Dicks from Texas, The: DVD

One summer Sunday in 1984 following a (San Francisco/Lynn Perko-era) Dicks show in Oshkosh, Wis., some other locals and I were hanging out with the Dicks in a park on Lake Winnebago, and came upon a party hosted by a local hair salon. The party featured free beer and a rockabilly band; we consumed the first item heartily, and, when the second item had concluded their tour of duty, we somehow talked all parties concerned into letting the Dicks play an impromptu set on the rockabilly band’s equipment. A makeshift slam pit broke out somewhere around the picnic tables, and, as I stood at the front of the stage, a local oaf sailed into me from behind, driving me down to one knee. As the area in front of the makeshift stage area was loose stones, and I was wearing my rippiest pair of Ramones knee-hole jeans, this forced genuflection rent my knee asunder; blood poured everywhere. Utilizing the direct pressure method, I was soon able to bring things under control by pressing my hand on my knee, but the result of this self-administered first aid was that the palm of my hand was a bloody red mess. Not wishing to let a good bloody red mess go to waste, I lifted my hand in the air in an appropriately ridiculous wrestling gesture, and, as Gary Floyd sang on obliviously, THWAP!!!—I put a bloody red handprint smack dab in the middle of his kisser. Bloodied but not to be undone, Gary then began to lick the remaining blood off of my hand, as the band played merrily onward. This free exchange of bodily fluids remains, arguably, the punkest thing I’ve ever done in my life. This anecdote doesn’t have all that much to do with this film, really, but I just like telling the story. To this day, I know people whose favorite band remains the Dicks, and whose favorite record is Kill from the Heart. Obviously, much of the appeal is based in the mold-breaking character of frontman Gary Floyd, a huge gay dude who wore dresses and Mao buttons (and the occasional bloody handprint) in Texas in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, back when such antics were mindblowingly radical. Needless to say, this documentary—the usual assemblage of talking heads, live footage, and vintage photos—is bolstered greatly by a continual stream of awesome Gary Floyd pics, as visual a frontman as they come. On the downside, there are a number of interviews conducted in bars that aren’t miked particularly well; bits of the dialogue were occasionally lost on me, although I did enjoy the way the Austin scene circa 1980 came across as a bunch of friends, who, to this day, are comfortable day-drinking together in bars. Other minor quibbles include the jerky editing of some interview scenes, and the absence of menu music. Get Dicked, kids. Get Dicked. –Rev. Nørb (MVD Visual, mvdvisual.com, thedicksfromtexas.com)