Be cautious of music that’s too easily digestible, too easily folded into a back pocket of a scene, too easily smoothed in to color some gentrified hair. Be cautious of brain food that’s too processed. Be cautious of where your drugs come from. Caution’s a funny word because caution didn’t seem to be in Hickey’s vocabulary. A little rewind: Matty and Aesop started in Florida as the Fuckboyz. Pick up the Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? comp that Fast Crowd released several years back. It’s a perfect companion piece/precursor to Disrepair. Hickey experimented. Hickey destroyed. Hickey made universes. Calling them merely melodic DIY punk does them a severe disservice. Think drugs. Nudity. Scraping underneath. Escaping. Romanticism. Disenfranchisement. Food stamps and cocaine. Living at surface level. Anti-cop, pro-human. Anti-square. Pro-radiating hearts. Scams. Scam. Probe Records released their self-titled debut, which would turn out to be their only full-length release as a band. (It’s slated to be released separately from this collection of 7”s, splits, comp tracks, and live recordings.) Shortly after was the Hickey / Voodoo Glow Skulls split 7”. The VGS side is threats that the band and Epitaph employees left on Hickey’s answering machine. With all of these songs collected (for the third time, but with the D side of nine new, alternative, and live versions), there’s this tangible love-fucked relationship Hickey had with the world. “The straight and narrow road only goes to nowhere and I’m already there.” It’s a funny, scathing, naïve-yet-knowing cynicism. It’s an apocalyptic vision that gets “answered” with the serious-not-serious plea to join the cult of non-conformity. And jokes. And sadness. “Warning: guitar solos are known by the state of California to transmit venereal disease.” When all of these scattered pieces are collected and displayed with tremendous care (beautiful packaging, gatefold) the Hickey kaleidoscope becomes more of a telescope examining the cosmos of inevitability, especially when the credits have already rolled: “I have made my deathbed and now I’ll lie in it and finally get some rest.” “Life is cheap, but livin’ is expensive.” Hickey ended in 1998. Matty died of an overdose in 2002. But he ain’t dead, ‘cause he’s still living every time these songs get played, every time the Hickey continuum is rippling back and forth through FYP, The Bananas, All You Can Eat, Riverboat Gamblers, Fleshies, Swing Ding Amigos, Tulsa, Black Rainbow, Potential Johns, and the list goes on and on and on. “May you always have what you need.” Get your head right; listen to some Hickey. Which side you on?
–todd (1-2-3-4 Go!, 1234gorecords.com, mattyluv.com)