The Dickies are an American punk rock band formed in San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles in 1977. The band has consistently made use of catchy melodies, deep harmonies, and a humorous, comical style that has been called "pop-punk" or "bubble-gum punk".
The Dickies were among the first punk rock bands to emerge from Los Angeles. They formed in early 1977 after guitarist Stan Lee and bassist Billy Club saw The Damned on their first American tour. The band made their live debut at the Whisky a Go Go in September of the same year. The Dickies were the first California punk band to appear on network television (C.P.O. Sharkey), and the first California punk band to be signed to a major record label (A&M Records).
The Dickies' style is campy and humorous, influenced by The Ramones, for whom they sometimes opened in venues especially on the East coast, such as CBGB in the Bowery of NYC and across the river in the "The Showplace" Dover NJ (1978), along with the Nerds, and Nozon. This Eastern blitz made them a punk band of national recognition coming from the L.A. Scene. The Dickies are popular in the United Kingdom, and had a Top 10 single with "Banana Splits (Tra La La Song)" in 1979.
Many of their lyrics concern Southern California culture, rife with references and in-jokes; examples include songs like "Waterslide", "I'm A Cholo", "Manny, Moe, and Jack", and "(I'm Stuck in a Pagoda with) Tritia Toyota". They are also known for recording many fast-paced punk covers of classic rock songs, including The Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin," Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," The Monkees' "She," Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," The Isley Brothers' "Nobody but Me," The Left Banke's "Pretty Ballerina," The Cowsills' "Hair", as well as the cover album Dogs from the Hare that Bit Us.
Work in film
In 1988, the Dickies wrote and performed the theme music for the horror film Killer Klowns from Outer Space which was the debut of drummer Cliff Martinez who had recently played with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weirdos, and Captain Beefheart. Martinez played with them from 1988 to 1994, and on albums such as Second Coming, Locked N' Loaded Live in London, and idjit Savant.
In 1990, the Dickies wrote the theme song for Lucas Reiner's comedy film Spirit of 76.
Drug problems slowed the Dickies down considerably in the 1980s, but they have continued playing and recording sporadically to the present day. Guitarist/keyboardist/saxophonist Chuck Wagon (born Bob Davis) committed suicide after a break-up with his girlfriend in June 1981. Jonathan Melvoin, who played drums on The Dickies album, Idjit Savant, died of a heroin overdose on July 12, 1996 in New York, aged 34, while on tour playing keyboards for the Smashing Pumpkins.
Original drummer Karlos Kabellero (born Carlos Cabellero) died on September 22, 2009 from heart related problems. One-time guitarist Enoch Hain (born Robert Frederick Orin Lansing, Jr.) died on July 25, 2009 from complications arising from pneumonia.