Flipper (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Flipper
Flipper 930club.jpg
Flipper at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, 1984
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Punk rock, hardcore punk, noise rock
Years active 1979–1987
1990–1993
2005–present
Labels Subterranean Records
Alternative Tentacles
ROIR
American Recordings
Domino Records
Associated acts The Sleepers
Negative Trend
Nirvana
Website flipperrules.com
Members Bruce Loose
Ted Falconi
Steve DePace
Rachel Thoele
Past members Will Shatter
Ricky Williams
Bruno DeSmartass
John Dougerty
Krist Novoselic

Flipper is a punk band formed in San Francisco, California in 1979, continuing in often erratic fashion until the mid-1990s, then reuniting in 2005. The band influenced a number of grunge,[1] punk rock and noise rock bands. Their slowed-down, bass-driven, and heavily distorted style of punk is also considered a key forerunner to sludge, and influenced bands such as The Melvins and Nirvana, whose bass player Krist Novoselic played with the band in the 2000s.

History[edit]

Early years (1979-1989)[edit]

Flipper was founded by former members of The Sleepers and Negative Trend. Founding member and original vocalist Ricky Williams was credited for naming the band and fired before it made any recordings. Bruce Loose and Will Shatter then went on to trade vocal and bass duties, with both bringing a bass onstage. Vietnam war veteran Ted Falconi played a uniquely distorted style of guitar, and Steve DePace played drums.

Flipper's first recordings appeared in late 1979 on the SF Underground 7" EP released through the newly formed Subterranean Records, followed by the "Love Canal"/"Ha Ha Ha" 7" single.

Sample of the 1981 Flipper single "Ha Ha Ha." Characteristic of the band, the heavy bass and vocals primarily carry the melody. Also exemplified is Ted Falconi's unique style of distorted guitar playing.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

In 1981, the "Sex Bomb"/"Brainwash" single was released, featured individually hand-made covers. The lengthy a-side had minimal lyrics ("She's a sex bomb, my baby, yeah") and gained the band notoriety within the punk community. The original lineup released their first full-length album, Album – Generic Flipper on Subterranean in 1982. It contained a new version of "Sex Bomb." It was followed later in the year with another single on Subterranean, "Get Away"/"The Old Lady that Swallowed the Fly."

The band regularly performed in the San Francisco area and attracted a large following. Simultaneously, their uniquely slowed-down and raucous approach to punk managed to infuriate other members of the local punk scene, especially with the burgeoning popularity of faster-paced hardcore punk. Mark Arm claims in the 2003 documentary American Hardcore that Flipper's charm as a band lay in their ability to upset audiences while attracting their undivided attention and curiosity at the same time. One of the ways the band promoted itself was spray painting "Flipper Rules" in various locations around San Francisco.

The cover of Gone Fishin' in 1984. The pictured van was where Ted Falconi lived when not on tour with the band.

A followup 1984 Subterranean studio album, Gone Fishin', featured the opening track "The Lights, the Sound, the Rhythm, the Noise" as well as "Survivors of the Plague" and "Sacrifice." The colorful van on the cover, along with figures representing the band and their equipment, could be cut out and folded. Subterranean also offered extra covers through a small mail order fee.

Cover of Blow'n Chunks, featuring the dead fish used as Flipper's mascot

Also in 1984, the ROIR cassette label released a live Flipper document of a CBGB performance titled "Blow'n Chunks," including material from all phases of the band's existence to that date. It became available on CD in 1990. A 2001 reissue includes four outtakes from the live sessions.

Flipper titled their 1986 double live album Public Flipper Ltd. The album unfolded into a board game with a cutout spinner and game cards with Subterranean once again providing extra covers through mail order.

The original lineup splintered after a period of touring, and singer and core member Will Shatter died on December 9, 1987 of a drug overdose after forming A3I. Subterranean packaged the band's singles and rarities into the 1987 collection Sex Bomb Baby. The cassette edition and later CD rereleases featured three bonus tracks.

