Formed in 1979 as The Stains and playing their first gig under this name in April 1980, MDC were one of three pioneering hardcore punk bands in Austin, Texas, in the early '80s, alongside The Dicks and Big Boys. These bands frequently played together and established the Austin hardcore scene. They released one single as the Stains in 1981, featuring a slower version of the future MDC song "John Wayne Was a Nazi" backed with "Born to Die". Both songs were later released on the debut MDC album.
By 1982 the band had relocated to San Francisco, California, and renamed themselves MDC. By this point the band were active participants in the growing hardcore scene and released their debut LP Millions of Dead Cops on their own label, R Radical; Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles helped with distribution. The album is now widely considered a punk classic, and features songs such as "John Wayne Was a Nazi", "Dick for Brains", and the harsh criticism of the police, "I Remember". Other targets of criticism devoid of irony included capitalism ("Corporate Death Burger"), homophobia ("America's So Straight"), and American culture ("Violent Rednecks").
During the summer of 1982 they became involved in the Rock Against Reagan Tour, during which time they fell out with the band Bad Brains when Rastafarian singer H.R. learned that Big Boys' singer , Randy Turner, was homosexual. H.R. and MDC's Dave Dictor had an intense confrontation. Upon Bad Brains' departure from the bill, they refused to return a loan owed to Big Boys and instead left a note that reportedly read, "burn in hell bloodclot faggot." The indcident resulted in the MDC song Pay to Come Along. For MDC, 1982 ended with a tour of Europe with the Dead Kennedys which brought the band greater exposure in the punk scene outside of the U.S., especially in the UK.
Their involvement in the Rock Against Reagan activities continued through 1983 and they returned to recording with the EP "Multi-Death Corporations" which was distributed in the UK by British anarcho-punk label Crass Records and R Radical in the U.S. The EP broke new ground by addressing, in the lengthy liner notes and artwork, the growth of corporations and the violent suppression of Communism in Central America. In 1984 they released another EP, Millions of Dead Children (also known as Chicken Squawk), this time dealing with Vegetarian and Vegan issues via a cowpunk tune.
Smoke Signals was released in 1986, their second album featuring a more diverse style than previously, with a foray into '70s rock with the song "South Africa Is Free". This album also saw Gordon Fraser's first appearance as main guitarist. Their third album, This Blood's for You, followed in 1987 and saw them returning to a more orthodox hardcore punk style with themes again including intervention in Central America and criticism of the Reagan Administration. MDC toured Europe in 1988, where the live album Elvis - In the Rhineland was recorded. The band released the album Metal Devil Cokes in 1989.
The 1990s opened with a number of lineup changes, swiftly followed by the 1991 album Hey Cop! If I Had a Face Like Yours..., featuring Bill Collins on guitar and Matt Freeman (of Operation Ivy) on bass. The acclaimed Shades of Brown album appeared in 1993, released by New Red Archives in the U.S. and We Bite in Europe. The album featured the Hip-Hop vegetarian song "Real Food, Real People, Real Bullets". The band, now with guitarist Chris Wilder and bassist Erica Liss, marked the album with a tour of the former Soviet Union, making MDC the first American punk band to tour Russia. This was followed by two more European tours and several U.S. tours until 1995, where began a lull in the band's activity. The lack of new recorded material (other than a 7-inch release on Slap-a-Ham Records) and live performances after 1994, plus personal problems of band members, pointed to an informal break-up of the band.
MDC's singer, Dave Dictor, returned with an entirely new backing line-up in 2000, and MDC released a new album, Magnus Dominus Corpus, in 2004. They took part in a 25th anniversary world tour in 2005, with an all-original lineup. Following the death of Mikey Donaldson in September 2007, MDC has been touring the U.S. and Europe extensively with the Dictor/Posner/Smith/Schvitz lineup.
Recently, the band has been based in Portland, Oregon.
In 1995, I got a phone call about GODSQUAD being on a CD compilation coming out of CA. Sadly, GODSQUAD had recently shit-the-bed, but it was a cool compilation, and I didn’t wanna let the opportunity pass. I told the guy that we’d have a song recorded especially for the comp., but the band’s got a different name: The Deacons. He didn’t ask, and I didn’t explain more, but The Deacons wrote and recorded our first song “D-Train” for that comp. Initially we had so little experience playing our instruments that we had to recruit the Owens brothers (from Those Unknown) and George (from The Official Hooligans) to be our ‘ringers’ for the recording. My friend REVS called The Deacons a band aid operation from the get-go. Now it’s 2018 and The Deacons have managed to carry on for 20 plus years: independent, underground and payin dues til dead amen