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Sweet Corn! The Hickoids

‘Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit’ ain’t no Harry Chapin tribute

By Kevin Curtin, 12:30PM, Mon. Aug. 12, 2013

The Hickoids at the last days of Lovejoys, 2012
The Hickoids at the last days of Lovejoys, 2012
photo by Maurice Eagle

Dirt-bag step-dads of cowpunk, the Hickoids have assaulted Central Texas with country-fried Tex-Mex sleaze rock since the Reagan era, peaking on 1989’s Waltz A-Cross Dress Texas, which featured “Brand New Way”: “We’ve got a brand new way of livin’ down here in Austin, Texas. We drink Budweiser every day and show the girls our peckers.”

This month, Austin/San Antonio’s corniest, horniest quintet finally discharges its long-promised full-length, Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit, a title they’ve been teasing for decades and thus demonstrating just how long these guys are willing to hang on to a half-assed pun.

Don’t call it comeback, though. The Hickoids have remained an area live staple since reforming in 2005 and Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit testifies to that, bottling the sweaty, smirking energy of their wild stage show. On Tacoland ode “Stop It, You’re Killing Me” and the Charo-esque “Fruit Fly,” you can almost hear shirtless singer Jeff Smith stuffing a microphone down the front of his pants and guitarist Davy Jones stomping around in floral goulashes.

No undigested kernel, Hairy Chafin’ – musically dialed-in, lyrically clever, and overall memorable – stands on its own as a superior rock & roll disc, regardless of the band’s epic history.

Even though they were blacking out onstage before I was born, the Hickoids have made an undeniable impact on my own musical pursuits. My band, Cunto!, was spawned from a “Musicians Wanted” add that used the Hickoids as a reference point. Once we started gigging, they booked us to open for them, giving us our first opportunities to play in front of people other than our friends, co-workers, and other bands.

Through his Saustex record label and annual Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta mini-fest, singer Jeff Smith has helped a slew of remarkable younger bands like San Antonio’s Piñata Protest and Mexico’s Copper Gamins get their music heard. Still, the Hickoids’ influence on a new generation, and thus their legacy, is one of leading by example. Not only have they survived the madness of three decades of punk rock – substance abuse, bandmember deaths, breaking up and reforming, etc. – they’ve proved you can remain a menace after all those years.

Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit comes out next Tuesday, Aug. 20, but you can snag a copy at their CD release show this Friday at the Longbranch Inn (1133 E. 11th St.), with Cunto! and Misty White opening.

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