I wasn’t planning on covering any compilations on here, but this one is an exception for some (I think) fairly legitimate reasons. REASON #1: The full length LP that some of these songs are taken from is entirely out of print, the master tapes have been lost, and a vinyl copy probably costs 8 million dollars. REASON #2: The other good parts of the compilation are from two 7″ records, which apparently have been reprinted, but this band has such little printed material, that it’s worthwhile to talk about it all at once. REASON #3: The other full length with featured tracks on the compilation is fucking terrible, so I am including the entirety of the aforementioned album that has essentially been LOST FOREVER (sort of).
The Dicks are a band that you are more likely to be familiar with via covers, particularly The Byrds’ 1966 hit single, “Bourgeois Fascist Pig.” Lesser known covers include Mudhoney’s version of “Hate the Police” and The Jesus Lizard 7″ version of “Wheelchair Epidemic.” So, let me rephrase, if you like either Mudhoney or The Jesus Lizard, you may have heard one or two of these songs before. Basically, they are a fairly catchy hardcore punk band, but have a tendency to insert a lot of blues influences and even some noise rock, which along with having a flamboyantly gay, obese, and (at times) seemingly insane frontman- Gary Floyd, helped set them apart from all of those other 80s punk rock people.
1980-1986 features 2/3 of the Dicks Hate the Police 7″, the majority of the Live at Raul’s split with the Big Boys, five songs from Kill from the Heart (the album that has disappeared), the entirety of the Peace? 7″, and seven songs of horrible boring shit from the band’s last lineup. If you haven’t guessed, the stuff before those last seven songs is GREAT!
The songs included from Hate the Police are fairly standard hardcore punk, the titular track with an overly pleasing chord progression, and the following, “Lifetime Problems,” featuring a stupendous chorus of inane laughter, fitting right at home with Flipper’s “Ha Ha Ha.”
Most of the material included from the live split (note: there are no studio versions of these songs anyway) fits the same mold as the first two songs, save two tracks that stand out, the first of these being “Saturday Night at the Bookstore,” which is slower, bass-driven tune with mostly spoken lyrics detailing the goings-ons at a popular gay sex shop and is quite colorful- highlights include Gary addressing someone in the audience at one point with, “I’ll suck your dick after the show, motherfucker.” The latter song, “Wheelchair Epidemic,” was covered by The Jesus Lizard and- surprise- kind of sounds like The Jesus Lizard! In addition, the line “Are you stupid, or just a faggot?” is rendered much less offensive when said by a gay man as compared to the cover version out of context.
And now, Kill from the Heart, which is by far the best part of the compilation (but I will be discussing the whole album)! This is where the blues influence comes in, but don’t worry- it’s not anywhere near being “blues rock,” it’s just joyously sloppy hardcore songs that happen to be comprised of blues riffs. “Rich Daddy” kind of sounds like a particularly angry Sonics song, and “Anti-Klan Part 2” even has a slide guitar! The album is still peppered with some fun, short and standard hardcore songs too, so everyone gets to be happy- and I mean everyone– it even includes a completely butchered cover of “Purple Haze” and ends with the most poorly performed dance song I’ve ever heard, which also happens to be 11 minutes long- and somehow enjoyable! These songs are the biggest shifts in that “new” direction, which happened to be abandoned right after this as the band broke up and came back with an entirely different line-up.
The new line-up recorded a decent 7″ (Peace?) and then devoted itself to making longer, boring songs with no hooks or interesting lyrics, represented on These People, which is where the last seven of these songs are taken from (minus the last, which is a short and live dicking-around track). Check them out if you want, but they really do suck, which is why I have included the entirety of Kill from the Heart. Don’t let it keep you from checking out 1980-1986, though, because the beginning is fantastic.