Quantcast
metroactive logo

Pop Punk Pioneers, The Dickies, at The Ritz

In Music
TOTAL DICKIES: Leonard Graves Phillips, center, and Stan Lee, center right, have remained the two constant Dickies members, since the band’s formation in 1977.

TOTAL DICKIES: Leonard Graves Phillips, center, and Stan Lee, center right, have remained the two constant Dickies members, since the band’s formation in 1977.

Birthed in L.A.’s late-’70s underground music scene—back when punk rock was still in its infancy—The Dickies are one of the longest-running and most entertaining punk bands to ever take the stage.

Formed in the San Fernando Valley in in 1977, The Dickies hit upon a winning formula with songs like “Stukas over Disneyland,” and “We Aren’t The World”—all of which feature fast tempos, simple chord changes and catchy melodies paired with goofy and satirical lyrics. It is a sound that would influence SoCal pop punk bands for years to come.

As they approach the four-decade mark, the band’s founding members—guitarist Stan Lee and singer Leonard Graves Phillips—continue to draw excited crowds.

“It’s bigger than ever!” Lee says of the band’s recent stints on the road. “There are lots of kids showing up—that is the one plus to the internet blowing up the record industry. There are young people coming up that know the words, and that’s got to be through YouTube and things of that nature.”

One of the Dickies best-known tracks is the theme song to the 1988 cult horror classic, Killer Klowns From Outer Space—which was filmed in nearby Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

The campy track paired perfectly with scenes of evil clowns tossing flesh-melting pies and trapping hapless human victims in cotton candy cocoons—even though Lee says he and his bandmates knew very little about the film when writing the song.

“It was just the movie title, I went over to Leonard’s and he had that riff,” Lee says. “I brought it into (the filmmakers’) office and they said, ‘Sold!’” Another well-known Dickies song, “Banana Split,” was used in the superhero-action-dramady Kick-Ass.

As the Dickies look back on almost 40 years together, Lee points to the basic foundation of the band as reason for their legacy and longevity.

“I think it’s the songs,” he says. “They hold up, it just proves that we were right. There was lots of animosity toward us and punk rock back then. People were saying that it was terrible and we just stuck to our guns. I don’t know… You stick around long enough and you get respectability—just like hookers and old buildings.”

The Dickies
Wed, 8pm, $16-$18
The Ritz, San Jose

Back to top