Mr. Wilson, MTV, and the Indie LA Music Scene

Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Dickerson’s art was inextricably linked to the music being produced in by his three sons in Los Angeles. Travis, Linden (Lindy), and Brandon (Brandy) wrote and recorded fast-paced rock music in self-built recording studios and were regulars in local clubs such as Madame Wong’s, Madame Wong’s West, FM Station, The Palomino, the Anti-Club, and others. Their band, Mr. Wilson, first featured Michael Brooks and later D.J. Bonebrake (also of X) as their drummer. Dickerson spent winters in Los Angeles for over a decade, working out of the recording studio, hanging his art there, and creating work in a range of formats that both responded to, and was inspired by, his sons’ music.

In 1984, Dickerson used a Super-8 camera to create a stop-motion recording for Mr. Wilson’s single, “Blinded By Glare,” which appeared on MTV’s Basement Tapes program. Shortly after the video aired, MTV began using a similarly styled logo and promotional clips.

“Blinded by Glare” by Mr Wilson (1984)

The studio, still active as Travis Dickerson Recording Studios (TDRS), developed over the years as a location for local groups and independent artists, including the band X and later Buckethead. A range of musicians who visited and recorded at the studio over the next 30 years came into contact with the artwork of Burton Dickerson, whose paintings hung on the walls in the main room. In the early 1990’s DJ Bonebrake featured Dickerson’s energetic figures on his bass drum kit while X performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Musicians continue to work in and around the work of Burton Dickerson well into the 2010’s and 2020s.