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‘We Are All Prostitutes’: Lost Pop Group vid discovered days before the song’s reissue. Coincidence?
02.11.2016
11:21 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Pop Group


 
When it was released in 1980, Bristol funk terrorists the Pop Group’s second studio album For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? was pretty widely panned. Though the band’s disorientingly noisy No-Wave/punk/funk musical attack had become significantly tighter than on their debut LP Y, singer Mark Stewart cut the brake cables on his lyrical politicking, adopting an uncompromisingly agit-prop “no one is innocent” ethos that was really, REALLY easy to hear as self-righteous finger-pointing. And I get it—one could get ballpark-similar musical kicks from the Contortions or the Birthday Party without feeling like one was being scolded for merely having been born in the First World.

That album has been extremely difficult to obtain legitimately since its first issue in 1980, (further editions do exist, but they’re few, and were released only in Japan) but despite its scarcity, it’s gone on to become the band’s definitive work, along with its contemporary single, “We Are All Prostitutes.” That single had everything that was essential to a Pop Group song—Stewart’s accusations chanted in a terrifying warble, rubber-band bass that sounded like a blind-drunk Larry Graham, guitars so sharp they could cut your throat, and drumming that threatened to shove the rest of the band down a flight of stairs.
 

 
On February 19th, both Mass Murder and the “Prostitutes” single will finally be re-released, after 36 years. The LP is a straightforward re-issue with no bonus goodies save for the addition of “Prostitutes,” and the single contains a non-album track. (The band’s best unreleased material was already compiled on 2014’s Cabinet of Curiosities.) The album’s reputation has significantly grown, in part because the band’s influence has reverberated through the decades despite the difficulties encountered in actually procuring its work, and in part because oh my fucking god we’re seriously still struggling against everything Stewart was yelling about 35 years ago. An edifying exchange between Stewart and Simon Reynolds appears in the latter’s indispensable book Totally Wired:

Reynolds: After Y came “We Are All Prostitutes” and For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder… The lyrics went from being abstract-expressionist to propagandist. Pretty direct protest.

Stewart: The first album was written when I was sixteen or seventeen. But on Y there’s “Don’t Call Me Pain,” about torture, and “The Boys From Brazil,” about Nazis hiding out in South America. So yes, the first one is more mystical, but there’s songs about issues. “Don’t Sell Your Dreams” is one of my favorites of that period—it is poetic but it’s incredibly idealistic and it’s really out there, as pure as you can get.

Reynolds: Still, there was a period around that time…where it seemed like the Pop Group had decided that there was no room any more for music as sheer entertainment or art for art’s sake. That the political imperatives of the time were to urgent to allow for such decadence. In one interview [Pop Group guitarist] Gareth Sager even says it’s trivial to use interview time to talk about the music when they could be talking about serious political issues.

Stewart: It wasn’t really conscious, but there was a fire in our belly. The idea was that if there was a space to use in any kind of media, you had to use it to get out what you really wanted to talk about. It was connected to hanging out with all these radical groups, like People United in Southall, and Race Today. That was a really good magazine run by Linton Kwesi Johnson and Darcus Howe, based out of Brixton, and it was going on about the “Sus” laws—stop and search—which I sang about in “Justice” and “Forces of Oppression” on How Much Longer. Loads of black people were dying in custody. Demonstrations were getting broken up. Race Today was the only thing putting out that information at that time. For us, it was all part of the same thing—the fire, the music and the desire to get these things across. Nobody was talking about it really. It wasn’t party political; there was just this fire about different injustices. It wasn’t this worthy thing, you know. It wasn’t really preaching. The things that excite me—be it a musical form or a lyrical form—often the singing is buried inside the music. So it’s not like giving a fucking speech.

