Thursday, March 23, 2017

THE DICKIES: Ten Reasons...


Ten Reasons why you should love:

THE DICKIES


     The Dickies are turning 40 this year. One of L.A.’s finest Punk bands, this outfit – led by vocalist Leonard Graves Phillips and guitarist Stan Lee – has had a career with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster in a hurricane during an earthquake. However, Phillips and Lee have ridden out all the storms and remain leaders of a band that more than likely influenced more so-called Punk Pop bands than any other first wave Punk act.  


     The boys in The Dickies were often considered juvenile because of their sense of humor. They never took anything seriously back in the day and the same holds true today.  Their brand of melodic, buzzsaw Punk is never short of sarcasm or out-right goofiness. With that being said, they do take their art seriously and their perfectionism comes through loud and clear on their studio recordings. They’ve never been a prolific band so each album is jam packed full of ooey-gooey Dickies goodness. They remain an extremely under-rated outfit in dire need of a reappraisal from critics and fans everywhere. But don't get me wrong: The Dickies are Punk icons. And Punk legends. I just feel that they - like 999, Stiff Little Fingers and many others- are overlooked while artists like The Clash, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, X, Germs and other bands get all the critical love year after year.


     So, why aren’t more people familiar with The Dickies’ music?  I have a few theories on why they may not have been as successful as they should have been:
  • The Ever-Revolving Line-Up Theory:  none of the band’s line-ups remained intact for more than a few years at most – only Phillips and Lee have been Dickies for all four decades.  Different Dickies members create a different Dickies chemistry. And besides, fans become attached to certain line-ups and don’t necessarily follow bands as they progress and change. Shame on those fans.
  • The Novelty Theory: their wicked sense of humor was mistaken for comedy and those that wanted them to be comedy band lost interest because The Dickies were NOT a comedy or Novelty band. At all. Humor is a big part of The Dickies’ persona yet there is so much more to the band than the humor. 
  • The Cover Version Theory: The Dickies do a lot of cover versions and they are recognized for adrenaline-fueled takes on “Knights In White Satin,” “Banana Splits Theme,” “Paranoid” and other classics. Some people don’t realize that they are great Pop songwriters as well and their albums have been filled with exceptionally well-written songs. Some people just want to hear the freakin’ “Banana Splits Theme” for the millionth time!
  • The More Probable Theory: Maybe they just didn’t want to be massively successful. I’m sure they’d appreciate the cash flow but maybe they are OK being a cult band so that they can live their lives in peace. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to put up with having some douchebag from TMZ trying to snap pics of Leonard dining with Selena Gomez or whoever. Or maybe they would.
  • The No Theory Theory: they just weren’t as lucky as some of their contemporaries. Sometimes, the most talented artists slip through the cracks while the industry celebrates the mediocre.

     Ironically enough, The Dickies was the first L.A. Punk band to sign to a major label (A&M) yet they were the least likely L.A. Punk band to play the Corporate Rock game. Go figure. They’ve seen triumphs and tragedy over the years but remain true to their original Punk cause. And as stated before, they are fantastic songwriters - intelligently arranged and played and never short of a glorious hook. No band has ever been quite like The Dickies and that is why you should celebrate them. Pronto. Like, right now!

     I’ve chosen 10 random tracks by The Dickies… a few of their ‘hits’ and some album favorites. This list was originally 40+ songs, so I had to dig deep into my heart and choose 10. It was tough. I’m sure your choices would be different. Hell, I’m sure MY choices will be different tomorrow. But this is my list at this moment in time. Yes, I know many key songs are missing... but I'm hoping that someone comes along, reads this and decides to investigate the band by clicking on some of these videos. Then, they might start buying Dickies releases, which is all we really want anyway, right?  So, before you disagree with my choices, let's just all agree that The Dickies are fab!


      Enjoy. Maybe you will channel your inner Dickie and help spread the Dickies gospel! Word.


1. THE BANANA SPLITS THEME



2. ROSEMARY



3. I'M STUCK IN A PAGODA...



4. MAKE IT SO




5. GIVE IT BACK



6. DONUT MAN




7. CROSS EYED TAMMY



8. HOUSE OF RAOUL



9. MANNY, MOE AND JACK



10. GIGANTOR


Keep on truckin’

Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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