Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Flipper Noise

Bruce Loose of FlipperCindy Jacobson, Leather Trio Productions/San Francisco.

Flipper was to San Francisco what X is to L.A. or the Ramones are to New York. Actually I've never really cared much for Flipper's studio albums. Only their live shows really captured what they were all about. I remember the first time me and Autumn saw them. It was at the Elite club, which used to be called the Fillmore, and is now called the Fillmore again. There were tons of bands, but Flipper just crunched everyone.

A Flipper live show was chaotic, loud, messy, dark, hostile. I've never felt so much raw intensity blasted out from four people on a stage like Flipper could do on a good night. And a good night for Flipper meant the band stumbling through an alcohol haze, Bruce and Will arguing over who should play bass and who should sing, and having members of the audience come up and sing "Sex Bomb" at the end. My favorite Flipper songs are the ones that just drone on like "Ever," "Shine" and "Sacrifice." And of course my favorite album is the live one, Public Flipper Limited.

Flipper in Denver 1984 by Joe Beine
Now there's a new (in 1988) Flipper record on Subterranean called Sex Bomb Baby that collects all their singles and stray tracks. It's a really good album, what with "Get Away" and "Sex Bomb" on there, but there's something missing. It's not just lamenting Will's stupid death by an overdose. It's just... San Francisco won't seem right without one of those powerfully erratic Flipper shows to go to. They pulsed with a strange noise just like the underside of the city does. Sure other bands will come along and try to claim their turf. But only the guys in Flipper could be the biggest bunch of fuck-ups in world and get it right.

originally published in:
Puncture #15, Spring 1988
Album Network, November 11, 1988 (partial)

Suggested Listening:
Sex Bomb Baby (Collection) by Flipper at Amazon

Album - Generic Flipper at Amazon

Blow'n Chunks - Flipper live at CBGBs, 1983 at Amazon

Photographs by Joe Beine
The Eagle's Lodge, Denver, Colorado, December 7, 1984

Flipper in Denver, 1984 by Joe Beine

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