The use of torture is clearly far from a settled matter if you’ve suffered even one GOP presidential debate, and who could fail to see screamingly obvious parallels to the Black Lives Matter movement in that last response? Oh, how far Western Civilization hasn’t come. Stewart may have protested that singing a song is “not like giving a fucking speech,” but when his lyrics are clear, as in the pensively dubby j’accuse “There Are No Spectators,” and the completely fucking groovy indictment of authoritarian corruption “Justice,” um, yeah, it kind of IS like giving a speech.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nina Hagen demonstrates how to masturbate, live on TV, 1979
02.08.2016
03:23 pm

Topics:
Punk
Sex
Television

Tags:
Nina Hagen


 
On August 9th 1979, Germany’s operatic punk diva Nina Hagen caused what was dubbed “the scandal of the year” on the Austrian afterhours political affairs discussion program Club2 when she demonstrated several optimal positions for penetration and female masturbation for the home viewing audience.

The (fully-clothed, sorry!) action took place after she got into a heated argument about the female orgasm with one of the guests. I don’t speak German, but it’s pretty clear for all to see who lost the debate and it’s not Nina!

The ‘scandalous’ clip—and more—after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Mind Parasites’: The William S. Burroughs / Buzzcocks connection
02.05.2016
12:34 pm

Topics:
Literature
Music
Punk

Tags:
William S. Burroughs
Buzzcocks


 
A Burroughsian post for you all on the 102nd anniversary of William S. Burroughs’ birth…

“A Different Kind of Tension,” the antepenultimate song on the Buzzcocks’ album of the same name, can be hilarious or punishing, depending on the circumstances. Pete Shelley’s lyrics are a series of contradictory commands that alternate between your stereo speakers, coming faster and faster with each verse, and pretty soon, Shelley is simultaneously shouting “live” in your left ear and “die” in your right. On a lazy afternoon, it’s enough to make peach Cisco squirt from your nose, but in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you’re liable to start looking around for the Budd Dwyer exit.
 

 
Wikipedia claims that the song quotes William S. Burroughs, but that’s not quite right: it’s more a rewrite of Burroughs’ text than a quotation. Shelley, after all, is credited as the sole author of “A Different Kind of Tension,” whose lyrics are printed in parallel columns on the record’s three-color sleeve:

Wait here - Go there
Come in - Stay out
Be yourself - Be someone else
Obey the law - Break the law

Be ambitious - Be modest
Plan ahead - Be spontaneous
Decide for yourself - Listen to others
Save money - Spend money

Be good - Be evil
Be wise - Be foolish
Be safe - Be dangerous
Be satisfied - Be envious
Be honest - Be deceitful
Be faithful - Be perfidious
Be sane - Be mad
Be strong - Be weak
Be enigmatic - Be plain
Be aggressive - Be peaceful
Be brave - Be timid
Be humane - Be cruel
Be critical - Be appreciative
Be temperamental - Calm
Be sad - Be happy
Be normal - Be unusual

Stop - Go
Live - Die
Yes - No
Rebel - Submit
Right - Wrong
Sit down - Stand up
Create - Destroy
Accept - Reject
Talk - Silence
Speed up - Slow down
This way - That way
Right - Left
Present - Absent
Open - Closed
Entrance - Exit
Believe - Doubt

Truth - Lies
Escape - Meet
Love - Hate
Thank you - Flunk [actually “Fuck you”]
Clarify - Pollute
Simple - Complex
Nothing - Something
Stop - Go
Live - Die
Yes - No
Rebel - Submit
Right - Wrong
Sit down - Stand up
Create - Destroy
Accept - Reject
Talk - Silence


 

A 1969 review of The Mind Parasites by William “Borroughs” (larger)
 
The Buzzcocks had a thing for magazine reviews; they took their name from the last line of a review of the TV series Rock Follies (“Get a buzz, cock”), and, if memory serves, the phrase “a different kind of tension” itself comes from Jon Savage’s review of Love Bites in Sounds. For the sake of consistency, I’d like to think Shelley spotted Burroughs’ list of incompatible injunctions in the author’s 1969 review of Colin Wilson’s The Mind Parasites, which first ran in a New York underground newspaper called Rat and was reprinted that year in John Keel’s Anomaly. But Shelley is just as likely to have encountered Burroughs’ list in the CONTROL section of 1974’s The Job, or some other place Burroughs might have recontextualized these do’s and don’ts:

Stop. Go. Wait here. Go there. Come in. Stay out. Be a man. Be a woman. Be white. Be black. Live. Die. Yes. No. Do it now. Do it later. Be your real self. Be somebody else. Fight. Submit. Right. Wrong. Make a splendid impression. Make an awful impression. Sit down. Stand up. Take your hat off. Put your hat on. Create. Destroy. React. Ignore. Live now. Live in the past. Live in the future. Be ambitious. Be modest. Accept. Reject. Do more. Do less. Plan ahead. Be spontaneous. Decide for yourself. Listen to others. Talk. Be silent. Save money. Spend money. Speed up. Slow down. This way. That way. Right. Left. Present. Absent. Open. Closed. Up. Down. Enter. Exit. In. Out.

