Today Jeff Smith of the Hickoids tells us about the song "The Working Man's Friend" from their brand new album "Hairy Chafin' Ape Suit," which was released this week. Here is the story:
Sometime in the last half of the 1980's I was living with Hickoids bass player Richard "Dick" Hays and his wife in South Austin on El Paso Street. Dick was a super sweet guy, soft spoken and a great musician. He was also very stubborn and could be quite the ham.
We were perpetually broke. (We had another tune called "Wishin' For Chicken" about starting a fire in hopes that someone would bring by something to slap on the grill, but that's another story.) One of Dick's erstwhile occupations was flower delivery man which gave him a pretty good knowledge of the city streets and surrounding Hill Country area. He always had some commentary on the landmarks and routes along the way which he delivered with a great deal of authority in his voice.
So, maybe two miles away from our house there was a gas station called "The Working Man's Friend"…I think all they sold was gas and cigarettes, super no-frills. The gas was normally maybe a penny or two cheaper a gallon than everywhere else around. If memory serves gas was somewhere around a buck at this time. Dick insisted on buying gas there even though there were at least three or four stations nearer to us. Also because of our impoverished circumstances it was normally bought in increments of couch change or with pennies, maybe two or three bucks at a time, so the savings was highly negligible.
If this ritual wasn't maddening enough, Dick also insisted on taking what he referred to as a "shortcut" instead of going the direct route that only required one turn. It involved driving the opposite direction about a mile out of the way through multiple stop signs and stop lights.
Dick passed away in 2001. I still miss the sweet and stubborn man. I wish I could take that "shortcut" with him again.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album and find out where you can see the band live right here!