I was first introduced to Dan Hicks by my then-girlfriend (later my wife and ex-wife), who brought Hicks’ albums Where’s The Money? and Last Train to Hicksville back from her years at a suburban Chicago college.
I was amused by Hicks’ indifference to modern musical trends. He wasn’t rock, or even folk, but something else altogether. Were it not for his wry lyrics and hippyish looks, he wouldn’t have seemed of our generation at all. (Harry Nilsson took a similar retro turn with his Schmilsson projects.)
Hicks (December 9, 1941-February 6, 2016) started out in the rock world as a drummer for The Charlatans, a San Francisco psychedelic band that was defining the genre with other local standouts, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
I saw the Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks in the late ’90s at the short-lived Rossi’s, an underground jazz bar in Minneapolis. As my friend Brian recalls, he walked through the crowd, playing, on his way to the stage. He opened by saying “I’m sure you’re all here to hear my big hit “Where’s The Money?” Well, we’re not going to play it.”
Whether he did or not, I can’t remember.