The gasp that came out of my mouth when I discovered that Dan Hicks would be playing at the Pub & Grill at the Santa Fe Brewing Company on June 27 scared everyone in earshot.
It was loud.
Nobody could blame me though; I’ve listened to Hicks my whole life and consider him to be among the finest musicians ever. As a lad, I nearly lost my shit when the Hot Licks disbanded and Hicks began fronting the Acoustic Warriors. Sure, the songs were still great, but it just wasn’t the same. Time and again, I pumped Where’s the Money and longed for a reunion.
So imagine the scene in my kitchen the other day: me staring at Dan Hicks’ phone number, trying to play it cool. I would have to conduct myself in a professional fashion while talking to one of my musical heroes.
It was rough, man.
Hicks is a true renaissance man. His songs and albums run the gamut from country and Western swing to pop and folk and all styles in between. Humor is a major part of his songwriting process, as is proven throughout his entire catalogue. I love a musician with serious chops who doesn’t take himself seriously. It makes Hicks far more accessible and likeable.
With so many bitchin’ albums and a razor-sharp wit to boot, surely fans gush at him all the time. I couldn’t stop myself from telling Hicks he is a legend, though I was sure he had heard it before.
“No, not really,” Hicks says. “I get told a lot of things, but I’ve never been called a legend.”
When asked if music was always a part of his life, Hicks responds, “I like being me, and I like playing music. It’s not something I’ve ever really thought about, but it’s always been something I’ve done.”
True. Since the ’60s, Hicks has been in one band or another, releasing albums. Though he began as a drummer, a move to Santa Rosa, Calif. in the late ’50s found him picking up the guitar and playing throughout the Bay Area. The Hot Licks was founded in 1968, and the rest is history.
It’s been five years since Hicks has released an album, but his latest release, Tangled Tales, was worth the wait. Clever and charming, the album is classic Hicks and features some stellar guest musicians. David Grisman and Charlie Musselwhite make appearances, as well as some of the original Hot Licks members. But why the long wait?
“Sometimes I don’t like the process of recording. I’m not real prolific at turning out discs, and the tedium wears on me. I’m going to try my best to put a new album out in less than five years next time, though.”
I’ll be waiting, Dan. In the meantime, You’ll see me when you come through Santa Fe. I’ll be the guy weeping and screaming like a girl from the ’60s at a Beatles concert.
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
7:30 pm Saturday, June 27
The Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company
37 Fire Place