Disclaimer: I hadn’t actually heard The Dicks until maybe three or four years ago, or whenever The Dicks Hate the Police 7” was reissued. I long thought Mudhoney’s “Hate the Police” was the original version of the apparently well-known song. The Dicks somehow flew under my radar for most of my record-buying adult life, but maybe that can be blamed on me being a born-and-raised East Coaster that spent almost ten years living in the Midwest, before moving to Texas and really digging into the local history. The Dicks from Texas doc does a good job capturing a time and a place, the magic of the early punk/hardcore scene of Austin, Texas. It has great footage that I never would have otherwise seen and new interviews with living members of the bands and many of their contemporaries. The Dicks From Texas is obviously a labor of love for its creators, and it seems like they spent the better part of ten years making the doc (at least I think so, as there’s an interview with Big Boys front man Randy “Biscuit” Turner, who passed away in 2005.)
With the good, there’s bound to be some bad. So many people associated with The Dicks and the early Austin punk scene have passed away, many during the making of this documentary (there’s a section near the end that serves as a memorial to those who died, many whose interviews are featured.) I would love to know when production on the doc started and if it was done in fits and starts like it looks. I don’t know who of the old guard is or isn’t still around the Austin scene, but I would have liked to have heard from more of the members of The Big Boys, frequent playmates of The Dicks.
The sound mixing of the DVD is not good. Often, background sounds drown out the interviewees. Other times, the interviewees are seemingly “lubricated,” to possibly encourage reminiscing about the glory days of The Dicks, but they shout over each other and their words are drowned out. I reached out to the producers, asked about any potential problems they faced in making the doc, and what they wished they could have included but weren’t able to, but I never heard back. The bonus live footage is fantastic, as are the many photos and other snippets of concerts shown in the doc proper. There are two shows: one from 1982 and one from a show during the “Rock Against Reagan” tour in 1983. The doc is put together much like a DIY project. You can see the seams and the rough edges, but the love for The Dicks shines through. –Sal Lucci (MVD Entertainment Group, 203 Windsor Rd, Pottstown, PA 19464)