After Will Shatter (1990-1999)[edit]

The band resurfaced in 1990 with a new single on Subterranean, "Some Day"/"Distant Illusion", and began performing again. Nürnberg Fish Trials, another live album, was released in 1991. The band's new lineup released an all-new studio album in 1992, American Grafishy, on Rick Rubin's Def American imprint, which veered into a somewhat new style and was not as well-received as their previous work. After the album was released, replacement bass player John Dougherty died of a drug overdose. In addition to the deaths of Shatter and Dougherty, founding member Ricky Williams also died of a heroin overdose.[2][3] Loose once commented to SF Weekly on the band's history as "like Spinal Tap, except the bass player keeps dying".[citation needed]

Rick Rubin also reissued Album – Generic Flipper and the singles compilation Sex Bomb Baby on his Infinite Zero label. By 1997, Flipper's music went largely out of print with Rubin holding on to the rights, though tentative plans had been made for the band's catalog to be rereleased on Rubin's American Recordings in 2007. As part of a legal settlement, Subterranean Records was awarded the right to reissue its Flipper records on vinyl in the United States.

Reformations (2002-present)[edit]

In 2002, Bruce Loose (using a cane), returned for a one-off gig at Berkeley's 924 Gilman Street space as "Not Flipper".

The original members of Flipper, save for the late Will Shatter (with Bruno DeSmartass again replacing Shatter, as he had done for a 1982 tour), reunited to support CBGB on August 22 and 28, 2005. This lineup then continued to perform live beginning in 2006.

In December 2006, DeSmartass was replaced by Krist Novoselic of grunge band Nirvana on bass for a tour of the UK and Ireland, as well as several US shows.[4][unreliable source?] The song "Scentless Apprentice", which the band recorded (without Novoselic) for a 2000 Nirvana tribute album, was added to the band's setlist.

Cover of 2008's Love, written and recorded with Krist Novoselic of Nirvana on bass

In 2008, the band recorded a new album with Novoselic,[5] On May 19, 2009, Flipper released a "twin album" featuring one album, titled Love, of new studio material, and a second live album, titled Fight featuring both old and new songs. Both of these albums were produced by Seattle producer Jack Endino and were well received. Novoselic announced his departure from the band in September 2009 due to responsibilities at home, forcing a tour cancellation.[6] He was replaced by Rachel Thoele, formerly of Frightwig, Mudwimin, and Van Gough's Daughter.

Several Flipper albums were reissued during 2008-2009 in a variety of formats. Album – Generic Flipper, Gone Fishin', Public Flipper Limited, and Sex Bomb Baby! were reissued on compact disc by Water Records in the US and Domino Records in the UK, and on vinyl by the Runt imprint 4 Men with Beards.[7]

Influence on other musicians[edit]

Along with Black Flag's My War (1984), Flipper's slowed-down, bass-driven, and heavily distorted style of punk is considered a key forerunner to sludge metal and bands such as The Melvins.[citation needed] Kurt Cobain wore a self-made Flipper t-shirt seen in the booklet pictures of Nirvana's In Utero,[8] on the band's first performance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, and also in the music video for "Come as You Are." Cobain and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic cited Flipper as one of their band's influences.[9]

In the documentary American Hardcore, Moby stated that he fronted Flipper for two days while singer Will Shatter was in jail because he "knew all of their songs". The band denies this anecdote, however.[citation needed]

Eric Avery of Jane's Addiction has said that Flipper's rolling rhythms and repetitive riffs were an influence on Jane's early sound.[citation needed]

In Get in the Van, his memoir of the early '80s punk rock scene, Henry Rollins of Black Flag described the Flipper experience: "They were just heavy. Heavier than you. Heavier than anything...When they played they were amazing."[citation needed]

Covers[edit]

The Melvins have covered several Flipper songs: "Sacrifice" on their Lysol album, a 5-inch single released by Slap-A-Ham Records covering both "Love Canal" and "Someday", and a cover of "Way of the World" which appears on the Singles 1-12 compilation.[citation needed] Belgian electronica/industrial band Lords Of Acid covered Flipper's song "Sex Bomb", and released a live version on the 1995 "Do What You Wanna Do" maxi-single. The track starts by Praga Khan giving credit to Flipper. It was later reinterpreted into the Lords' typical style on the 2000 album Farstucker and is a staple of their live shows.[citation needed] Unsane covered the song "Ha Ha Ha" on their 2012 album Wreck.