 

 
This isn’t quite “Choose life” from Trainspotting, if that’s what you’re thinking. Far from complaining about the modern world’s banality like Steve Martin’s Beat poet on Saturday Night Live (“Oh, Mr. Commuter! / Wash me not in your Mad Ave. paint-by-numbers soap…”), Burroughs was giving his readers detailed instructions in piercing the tedium of everyday life with “a technique for producing events and directing thought on a mass scale [that] is available to anyone with a portable tape recorder.” Burroughs goes on to explain in his Mind Parasites review how the “waking suggestion” technique of Dr. John Dent, whose apomorphine cure for heroin addiction he advocated, can be used for mind control:

These commands are constantly being imposed by the environment of modern life. If the suggestion tape contains the right phraseology, and listeners hear it in the right situation (while doing something else), they will be forced to obey the suggestion. It is like giving someone a sleeping pill, without his knowledge, and then suggesting sleep.

At the unconscious level, any contradictory suggestion produces a brief moment of disorientation, during which the suggestions take place. This is important to remember because this is something you can – in a pinch – employ yourself. (Con artists, spies, military strategists, and social climbers use such diversions to their advantage. Why can’t you?)

This moment of disorientation is not unknown to the human body, because contradictory suggestions are an integral function of human metabolism: “Sweat. Stop sweating. Salivate. Stop salivating. Pour adrenaline into the bloodstream. Counteract adrenaline with epinephrine.”

Since contradictory commands are enforced by the environment and the human body, contradictory commands are especially effective. All tape recording tricks are useful: speed up, slow down, overlay, run contradictory commands simultaneously, add superfluous “echo” recordings for large spaces, etc.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Powerful Siouxsie & The Banshees performance: Live at ‘The Futurama Festival,’ 1980

Siouxsie & The Banshees, 1980
Siouxsie & The Banshees, 1980

On September 13th and 14th, 1980, the second installment of “The Futurama Festival” was held in Leeds, a city in the English county of Yorkshire. This year the lineup included a cavalcade of incredible acts like Echo and the Bunnymen (fronted by a 21-year-old Ian McCulloch), The Psychedelic Furs, Athletico Spizz 80, U2, Wasted Youth and Siouxsie & The Banshees, headed up by a then 23-year-old Siouxsie Sioux. Apparently this was also one of the very earliest Soft Cell performances.
 
Futurama Festival lineup, September 14th and 15th, 1980
The lineup for The Futurama Festival, September 13th and 14th, 1980

Despite the handwritten fliers claims that the festival was being “immortalized on film,” footage of any quality from early Futurama gigs is almost non-existent on YouTube, but I did find this clip that someone recorded on VHS from a television broadcast of the festival.

While the video isn’t up to today’s high definition standards, it is still quite good. The seven-minute clip captures the band on top of their game performing two songs, “Paradise Place” from the 1980 album Kaleidoscope and “Eve White/Eve Black” which was released in 1980 as the B-side to the band’s “Christine” single.
 

Siouxsie & The Banshees performing at the Futurama Festival, Saturday, September 13th, 1980
 
Bonus clip of high energy punks Athletico Spizz 80 at the 1980 Futurama Festival, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Crucial photos of the San Francisco punk scene 1977-1982
02.04.2016
09:06 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Avengers
San Francisco punk
James Stark


The Avengers. Photo by James Stark.
 
