Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock: The Dicks - The Dicks Hate The Police

Austin hardcore punks rage against the machine!

The hardcore punk scene sprang up independently all over the country, with some cities being more obviously driving forces than others. Austin, Texas isn't one of the most obvious hardcore cities, but it gave birth to some of the best and most seminal punk bands in American history.

The Austin scene was unusually open-minded, especially towards homosexuality. Two of the most prominent bands in the early Austin scene, The Dicks and The Stains (later to be known as MDC), were very pro-gay, and the lead singer of The Dicks, Gary Floyd, was himself openly gay.

The Dicks were not just pro-gay, they were also socialist; their band logo had a hammer and sickle in the "D." I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be a gay communist in Texas in 1980, but Gary Floyd perservered, and for his bravery he's found punk rock immortality. The Butthole Surfers named a song after him, and the Jesus Lizard covered The Dicks track Wheelchair Epidemic.

The Dicks Hate The Police is an awesome song for a number of reasons. For one, it just fucking rules musically. I love the name of the song - imagine if other bands had followed suite and we had The Beatles Love Her Do and The Rolling Stones Can't Get No Satisfaction. Anti-police songs are always welcome, but this track is especially powerful because it is sung from the POV of a cop. He's singing to his mother and father about the mayhem he causes, which gets right to the psychological center of why anybody would want to join the police force.

The Dicks moved to San Francisco, and they released records on the hyper-important Alternative Tentacles label. But even after the band folded Gary would be influential; along with drummer Lynn Perko (later of Imperial Teen) he would form Sister Double Happiness. As he got older, Gary would come into full possession of his blues belter voice, and Sister Double Happiness was one of the most influential pre-grunge bands.