The mighty Hickoids are still gracing the stage, in Texas and abroad. The formula that made them instant heroes in Texas and out on that dusty road is still as fun and and amazing as it was almost 30 years ago. The band has gone through some line-up changes over the years, but one thing remains the same: The Hickoids hit the stage, rock yer boots off and leave you yearning for another “roll in the hay”. The amazing and talented players that have shared the stage over the years is endless…. literally the best musicians that played their instrument would at one time or another, be a Hickoid for a night or for life. From their inception in 1984 in San Antonio, Texas, to their recent barn burner at Trophy’s on July 3rd, 2012, the Hickoids never fail to impress. I got a chance to throw some questions to long time Hickoids Jeff Smith and Davy Jones. And their answers were cooler and wilder than this humble scribe could have ever hoped for. For the sake of simplicity, Jeff will be JS, Davy will be DJ and I will be R&R.
R&R — The Hickoids got together when?
JS— Late 1983, early 1984.
DJ— I believe it was 84 when the Hickoids first started. It was an unsettled membership at first. I was not in the band though I was the first one to speak the word HICKOID and Jeff immediately took that ball and Runned with it.
R&R — Members at the beginning?
JS-– Myself, Jukebox on lead guitar, Harry Wilson on rhythm guitar, Flynn Mauthe on bass and Pat Deason on drums.
DJ— Jeff, Jukebox, Flynn Mauthe, Harry were early members and Buxf (Parrot) and Pat Dick of the DICKS did the first little Texas Tour! End of 84,early 85 Jeff asked Richard Hays and Arthur Hays to join on bass and drums and me on Rhythm Guitar to join he and Jukebox as the first “permanent” lineup..this is the group that recorded the first record.
R&R — The first show as the Hickoids was when and where ?
DJ— Jeff will have to answer. I forget.
R&R— Many I am sure, but could you share a favorite tour story ?
JS— This one might kinda’ sum up the early days…I guess 1986
0r ’87 we were in San Francisco and had just finished playing 4
or 5 dates in the L.A. area and then a couple in the
Bay Area. We were supposed to return to do a show in LA at a club that
was kind of notorious for jacking bands and then retrace our steps up the
Pacific NW. We really didn’t want to go and it was time to
leave if we were going to make the show. So, I called up the club and asked to
speak with the lady who booked the club. She gets on the phone and I say “Hey so
and so, this is Jeff from the Hickoids. We’re supposed to play there tonight but
we never got a signed contract back and there are several things we’re going to
need…” and she asks what they are and I go on to say “A gross of
Heinekens, $500 and a round of hand jobs for the boys”, knowing
we were very unlikely to get $100 and a six pack. She very politely responded
that we probably shouldn’t show up.
Crisis resolved. I’m pretty sure we took some acid and kept drinking as a form of celebration.
DJ— Yeah, it is hardly possible to answer that broad question! Is it almost gettin KNIFED in Odessa in a Redneck Rest Room? The band fallin APART in SF in the early 90s? Playin to my 2 people, my Dad and Peter Buck in Athens one time? I swear, we have had SO MUCH FUN these last few years doin’ whatever shows or WHATEVER we doin’…bein’ together and bein’ a band. Just bein’ the HICKOIDS now and NOT blotto so we can’t see or remember the shows and The Road…Every day we are OUT it is SURREAL, Funny & somethin’ I’m so grateful for. NEW stories and WEIRD experiences EVERY DAY> Can’t pick.
JS-– Probably my favorite memory of a Tacoland show was in ’85 I believe. We played with Tex & The Horseheads andPoison 13. Great night, whole place and the patio totally jammed. Everybody rocked, Smog from the Horseheads played with his pants down around his ankles. I passed out in the Horseheads camper for the ride back. Smog and Mike (Martt) destroyed two acoustic guitars along the way back to Austin. They were supposed to be in OKC the next night. I remember waking up with my feet hanging out of the back of the camper, really hungover and disoriented, hoping that I was not in Oklahoma.
