45 dream dates moans on the phone front

Dream Dates

Websites:  No
Origin: Hamilton, Ontario
Biography:

This interview was originally broadcast live on CIUT 89.5 FM (University of Toronto's Radio Station) on Dec. 10, 2000. The transcript was then shamelessly stolen from Uglypop.com to be used here.

INTERVIEW

Greg Dick is a guy who is better known in these parts as the singer from the recently defunct TEXAS DIRT FUCKERS. The TEXAS DIRT FUCKERS were this awesome garage unit from Toronto that featured members from the HEARTBREAKERS and had the distinction of being joined by DEE DEE RAMONE on stage at one of their last gigs. They performed covers of the HEARTBREAKERS and the RAMONES, which made it very fitting and this all took place in Toronto, which made it seem surreal. Greg has been around in the punk scene since 1978 and has performed in many bands including the HOODOOs, THE MANGLERS, the KINONA NAILS, the CHOSEN FEW, and the ZOMBIE SEA SERPANTS OF LOVE. But Greg's first project was a band called the DREAM DATES from 1979 who were from the same place as TEENAGE HEAD and the FORGOTTEN REBELS. In "Back to the Front" fashion, Ugly Pop Records has just released the first of two eps by the DREAM DATES entitled "Moans on the Phone". We had a chance to speak with Greg Dick (a.k.a. Dikky Fix) about the release, the band, and the scene back in the late 70's and here's what he had to unearth.

- What year/period were the DREAM DATES around in?

FIX- Well Brian Deemer, the guitar player, and I got together in '78 and we originally got Dave McGee, who is currently drumming for the FORGOTTEN REBELS, he quit late in '78 to join a band called SLANDER - who actually put a record out and then went on to the REBELS - but the original line up of the DREAM DATES was in '79.

- Who else was around at that point from a band standpoint? FIX- Some of the better bands. That was a few years after the scene was going on in Toronto and bands were starting to break up and whatnot, but St. Catharines had a band called the UNKNOWNS that were just incredible and two of the guys went on to become DIRECT ACTION - that was Tim and Dave. There was a great band from Buffalo called THE ENEMIES. The DEMICS were still going. One band I would love to see get some recordings out from Toronto that were very much like the REAL KIDS / MC5 were the RAVING MOJOS. They were just incredible and I think there are some recordings out there. I'd love to see them surface sometime. My favourite band from the whole 70's scene in Toronto was definitely THE UGLY and I think they were still kind of going. Nightmare, the singer, was always in and out of jail, so they were kind of winding down, too.

- You were telling me that you were the youngest of the group...

FIX- Well pretty much because in '77 I was 17. I was underage. So I was basically sneaking in. And living in Hamilton at the time, it was kind of taboo, even in Toronto it would have been, to be listening to punk rock and going to see this kind of stuff so I would go to a lot of shows, drive in by myself or stand in a corner in awe. I was in awe more of the crowd half the time then I was the actual bands playing.

- How did you discover punk rock at that time? FIX- You could say that was when you played your first STOOGES record or your DICTATORS record, but I think I started getting turned onto it around '76. ROXY and CREAM were starting to show pictures of bands in New York - that is pretty much where I think it started with bands like the RAMONES, the DOLLS turned into the HEARTBREAKERS, and things like that. At that time, there was just photos, there was no actual recordings and eventually things started to surface.

- It seems like a network of older brothers, sisters, or friends from school usually turn people onto this stuff.

FIX- This was all pretty new. I found most times that if I mentioned this kind of music to my buddies at school half of them might be interested but as soon as their older brothers found out they would try and kick my ass or call me a fag or something. It wasn't the most accepted kind of scene back then. But there was a clique in Hamilton and Toronto and other places too.

- How did you meet the rest of the members of the DREAM DATES?

FIX- Deemer and I we hooked up... Dave McGee, he is five years younger, he was 13 or 14, he was really young. I just meet him through the Westdale scene in Hamilton, which is where TEENAGE HEAD were from and he was just kind of hanging around with that crowd. I started putting the idea together about forming a band, but I don't think I was serious and then one day he said I know a guy named Deemer that plays guitar and he is really good and we ended up going down and getting studio time and making some real horrible racket and continued to do so.

