D.I. – Don’t Mess Around With the Punks Dude!

So…Imagine yourself as an adolescent in 1983. C’mon…indulge me here.

It’s 1983 and your parents are in their mid-to-late-thirties. Maybe even their early thirties or forties. Regardless of exactly how old they are, they lived through the 1970′s and may even remember the heady days of the late 60′s. They are boomers through and through. And with their boomer status they feel they have seen everything, done everything and thought of everything.

You wanna listen to black music? That’s cool…you can borrow their Jazz LPs or Donna Summer LPs. Overthrow the state? How nice…just like Patty Hearst! You will grow out of it. Sex? They remember when Deep Throat played at hip mainstream theatres. Drugs? Do I even need to address this one?

They have a lock on popular culture. Prince is recording his Paisley stuff. When did Wonder Years with Fred Savage come out? It’s all a blur….bleargghhhhh!

SO what was the one thing that could really piss off your parents and the dominant ideology of the day? How about this….

Yes, Casey Royer from the back of the first Adolescents LP. This was everything your parents feared in one simple photo. Check it out! The guy is pockmarked and drug addled looking. His hair is vaguely aryan which is reinforced by his swastika spray-painted on his sweatshirt. He looks nihilistic and ready to kick your ass.

At this point boomer-mom (or dad) would undoubtedly start to retch. “Ughhh…everything we worked for…all for this?” Then they would look at the song titles…

“I Hate Children!!! Get this shit out of my house.”

At which point you get to deliver the much cherished, uber-rare “boomer-slam”.

You say, “I thought your generation was all about freedom of expression but you are dictating what I can or can’t listen to! You people are hypocrites!”

You bolt out the door. Adolescents records in hand and you invariably end up at one of your buddies’ houses where you hang out in the basement smoking weed, listening to Kids of The Black Hole and ripping on the Me Generation. Maybe later in the night you go destroy private property or something…who knows? The world’s an oyster.

And what does this have to do with today’s post? Well Casey Royer went on to form DI. the seminal Orange County band. He moved up from behind the drum set and became the singer which is really where he shoulda been.

DI was an amazing band in the mid-to-late-eighties but they suffered from a few things. First of all their albums were incredibly poorly packaged. No flyers or lyrics or anything. Second of all, they recycled the same songs from album to album which just screamed “lack of material”. Third they were too late. By the time they started really spreading the word the SoCal thing had waned and in its place was the dreaded posi-core. The Adolescents first album came out at the zeitgeist. The DI albums seemed retro when in reality the corpse wasn’t cold yet. Look at the other bands on this flipside cover. Notice anything?

Another element that hurt DI was the perceived reactionary element to their lyrics. Guns for instance. Was it pro-gun or anti? They weren’t telling you. And as the post-Ian Mackaye kids got increasingly politically correct, DI seemed in poor taste.

Except to me. I always loved em. I get a perverse thrill out of offending uptight people and Casey never disappointed me….except they needed to not recycle songs. The albums are all still in print but here is a sampler of the first three. My favourite and the one to start with is Horse Bites Dog Cries which contains their best versions of Hang Ten In East Berlin and Guns as well as the amazing Youth In Asia.

Casey and co are still kicking it today. They were recently on Monster Garage. They recently did a benefit for Brent Liles’ family who, by the way, is taking some heat from a moron on KBD Records who recently discovered The Maids and is now a fuckin’ expert on all things punk. Whether you are hearing these records for the first time or revisiting them ….DI effin’ wrules..

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17 Responses to D.I. – Don’t Mess Around With the Punks Dude!

  1. Holmes! says:

    Heretic!

    I Kill Children is DK’s! The Adolescents merely *Hate* Children.

    Love the site!

  2. mrow says:

    I too related deeply to that pic of Casey, as a kid trying to survive. Thanks for this post.

