One of the most respected guitarists on the West Coast roots rock scene, Deke Dickerson melds top-notch chops with an encyclopedic knowledge of vintage country, rockabilly, surf, blues, and garage rock styles, all informed by his trademark sense of humor. Dickerson was born in Columbia, Missouri, in the summer of 1968. Raised in a farming family, Dickerson grew up listening to classic country sounds, and once told a reporter the first two concerts he saw were by bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe and by blues icon Willie Dixon. Dickerson began playing in bands when he was only 13, and was a seasoned veteran when in 1987 he formed the Untamed Youth. The band's hot-wired blend of surf and garage rock gained them a small but fiercely loyal cult following, but despite relocating to the West Coast, the band called it quits in 1993 after six years of struggle, just before the success of the Pulp Fiction soundtrack gave the surf scene a new lease on life.
During the latter days of the Untamed Youth, Dickerson joined forces with fellow Missouri transplant Dave Stuckey to form the Dave & Deke Combo, which specialized in rockabilly and vintage hillbilly sounds. The band soon became the toast of the Los Angeles retro scene and developed a potent following overseas, with British label No Hit Records releasing their first record in 1993 and the band touring Europe several times to enthusiastic crowds. In 1995, the band's acclaimed Hollywood Barn Dance album hit the shelves, but the combo amicably split up a year later so Dickerson and Stuckey could pursue other musical avenues. Shortly before the Dave & Deke Combo called it quits, Dickerson began moonlighting with the Go-Nuts, a garage-flavored "snak-rock" combo, in which he appeared as the masked "Donut Prince" as the band humorously celebrated the glories of junk food.
In 1998, Dickerson debuted his new group, Deke Dickerson & His Ecco-Fonics (named for a brand of tape echo unit made in the 1950s). Running the musical gamut from rockabilly and hillbilly to surf, jump blues, and instrumental rock, Dickerson and his band were soon signed to Hightone Records, and released their debut album, Number One Hit Record, in the fall of 1998. Two more albums for Hightone followed, 1999's More Million Sellers and 2000's Rhythm, Rhyme & Truth, before Dickerson struck out on his own in 2003 with In 3-Dimensions!, the first release on his own Major Label label. The rarities collection Mister Entertainment appeared the same year. Dickerson also launched a second label, Ecco-Fonic Records, to release material by himself and like-minded artists, and he compiled a disc of highlights from his Hightone releases, My Name Is Deke, which was released in 2004.
As well as releasing a steady stream of albums through his Ecco-Fonic label, Dickerson has recorded music for the films Election and Sideways, scored the documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, provided musical cues for Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, and produced albums for Dig Wayne, "Blind" Rage and Violence, and Lisa & Her Kin. Dickerson also teamed up with surf/garage rock legends the Trashmen in 2014 to record the album Bringing Back the Trash; cut an EP with R&B vocalist Nikki Hill (Soul Meets Country), and provided the vocals for a set of covers of instrumental hits from Los Straitjackets. In 2015, Rockbeat released another collection of Dickerson's Hightone Records material, simply titled Greatest Hits.
In addition to his career in music, Dickerson is also a talented writer, and has penned liner notes for albums by Glen Glenn, Jenks "Tex" Carman, Jimmy Bryant, and the Raging Teens. ~ Mark Deming