All downhill from here

09 waiting for the swelling to go down

(“Waiting for the Swelling to go Down”)

If there were any justice in the world, one would see the word Hickeyesque in record reviews.  It wouldn’t be weird that there are people with Hickey tattoos.  References would turn up in pop culture, perhaps when one cooly suggests “the kittens will have their say”, perhaps when discussing the all-time best non-Tom T. Hall funeral songs, perhaps even in discussions of the great rock operas.

Critics would savage a certain California ska-core band, if only because they never understood their horn wasn’t what was important but “merely an instrument playing an inanimate role in a chain of events.”  Hickey would persevere – their music would be marketed the way the music of pop stars and jazz singers is re-sequenced and put on the counters in coffee shops.  The Intimate Hickey, Hickey for Lovers, and so on.

And the forthcoming reissue of Various States of Disrepair, the 1997 compilation of Hickey’s 7″ EPs, compilation tracks and unissued recordings, would get airplay.  So much.

There is no justice, as evident from the many readers regarding all this hyperbole with suspicion and asking themselves, “What the fuck is Hickey?”

HICKEY, Naked Cult of

Punk rock band from San Francisco who released numerous EPs and a single full-length album during their short career. Hickey released and distributed their own records, which featured elaborate artwork and extensive liner notes. The band’s subject material was often dark.

"Art, Messianism and Crime" EP (1)

"Art, Messianism and Crime" EP (2)

 Allmusic.com and other sites don’t even bother trying to venture a description – probably for the best, given their their, um, track records.  What is Hickey?  Even fans can’t tell you.

19 hey cutie pie

(“Hey Cutie Pie”)

Maybe there’s something to Lester Bangs’ basic rule of rock and roll – it’s just that some bands are noticed in their time and some aren’t.  Perhaps Hickey is the future Velvet Underground.  Could it be that although only 100 people bought Art, Messianism and Crime all but a few of them formed bands?  Could we be reveling in the era of the “Hickey generation”?

Could it also be possible, as once promised, that “the secret of eternal happiness [is] revealed here on this dumb record by this obscure band?” Maybe so, or maybe the record will show us the way to find the secret inside our own hearts.

15 gaia

(“Gaia”)

And yes, Hickey was once refused pay for making remarks about a headlining act’s label (90s punk rock politics), and resorted to stealing a trumpet from said group. It is also true that they filled the trumpet with pudding and returned it, and that they recorded a “split” single with the band, pressing the headlining act’s answering machine threats on one side. And playing the trumpet.

30 page book that came with the "split record" which included essays such as "The Horn of Dilemma" and handwritten correspondences about the stolen trumpet.

voodoo glow skulls!

(Recorded on Hickey’s Phonematic 6900.  This goes on for eight minutes.  Oh, and don’t play this while your kids are in the room.)

What is Hickey but awesome?  Think about the records you bought in 1996. How many of them do you still have, and how many of those do you actually play?  How many are CDs on the bottom shelf (the one where you put Dookie)?   Now imagine you’re giving your friend a ride – let’s say it’s that cool friend who’s in a band.  Let’s say you left the radio turned up when you got to his job at the cool place where you like to go, and when you start your car and the radio’s going to turn on REALLY LOUD…  Do you really want it to be the day you were listening to this

spin doctors

or the day you were listening to “El Farolito”:

el farolito web

1234Go! Records will be reissuing Various States of Disrepair on March 30th as a double LP.  This new version will feature nine new tracks from the Hickey archive.

Yes, we will have this record in stock.  You can add classics like “Last Night on the Planet” and “Revolution $19.95” to your collection, which will finally be complete.  It’s all downhill from here.

  1. Crazy Mouse’s avatar

    Nine new tracks! I’m so excited I just peed Craig’s pants a little!

  2. craig’s avatar

    I’m so excited I just peed my pants a little!

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