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|Origin||Mattoon, Illinois, United States|
|Years active||1983–1994, 2006|
|Labels||Bam Bam Records
Touch and Go Records
Lee Harvey Oswald Band
The Big Boys
|Members||Rick Sims aka Rick Didjit
|Past members||Brad Sims|
The Didjits were an American punk rock band formed in Mattoon, Illinois in 1983, comprised Rick Sims (a.k.a. Rick Didjit) on guitar/vocals, Doug Evans on bass, and Rick's brother Brad Sims, on drums. Didjits were known for the aggressive guitar playing and persona of Rick Sims, who often baited the audience between songs, and took plenty of abuse for it. Moreover, the band also added odd stunts and theatrical bits to some of their stage shows, particularly when playing in Chicago and Champaign.
They released their first album in 1987 on Bam Bam Records and disbanded in 1994, but briefly reunited in 2006. Brad Sims left the band in 1992. Former Scratch Acid drummer Rey Washam filled in for the Little Miss Carriage EP, and Todd Cole eventually took over as the drummer. Their song "Killboy Powerhead" was covered by The Offspring on their breakthrough 1994 album Smash.
Fizzjob, their debut album, was produced by Iain Burgess (who has worked with Naked Raygun, Effigies and Mega City Four, among others). Many of the songs on the album (and a couple subsequent releases) had appeared on self-released cassettes such as Whoop My Head and Signifies My Go-T. The album showcased the burgeoning songwriting talents of Rick Sims, along with his fast, stinging guitar leads. Although Didjits were not a hardcore punk band, they played their souped up rock and roll with plenty of speed. Underneath the fun and fury, the band displayed a real feel for classic rock forms from Jerry Lee Lewis (spoofed and honored in the opening cut "Jerry Lee") to Ramones to AC/DC and others. Highlights include the dynamic "Fix Some Food Bitch", the melodic "California Surf Queen", the dramatic "Mexican Death Horse" and the smart ass "Beast Le Brutale".
Hey Judester, the follow-up album, was a big step forward, as the band, produced by Burgess again, was noticeably tighter and the production was accordingly beefed up. Furthermore, the Rick Didjit persona was truly crystallized, with sarcastic lyrics about bad asses, big cars, and fish dominating the proceedings. Considered by many fans to be the band's best album, the LP kicks off with the furious "Max Wedge" and segues directly into "Stingray". The near perfect first side also has the Cramps-like "Skull Baby", the lightning fast "Plate in My Head", sung from the point of view of a Vietnam vet, the heavy "Under the Christmas Fish", a frequent concert opener with its pounding bass and drum rhythm and Sims hooky lead guitar line, and the closer, a wobbly version of Little Richard's "Lucille". Side two was nearly as good, with "Axhandle" sounding like a cross between AC/DC and Buzzcocks, "Joliet" encouraging singalongs, Doug Evans's bass dominating "King Carp", and Sims showing that he could pen a great mid-tempo song on "Dad" ("you know I really hate it/when you hit me with that belt"), a tough guy song tinged with melancholy. Judester was the band's first album released on Touch & Go Records, and was subsequently released as a two-for-one CD with Fizzjob.
The band's following solidified with the release of Hornet Pinata, which equaled, if not bettered, its predecessor. The album was littered with memorable riffs and careening, pile-driving rhythms, and perhaps the best set of lyrics on any Didjits record. Whether it was Rick Sims telling the story of a one-legged drug dealer who stored his stash in his peg leg in "Lone Lone Ranger" ("just touch my leg/and Santa Claus'll get you high"), offering a put down in "Evel Knievel" ("it takes a better woman than you baby/to call me a slut") or the pearls of wisdom dripping from "Sweet Sweet Satan" ("c'mon let me tell you my recipe/it takes 10 tons of bullshit/for 10 ounces of glory"), the album is a cackling joyride. It leads off with "Killboy Powerhead", later covered by The Offspring on their Smash album, has a worthy cover of The MC5's "Call Me Animal" and sloppy bash through Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady", with Doug Evans on lead vocals. The band shot a video for "Captain Ahab", an excellent midtempo song featuring some of Sims' most memorable guitar lines, which MTV refused to play due to drug references in the lyrics. Nevertheless, a clip of the video was shown on MTV's 120 Minutes show, and the clip contained some of those drug references. The video for "Judge Hot Fudge" appeared in a season five episode of Beavis and Butt-head; the boys were not impressed.
All of the original members of the band appeared at the Touch and Go 25th anniversary celebration in Chicago, Illinois on September 9, 2006. The next weekend, the band played another reunion show in Champaign.
Doug Evans now resides in the Austin, TX area where he builds nitro dragsters and regularly performs in his band Blöwer.
- 1987 Fizzjob (Bam Bam Records, rereleased by Touch & Go in 1989)
- 1988 Hey Judester (Touch and Go Records, CD released included Fizzjob)
- 1990 Hornet Piñata (T&G)
- 1991 Full Nelson Reilly (T&G)
- 1993 Que Sirhan Sirhan (T&G)
Singles and EPs
- 1989 "Lovesicle" 7" (T&G)
- 1991 "Fuck the Pigs" 7" (T&G)
- 1992 "Little Miss Carriage!" EP (T&G)
- 1993 "Dear Junkie" b/w "Skull Baby" / "Fire In The Hole" (Sub Pop Records Single of the Month Club)
- 1991 Backstage Passout Live Bootleg (T&G)
- 1992 Knocked Up Video (T&G)
- 1991 Virus 100 (Alternative Tenticles)
- 1992 "Something's Gone Wrong Again" (C/Z Records)