Pinning down a particular Ram story is kinda’ difficult. He was such a funny man with a really dry sense of humor…bantering in Spanglish.
A little known piece of pop culture history is that the first place I ever heard anybody utter the phrase “that’s what she said…” was from Ram at Tacoland in the early 90’s. I used to work the line quite frequently while bartending at the Hole In The Wall, where Mike Judge would occasionally hang to come seeHomer Henderson. The line was introduced on “The Office” sometime in the late 90’s early 2000’s and the rest is of course, history.
DJ— Goin in the back room with RAM for a little Band Meetin was always good! He was a MARVEL of consistency…HEY PUSSY! Drink from the Paper Bag Mystery Bottle. SOMEBODY!! He was the greatest. And ALWAYS said THE HICKOIDS were his favorite band. One of the greatest TACO LAND moments was early on…TEX and the HORSEHEADS playin…everyone was mostly hangin on the patio of course and they start up-I come thru the door to see them ALL with PANTS around they ANKLES!! Well, not TEX! shux!
R&R— Do you guys still do the infamous Hickoids annual b-day parties ?
JS-– No that tradition only lasted a few years. And, we weren’t a band from around 1990 to the mid-2000’s so placing an exact age on the band is a dodgy prospect at best.
DJ— Haven’t we reached the age where one don’t really care to think about the BIRTHDAYS as long as they keep Happening?
R&R— The Hickoids members have changed over the years , Jeff and Davy are the “O-G’s”. Who are the current members of the Hickoids ?
JS— Myself, Davy Jones, Rice Moorehead
- Tom “Tony” Trusnovic
on guitars and general all around great utility guy (he started playing with us as our drummer last summer on tour) .
Lance Farley has been drumming with us since the beginning of 2012 and Scott Lutz plays pedal steel, keyboards and guitar and Jacob Schulze plays guitar and keyboards. So, we play as five piece up to a seven piece on occasion. Scott and Jacob both have young families so there availability is a little more limited.
DJ-– Now we are Jeff, Davy,Tom Trusnovic-guitar Rice Moorehead-bass Lance Farley-Drums and whenever we CAN we have Scott Lutz-Pedal Steel, Guitar, keyboards and/or Jacob Schulze-Keyboards,Guitar.
R&R— I know you guys have lots of different influences.. but is country music where your heart is ?
JS-– Naw, I’m a rocker deep down, but do love classic country.
DJ— Discussing Influences Jeff and I have always said Alice Cooper Band, Stooges are two of the bigger ones…We dig Older country-Roger Miller, Classic George (Jones) , Buck (Owens) , all of em. But we love Soul, Blues, Pop, psychedelic…you know whatever is WEIRD and WILD in all the genres!
R&R— What do you think of the “state” of “country” music today ?
JS-– It isn’t really country music. It’s a bunch of models singing pop songs with an affected twang. The songs themselves are awful and might have some pedal steel and “country” buzz words like “God”, etc., but it all pretty well sucks.
DJ— Modern Country is some fucked up POP! Boot Scootin Boogie Woogie BULLSHIT! Pure Tripe.
R&R— With the money in this business never being enough to survive, are you still doing it for the “LOVE” of creating and performing?
DJ— We definitely do it for love.
R&R— You guys practically wrote the book known as “Cowpunk“; although others like Tex and the Horseheads and the Loco Gringos would follow, how was the scene different to you in those early days ?
JS— I guess ourselves, Tex, The Screamin’ Sirens, Blood On The Saddle, Goober and the Peas all started around the same time. It was more kind of like the early days of the automobile where different people were working on their own version of it and then when it came to market we started comparing notes. I would never claim that we or any of those other bands were the first.
We had a lot of camaraderie — something that seems kind of lacking in a lot
of young musicians nowadays. People now are so focused on “making it” and being
famous, even as the “making it” part of it has become increasingly more
difficult to attain, define and quantify.
For my own part, I found it gratifying enough to scrape out a really paltry-assed living during the late 80’s. I never really believed we were going to be rich or sell hundreds of thousands of records.
