Pop-punk originators the Dickies have never been shy about their love for the Ramones, and not just the pure pop masterworks co-created by Phil Spector. The San Fernando Valley band worships every twisted doo-wopian hook their New York forefathers ever committed to vinyl, and it shows on virtually all of their releases. They even have their own Rock & Roll High School, the 1988 cult flick Killer Klowns From Outer Space, for which that year’s version of the Dickies wrote the theme music. They’ve far outlived Joey and the boys now, with 40 years of history and over two dozen ex-band members behind them, several now deceased (including a suicide, heart trouble, pneumonia, and a heroin overdose while touring with the Smashing Pumpkins). The Dickies pretty much gave up on recording new music after All This and Puppet Stew in 2001. They’ve mainly been cruising on the fumes of various live albums, EPs, and video compilations, which have been bringing them to San Diego pretty much annually for the last decade, as they’ve made the rounds from House of Blues to 4th & B, Til Two, the Griffin, the Jumping Turtle, Brick by Brick, and the Casbah.
Their next local appearance happens May 18 at Soda Bar, where it’s likely that you’ll hear a lot of their recent concert album, Banana Splits, titled for their most famous offbeat cover tune, from a 1960s kid’s TV show by H.R. Pufnstuf creators Sid & Marty Krofft. Given that the tour poster features the giant Saturday morning cartoon robot Gigantor, it’s a safe bet that their beloved cover of that ‘toon’s theme song will appear on the setlist as well. They’ve also been favoring crowds lately with a hilariously overblown take on “Nights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues that sounds like something Angels & Airwaves would inflict straight-faced and serious onto a horrified audience of Blink-182 fans.