Chip and Tony Kinman Shook SoCal with The Dils, but Made Their Mark with Rank and File

'Chip and Tony' started with Rank and File - Courtesy

Chip Kinman Joined by John Doe and Tom DeSavia for Book Signing at Lou’s Records


While the waves peeled off at the end of what was then Carlbad’s Elm Avenue, two punk brothers were going their separate ways, one to New York City and the other to Portland.

That’s how it was after Chip and Tony Kinman recorded the last of their songs as The Dils, and, longing for a new sound, each set out on separate paths. In the early 1980s it seemed everyone was looking for a new scene.

See Chip Kinman,  John Doe and Tom DeSavia at Lou’s Records in Encinitas Today

Chip and Tony never started out knowing they were going to make a special mark with their punk rock. But the brothers were never short on good ideas and ended up creating a new sound that resonated, audience be darned. They did it with The Dils, in an unlikely scenario of preppy surfdom which they eventually left. But what would happen next?

And so begins Chip Kinman’s chapter of “More Fun In The New World.” The book is by John Doe with Tom DeSavia and Friends. In a short but insightful story, Chip gives props to a changing world and full credit for his musical evolution to a list of friends, and in particular to his late brother, Tony.

Read about Tony Kinman in The Coast News

In his “One Thousand Nights” chapter of the book, Chip takes the reader on a journey from the end of The Dils in their “I Hate The Rich Mobile” to the rise and rise of Rank and File. 

Courtesy of Omnivore Records

The brothers had been separated by the miles while trying to find their way but they wrote songs together via the US Postal Service. Once reunited and pulling Tony away from a non-glamorous job as night desk clerk at a Portland motel, this new sound was launched and Rank and File would succeed despite its appearance on paper. 

There were hurdles, particularly the “country music” aspect of this new blend of punk and twang. But the chapter illustrates succinctly that just about any kind of music, if it’s good — and with a little help from friends — will find its audience.

It could be said that the Kinman brothers made the audience come up to their high ideals. From the Carlsbad High School days, where they maintained a very different appearance from their fellow surfer students, to their days pitching their punk-country “cow-punk” music in Austin, the Kinmans never took a predictable path in music.

And though many in San Diego County remember The Dils for their genre-disturbing introduction of  punk to a Beach Boys world, Chip writes in “More Fun In The New World” that it was Rank and File that was truly the beginning of “Chip and Tony.”  

Chip Kinman, John Doe and Tom DeSavia made an appearance at Lou’s Records in Encinitas Saturday for a book signing of “More Fun In The New World.”

Rank and File – The Conductor Wore Black