Amoeblog


OUT, LOUD, & PROUD LONG BEFORE IT WAS IT WAS HIP TO BE QUEER

Posted by Billyjam, June 12, 2007 09:29am | Post a Comment

Gary Floyd
deserves major credit, not just for being such a talented artist but for being an openly gay front person of a punk band in Texas in the late seventies/early eighties. And this he boldly did as the powerhouse vocalist for legendary hardcore punk band The Dicks, the self-described "commie faggot" blues-derived, hardcore punk band who released their brilliant, rage-fueled first single, "Dicks Hate the Police," in 1980 on (fellow Austin punks) MDC's R Radical record label. This song, which many later learned via Mudhoney's cover version or (Gary's next band) Sister Double Happiness performing it, is a timeless punk classic (see lyrics below) and is currently available on The Dicks 1980-1986 on Alternative Tentacles. After the Dicks' demise, the tireless Gary Floyd, who has lived in San Francisco for the past 25 years, went on to form Sister Double Happiness, Black Kali Ma, the Gary Floyd Band, Hard Ride and currently, the raw blues/country Gary Floyd and the Buddha Brothers. Last week the Buddha Brothers performed at the Make Out Room in San Francisco on a bill with Penelope Houston, who sings on one their songs ("Take it Like A Man") and who joined them onstage. This week and next week Gary will be in the studio with the Buddha Brothers recording new tracks. Last week on my radio show on WFMU I had the opportunity to catch up with Gary, who in addition to music also paints, to talk about Austin, being queer, and how the formation of the Dicks was based on a lot drinking and telling lies.

GARY FLOYD:
I started putting up posters around town (Austin) saying that The Dicks are playing and I would make up club names. So it was just a poster band. It was a lie. So I put up these things saying The Dicks are playing. And people would say "Oh you're in The Dicks?" And I would say 'Yeah' and they would lie to me and say 'Oh I've seen The Dicks' and I would look at them and think (laughs) 'You're a bigger liar than I am!' And then I met Buxf (Parrot) and Glen (Taylor) one night and they wanted to be in a band. And then we got Pat (Deason) and we started The Dicks. It was all started with a lot of drinking and a lot of lying.

AMOEBLOG: I know that Austin is somewhat of a liberal oasis within Texas but did you encounter any negative response to being openly gay or, rather, were you embraced for your honesty?
GARY FLOYD: The punk scene in Austin was really good in the fact that a lot of the best bands were fronted by queer men and they also happened to be sort of big queer men. So that was an advantage right there. And people wouldn't automatically mess with us cos we were sort of redneck queers in a way -- redneck in the fact that we were big and we didn't really want to take any mess with anybody about it. And we were very lucky because the punk scene was very open minded there. And there was me and there was Biscuit from the Big Boys and (gay) others who were fronting these other bands. And I also had these three tough straight guys who were in the band with me and they gave me a lot of confidence. (laughs) I might be saying something a little different if I had three little rosebuds in the back of me. We were very lucky there and the frat-rats hated us a lot more for being punk than for being queer.

AMOEBLOG: Was there one particular incident that sparked the inspiration for writing the song "Dicks Hate the Police?"
GARY FLOYD: Glen Taylor and I wrote that together. He had a couple of verses and so did I. He wrote the music. Glen, he died almost ten years ago now, was ...really a smart guy and could play anything on the guitar and he came up with a lot of the music for a lot of those songs. And he came in one day with the music for that song. And there was no one deep thing that happened to inspire that song. It was just a lifetime of living in Texas and all that liberal stuff I was talking about a minute ago was in Austin. But I grew up in east Texas and they wasn't liberal at all. You weren't queer there. You didn't do that stuff. I always have been a bit of a showoff, saying what I thought, so all of those songs all flowed out pretty easy. They just came from experiences in our lives. And I look back and wonder if I would have that much guts to say that today.

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The video below is of The Dicks performing "Dicks Hate the Police" last year when they reformed. The other video is of Sister Double Happiness performing the same song in 1993.


DICKS HATE THE POLICE

(Glen Taylor, Gary Floyd)

Mommy, mommy, mommy
Look at your son
You might have loved me
But now I got a gun
You better stay out of my way
I think I've had a bad day
I've had a bad day
I've had a bad day

Daddy, daddy, daddy
Proud of your son
Got himself a good job
Shoot niggers and Mexicans
I'll tell you one thing, it's true
You can't find justice, it'll find you
It'll find you
It'll find you
People tell policemen
They've met their match
Down in them desert sands
The Dicks won't catch
Dicks hates policemen, yes, it's true
You can't find justice, it'll find you
It'll find you
It'll find you
It'll find you

Mommy, mommy
Look at your son
You might have loved me
A gun
You better stay out of my way
I've had a bad day
I've had a bad day
Mommy, I've had a bad day
Mommy, I've had a bad day
Momm
y

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The Dicks (1), Gays (71), Queer (15), Punk (46), Sister Double Happiness (1)