By 1974, however, the antsy Hicks again had had enough. He sent the Hot Licks their way and he went his. Hicks wound down by writing songs, drawing a comic strip for BAM magazine and scoring and performing music for movies and commercials ranging from Ball Park Franks to Levi's Jeans. In fact, Hicks is the guy who wrote and performed the quasi-famous "501 Blues."

"To tell the truth," sighs Hicks, "I don't even remember how it was in the Seventies, with all the national-TV stuff and the gigs and such. I know it was a time, but it almost seems like it didn't happen."
The urge to lead a band struck again when Hicks began to feel his musicological clock tick-tick-ticking away. He brought together some of the Bay Area's best pickers and pluckers, forming the Acoustic Warriors in 1986. Now that the fire-in-the-belly drive has returned, Hicks allows time now and then to consider what might have been. He especially rues the slow pace of present progress.

"Maybe I should've had more success," admits Hicks, "and maybe that's my fault. But I guess it doesn't really matter much. It's old news."
Yet it matters enough that Hicks is holding off smaller labels, opting to wait a while for the big fish to strike.

"Sometimes I feel, `Why not me?' when I see the success some others are having," he concedes, trying not to grumble. "I mean, I'm as good a singer as some of those people." He admits he's not sure what would fill that emptiness, short of large-label success in the Nineties. "Maybe I'd like more people to cover my tunes," he waxes. "Maybe I'd like more recognition. I'd certainly like to make a better living at this point."
Hicks is arming his Warriors for a ten-gig Western swing that will culminate March 1 at Anderson's Fifth Estate in Scottsdale. He's paving the way for the future by glad-handing the right folks, giving a heap of interviews and getting his new demo out to labels and media-all those fundamental things your average young combo must do. Patience, however, is not one of Dan Hicks' stronger suits.

"You know, I talk to the papers and such where we're going, but I always end up hearing people say, `I heard about this concert just by chance, man.' Honestly, I'm tired of it. We're back, man!"


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