Deke Dickerson on Musicians With No Arms, His Three-Cent Royalty From Pandora

Deke Dickerson, the lightning-throwing roots-rock guitarist and champion of those old honky-tonking tunes your grandfather boogied to, plays tomorrow night at Big's Grill in Fullerton.

If you want to hear genuine hillbilly, rockabilly and rock-n-roll, check him out! 

We caught up with the Missouri native and longtime California resident, who is working on a new album and doing what he always does--touring America's b
and clubs, leaving a trail of pomade and sweat on 
the dance floor.

Tell me about this three-cent royalty check you got from Pandora.

(Laughs) Well, you know, I get this BMI statement every quarter and I actually make really good money on the things that I've had on TV shows and movies and other bizarre payout things like when they play your songs on airlines and things like that. I licensed all my stuff to Pandora and Spotify and I really didn't know what their payment scheme was, and like the first statement I got since I've had my stuff licensed with them, it's like, wait a minute, one of my songs was played 5,000 times, I make three cents? What the fuck? (Laughs)

It's not actually getting paid. I'm not really cryin' the blues, I'm doing OK, and the other things are definitely paying the bills, but I was just kinda shocked at how little those Internet subscription-type service things actually pay. 

Can you tell us about the project with the Trashmen you just wrapped up? 

The Trashmen are my favorite band of the 1960s. I know that probably sounds weird to a lot of people, but I think "Surfin' Bird" is the greatest rock-n-roll song ever recorded and to me, I place them on a higher pedestal than the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or whoever. 

Be that as it may, you might think that's weird, but I've been after them forever to let me sing "Surfin' Bird" with them. And then I was really just trying to get them back into the studio because they haven't been in the studio since 1988. Finally got them in the studio and it all turned out really good. They're playing great, sounds like the Trashmen, picked some cool songs to do and wrote a couple new originals. I'm really lookin' forward to puttin' out the new record. 

And what's on the horizon for you, as far as studio stuff? 

Well, I'm actually working on another solo album, trying to get the songs together for it and I think I'm actually gonna do a record that's a hundred percent rockabilly, which I've never actually done before, even though people think of me as a rockabilly artist or whatever. All my records are a hodge-podge of styles. I should probably make one record before I quit that's a hundred percent rockabilly, so that's the plan for the next one. 

You do a lot of covers on your records. Are you going to do some covers for this one?  

I generally try to do about half originals and half covers, but when I do cover songs, they're not Top 40 hit songs, they're really, really obscure covers that I dig out from some record nobody's ever heard, so it'll be kinda the same. In fact, one of the songs I want to do is a doo-wop song by a group called the Five Keys

What do you make of the roots-rock scene now and are there any new artists that you're into? 

I actually think it's stronger now that at any time since the Stray Cats, because you've actually got some artists like Imelda May and JD McPherson that are sort of flirting with mainstream success, and obviously you've got people like Brian Setzer and Reverend Horton Heat that have always been big-name draw artists, and so I think whatever is the reason, whether it's the Internet drawing everybody together and being able to keep a scene like that alive or whatever it is, it seems pretty damn healthy right now. 

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