- Did the DREAM DATES play out much? Who did the DREAM DATES play with?

FIX- We played a lot. We played mostly in Toronto. It was just easier to get gigs. We did play in Hamilton though. There was less places to play. It was more of a weekend thing and it was pretty selective but there definitely was a group of people in Hamilton that were into it.

- Who did you play with?

FIX- We did shows with the REBELS, the VILETONES. Mostly we did our own shows. We did a lot of stuff...there was a boozecan down on Liberty Street, where we would do shows with the MOJOS and the UGLY and just whoever was around back then.

- Where did you play? What were the clubs/spaces called? What were they like?

FIX- In Toronto, the Turning Point seemed to be our home. It was a great great place. Long live Joe, the owner. I think I still owe him $50 bucks.

- And now it's a CA driving school...

FIX- Yeah, it's been a few things. It's above a McDonald's on Bloor Street. The Hotel Isabella, Larry's Hideaway. We never got to play The Edge. I mean again we were a younger band and we were just working on getting connected up and by the time we started getting some momentum, it was gone. Those were the places we played in Toronto.

- What were they like?

FIX- It was a really cool scene. It actually was a scene. You felt like something was going on. I got that feeling to when I first started going to shows. The first time I ever went to the Turning Point I saw people helping themselves behind the bar pulling beers out of a fridge. We were all kids picked on in high school and it was the one place you could go and feel like you fit in. It was great. Those bars you could go to them pretty much seven nights a week and you knew you were going to see a good band or a bad band trying to play that kind of music and there was always some people to hang out with. It was a lot of fun. I have never seen it duplicated, ever since.

- It seems to me that Hamilton had a fairly strong scene back then with bands like TEENAGE HEAD, the FORGOTTEN REBELS, and SIMPLY SAUCER... how did THE DREAM DATES fit into that scene?

FIX- SIMPLY SAUCER and the FORGOTTEN REBELS and TEENAGE HEAD were all bands that preceded us, but we didn't really emerge until 1979. We were younger than those guys, so we were more spectators watching them. But they were all big influences on me. I was actually quite close friends with Mickey from the REBELS and still am.

- He wrote something in the liner notes about the EP...

FIX- He actually wrote a song for us, at one point. He named the band. It was his name. He christened us with his name. We were trying to think of a name. We actually were originally called BORED YOUTH. Not to be confused with the Michigan hardcore band.

- Where did the name come from?

FIX- He says he got it by looking at himself in the mirror (laughter) and I believe him. He's a good looking guy. We tended to use it on a more sarcastic note. But it worked. Some people misconceived it as us being arrogant.

- Really. They didn't get the facetiousness behind the name?

FIX- No. Not everybody.

- That sort of answers the next question, I was going to ask what was the association with Mickey De Sadist, of the FORGOTTEN REBELS.

FIX- I met him... he worked with a friend of mine at Otis Elevator. I go down to meet my pal after work and I see this guy coming out and think "Wow, who is that guy ?" I ended up meeting him and finding out that we had a lot in common, musically. We've been friends ever since.

- The "Moans on the Phone" EP is dedicated to Crazee Harry. Who is Crazee Harry?

FIX- Crazee Harry is a guy I met at the start of the punk scene. I later figured out that he was from Hamilton. My summer job back then was to work at Dofasco in the steel factory and he use to go into the foundery with a pitchfork and his black leather jacket and his little Dee Dee Ramones locks under his hard hat and everybody hated him there. I would see him at shows and stuff and we became best friends. A really really good guy. He has a lot of insane stories. He wasn't called Crazee Harry just for kicks. He really was crazy. A great great guy and unfortunately passed away about a year ago, that's why we dedicated the record to him, but a big supporter of the band and big supporter of the scene.

- Were there a lot of punks from Hamilton?