Photographer James Stark got his start shooting photos for the band Crime in 1976 and thereafter began documenting the early punk scene in San Francisco. Many of his visually arresting photos of both local SF bands like Crime, the Nuns, the Dils and the Avengers, and national acts like Blondie, DEVO, and the Sex Pistols made their way into his 1992 self-published book Punk ‘77. The title was picked up and reissued by RE/Search publishing in 1999, and now exists in an expanded third edition.
 

First edition of Stark’s photobook. Click image to order the expanded third edition.
 
I bought the first edition when it came out, and it remains one of my favorite photo books documenting what is my personal favorite of the early American punk scenes.

Here are a few photos from Stark’s Punk ‘77:
 

The Screamers
 

 

Booji Boy, DEVO
 

 
What I didn’t realize until recently is that James Stark has a web presence with a lot more of his awesome photos of bands and show-goers from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. His website is a fun place to spend some time, and his Facebook page has a lot of neat stuff not in the book—including many color photographs of San Francisco scenesters.

As much fun as band photos are, I revel in seeing what people attending shows looked like. To me, the best part of live concert footage is always when the camera pans to the audience—just to see what regular people were looking like when they went to see their favorite bands.

Here’s a sampling of Stark’s work from his Facebook page which is not featured in his fantastic and recommended book:
 

The Mutants
 

The Avengers
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Finally! The lyrics of The Clash make total sense!
02.03.2016
09:19 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Clash


 
“Complete Control”—It’s The Clash’s fourth best song, featured on the U.S. release of their debut album.

The song which is supposedly a “fiery polemic on record companies, managers and the state of punk music itself” is actually quite indecipherable —UNTIL NOW.

I mean, you could do the boring thing and look up the actual lyrics on the Interwebs, or you could just take Jacob Rice‘s word for it—he’s prepared a video which does a very punk rock job of figuring out what the fuck mealy-mouthed frontman of “the only band that matters,” Joe Strummer is actually saying in “Complete Control.”

“Open up the baklava! Dick Gephardt and a gecko!”
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Butthole Surfers live in Rotterdam: ‘Those people put a lot of mayonnaise on their french fries’
02.01.2016
04:20 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Music
Punk

Tags:
Butthole Surfers
Kramer


 
I have said it before and I will happily say it again: There was never a band that was as extreme live as the Butthole Surfers. None came even close. Not before and certainly not since. They raised the insanity bar so high with their violent, chaotic, druggy, duel-drummer götterdämmerung that they probably merit a special category of high weirdness all to themselves. Maybe someday someone will coin a term—like surrealism—to describe their potent and singularly evil—yet juvenile, often silly—art form.

During their mid-to late-80s heyday, the Satanic mayhem of a Butthole Surfers show was probably about as far as most people would have ever wanted to go in search of entertainment. For what foul-minded, dark ritual would lie beyond them? The Butthole Surfers pulverized their audience, who were often as lysergically loaded as the demonically jerking jesters onstage. One did not simply attend a Butthole Surfers show, one chemically prepared for it like some horribly fucked-up pagan ritual. Volunteering, as it were, for a very bad acid trip.

Aside from the vicious and lacerating sonic assault of the music—which was fucking loud, I can assure you—there was also the incomparably incomprehensible nude go-go dancer, Kathleen Lynch; seizure-inducing strobe lights and 16mm projections comprised of Faces of Death-type footage, cheap Mexican horror films and 1950s era shots of people with Down’s syndrome ballroom dancing. Gibby Haynes would douse his hands (and the cymbals) with lighter fluid and then stare at the flames like a drooling idiot before putting the fire out by sticking his hand down the front of his pants.
 

 
Perhaps the most legendary of their many legendary interviews was for Forced Exposure, the greatest underground music “zine” of the 1980s. Forced Exposure, like Mondo 2000, was produced erratically, so when a new issue came out, it felt like an event. The Surfers were the cover subject of Forced Exposure, issue #11 in 1987 and much of the “mythology” of the band comes from this one source. Like their hilarious “bed in” interviews (a John and Yoko parody) on their infamous home video release, 1985’s A Blind Eye Sees All, the extra-lengthy Forced Exposure interview is a masterpiece of stoned Jabberwocky and nutty road stories:

