INTERVIEW WITH STAN LEE
INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON
INTRODUCTION BY STEVE OLSON
1, 2, 3, 4, The Dickies – from then to now – and then some. oh yeah, and don’t forget, go out and buy all their records. you deserve to have some fun. don’t listen to the man, listen to STAN LEE..
Hey, Steve. Did you get a copy of the new record?
I did and I like it, but you know I was a little kid when I first saw you back in ’78 so I liked you guys already. The Dickies had a big influence on my whole scene. I was a skateboard kid back then. We were long hair surf rat kids and you guys came along, and I cut my hair and everyone was like, ‘You’re a fag, you’re a freak, you’re a weirdo.’ I was like, ‘Whatever.’ So thanks so much for ruining my life.
“THE SEX PISTOLS HAD BEEN KICKED OFF THE LABEL AND HE TOOK US IN THE STUDIO AND RECORDED A FOUR-SONG DEMO THAT BECAME THE FIRST EP. THE PRESIDENT OF A&M WANTED A PUNK BAND THAT WASN’T GOING TO PEE ON THE WALL AND I GUESS THAT WAS US.”
Just kidding. When did you start playing music?
You could already play your instruments?
I started about three months before the band. The bass player and I had played a little.
What’s the reason behind calling it the Dickies?
Basically, we were fans of the ’60s. Remember the little shirts they called dickies? It was a fad that lasted all of six months and that’s about what we figured we were worth.
Why did you start playing?
Because we could.
It wasn’t because you heard the Dolls or because the music thing was happening?
Well, we saw the Dolls and Iggy in ’73 and then the punk rock thing was happening with the Ramones and the Buzzcocks, I had just started playing guitar and it looked do-able so we figured we’d make our first single.
What was your first single?
Well, we didn’t end up going that way because we got an A&M deal. It took us by surprise. Our first release was actually the 10′ Paranoid.
So, I have a 15-year-old son and I’m showing him these old punk rock records and I come across the single of the Banana Splits cover and I play it for him and he flips. He said, ‘This is the best song ever.’
(laughs) That’s very cool. It was a hit with 15-year-olds.
I mean he wasn’t hip to the Banana Splits show but he still liked it.
Yeah, the kids in London weren’t hip to the show either but they liked it too. I don’t really know why. That was our claim to fame. It went to number three on the Billboard charts.
Well, that was nice. And you got to tour at the beginning and A and M gave you tour support?
Yeah, we were one of the first LA punk rock bands to get a major deal. That happened because we had an English manager. The Sex Pistols had been kicked off the label and he took us in the studio and recorded a four-song demo that became the first EP. The president of A and M wanted a punk band that wasn’t going to pee on the wall and I guess that was us.
Was there any reason they went with a West Coast punk rock band?
No, just the sound, and their recorder had tape. It was the right time and it hasn’t been right since.
Why do you play an SG?
It’s the devil’s guitar. It has horns and it gets a good sound. I kind of liked the look of it and it fell into my hands.
So, you did fun songs too.
Well, that’s about all we did.
Was it because punk rock was just goofy or was there a strategy behind it?
Most bands were singing about ‘no future, life sucks’. That’s not what we were about. We were Valley kids. We had swimming pools and movie stars. We wanted people to forget about their problems and rock out for an hour.