SXSW Profiles

Playing Tonight

SXSW Profiles

Black Kali Ma, Atomic Cafe, 12am

From the pre-punk lunacy of Roky Erickson's 13th Floor Elevators to the post-punk chaos of the Butthole Surfers, Texas has borne singular punk rock bands. The Dicks, featuring Vietnam War conscientious objector Gary Floyd (born in Alabama; forced into the government's bidding in Houston) and San Antonio "terrorist thugs" Buff Parrot and Glen Taylor, along with drummer Pat Deason, were one of the best. When Floyd, speaking from his longtime headquarters in San Francisco, mentions he'll be staying with the Big Boys' Randy "Biscuit" Turner during SXSW, Austin's past rears its shaved head.

"The Big Boys were a great band," enthuses Floyd. "Biscuit and I had known each other before the punk thing even started happening. We'd always been very friendly with each other, because here was another big guy walking around that was pretty outrageous. Then, when the punk thing happened, all at once I was seeing him around Raul's and then he had a band.

"The Dicks were different. Glen was this genius guitar player, and really not recognized as [such]. But we chose to do the loud, sorta mean thing. The Big Boys were doing that, too, but they were doing it with a funk edge. Biscuit is a really great talent, a really great artist, and he was making these great costumes and shit, and I was just putting chocolate frosting in my panties to throw at the audience."

Relocating the group to the Bay Area in 1983, the Dicks Mach 2 gave way to Floyd's rootsy, pre-alt.rock act Sister Double Happiness, whose fierce, feral snarl was eulogized on last year's compelling A Stone's Throw From Love: Live & Acoustic at the Great American Music Hall 6/17/92. When Happiness divorced in the mid-Nineties on the grounds of music industry cruelty, Floyd cut five consecutive European-only blues albums, a natural bridge between SDH and his punishing new venture, Black Kali Ma. Sponsored by his friend Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label, Black Kali Ma's debut, You Ride the Pony (I'll Be the Bunny), skins the blues alive.

"That must have become so natural, because I hear that from people," chuckles Floyd. "See, I was intent on staying away from the blues with Black Kali Ma, but I just can't. Somehow, it still comes out. I listen to the early Dicks stuff and I hear a little tinge of that every now and then. I guess it's just ingrained because it's rock & roll music."

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