DJ— Well, there WAS Multi-Zillion Selling COUNTRY ROCK before Jason & The Scorchers and HICKOIDS. Jeff and Jukebox conceptualized the band. Jeff was leanin to hard rock and Psych as well as country. Today…there are all kinds of country and cowpunky rock bands. The HICKOIDS were always kinda SENDING IT UP somewhat, the country thing… Listen to the first record-ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. That AINT NO COUNTRY I KNOW!
R&R-– Any “guilty pleasure” bands that you like? (for example mine are Foo Fighters, Adele and Weezer)
JS-– Not really, I listen to very little modern music. My “guilty pleasures” are Seventies Disco and early seventies album rock. Anyway, I don’t really subscribe to the theory of “guilty pleasure” — you like what you like. Just because a critic or the editor of some pompous, self-important website hasn’t ordained it should not diminish the personal relevance of any musical style or song.
DJ— 3/4 of what I listen to is “GUILTY PLEASURE” stuff! “Mr. Jaws“, “Blind Man’s Penis“…Porter Wagonner‘s “George Leroy Chickashea“..Been listening to VANITY FAIR’S “HITCHIN’ A RIDE” this weekend….I just LOVE Funny and Satirical in my records and the unintentionally funny. HICKOIDS were HEAVILY influenced by BLOWFLY!
R&R— Do you guys have any tips for bands seeking longevity ?
JS— Be prepared to go through some lineup changes.
DJ— Longevity? Stop drinking booze? Work on bein a LITTLE together and responsible in your life? Some former HICKOIDS haven’t MADE IT…We had to step back for awhile and get our shit somewhat together so we can enjoy bein a band now.
JS— That’s hard to say and doesn’t really concern me much. Rock-n-roll is an endlessly entropic continuum. You can pinpoint some originators, but it’s really all taken from here or there, remade, remodeled. Normally being a true originator of anything only assures that you will die drunk, broke and broken-hearted and alone. I have no intention of going out like that.
DJ-– I don’t know what our legacy is gonna be. I think the next few years will tell! We are playin better now than we ever have. Now I BELIEVE we haven’t made our best record yet! It’s evolving and with the crew we got now, Lance and Tom and Rice we gonna go on and do a BUNCH mo good MUSIC! Legacy lata.
R&R— Name three records that changed your life?
JS—Lou Reed “Live”
The Stooges “Funhouse”
The Deliverance Soundtrack
DJ— That’s an easy one…top 3..IGGY & THE STOOGES-RAW POWER….. NEW YORK DOLLS- 1st LP….. ROXY MUSIC-COUNTRY LIFE.
R&R— What can the many fans of the Hickoids expect in the future from y’all ?
JS— More of the same, except different.
DJ— HICKOIDS fans can expect a new CD to be recorded this year. West Texas Swing end of July real soon..We will keep doin shows and Touring regionally and doin what we do! If ya like some Mutant Rockin Country Punk with Humorous and Surreal Overtones we gotcha COVERED!
As I stated earlier, these cats never fail to deliver. If you don’t wanna be rocked, or you don’t have a sense of humor, the Hickoids are not for you. Though the members, both former and current, have been doing this for a many moons, they don’t show that common “rock star” self important attitude. These guys, in my opinion, have found a fountain of youth in staying true, overcoming the obstacles of life and rolling with the punches of time. And the Hickoids flash a prou , sometimes toothless grin, at every challenge they face. And by the looks of it, they will be gettin’ back in the truck and taking the hootenanny gospel to the hungry masses, for many years to come. And if you don’t know how exciting that prospect is, you may not have been baptized in the truth that is the Hickoids. Thanks to Jeff Smith and Davy Jones for taking their time to answer these questions. Thanks to every one who reads this, or supports local music in any way. We musicians are just voices in the wilderness, without we fans and supporters to hear their “cries”. Vive la musica and Long Live The Hickoids !!!!! ————- Justin Buzzcrusher