Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Dickies: Great Dictations

Yes, I confess, the Dickies were my first punk obsession. Sure I'd heard the Pistols and the Clash but in 1982 I was a thirteen year old misfit obsessed with the X-Men and the Doors when these California pop-punk goofballs first knocked me flat.

My older brother, bragging he'd got some "real punk”, brought home two L.P.'s, Dawn of the Dickies and the Incredible Shrinking Dickies (a self-referential lot these boys) and kick-started my problem. Jacked up 4/4 tempos, choppy three-chord riffs, mercilessly simple hooks, relentless back-up vocals, shrewd covers and daft B-movie lyrics: Fucking yeah! It's no wonder the band sold a million singles in late seventies Britain AND managed to inspire everyone in California to start a pop-punk band; forever.

Those early singles (none of which I heard till this CD came out in 1989) defined the term 'kiddie-punk' for all time. Hell, with those cartoon theme covers and the sugar-rush levels of zaniness, they seemed to be pursuing their own Saturday morning show ("Next on ABC, following The New Shmoo, it's those lovable Dickies, a show about band named after the lead singer's obsession with his penis, called Stuart" - okay so the show didn't get the green-light for good reasons.) What confuzzled my brother and I back in '82 was how a band (long centered around Leonard Graves Philips on vocals and Stan Lee on guitar) who wrote lethally infectious songs like, "Manny, Moe and Jack" could not get radio play on our local stations. And now, of course, half the kids shows' themes sound like Dickies' outtakes. Life; she's weird as fuck.

Great Dictations, now out-of-print, was the only Dickies available for a long time, but thanks to Captain Oi! allowing another American band (with solely British chart success) onto his label, you can buy their albums with the singles appended. It's a glorious offer and I held tightly onto this album until those re-issue separated me and my money.


  1. ya ever see The Dickies in concert? Oh man, were they fun... especially If Stewart Could Talk, complete with dick hand puppet!

  2. I missed them in '82 - a little late in the game but still great and yeah Stuart made an appearance. (That's the next post of course.)

  3. Cheers Jeffen! Loved their coloured vinyl singles, especially that yellow vinyl 'Banana Splits'.

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  5. My older brother took me to my first concert in 77 or 78 at the Showbox theater in Seattle, It was The DICKIES and 999 !!! Talk about life changing... I'd actually turned him on to Dickies and he turned me on to 999. What a wild show, Chuck Wagon (R.I.P) played the keys with his head, the whole thing was an adrenalin blur, I was 12/13 and this music was IT! I wanted to Play it, eat it, live it everything ! Both bands were at their peak, Dickies touring for the 1st album opened for 999 who were touring for their "Biggest Prize..." album. Never saw 999 again but I've managed to catch the Dickies @ CBGB's in '84 and a few other times, always great ! But that first was life changing and way better than the 1st time I got laid !!! Gigantor ! Gigantor ! Gi - Gaaaanaaann Torrrrr !

  6. Hi Jeffen, I still love Banana Splits, the main reason I watched the tv series as a kid, and still like the original soundtrack as well. Sad eh!

  7. brilliant.i got this record on vinyl when it came out but dont have a deck to listen to it now.excellent to hear it again.
    cheers from sunny london

    im ok youre ok

  8. Gargoyle
    The Dickies made punk fun, it makes sense that they were influenced by seeing the Damned who seemed to have a similar theatricality about them.

    Damn, I love 'my first punk show' stories. Thanks for adding a good one And 999 were a great, underrated band, who toured like crazy.

    My sole childhood memory of the B.S. was this Wacky Card (a series of trading cards that took cheap shots at pop culture) called 'The Banana Spits', with an accompanying image of a banana hocking a loogie. It was kind of gross and only mildly funny...

    Always glad to remind people about the Dickies.
    Cheers from sunny and cold Winnipeg

  9. somewhere around 1986 I saw the Dickies trash and then getvthrown out of the "Cloud Nine" ballroom at Knott's Berry Farm amusement park of all places. They only played two songs and the park pussies pulled the plug on the sound and lights in the middle of You Drive Me Ape. The band got the crowd all riled up, and that inspired a near riot in the dark from the punks attending. After that there was nothing left but to get drunk and ride rollercoasters. Thank you Dickies for a memorable night. And thanks to MRML for bringin' it all back. As usual another great blog post.

  10. Great music! I enjoyed listening to their songs.


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