FORCED EXPOSURE: How were the shows there?
GIBBY: They were fun. They were really fun. I couldn’t tell if they liked us. We did a good job. We had fun at the show in…
PAUL: Wales?
GIBBY: Wales, yeah.
KING: Rotterdam?
GIBBY: Yeah. What a show in Rotterdam. We used to have a cassette of the radio interview that was played over the Dutch radio station.
KING: Yeah. Gibby was put on videotape putting his dick on the record executive’s shoulder from behind. For a long time. The guy didn’t even know it was there for a long time.
GIBBY: Yeah. And Kid Congo Powers was following me around ‘cause he wanted to be my friend. Then I realized that he thought I had all the money, and he was waiting for me to pass out so he could take it all out of my pocket. I was walking around breaking bottles and trying to push people over these fifty foot things ...
PAUL: Gibby took on five Dutch security guards. That was a fun night. I ended up trying to carry all the band’s equipment back to the hotel by myself. I almost left an overcoat and something else behind because I couldn’t carry them, not knowing that all our money was in the coat. Everybody else took off.
GIBBY: I didn’t take off.
PAUL: Gibby was taking on the entire bouncer scene looking for the money that I was getting ready to leave in the bushes.
FORCED EXPOSURE: You playing Rotterdam again this time?
GIBBY: I don’t know. Those people put a lot of mayonnaise on their french fries.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Shane MacGowan perpetrates ‘Cannibalism at Clash gig,’ 1976


 
On Saturday, October 23, 1976, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London hosted a show by the brand-new punk sensation known as the Clash. It was an eventful evening by any reckoning.

The openers were Subway Sect and Snatch Sounds, who seem not to have made much of an impression. At that point the Clash and the Sex Pistols were in a category of two in terms of being at the absolute pinnacle of delivering pissed-off punk music and generating the electric excitement of punk (and the associated publicity too). The night before and that night too, Patti Smith was playing the Hammersmith Odeon but managed to make her way to the ICA so that she could dance onstage to “I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.” As will be easily imagined, the audience was in a rowdy mood and the alcohol was flowing freely. The show had been billed as “a night of pure energy,” and it surely lived up to that.

In the November 6, 1976, issue of the New Musical Express ran an account of the show written by Barry Miles, who preferred to go simply by “Miles” as a nom de journalisme. The cheeky, startling headline of the piece was “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG,” with the subtitle “But why didn’t anybody eat MILES?” At the top and the bottom of the writeup were two pictures, taken by Red Saunders, of Shane MacGowan and a renowned punk fan named Jane Crockford, unflatteringly nicknamed “Mad Jane.” The pictures show indistinct mayhem as well as a generous portion of blood flowing from MacGowan’s right earlobe. Interestingly, both of the subjects were, or would be, in notable bands of their own; MacGowan was in the Nipple Erectors and (of course) the Pogues, while Jane was in the Bank of Dresden and the Mo-dettes.
 

 
In Bob Gruen’s must-own book The Clash he gets Mick Jones and Paul Simonon to comment on the show:
 

Mick: That was the night of Shane MacGowan’s earlobe, wasn’t it? He didn’t really have it bitten off, you know. Isn’t that the same show where Patti Smith got up on stage during our set?

Paul: That was the ICA—it was called A Night of Pure Energy. My haircut’s gone very mod; it had flopped down from all the jumping around onstage. In the beginning all that jumping about was a way of dodging gobs and missiles generally. There’s Joe with his sharks’ teeth—when I first met him they looked just like a real sharks’ teeth.


 
Gruen notes of the MacGowan incident that it gave the Clash “their first significant press coverage.” He also quotes Joe Strummer as saying, “Without Mad Jane’s teeth and Shane’s earlobe, we wouldn’t have got in the papers that week.”
 

 
In The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town, Marcus Gray writes about that evening:
 

When the Clash started playing, a couple in front of Miles and Red were obstructing their view of the band. Apparently intent on attacking each other while laughing like maniacs, they refused to move out of the way. So Red took pictures of them. “I had no idea how famous those photos were to become.” The NME used them to accompany Miles’s report under the headline “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG”: “A young couple, somewhat out of it, had been nibbling and fondling each other amid the broken glass when she suddenly lunged forward and bit his ear lobe off [while the crowd] watched with cold, calculate hipitude.” ... the Clash gig was a wild night fuelled by speed and alcohol. The bar staff entered into the spirit of the evening to such an extent that they gave away a further £80 worth of booze ... and the twosome Miles and Red observed, Mad Jane and Shane MacGowan, were by no means content to loiter at the back of the queue.