FIX- Yeah. There was a scene that got bigger and bigger as time went on. Punk by '79 started turning into New Wave and Rockabilly and Spandau Ballet/Duran Duran new romantic thing and then eventually hardcore came around '82. I think it came a little later in Toronto then it did in other places, but it started all branching out. It just took so many different routes.

- Was there a defined scene in Hamilton or were you associated with a bigger Toronto scene?

FIX- What do you mean by that ? Towards Toronto.

- Yeah.

FIX- No not really. I mean sometimes... like TEENAGE HEAD kind of broke the ground for Hamilton bands because they were one of the few punk bands in '79 that could actually play their instruments and they were by far, musically, one of the hardest bands. There was... I found animosity from Toronto bands towards them, but being from Hamilton...

- Just because they were good...

FIX- Exactly and they drew huge crowds. At one point they could announce a gig at 3:00 in the afternoon and there would be a line up around the block at 6:00. So they really had a lot of momentum going for them.

- I wanted to ask you about your thoughts on hardcore. I know that you have had some interesting observations about the advent of hardcore and its effects on the punk scene. What are your observations?

FIX- Someone had told you that I thought it was the worst thing that had ever happened to punk. Well I think the worst thing that ever happened to punk was heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. As far as the difference goes, the punk scene was so much fun. It was a lot of style and a lot of sex appeal. It had a lot of fashion involved in it, not in a pompous way... it just had a lot of style to it. Where hardcore, it started out cool... like I loved BLACK FLAG and FLIPPER and the BAD BRAINS, but I found as it went on, I thought it started taking itself a little too seriously. It started becoming pretty political. It seemed like everybody kind of wore the same stuff. The style from it was gone. It was black leather jacket. It was a lot more anger involved, it seemed. It also seemed, at times, and I know there was exceptions, that a lot of the people in the scene seemed closed minded because they were rebelling against the fact that if they had a ten foot mohawk they couldn't get a job, but if somebody straight looking came to a punk show they would treat them really badly. So they weren't really giving what they were trying to get back. I thought that was a little bit hypocritical. Then I think what killed the hardcore was speedmetal and all that stuff. But there is a lot of hardcore stuff that I love. I use to go see BLACK FLAG everytime they played in Buffalo. I saw some gigs in New York. I went to A7 and places like that - Guildersleeves. So I like hardcore.

- You have a new EP coming out. Well let me ask you about the first one. It's called "Moans on the Phone". Tell us about the recording. Where did you do it?

FIX- We did it back in '79 in the basement of Richard Kill's house. He was a Hamilton guy who had a band. He had a 4-track recorder in his basement. Did an amazing job of recording bands. We actually got the original tapes that they were done on back then and Deemer, our guitar player, went and rented some of the original equipment and re-mastered it and we got Richard Kill... he's got a new tape deck that records better... and that's how this thing got re-mastered. It was pretty much a home made effort.

- How many songs did you record in that session?

FIX- Seven.

- So there are more songs?

FIX- Yeah... there are and we have a lot of live tapes, too, but the only stuff that we would want to use would be our studio recordings.

- Were there any other bands from that time period that recorded material but never had the recording released ? What were they like?

FIX- The UNKNOWNS and the RAVING MOJOS are two bands that I would love to see get unearthed. My favourite band back then was THE UGLY. A Toronto band with a real first rate hoodlum for a singer, Mike Nightmare, I mean he was the real thing. We all wished that we did more recordings. I wished the DREAM DATES did more recordings. But if we keep digging and digging, I think we can find more stuff. Again, we would like to get in touch with someone from the RAVING MOJOS and see what we can get because I think that would really surprise a lot of people. Just because when they came out...they had long hair and everything, but they were so cool, but because they had long hair they weren't really accepted by the soon to emerge hardcore scene. Actually, Hamilton really liked them a lot so they did really well there...

- Did the singer wear a beret with a plaid pattern?

FIX- He does now. Back then he looked like Brian Jones. And actually the bass player, Ken Fox, he's living in Brooklyn right now, I believe. He is currently in the FLESHTONES. Has been for quite a while.

