If you were a child of the 70’s 80’s and remember the classic kids TV show ‘The Banana Splits’, then it’s highly likely you would have heard The Dickies’ famous (or infamous) punk cover of the theme song Banana Splits- Tra La La.
The ‘Clown Princes Of Rock’ are touring Australia and New Zealand in April 2015 and after nearly 40 years of rocking it out, they’re still as wild as ever. Original guitarist Stan Lee spoke to Dazz Hassan from Glam Adelaide about the tour, and how stoked they are to be finally coming to Australia once and for all.
“There was always talk about it (coming to Australia) but it fell through each time, but it looks like it’s gonna happen this time.” Better late then never!
The Dickies were one of the first bands to come out of LA that made a name for themselves during the ‘pop-punk/bubblegum punk’ era of the 70’s and were heavily influenced by The Ramones and The Damned. Their fun, thrashed up versions of cover songs became their trademark and they haven’t lost a bit of energy after four decades. On how it all came about, Lee says, ”It was more about playing songs we like when we were younger, so Paranoid (Black Sabbath) we wanted to hear a little bit faster, and Knights in White Satin we did a total reworking of. It was just stuff we liked and it was easier not to write them. It kind of happened organically when we started.”
According to Lee The Dickies were in the right place at the right time it seems, as they were signed to A & M a week after The Sex Pistols were kicked off. “It was just timing that helped us stumble into it, our manager was British and he got us the A & M record deal and things started happening. We got lucky & I think we were adopted by the younger Brit-kids whose older siblings had the (Sex) Pistols and The Clash.”
There were vast differences between the respective punk movements though, with the UK led scene being borne more out of angst and protest, whereas the US scene had less of the ‘no future’ sentiment and more of the ‘let’s have fun’ element.
“The Pistols and Clash were very political, The Buzzcocks did love songs, and we really didn’t have any reason to sing about that stuff. But The Damned, The Weirdo’s, and The Ramones were the ones I liked the most because they weren’t political.”
Lee says The Ramones were a huge influence as well as being friends, and they were fortunate to tour with them on numerous occasions. “Joey (Ramone) said The Dickies were his favourite band. He liked us a lot and actually my favourite photo is of Joey singing wearing a Dickies shirt. I got that pic framed in my living room.”
Lee clearly has a special place for The Ramones, and sees them individually as nothing special musically, but as he says “when you put the four of them together and you got magic. The four of them were bigger than their individual parts.” Sadly, all four Ramones have left us but as a legacy, Joey Ramone imparted to Stan Lee the responsibility and honour of leading the way for punk-rock music. “He (Joey) said to me ‘You guys are going to have to carry the torch now .He said that verbatim after a show just before they broke up, it was the sweetest thing. ” The rest is history as they say. Highly respected and worthy of this blessing, the band has enjoyed almost forty years of entertaining fans and now, The Dickies finally get to knock Australia and New Zealand off their bucket list. Bad news for SA fans though, as the guys are only playing the eastern states but trust me, it’s well worth the road trip to see these legends live and shaking up the moshpit.
Interviewd by Dazz Hassan
Tickets on Sale Now!! http://www.metropolistouring.com/tour.php?tour=2015_dickies
Thursday 16th: Melbourne – Evelyn Hotel (with extra special guest Nursery Crimes)
Friday 17th: Brisbane – Prince Of Wales Hotel
Saturday 18th: Sydney – Hermanns Bar (with extra special guests Nursery Crimes)
Thursday 23rd: Dunedin – Musician’s Club
Friday 24th: Christchurch – DuxLive
Saturday 25th: Wellington – Bodega
Sunday 26th (Long Weekend): Auckland – Kings Arms