Monday, July 25, 2011


(Please indulge me... This is the rather long introduction part, written courtesy of copious amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon...)

I am not a historian of rock music but I think that a major part of being one of those people has to be the undying belief that, despite all of the work of the writers and critics that have worked to shape the official history of rock and roll, the great American rock and roll band has yet to be discovered. It seems to me that to be a historian of rock and roll you have to believe that instead of being illuminated by the glitter and glam of broken guitar strings, smeared lines of cocaine, wrecked cars, and discarded groupie undergarments that Rolling Stone and VH1 would have you believe is how rock and roll evolved, the true story of rock and roll has, in fact, been clouded by those stories, and that somewhere inside of that quagmire there is a band waiting to be found that out-Stoned the Stones, out-Stooged the Stooges, out-Clashed The Clash, and out-Gunned Guns and Roses without really trying. At some point everyone writing about music must believe that somewhere there was a group of careless kids in some basement or garage pounding out shitty songs on shitty instruments that was so great that it drowned out the screams of their shitty parents: “Get a job!” or “Get a haircut!” or "Military School!". Kids who plugged their amplifiers into rich veins of a rock and roll destiny that rose and fell with one 45 released by a regional label, one show opening for AC/DC or Alice Cooper before they were big, memories of playing that one party where the cops got called and everyone got arrested and everything got destroyed and some guy was breathing fire and the drummer finally lost his virginity and no one really remembers because they all got too drunk and stoned. Then it all disappears in the blink of the drummer’s girlfriend winking at the singer or the crash bang of “creative differeneces” and everyone moves on or gives up. Haircuts and jobs for most, out of the garage and into the cubicle. One guy or two, maybe, holding out the dream playing in band after band hoping to make it or just have some fun and growing his hair long sitting at coffee shops downtown making friends with everyone and telling stories of the old days. And later the story gets retold in a Nuggets collection or just never gets retold and just settles among the dust in the rafters of the once cool rock and roll club that now houses a Verizon store or some fucking bakery or something. And maybe we should put a plaque outside, people say, because it was cool way back but still there's no money in it so maybe one day. What could have been always languishes in what was and where things will go is always a point of discussion for closing time at the bar around the corner.

That may be rambling, but for your honest music writer - critic, historian, real "journalist", blogger, or whatever – that band is still out there somewhere. Like I said, I’m not a music historian, but, for me, that band is The Dizeazoes, the first punk rock band in St Louis.

"As far as I know there was no other band like The Dizeazoes in St. Louis," says Paul Wheeler, who founded The Dizeazoes with Larry Dardick in 1973. "It was the music we were playing. It was the attitude we had. We didn't really think there was a place for us in St Louis. There were no bars for local bands to play anything but the most popular music of the day. We weren't doing that. We didn't want to do that. We had no intention of doing that. We didn't really think that there was an audience out there for The Dizeazoes. We didn't expect people to actually like us. About the most we had to hope for was that they might think we were fun, or funny."

"The band made a concerted effort not to take itself too seriously, especially in the early years," says Larry Dardick. "One of the main ideas was that we were playing for the enjoyment of it."

The Dizeazoes existed from 1973-1976 in St Louis. During that time they practiced hundreds of times but played only two shows, both house parties, and very few recordings of their work exist. This is the first part of a multi-part series which will attempt to tell the story of the band.

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