Dan Hicks on Folk & Beyond
Aer Stephen hosts Dan Hicks on Folk & Beyond
Thursday June 9, 6-7PM
Join Aer Stephen as he talks with "The Walkin' One and Only" himself,
Dan Hicks. June will be a great month for the Hixters around Virginia,
as Dan will be appearing at the Lime Kiln in Lexington on Sunday, June 12,
and at the Birchmere in Alexandria on Monday, June 13.
"There's no one else who sounds like Dan Hicks, who writes like him,
who has that dry sense of humor, or has that manner on stage. He's
really one of a kind."
-- Alec Palao, San Francisco Weekly
Singer-songwriter Dan Hicks is truly an American original. Since the early
1960s, Hicks has deftly blended elements of Swing, Jazz, Folk and Country
music to create the appealing sound he sometimes calls "Folk Jazz".
His lyrics range from the simply sublime to the sublimely ridiculous,
all presented with his uniquely skewed and inscrutable touch.
Dan's irresistible sense of rhythm, hip lyrical styling, laid-back
vocalizing, and infamous on-stage wit will make most who listen fans
for life. He's also a snappy dresser.
Aer and Dan will discuss and listen to several tunes from the
critically acclaimed CD, "Selected Shorts"
New Studio CD - "Selected Shorts" - Released November 9, 2004
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks' new album Selected Shorts boasts
contributions from Hicks' fellow iconoclasts Willie Nelson,
Jimmy Buffett, Van Dyke Parks and head Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes.
The thirteen-track concoction of jazz, swing and folk features the
veteran Hicks backed by a band composed of legendary drummer Jim
Keltner, bassist Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan) and original Hot Licks
violinist Sid Page, as well as some female call-and-response provided
by the Lickettes.
Dan Hicks was born December 9, 1941 in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son
of a career military man. The family moved to California when Dan was
about five, eventually settling in what was then the small city of
Santa Rosa, some 50 miles north of San Francisco.
Dan began playing drums while still in grade school. He played snare
drum in his school marching bands, and by the age of 14 was playing
gigs with area dance bands.
In High School, Dan developed an interest in broadcasting, and had
a rotating spot on a daily 15-minute local radio program called
"Time Out for Teens". He entered San Francisco State College in 1959,
eventually earning a degree in Broadcasting. He also began playing the
guitar around '59, and started playing folk music in local coffeehouses.
In the spring of 1965, Dan became the drummer for a nascent San
Francisco folk-rock group called The Charlatans, who had never had a
paying gig. They did, however, find employment that summer as the house
band at the newly-opened Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada.
The wild hallucinogen-laced dances held at the Red Dog were the direct
inspiration for the legendary psychedelic San Francisco dancehall
scene that blossomed shortly thereafter.
In addition to drumming, Dan also played guitar and sang with
The Charlatans, performing some of his original songs. The Charlatans
played for several years at all the noted San Francisco halls, but
never achieved the commercial success enjoyed by other groups that
came on the scene after them. As Dan explains it, "The Charlatans were
kind of dysfunctional anyway. There was no real management, and it was
just kind of some loose guys".
Dan had other ideas about the kind of music he wanted to make, and began
putting together an acoustic combo which included two female backup
singers, who were dubbed "The Lickettes". Billed as Dan Hicks And His
Hot Licks, the group began as an opening act for The Charlatans.
However, Dan soon left the Charlatans to focus his energies solely
on the Hot Licks.
Their efforts resulted in a recording contract with Epic Records.
"Original Recordings" was released in 1969, but Epic's promotion of
the album and the group was lackluster, and it was not a commercial success.
After some personnel changes, and a deal with Blue Thumb Records,
what had then become the "classic" Hot Licks ensemble went on to produce
the critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums "Where's
The Money?", "Striking It Rich" and "Last Train To Hicksville". But,
owing to pressures both internal and external, Dan broke up the
Hot Licks in 1973, at the height of the band's popularity.
Dan then began a low-key solo career of acoustic performances. He wrote
music for commercials, television, and movies-- including the music
for a never-released Ralph Bakshi animated film. That music was
eventually packaged and released in 1978 by Warner Bros. Records as
"It Happened One Bite", with cover artwork by Dan.
In the 1980s, he formed The Acoustic Warriors, a male combo with whom
he toured. In 1994, they recorded the superb (and now out-of-print)
live CD "Shootin' Straight", for the Private Music label.
Dan signed with Surfdog Records in 1998, and together they produced
"Beatin' The Heat", Dan's first studio opus since 1978. It featured a
return to the Hot Licks name and format - complete with new Lickettes
- and was released nationwide in August of 2000. It garnered rave
reviews, and was chosen by Time.Com as one of the Top Ten CDs of 2000.
A live CD ("Alive & Lickin'") soon followed.
In September of 2003, Surfdog released a DVD/CD package featuring much
of Dan's 60th Birthday Bash concert, as well as interviews with musicians
of note talking about Dan's influence.
Today, Dan tours worldwide with an updated version of the Hot Licks, and
also plays various jazz venues purely as a vocalist. For more on Dan, take
a visit to Hicksville on the web at