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Since Dick Armythe Arlington rock band, not the Republican (note the spelling)formed two years ago, it hasn’t played too far outside Metro range, and it has sold only 250 to 300 copies of its album Helmet Party. Thanks to songs like “Tell Your Mama That Yer Homosexual” and “You’re an Asshole,” the band has received more attention from prudes and censors than from the record-buying public. The now-defunct Arlington club Strangeways was worried enough about advertising the group’s name that Dick Army never got to play there. Factsheet 5’s printer, Western Web Printing, objected to “fuck” and “suck” in an ad placed by the band, refusing to print the ‘zine unless the offending words were cut. And then there’s Johny Rebel Longa Whittier, Calif., punk who threatened to sue the band for copyright infringement over the name of the Army’s label, Padded Cell. In a lengthy letter to the band, Long wrote, “…you are using the name of my band and the name that I have tattooed on my arm, illegally.” It was bound to become a touchy issue.
The Army responded with a letter suggesting the irony of being a trademark-conscious “punk” and recommending that Long change his band’s name to the “Padded Sellouts.” Seeing the controversy as a way to garner some much needed press, Dick Army publicized the tiff, resulting in coverage in Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll and the current issue of Option.
Long now appears to be retreating. “I wasn’t going to sue them,” he claims. “I wasn’t going after them. It just got blown out of proportion.” He regrets ever broaching the subject. “I thought I would [have heard] the end of this by now. Our letter was an obvious bullshit letter. Instead, they thought it was something they could wage a war over. Just being involved in it, we lost….So what? Bad press is still press.”
Calling Long “our little action figure,” the Army still feels the need to egg him on. “Don’t worrywe’re going to chase him [and his drunk driver] around with cameras,” singer Sedge insists, adding that his ultimate goal would be to have Long produce a whole Dick Army festival. After all, there are at least two other bands that share the name.Jason Cherkis