Dicks Hate Police, Love David Yow

Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid screamer headlines benefit

David Yow (left) guests with the Dicks at the 2009 Austin Music Awards. Gary Floyd raises his hands to rock – punk rock.
David Yow (left) guests with the Dicks at the 2009 Austin Music Awards. Gary Floyd raises his hands to rock – punk rock. (by John Anderson)

David Yow, the notorious Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid frontman who lived in Austin from 1975-1988, returns to town to front local punk legends the Dicks, whose singer Gary Floyd remains in physical and financial duress as he recovers from multiple knee surgeries and deals with being evicted from his rent-controlled San Francisco home.

Proceeds from the first weekend of the Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta – Friday at the Lonbranch Inn, with the Hickoids, Poor Dumb Bastards, Dollyrockers, and Bulemics; Saturday at Infest, with David Yow & the Dildoes, Pocket Fishrmen, Gay Sportscasters, El Pathos, Them Lovely Lollygaggers, Pure Luck, Rick Moorehead & His Ladies, Scorpio Rising, and Dark Planes – benefit Floyd.

Austin Chronicle: How did you get involved in this benefit?

David Yow: Jeff Smith called me, explained the situation, and asked if I’d be willing to do some songs with the Dicks. For me, that was a very, very easy question to answer. Yes!

AC: What was the climate of Austin’s early-Eighties punk scene and specifically what was it like to see the Dicks?

DY: It was incredible. I’d been a music fan for years and years, you know, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Then punk rock came along and it had never ever occurred to me that the spectators or customers at an event would ever be afraid of the band and I loved that idea. The Dicks were terrifying. They made great, well-written music, but there was always a good chance you’d leave with your head busted open.

AC: What impressions did you have of Gary Floyd, the band’s singer?

DY: He had such a great voice. One of the best voices in punk rock history, where he kind of had this Motown soul. It was like Diana Ross meets Johnny Rotten. Especially early on, he was fat, flamboyant, weird, gross, and scary. I think the first time I saw Gary, his hair was about a quarter-inch long and it was white except for a black rectangle of eight-inch hair in the back that stuck straight out. I thought, “Wow, that’s a wild-looking guy.” Sometimes he’d play in a nurse’s uniform and pull liver out of his underwear. It was inspirational and intriguing.

AC: When you were coming up as a singer a couple years later in Scratch Acid, did you channel what he was doing?

DY: No doubt about it! Not only Gary, but there were a handful of them. At the time, Austin punk rock was extremely exciting and really innovative. And – with the Big Boys, Butthole Surfers, and Sharon Tate’s Baby – theatrical. It was really something to watch, something to behold.

AC: Do you remember your first Dicks show?

DY: No, but I remember one time when I was a little punk rocker hanging outside Raul’s. We often didn’t have the $3 to get in so we’d just hang out outside. At the time, the Dicks didn’t have their 7-inch out yet, but I remember Buxf [Parrott, bassist] came out of the door pissed off about something and he kind of grabbed me and said, “Hey man, you wanna go smoke a joint?” I was really scared, but I said yeah. So we went to the parking lot of a Conan’s pizza and smoked a joint and I couldn’t believe it. I was completely fucking star struck. I couldn’t believe I was talking to Buxf Parrott. The Dicks were extremely important to me.

AC: Why are you calling this performance David Yow & the Dildos?

DY: I don’t know, I just saw that on Facebook!

AC: Do you think it’s because you’re fake Dicks?

DY: Yeah, you can’t call it the Dicks because Gary Floyd isn’t singing.

AC: How are you preparing for the concert?

DY: I spoke with Buxf a couple days ago and I said, “Why don’t you just email the list of songs you want to do,” and he said, “Why don’t you email me the list of songs you want to do!” So I said, “You want to do six or seven songs?,” and he said, “How about eight or 10?” So yesterday I made a list of the 10 songs I want to do. I think [El Pathos singer] David Duet might join us. I think Dottie Farrell might join us. I get there on Thursday and we’re practicing Friday and Saturday. It’s not rocket science, and I know I’m not going to do it justice, but it’ll be a blast! I love those songs.

AC: What does it mean on a personal level to be participating in a show that raises money for Gary Floyd?

DY: I’m thrilled to be part of it. The other day on Facebook, Gary thanked me and said, “How can I repay you?” I just laughed and said, “Are you fucking kidding me? I’m trying to repay you!” I’ve never done anything for him or those guys and they’ve done nothing but thrill me for years and years and years, so I’m glad to be able to help. I mean, more often than not, it’s disappointing how much money is raised by benefits, but every little bit helps, so hopefully we can raise some cash for him.

AC: Any David Yow news to report to your fans in Austin?

DY: I’m keeping really, really busy with acting and it’s been a blast. I just got back Sunday from shooting two movies, one in Brooklyn and one in New Jersey. I’m shooting another movie this weekend and I have two auditions this Friday. Acting is what I want to focus on now.

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David Yow, David Yow & the Dildos, Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid, Dicks, Gary Floyd, Buxf Parrott, Butthole Surfers, Big Boys, Sharon Tate’s Baby, Raul’s, El Pathos, Dave Duet, Dottie Farrell, Austin Corn Lovers Fiesta, Jeff Smith, Hickoids

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