dead In a Motel Room.” 

Being comfortable with yourself and not conforming in such a way that you stick out like a sore thumb are what the Dicks lived by back then and still hold true in their views today.
The Dicks From Texas pays tribute in the best way possible to a band like these guys—it’s raw, unpolished, and choppy in some places, the lighting and audio isn’t perfect, the live footage is all bootlegged, and you definitely get the feeling that it went through a single editing process in someone’s basement. But, you know what? That’s punk rock! And that was the Dicks! In my opinion, the style of this documentary correlates well with the Dicks and their DIY aesthetics, which is the way it should be. –Eric U. Norris

Friday, February 19, 2016

Carolyn Keddy's wonderful Maximum Rock'n'Roll Piece on The Dicks From Texas

Austin Chronicle's Tim Stegall gives The Dicks From Texas a big old punk rock endorsement!


The Dicks From Texas, The Dicks From Texas & Friends


Texas Platters

The Dicks

The Dicks From Texas (MVD Visual)
The Dicks From Texas & Friends (Grackle Butter)
Gary Floyd started a joke only possible in late-Seventies Austin: a series of posters advertising fake gigs ("first 10 people with guns drink for free"). After meeting bassist Buxf Parrot and the late Glen Taylor, whose guitar work the former describes as having "notes all its own," then discovering drummer Pat Deason in time for a genuine show, the singer's prank turned serious. The Dicks' blues-based punk and wild stage presence – essentially, three sinister, convict-looking individuals surrounding what resembled John Waters actress Divine in the grips of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book – developed into a force terrifying enough to frighten Minor Threat when sharing a bill at Sixth Street's Ritz in the early Eighties.

As Ian MacKaye admits amidst the all-star cavalcade of talking heads (Henry Rollins, Mike Watt, David Yow, Texas Terri) populating cinematic valentine The Dicks From Texas, he simultaneously found them utterly compelling. Director Cindy Marabito's documentary plays as raw as its subject matter, locals including former longtime Chronicle queen Margaret Moser describing Floyd's vision becoming reality enough to energize the DIY scene fomenting around a Drag-bound bar called Raul's. Floyd, Parrot, and Deason join in, detailing the story, then appearing as their younger selves in explosive archival footage that makes one kick themselves for being born too late. Most live time capsules appear in full as a bonus, with a San Francisco gig being particularly compelling.

A similarly named CD isn't a soundtrack, but an accompanying tribute album. Austin punk luminaries from across the years (Bulemics, Surlys, Pocket Fishrmen, etc.) join bands featuring the ex-Dicks (Punkaroos, Pretty Mouth, Garish) for a punk scrum sure to please locals. Pride of place belongs to the Offenders' roaring "The Dicks Hate the Police" and Jesus Christ Superfly's "Anti-Klan, Parts 1 & 2."
(Both) ***.5

Monday, February 15, 2016

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.

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