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


Since "The Dicks From Texas" documentary (directed by Cindy Marabito) will be released this month and was featured today on Dangerous Minds, we wanted to repost Wild Dog's interview with these legendary Austin punks from 1981.

“I think The Dicks were one of the earliest poster bands…When I returned from San Francisco, several friends said, ‘It’s too bad all of us want to be singers and none of us can play anything.’ I said, ‘Why don’t we just lie? Let’s make up a band, and call it The Dicks.'”

– Gary Floyd (Vocals) in Wild Dog Zine

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.










Sunday, February 14, 2016

BrooklynVegan reviews The Dicks From Texas

The Dicks From Texas

Austin, Texas hardcore punk legends The Dicks were around in the early/mid '80s with releases on SST and Alternative Tentacles, and they've been reunited since 2004. This week (Friday, 2/12), a new documentary about them called The Dicks From Texas will hit the streets.

Before it's out, we're premiering a clip from the film that includes Henry Rollins and Ian MacKaye giving the band high praise and a short live clip. Henry talks about their Live at Raul's Club split with The Big Boys getting heavy rotation at the SST offices, and Ian discusses a show Minor Threat played with The Dicks opening.

Watch the clip, and the trailer and intro, below...