A musical foundation was laid early on in life for Gary Floyd. As a child in Arkansas, he got his first exposure to the likes of Roy Orbison and the Four Seasons through the jukebox at the local teenage hangout. And it was there that he’d gotten his initial glimpse into the world of blues through the grooves of Muddy Waters 45s. Gary watched artists like Jerry Lee Lewis performing on television and observed how the kids were dancing along, but thought it would be even more fun to be singing it and watching from that perspective. He realized at a tender age that he wanted to create music and be in a band.
Gary moved to Palestine, TX when he was four years old, right around the time the Beatles hit big in America. By the time he was in Junior High, Gary formed his first rock ‘n’ roll band, The Morticians. They wore matching top hats and black turtlenecks while performing standards like “Gloria” and “Louie Louie.” Other early groups of his included the Concept, and later, the Illusion.
Gary’s rebellious attitude was prevalent early on. One of his groups was scheduled to play a school assembly. They had a song called “Why Vietnam” that the principle insisted they do not play. Figuring the worst that could possibly happen was he’d get kicked out of school - which seemed more of a reward than a punishment - he urged the band to play it anyway. So they got on stage and played the song in front of the school, and sure enough, they got in trouble and were banned from playing any other school functions ever again.
By ’72, Gary was drafted and relocated to Houston to work as a janitor at an alternative civilian’s office where he spent the next two years fulfilling his military obligation. He never had to do any active duty and by 1975 found himself situated in Austin. It was there that he got a further peek into blues music through “white boy” groups like Johnny Winter and ZZ Top. All the while he was getting hip to more outrageous proto-punk bands like the MC5 and Stooges.
Gary moved out to San Francisco a few years later and got to witness the Sex Pistols final show at Winterland. Shortly before that, he had gotten his hands on a Ramones record which was his first introduction to the formulating punk scene. Seeing the Sex Pistols perform live impacted him greatly. He realized that something new and exciting was happening. He moved back to Austin soon after that and was told by a friend that there was a little club called Raul’s that had punk bands play on Monday nights.
By the fall of ’79, the Austin punk scene rivaled that of any big city with new and exciting bands forming at a rapid pace. Raul’s was the heart of the scene, hosting punk shows most every night of the week. Gary had a concept in his mind for a band call the Dicks. He started putting up posters around town with slogans like “The Dicks Are Coming,” advertising performances at venues that didn’t even exist or on dates that weren’t on the calendar. He hadn’t even sought out any musicians to play with him yet, but was already making the band famous.
Since Gary had been frequenting Raul’s on a regular basis for several months by then, he knew all the faces in the crowd. But one day he saw two unfamiliar guys in pleather jackets sitting at the bar. They looked like they’d just escaped prison. So Gary marched up to them and asked who they were.
Buxf Parrot and Glen Taylor were childhood friends from San Antonio. Growing up three houses away from one another since ’66, they started playing in “kiddie” bands together, jamming out on Cream covers and the like. By the late 70s, they had started their first punk band, the Panic, but unfortunately there wasn’t an audience in San Antonio for that kind of music yet. Often times they’d find themselves playing to five people, none of which were punk rockers.
When the Sex Pistols played in San Antonio on January 8th, 1978, less than a week before Gary saw them in San Francisco, Glen and Buxf were in attendance. They didn’t know anyone else at the club. Much of the crowd consisted of rednecks who had read about the show in the paper. They came to gawk at the band and see what sort of spectacle these Brits would deliver. Many of the others at the show were kids who drove down from Austin to see the concert. The show ultimately impacted many of the Austinites much the same way it did Gary. Bands like The Next and The Huns formed soon afterward, which in turn helped to develop the early punk scene in Austin.
Glen and Buxf decided to move to Austin after they saw the scene maturing there while things continued to stagnate in San Antonio. The other guys in their band, Glen’s brother and a drummer named Sylvester, stayed behind. Glen and Buxf continued playing together after they arrived in Austin but didn’t have a band. Once Gary approached them and they made their introductions, he asked if they’d want to play in his band, the Dicks. The two happily agreed.
The Dicks still needed a drummer to fill out the line-up. They had one practice with Chuck Lopez and then hoped to secure Fred Schultz who played in The Inserts and the Big Boys, but it was Pat Deason who ended up being their permanent choice.
Pat was the son of federal aviation administration worker and had been moving to different parts of the world since a child. Born in Fort Worth, he spent time in Paris, Berlin, Washington DC, Virginia and Florida before making his way back to Texas in 1976. After a few years in Killeen, he wound up in Austin and got a job with the electric department. Before long, he was introduced to some guys who encouraged him to play drums in a band called the Invisibles. Having no prior experience, he purchased a four-piece clear Ludwig set from an ad in the paper. The guy allowed him to buy one piece at a time as money would allow. After a few months, he had the whole kit in his possession and started finessing his chops.
Pat grew up on big band music and hadn’t been exposed to punk in any way yet. It was when his band would play at Raul’s that he got his introduction and immediately fell in love with the new and exciting sounds. Eventually the Invisibles idled so he jumped ship to a group called the SKP’s for a few months. But when two of the core members of the group split for Philly without warning, he found himself looking for a new project.