- What did the RAVING MOJOS sound like?

FIX- They were a cross between the REAL KIDS, MC5... just a real first rate hard rock 'n roll band. Really, really good. Really American. It was funny, the guitar player actually plays for ALANNAH MYLES. He played on all those really huge hits that she did. Curtis is his name. Great guitar player.

- That's amazing, what some people have gone into. The song "Moans on the Phone", what is it about?

FIX- It's just about phone sex. Hanging out at home and being trapped in the parents house and not having any money to go out so you can only talk to your girlfriend on the phone type of thing. It is not too much deeper then that.

- What would be your favourite DREAM DATES song from a lyrical perspective and why?

FIX- "The mess you're in". That was about... I started to watch people deteriorate that were just partying a little too hard and that's basically what "The mess you're in" was about. So that was probably the one that was dearest to me, lyrically. "Heart Attack Rhythm" was definitely our anthem. That was the one that we really liked playing. It's funny that "Moans on the Phone" being the A Side... back then we would have picked "Heart Attack Rhythm", but... it seems like some of the more old school people tend to like the "Heart Attack Rhythm" song and most of the younger people that are listening to it really like "Moans on the Phone". I don't care, as long as people listen to it I am happy.

- What live did people respond to?

FIX- We did well live. Just like anytime it was always hit or miss but it just depended where you were playing, how many people were there... some of our best shows were probably opening for some of the Toronto bands, especially the more popular ones because when the room is packed, especially like in the downstairs Isabella, small room just jammed and you come up and just rock out. It was just a lot of fun doing that.

- What have your members gone on to do, musically?

FIX- Right after the band broke up, Stew and Ken moved to Toronto and we were really into the CRAMPS so we decided to do a CRAMPS knock off which we called the MANGLERS and we had a girl drummer, who I think was Christopher Ward's assistant down at CityTV, and we called her Maggie Mangler, and I was Dick Mangler, and we had Stew Mangler and Ken Mangler.

- Christopher Ward was the VJ for New Music... ?

FIX- He had some kind of a gig down there. It was before that....it was before Much Music and all that stuff had come out. It was PMM - Pre Much Music. (laughter)

- So what happened with the MANGLERS?

FIX- We played a couple of shows. Each show we would bring .&. We liked drinking. We would bring two cases of beer on stage and either throw them at people or drink as much as we could and play about 15 or 20 minutes and cause a whole lot of chaos. Actually, Shawn Pilot, a promoter back then, was the only guy that would let us play in his clubs. He loved it. Stew and I formed a band called the KIMONA NAILS after that with Jeffrey Campbell, who is in the REBELS now, and Mr. X, a Toronto bass player. Then Stew moved back to Hamilton and he started a rockabilly band and re-united with Deemer and they were called the SHACK RATTLERS. I, at the time, started a band called the CHOSEN FEW with Jeff Campbell and Dave McGee - both in the REBELS now - and we had a different bass player. That didn't last very long. And then after that I formed the ZOMBIE SEA SERPANTS OF LOVE with Brain Christopher, who is currently drumming in the SINISTERS, and also Mr. X from the KIMONA NAILS was playing bass and a guy named Peter Simpson on guitar. We did just a couple of shows. Nazi Dog had a heavy metal band called SEX TATTO 7 and we did a couple of shows with them. We played around, not too many gigs but we were around for a bit.

- How can people get in touch with you because I am sure there is questions that I haven't asked that other people would like to know?

FIX- There is a website. There is a whole lot of cool photos on it and we are trying to add t o it. I am about two thirds of the way through a pretty cool story about the band. Trying not to miss anything. They can go to www.uglypop.com and that will tell you how to get to our website and how to buy the record. It'll tell you what stores you can get it in or how to order it online, as they say. I am computer illiterate.

- Any last comments?

FIX- Thanks so much to Squelchtone and Ugly Pop for doing such a great job of putting the record together and I am just overwhelmed by the success of the 45 and I am looking forward to the next one.

Discography

Photos

45 dream dates moans on the phone front

Dream Dates

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