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.










Sunday, December 27, 2020

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...


Friday, December 25, 2020

Numero Lasto-bottom of the heap, but still clinging on for our life!

List of Great Texas Music Documentaries Adds One More


Mike Watt, Henry Rollins, Austin scenesters and loads of unreleased footage help narrate the loud-as-fuck legend of one of the most provocative and pure fun punk bands Texas ever produced.

Availability: Screenings only (for now)

Check out the bottom of the pile


Sunday, December 6, 2020

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

Saturday, December 5, 2020

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, December 4, 2020

Scott Adams 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

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

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