Dan Hicks, a longtime Bay Area music figure and the lead singer of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, passed away Saturday following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 74. Hicks’ wife CT confirmed the singer-songwriter’s death on his official website. “He was true blue, one of a kind, and did it all his own way always,” she wrote. “To all who loved him, know that he will live forever in the words, songs, and art that he spent his life creating. He worked so hard on each and every detail – they are all pure Dan.”
The Little Rock-born, Bay Area-raised Hicks first served as drummer with the San Francisco psych-rock pioneers the Charlatans before forming his own outfit, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, in 1967; Hicks’ new band first acted as the Charlatans’ opening act before breaking out on their own, signing with Epic Records and releasing their 1969 debut LP Original Recordings.
The country-rock ensemble, complete with the background singers “the Lickettes,” next released 1971’s Where’s the Money? and 1972’s Striking it Rich, the latter featuring one of Hicks’ most renowned tracks, “I Scare Myself.” In 1973, just as the Hot Licks were finding success with their LP Last Train to Hicksville, Hicks dissolved the band, the fallout of which was documented in a Rolling Stone cover story.