Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Dan Hicks was born December 9, 1941 in Little Rock, Arkansas. His father was a career military man, serving in the Air Force. The family moved to California when Dan was about five, eventually settling in Santa Rosa, some 50 miles north of San Francisco.
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Dan began playing the drums while still in grade school. By the age of 14, he was playing gigs with area dance bands, and developing an interest in swing and jazz. Dan entered San Francisco State University in 1959, eventually earning a degree in communications. He began playing the guitar around '59, and developed an interest in folk music, playing in local coffeehouses.
In the spring of 1965, Dan became the drummer for a San Francisco folk-rock group called The Charlatans, who had never had a paying gig. They did, however, find employment that summer as the house band at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada. The wild drug-laced dances at the Red Dog were the direct inspiration for the legendary psychedelic San Francisco dancehall scene that blossomed shortly thereafter.
In addition to drumming, Dan also played guitar and sang with The Charlatans, performing some of his original songs. The Charlatans played for several years at all the noted San Francisco halls, but never achieved the commercial success enjoyed by other groups that came on the scene after them.
Dan had other ideas about the kind of music he wanted to make, and began putting together an acoustic act. Billed as "Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks", the group began as an opening act for the Charlatans.
Dan soon left the Charlatans to focus on the Hot Licks. Their efforts resulted in a recording contract with Epic Records. "Original Recordings" was released in 1969, but Epic's promotion of the album was lackluster, and it was not a commercial success. From 1970-73, with some personnel changes and a deal with Blue Thumb Records, the classic Hot Licks ensemble produced the critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums "Where's The Money?", "Striking It Rich" and "Last Train To Hicksville".
Dan broke up the Hot Licks in 1973, at the height of the band's popularity. He began a solo career of acoustic performances, and wrote music for movies and television, but to many it seemed that Dan had more or less passed from the national scene. In the 1980s, he formed The Acoustic Warriors, with whom he toured, and recorded the superb live CD "Shootin' Straight" in 1994.
Dan's latest opus, "Beatin' The Heat", featuring a new Hot Licks lineup, was released nationwide in August of 2000 by Surfdog Records. He tours extensively today.
Dan continues to delight his longtime fans, and has earned the attention of a new generation of music lovers.
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