Members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Year Label
Album – Generic Flipper 1982 Subterranean Records, reissued on Water Records in 2008
Gone Fishin' 1984 Subterranean Records, reissued on Water Records in 2008
American Grafishy 1993 Def American
Love 2009 MVD Audio

Live albums[edit]

Title Year Label
Blow'n Chunks 1984 ROIR
Public Flipper Limited 1986 Subterranean Records, reissued on Water Records in 2008
Nürnberg Fish Trials 1991 Musical Tragedies
Live at CBGB's 1997 Overground
Fight 2009 MVD Audio

Singles[edit]

Title Year Label
"Love Canal"/"Ha Ha Ha" 1980 Subterranean Records
"Sex Bomb"/"Brainwash" 1981 Subterranean Records
"Get Away"/"The Old Lady that Swallowed the Fly" 1982 Subterranean Records
"Some Day"/"Distant Illusion" 1990 Subterranean Records
"Flipper Twist"/"Fucked Up" 1992 Matador Records/Def American
"Sex Bomb Remix"/"Sex Bomb Remix" 1993 Fear and Loathing

Compilations[edit]

Title Year Label
Sex Bomb Baby 1988 Subterranean Records, reissued on Infinite Zero Archive/American Recordings in 1995, reissued on Water Records in 2008

DVDs[edit]

Title Year Label
Flipper Live February 19, 2008 Music Video Distributors

Other appearances[edit]

Title Year Album
"Earthworm" 1979 SF Underground
"Falling", "Lowrider" and "End the Game" 1981 Live at Target
"Ha Ha Ha" 1981 Let Them Eat Jellybeans
"Sacrifice" 1982 Not So Quiet on the Western Front
"Life" 1982 Rat Music for Rat People
"Ever" 1983 Eastern Front
"Ever" and "Sex Bomb" 1992 The Wanna-Be-an-Indie-But-Got-Too-Much-$ Sampler
"Some Day" 1993 SXSW
"Love Canal" and "Get Away" 1994 Infinite Zero Promotional CD#2
"Ha Ha Ha" 1998 Old School Punk
"Scentless Apprentice" (Nirvana cover) 2000 Smells Like Bleach: A Punk Tribute to Nirvana
"Sad But True" 2001 A Punk Tribute to Metallica
"Problem Child" (AC/DC cover) 2002 For Those About to Rawk: A Punk Tribute to AC/DC
"Ha Ha Ha" 2006 American Hardcore's Official Movie Soundtrack
"Hash Pipe" (Weezer cover) 2006 A Punk Tribute to Weezer

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seattle Weekly (author: Nirvana's bassist), The Austinist
  2. ^ "Toiling Midgets". last.fm. Retrieved 2011-11-02.  (Click "Read more" to see referenced text)
  3. ^ Athitakis, Mark (1999-02-10). "Flipper Redux". SFWeekly. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  4. ^ Jasmin, Ernest. "Krist Novoselic to play with Flipper". TheNewsTribune.com. September 25, 2006.
  5. ^ Prato, Greg (4 January 2008). "Flipper Drafts Novoselic For New Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  6. ^ "News Ticker: Radiohead, Aerosmith, War Child and Flipper" (22 September 2008) RollingStone.com.]
  7. ^ "About Flipper," Flipper MySpace page, Retrieved on January 6, 2009
  8. ^ Flipper Redux By Mark Athitakis. SF Weekly. February 10, 1999.
  9. ^ [1]|"Both Krist & Kurt were influenced by Flipper's heavy, raw punk sound. Krist was honored to join Flipper." (quoting homepage of novoselic.com)
  10. ^ http://www.discogs.com/artist/Bruce+Loose?anv=Bruce+Lose&filter_anv=1

External links[edit]

Video[edit]