If you don’t know who The Dickies are, I feel sorry for you. Because you are clearly missing out on one of the most amazing punks bands of all time. And one of the kookiest.
The long-running L.A. outfit — still led by singer Leonard Graves Phillips and guitarist Stan Lee (no relation) — made their mark with hilarious pop-punk numbers (sample titles: You Drive Me Ape [You Big Gorilla], Bowling With Bedrock Barney, I’m Stuck In A Pagoda With Tricia Toyota) and left-field covers (they tackled everything from Sounds of Silence and Nights In White Satin to Paranoid, along with plenty of cartoon theme songs) at breakneck speed. But beneath all the drug-fuelled lunacy and colourful antics — their song If Stuart Could Talk was sung from the perspective of Phillips’ penis and featured a hand puppet — The Dickies were killer songwriters, masters of melody and manic performers. Speaking of killer: I still have this poster from their 1988 EP Killer Knowns From Outer Space, whose title cut was featured in a cheeseball horror movie of the same name. I doubt even the band would call it their finest moment. But it’s certainly a collectible little nugget from one of the greatest groups most people have still never heard. If you’d like to collect it, email me and I’ll sell it to you. Meanwhile, check out their vastly superior performance at the subterranean Winnipeg club Wellington’s from nearly 40 years ago. It’s still one of the greatest punk shows I’ve ever seen. But don’t go by me; it’s so incredible and legendary that it was just refurbished and pressed on vinyl for Record Store Day. Don’t miss out on that, either.