Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Dik Van Dykes: Nobody Likes...


Happy Canada Day!


Music obsessives with no musical talent often work in record stores, write reviews, promote shows, run labels, book tours or manage bands. I did those sorts of things later but first I had to prove my lack of ability with my band, Jane Fonda and the Hondas. We were a two-piece speed-folk band, who my vastly more talented partner (later a guitarist in the socialist-punk firebrands, The Strike), described as, “Sludgeabilly with extra sludge”.

(We had merch!)

“Sludgeabilly” was Gerald Van Herk’s self-description of his band, Deja Voodoo, a Montreal two-piece (four-stringed guitar, no cymbals on the drum kit) rockabilly-blues-punk band. Fifteen years later such an approach could land you on the front of Rolling Stone but in the cultural vacuum that was the late 1980’s almost no one could hear Deja Voodoo scream. The band also ran the awe-inducing Og Records. Og pilloried the vacuousness of the times by pushing bands who were a hundred different shades of anachronistic: Western-Swing, gospel-punk, garage rock, country blues, psychedelic, 77 punk, lounge-jazz, faux girl-group and cow-punk on their five-volume It Came From Canada series. Based on the series, icfucks as Gerald called them, I dug up records by The Gruesomes, The Cowboy Junkies (yup), Colour Me Psycho, Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, Sons of the Desert, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, U.I.C., Guilt Parade and of course Hamilton, Ontario's The Dik Van Dykes.

All those Og records helped inspire Jane Fonda and the Honda, who performed just one earth-shattering show. For that so-called show we played a butchery of Billy Bragg's "Strange Things Happen' and an original called, "Socialized Hairdressing" before serving some cheap n' doughy pizza. Our audience consisted of fourteen close personal friends, thirteen of whom were still as such at show's end.

So JFH (our initialism!), never did get to fulfill our dream of opening for The Dik Van Dykes. The Diks were a band that cleaved to the Og doctrine of primitivism (see Steve Hoy's three-string guitar and Stu Smith's kick pedal-less kit) but who added a chirpy but choppy pop sensibility to it all. Some said they sounded like the Ramones battling The B-52's. Perhaps more precisely, The Diks high-speed junk-pop, with back-up singers the Pop-Tarts bringing the la-la's, bore a strong resemblance to late seventies Scottish fashion-plates, The Rezillos (whose album title the Diks paid homage to). Easy comparisons aside, this album still stands on its own, like some demented inukshuk. The songs are hummable and funny - these lyrics will return a thousand joys even if, and perhaps because, you'll never understand them all.

Nobody Likes link is in the comments.

Speaking of comments, please leave us one about the Dik's music or that time you were involved with a not-so-good band.

Visit the band's legacy


A big thanks goes out to Nicola who not only bought me this L.P. for my birthday on almost exactly this date twenty-fuckin-two years ago but also had every Jane Fonda and the Hondas "demo" tape.


  1. .


    Rapidshare or Megaupload recommended.

  2. Hi Jeffen

    Thanks for this.

    Happy Canada Day!



  3. CallPastorJerkfaceJuly 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Thank goodness for Canada Day! I was getting a little worried we were going to stay stuck in the grey state of Nebraska forever (not that there's anything wrong with B.Ss's finest long player, mind you).

    Oh Canada, we need to talk about your musical output. What's with the Christian Rock like apeing of whatever's popular elsewhere but in a completely generic third rate manner? Why the desperation to latch on to citizens of the world who happen to live here for about a minute and call them national treasures? And why the fuck do those who actually do produce something astounding and beautiful get completely ignored or immediately forgotten the second there lack of financial success and/or hipster-ness becomes apparent? Grow up you giant whiny baby of a country and start paying attention to what's great not who's popular!

    And, just for the record, I like The Dik Van Dykes.

  4. Picture the scene...

    Playing bass at a gig in a lively music-bar, and there's a rare opportunity for a solo.

    Step forward into that light, head down and ready to rock, when suddenly it all goes quiet.

    You took one step too many, and pulled the jack out of your amp!


    Shit, yeah... lol

    I know, because I did it.


  5. hey richard - pulling the wire out of my bass amp is sop for me!
    and jeffen- no RUSH for canada day ???????

