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  • Years Active

    1984 – present (33 years)

  • Founded In

    Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States

Underground avant-garde alternative rock band of the 1980s and 1990s. Originally based in Amherst, Massachusetts at Hampshire College, and at times also based in New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles. Arose in the same college musical scene that gave birth to Dinosaur Jr and also associated with the early grunge movement, especially the Seattle grunge bands including Nirvana. Known for four albums, very noisy concerts and band members' disputatious and disruptive attitude.

In 1988 the Supreme Dicks began to appear in New York clubs, like CBGB and The Knitting Factory. Their first New York show was at CBGB in July of 1988. They appeared on the bill as Dinosaur Jr, claiming to be that other band, on request of its own leader, Jay Mascis, who did not want to do a show that night. They were told that Hilly Kristal would never allow them in CBGB again, but this would prove untrue as the band developed a following of its own. Late 80's lineup became the core group for most of their tours and albums.

* Jon Shere - guitar, vocals.
* Daniel Oxenberg - guitar, vocals.
* Steven Shavel - vocals, slide guitar, theremin.
* Mark Hanson - drums, vocals.

The band has flirted with various religions including Pentacostalism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Judaism, the Medieval Knights Templar, and the Hare Krishna movement. Also known for their vows of celibacy and vegetarianism.

Known for its participatory attitude to performance. They often invited members of the audience on stage to sing and/or perform with them. This would be both the band's formula for success and eventually become their undoing as the possibility became known to disruptive individuals who began to stalk the group in the mid-90's, hoping to permanently become members. Among those who have played as honorary Supreme Dicks: Courtney Love, Neutral Milk Hotel, Beck, Cat Power, Jay Mascis and Lou Barlow, Jens Jurgensen of Boss Hog.

By the early 1990s the band had achieved a small cult status in the New York area and a large following in Europe. Their musical experimentation (they used experimental musical instruments, a cheap old guitar purchased at a garage sale for $3.00, noise makers, penny whistles, broken bongos, screaming, the babbling of a schizophrenic poet and other sources on their records and in their shows), and their unwillingness to compromise esthetic, financial or moral principles became combined to form a unique sound - sometimes grating, sometimes soothing, always different.

Several albums were released with very little commercial success, though some have achieved cult status among certain critical circles (Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth have published very favorable reviews of Supreme Dicks recordings, as has CMJ)

* - The Unexamined Life (Homestead Records);
* - Workingman's Dick;
* - This is Not a Dick;
* - The Emotional Plague;

In the late 1990s, the band began to disperse, with two members moving to Los Angeles and two members remaining in Northampton, Massachusetts. Two different groups now play as the Supreme Dicks. Steve Shavel and Mark Hanson play as the (East Coast) Supreme Dicks in and around Northampton, while Jon Shere and Daniel Oxenberg play as the (West Coast) Supreme Dicks in and around Los Angeles. In 2005 the West Coast Dicks opened for Dinosaur Jr for the opening show of their reunion tour.

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