  3. Joe Stumble says:

    Yo Holmes — you are so correct. I was actually home sick when I posted this and wasn’t thinking straight. I changed it in the post. Funny thing is, while I was writing this I was thinking of the DKs because I had a similar experience with my parents as the one I detailed over “In God We Trust, Inc.”

    Mrow – Yeah the whole band on the back of the Adolescents LP was dead-on to any self respecting suburban HC kid in the 80′s. Casey in particular, looked like everything that scared the shit out of my parents.

  4. Anonymous says:

    truth be told i think the best thing casey ever did was to star in the xxx film little runaway….

  5. Joe Stumble says:

    Casey was in a porno?????

  6. Joe Stumble says:

    Had to google that.

    http://www.77miles.com/display_product.jhtml?id=117390#fulldescription

    A porno version of “Suburbia”!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Malfeitor says (since blogger won’t take my password):
    The porno was directed by “Jim Powers” who used to play in Killroy. He is amazingly prolific in this field, check it out:
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0694552/

  8. ponk-111 says:

    one of my favorite all time bands. D.I. fucking rocks. period.

  9. fred says:

    The Detours original version of Hang Ten in East Berlin (w/ Casey and Rikk Agnew, I beleive) was on that OC punk/new wave comp “Up Another Octave” from about 1980. I don’t think Casey was singing on that one.

  10. Joe Stumble says:

    Yeah the Detours version is a classic. I played that version when I guested on the Scene of the Crime. Podcast available here.

  11. Anonymous says:

    DI were and Are one of the definative OC/LA punk bands of the 80′s. Saw them numerous of times in San Francisco and they always put on great shows. They do have a few newish songs on some comps that hint that they have not lost it one iota!! Good post!

    Kennyhel77

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think you’re wrong when you say that D.I. became retro in the mid to late 80′s.

    D.I. represents the best of the ‘OC Punk’ sound that combines SURF guitar with punk rock. In the mid 80′s I was living in NYC and I hated the NYHC sound with its heavy metal guitar sound and became a huge D.I. fan.

    I have NEVER heard a bad D.I. album and D.I. managed to release a lot of good albums – whereas the only good Adolescents album is the first one (plus the Welcome to Reality EP).

    D.I. avoided the political correctness of the time and therefore their lyrics still hold up today. I regular listen to all of their albums but their best work, IMHO, is ‘Horse Bites, Dog Cries’.

    If you like the sound of California Punk, and like that OC Surf Guitar sound in your hardcore, then D.I. is one of the very best bands in this genre !

  13. Joe Stumble says:

    I didn’t say that D.I. became retro. I said that D.I. seemed retro due to passing fads and other bullshit. BIG difference. I also am not trying to compare D.I. to the Adolescents…I like them both equally.

    Separate the messenger from the message, man. Just cuz I report the news doesn’t mean I fuckin’ agree with it.

  14. Joe Stumble says:

    By the way…I am glad to see all this love for D.I. from everybody.

    Almost gives me renewed hope for humanity.

    …almost.

  15. luckyslc says:

    great post!! yep, i have to agree with everyone above. D.I. was/is a great fucking band. “horse bites dog cries” is in my 10 ten list (maybe top 20). they slipped a little after this (rikk agnew left the band?) and recorded “what good is grief to a god?”, but “tragedy again” was pretty good. now if i could only find the old D.I. skateboard deck from Circle A…

    “C’mon you homos, give her her clothes back!!”

  16. Joe Stumble says:

    My favorite Casey quote:

    “What do girls from the Valley put behind thier ears?”

    “Thier ANKLES!”

  17. Mr Fab says:

    Everything about that story is true except the timeline – I was 17 in 1983, living in the Valley, a typical Rodney-listening, DI-loving suburban snot. But my parents were WWII-generation, in their 50s by the Eighties. They were in their late thirties when they HAD me! And, strangely enough, so it was with a lot of my friends.

    My mom WANTED me to have short hair like Casey. If I grew it long she said I “looked like a beatnik.” So, yeah, punk puzzled them. But so did everything after the Big Band days.

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