  6. Harold Snepsts? Harold Freakin' Snepts? It's been what - 25 years? - since I saw him lumbering around the ice as a Red Wing, and years before as a Canuck.
    NEVER thought I'd hear him name called (and song titled!) in a punk rock song.
    You've made my day. Happy Canada Day, eh?
    Regards from Detroit, Dave.

  7. Canada brewed UIC, Deja Voodoo, The Dik Van Dykes and Vancouver's The Enigmas. 'Nuff said! Happy Canada Day to all

  8. Holy crap, Jeffen! You had FOUR COLOUR t-shirts!!! The height of indie excess! I imagine you rolling up to that gig one rainy night, with a box of several shirts and all yr gear crammed into the back of a '79 Honda Civic, including a roadie, and then stepping onstage, thinking "...maybe we did spend too much time on the shirts last week, and not enough rehearsing..."

    Very nice shirt, anyways!

    For me, the Dik's 'Birthday Song' usually made the rounds on the mixed tapes for someone's big day around these parts.

    So, about that time I was the "manager" for a band called 'Hugo's Mallet', which was named for this guy: Hugo: Man of a Thousand Faces, who rode up front on the drummer's tom stand.

    I "managed" to organize the five of them to get together for two rehearsals, made two phone calls, which, by the strength of their second rehearsal, ended up getting them two gigs; one opening for The Smalls, and another, (...if my memory serves...) for another Edmonton band, called The Grand Pooh-bahs.

    I made up the 'Hugo's Mallet' logo and did some flyers as well as making the Hugo doll a mini t-shirt with that logo.

    I, too, also failed to use indelible markers for it.

    They then promptly split and went into other permutations in an already incestuous scene.

    As far as I know, only the two brothers Honeyman went on to record anything other than demo tapes.

    Thanks for the blog Jeffen. I think it's been just over two years since I started coming here semi-regular, and it has been a treat.

    Thanks also for indulging my ranty-arse comments, speaking of which...

    Nazz, there better be no RUSH posts by MRML on Canada day!

    Long may MRML remain free, this day and every day, of the bums known as RUSH!

    Although Jeffen has strayed into
    the musical mainstream of late, his place in the Ninth Circle of Musical Hell would most certainly be assured if he posted RUSH (...followed by the inevitable Nickelback homage...) as he slipped into the mediocrity that was Canadian AM radio.

    Long may MRML stand as an anathema to the careers of hippie has-beens, wannabes, and prog-rock bloat that CANCON over-extended and then stiffed for the real thing that all the young canadians were excited aboot.

    For too long, the world has laboured under the false premise that RUSH was the best rock band to come from Canada, but some of us know the truth...

    ...and that truth is a sweet, sweet thing.

  9. Oh yeah, and on the subject of things
    nobody likes

  10. Thanks for reminding me of the great OG-records label. I bought all the "icfucks" when they came out, 'cause i was a huge deja voodoo fan. Loved these comps.

    korla from berlin

  11. Doug
    Hope it was a great day for you!

    I feel your pain.

    I cringed just a little for you as I read.

    As a good Canadian child I had siblings with old Rush albums and later had a tape of Moving Pictures, which I played repeatedly. I'm not sure I'm ready for my own Rush revival but if the band is get- ting a sudden surge of acceptance more power to them.

    Dave in Detroit
    Nothing like a good hockey song - or a good book - I recommend King Leary by Paul Quarrington.

    Those Og bands were good weren't they?

    (The shirt is a limited edition of 1 - hand-painted by the artist!)

    Loved the Hugo anecdote - lemme know when you start a blog or ar ready t finish that Cub guest post for me!

    While Rush may never have a place in my "man-cave" they do have their moments. And because they are so damned peculiar, musically, lyrically, culturally, I don't consider them part of the wretchedness of the CanCon landscape which I feel is littered with cheap knock-offs from Triumph to Frozen Ghost to I, Mother Earth to the "N" band.
    Still loved the rantiness in all it's fiery glory, even if I don't much care for Goddo.

    Glad you liked, I always understood that DV had a cult following in Germany where some DJ always used to play their epic-lengthened version of "Polk Salad Annie" which drove up their royalty checks!

  12. I've the name of this band somewhere deep in the memory banks, but can't think of a single song - thanks for the post - maybe this'll get those synapses firing.

  13. Anon
    Hopefully we jogged your memory!

  14. was proud to open for the Dik van Dykes at McMaster in 1986.


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