Barry Gavin immediately stepped in and asked Pat if he’d want to play with the Dicks. Barry was a bartender at Raul’s and the brother of Ty Gavin of The Next. Since he was also friends with the guys in the Dicks and knew they needed a drummer, things naturally fell into place. Barry was organizing a multi-band Punk Prom at the Armadillo World Headquarters for May 16th and promised the Dicks an opening slot if they could get their act together in time. The Dicks had their first official practice with Gary, Glen, Buxf and Pat at the end of April, 1980, just two weeks before the gig.
Using songs from Glen and Buxf’s previous band, Gary came up with new words on the spot. It was at these very first practices that “Kill From The Heart,” “Bourgeois Fascist Pig,” “Wheelchair Epidemic” and many other classic songs came to be. The Dicks put a 30 minute set together and debuted at the Punk Prom with the Big Boys, The Next, Sharon Tate’s Baby and the Reactors.
The reception was great and it wasn’t long after that when Gary got the idea to start developing a stage show and dressing in drag, crediting his creativity and inspiration to John Waters and Divine. The crowds began to grow immediately and it wasn’t just punks showing up. Frats and other onlookers had heard about the Dicks stage antics and would come to see what it was all about. The band had their fair share of scuffles as a result of this, but came out unscathed as Glen and Buxf would defuse the situations.
Brian Flaherty approached the band about recording a single for them with Dan Dryden at Earth & Sky Studios. The sessions for the “Hate The Police” EP was the first time any of the guys had been in a recording studio. They banged the songs out in a few takes and released the record soon after on their own Radical Records (not to be confused with R Radical Records which was started up by David Dictor of the Stains shortly after).
Manolo Lopez was a friend of the band. His brother Chuck had sat in on drums at the very first Dicks practice. Manolo worked at UT with the wife of a muralist named Carlos Lowry. As an artist, Carlos also did political art and leaflets. Manolo suggested Carlos design the sleeve for the new Dicks 7”. After meeting the band, they realized his work had the right feel for what they wanted, so they had him design the sleeve, insert and center labels for the record. Though a self proclaimed hippie at heart, Carlos became one of the strongest supporters of the Dicks. He ended up doing artwork for all their future releases including the iconic “Kill From The Heart” LP, and also designed covers for the Offenders and Stains. When in a crunch, Carlos even drove the Dicks to Houston when their van was broken down.
That September, the Dicks were given the opportunity to be recorded live at Raul’s for the sake of being featured on one side of an album that would showcase the Big Boys on the other. The night before the recording sessions, Dan Dryden did a practice run at an Ideals show as Raul’s. Some of those songs eventually surfaced on the Ideals’ “High Art” EP that came out a couple years later. The Big Boys and Dicks “Recorded Live At Raul’s Club” split LP was released in 1980 on the Rat Race label to much fanfare.
The band persisted on, drawing big crowds in Austin and playing Houston and the surrounding areas on a regular basis. They earned slots opening up for touring bands like Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat and Black Flag. On one such instance, they caught the attention of Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski, who then wanted to put out a Dicks record on their label, SST.
The “Kill From The Heart” LP was recorded in 1982 at Earth & Sky with Spot, who had worked on many of the early SST releases by Black Flag, Minutemen, Meat Puppets and others. Gary had been wanting to move back to San Francisco, so after the recording was finished, he encouraged the rest of the band to make the move out there with him. Although they didn’t particular care for the idea, they didn’t fight it and went along for the ride.
That summer, they headed out on the Rock Against Reagan tour with MDC, DRI and the Crucifucks. The tour ran for several months and though it was well organized, it had its fair share of dilemmas. When it was through, Gary wanted the band to return to San Francisco, but the rest of the guys weren’t too keen on driving all the way through the desert in a ’66 Ford Econoline with a busted radiator. Gary continued on his path to San Francisco while the others stayed in Austin, ultimately putting an end to their involvement in the Dicks.
After he was situated in San Francisco, Gary started up a new version of the Dicks that would continue on until 1986. They released a couple more records, which all featured artwork by Carlos Lowry. After that, Gary played in Sister Double Happiness with Lynn Perko from the San Francisco-based Dicks. Buxf, Pat and Glen continued working on several different projects together and separately in Austin through the 90s until Glen passed away on May 2nd, 1997.
The Dicks started playing reunion shows in 2004 with Davy Jones (The Next, Ideals, Hickoids, etc) and Mark Kenyon substituting for Glen on guitars. The new formation debuted in San Francisco to a sold out crowd before doing a two night stint in Austin. Both nights sold out there, so they played a third, unannounced show that also sold out. After that, they continued playing sporadically across the country to welcoming crowds of new and old fans alike.
The Dicks “Hate The Police” 7” has been officially re-released on 1-2-3-4-Go! Records and the “Kill From The Heart” LP is finally back in print thanks to Alternative Tentacles. (via Cheap Rewards)