“Me and this girl were having a bit of a laugh which involved biting each other’s arms till they were completely covered in blood and then smashing up a couple of bottles and cutting each other up a bit,” Shane informed ZigZag’s Granuaille in 1986, setting the record straight on the occasion of punk’s 10th anniversary, and, in the process, offering another insight into the mythopoetics of punk. “That, in those days, was the sort of thing that people used to do. I haven’t got a clue now why I did it or why anyone would want to do it, but that was how teenagers got their kicks in London if they were hip. Anyway, in the end she went a bit over the top and bottled me in the side of the head. Gallons of blood came out and someone took a photograph. I never got it bitten off—although we had bitten each other to bits—it was just a heavy cut.” As Shane noted, though, the anecdote was exaggerated with each telling. “It’s like the old story about the bloke who catches the fish. He says that it weighs this much and it’s that big, and within a couple of days it’s a whale.” Over the years, few have been prepared to let the fact that his earlobes are both present and correct stand in the way of a good story.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Classic Japanese punk band ‘The Star Club’ covering Sham 69,The Clash, & the Ramones
02.01.2016
10:17 am

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
Japan
The Clash
1980s
punk rock
Sham 69
The Star Club

The Star Club
An early photo of The Star Club

Since getting their start back in Nagoya, Japan in the spring of 1977, Japanese punk band, The Star Club, has put out more than 30 records (their most recent Max Breakers was released in December of 2015), and despite numerous lineup changes over the decades, the band continues to tour and perform with original vocalist, Hikage.
 
The long-running vocalist for The Star Club, Hikage, 1978
Hikage, the long-running vocalist for The Star Club, 1978
 
There were no shortage of punk bands in Japan during the late 70s and early 80s such the influential Blue Hearts, Anarchy, The Stalin, Crack the Marian, noise-punks Outo and hardcore punks, Gauze. Obviously, most of these groups got their inspiration from the punk that was happening thousands of miles away in the UK and New York, as the title of this post alludes to. Over the years, the rotating members of The Star Club even have even used mashups of the names of members of the Sex Pistols and Clash as their own. At one time back in the day, the bass player was known as “Paul Vicious,” the drummer called himself “Topper Cook,” and the guitarist became “Steve Cat Jones.”
 
The Star Club, early 1980s
 
From heavy metal to art, I’m a huge fan of the creative forces that emanate to my ears and eyes by way of Japan. And watching videos of The Star Club performing not only their own music back in the 80s, but the music of their punk idols, pioneers like Sham 69, The Clash and the Ramones, pretty much made my day. I found it especially enjoyable to watch the 80s version of Star Club vocalist Hikage swirling around while spewing out “Bodies” in a shirt not unlike Johnny Lydon’s straight-jacket-looking muslin “Destroy” shirt.
 
The Star Club
The Star Club “Aggressive Teens/Bodies” Australian release, 1986
 
If you dig what follows, I have some good news for you as many of The Star Club’s recordings can be found on Ebay and Discogs. I’ve also posted videos of the Star Club covering “Borstal Breakout” by Sham 69, The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Bodies,” by the Sex Pistols, and “I Fought the Law” as famously covered by The Clash (which is a part of the performance in first video below). The first video also includes a short amusing interview with the band, which was recorded at a show The Star Club did under the alias of “Anarchy in the J.A.P” in support of their fifteenth anniversary and cover album of the same name in 1992.
 

The Star Club performing as “Anarchy in the J.A.P” in the early 90s. A brief interview with the band pops up just before their cover of Sham 69’s 1979 single, “If the Kids are United”
 
More from the Star Club, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Can we just talk about how great The Dicks (the band) were?
02.01.2016
08:44 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Dicks
Gary Floyd
Austin, TX


 
‘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, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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