Wednesday, August 04, 2004

"Hickoids?! I gotcher corn right here, bubbas... 'n' stay ways from muh Jenna!"

The Hickoids

We're Only In It For The Corn
Toxic Shock, 1987
(no longer in print)

Actually RECORDED in 1985 and not the best recording or remastering ever.

The Hickoids were a storied* group of guys who took the whole early Meat Puppets idea of combining thrash with country-western and just rode the hobby horse all over the place - covering all aspects of the genre from cowpoke, to honky-tonk, to Elvis-in-Vegas-hell ("Burning Love") to dead-drunk Hank Williams-style ("It's a Beautiful Thang") to even classic TV western themes ("Williamanza" is Lone Ranger's theme combined with Bonanza and played real fast), hillbilly thrash ("Hee Haw").

You're tempted to classify them as a Texas Dead Milkmen but then they come up with some more interesting stuff in "Say So Long" and "Longest Mile" that suggest they weren't just a joke-band. "Desire" sounds like something a more raw, drunken Modest Mouse might've done. And I'll bet its the only Toxic Shock record with a Farfisa Organ ("Longest Mile") and honky-tonk Piano ("Say So Long"). This was some pretty original stuff for 1985 and while they never really went, say, where the Buttholes were going and later Southern Culture on the Skids, it's worth a spin occasionally. I might also add, the fact they became a Austin-San Antonio scene staple (in DC they would have been shunned fer their sinnin' ways) attests to why so cool bands came out of those desert towns (we'll get to one of Scratch Acid some day) during the '80s.

So... Richard Hays diedin 2001 and bein' he was one of the forces behind the group, the sober guy who drove the van and played bass and all the extra keyboard parts (that's him banging away behind "Say So Long") and knew how to read music (played French Horn in the local symphony!) ya'd think they'd break up... but hell it's too much fun and no doubt he would've wanted 'em to stay together.... so far as I can tell.... Davy Jones and Jeff Smith are still kicking around Austin and played as the Hickoids as late as 2002 for the Hole in the Wall closing month (since re-opened).

*There's alot of Hickoid stories including one that Gibby tells about how they once crashed at a girls house and mistook her stereo for a toilet but I'd swear that this Hickoids story tops 'em all:
A guy I work with told me that this is his favorite Austin band. They hadn't played in a long while, so we went. It was a benefit for one of the members, whose house had burnt down. He didn't show up. The band still played, and they were very much the kind of old-school Austin band I expected. Drunk & strange. They played the gamut: country punk to punk to sing-a-longs. I read the next week in the Chronicle that the guest of honor didn't show since he was pulled over about 2 blocks away for drunk driving. It said the proceeds from the show wound up going to bail the guy out.
(from Greg Bolsinga's massive show diary website)

This record is VG+

Say So Long


Eric said...

thanks for inspiring me to pull out my old copy of "Hard Corn" and give it a spin. This is fast becoming my favorite read. Keep up the excellent work!

Jim H said...

I was surprised that some of this has stood up pretty well and the more I listen to it "in the mix", the more I'm liking it. I don't THINK I have Hardcorn. I hope they found a better recording engineer and studio.

Anonymous said...

dude im totally lookin fer this...can ya burn me a copy?you can reach me at be willin to trade thanks