Dickerson's Dream: Guitars, Girls, and Saving Rock-and-Roll
By Bridget Hall
few months ago, I sent my father a copy of Rhythm, Rhyme, &
Truth (Hightone/2000) by Deke Dickerson and his Eccofonics.
Getting Dad to listen to anything I listen to is only moderately
easy. Getting him to like anything I listen to takes an
act of God.
folks, God exists, along with all the saints and angels, because
Dad loved the record.
face it, though; people like my 58-year-old father from Arizona
aren't Deke's immediate target. It's the single ladies who come
to his shows that he aims to impress; women are the reason he
picked up a guitar in the first place. After playing the saxophone
in school, he switched to the guitar when he was 13 once he realized
"girls don't go for sax players-and when you're 13, there's no
reason to do anything if it's not going to get you girls."
also tries to reel the ladies in on his Website, www.dekedickerson.com,
with a photo of him wearing a long red cape with white letters
that read: "Deke the Bruiser/ 6 Foot 2/ Eyes of Blue/ 220 Lbs
of Missouri Mule."
if that doesn't make you swoon, then nothing will. But
if all you do is chuckle, then Deke won't mindseems
he likes to make people laugh. The Missouri-bred performer
peppers his shows with jokes ranging from rednecks to
politics and who wouldn't smile when songs have titles
even with his goofy sense of humor, Deke can't hide his obvious
talent. He started out with The Untamed Youth while in Missouri,
then created The Dave and Deke Combo and The Go-nuts following
his move to LA in the early 1990s. You can currently find him
traveling with the thrice-recorded Deke Dickerson and his Eccofonics,
who will release their long-awaited fourth album this Fall.
he is best known for his double-neck Mosrite guitar - he plays
with such natural ease, it's surprising he never owned one until
1992 - it is impossible to miss his voice, which sounds like Ricky
keep trying to sound like Elvis," says Deke, "but what I keep hearing
back is Ricky Nelson. I guess you just have to take your compliments
where you can get them. After all Ricky Nelson probably had more
chicks than he knew what to do with, right?"
some people classify him as "rockabilly", Dickerson attracts an
audience well beyond that genre. As he points out, "What I do
seems to be so oddball, and yet I have people from young punk
rockers to rockabillies, college alternative types, normal workin'
class joes, rednecks and elderly gray-haired people coming out
to my shows. They all dig the music."
Deke aspires to more than just a broad audience; he wants to save
rock-and-roll from extinction…and he's not shy about claiming
himself the chosen one.
the only good singer and good musician who has a great sense of
history and can point to the good records from every era and tell
you why they were made that way and why every other way sucks
both technically and emotionally."
adds, "I liken it to having a mechanic work on your car who knows
about every car ever made and who has a great set of tools. Do
you really want some 18-year-old kid with a screwdriver and a
hammer working on your car? Well then why would you want some
idiot who's never even heard a Gene Vincent record entertaining
you? I'd like to think I can single-handedly save rock-and-roll
from extinction. And trust me, it's an endangered species these