Flipper was a band from San Francisco, CA. They formed in 1979, with the original members Bruce Lose (bass and vocals), Will Shatter (bass and vocals), Steve DePace (drums) and Ted Falconi (guitar). They released their first song, "Earthworm," on the "SF Underground" EP in 1979 on Subterranean Records, who released most of their albums. Following the single "Love Canal / Ha Ha," they released their debut and best-known album, "Generic Flipper," in 1982.
In general their music can be described as being droning, noisy, trashy, slow and loud. It can't really be called punk rock, but, as they said, pet rock. One member said in an interview back in 1986; "yeah, when I take off my shoes and my socks we sound pretty good." Among their first gigs were several shows at a venue called "The Deaf Club." It was kind of incredible, because it was a club for deaf people, so the audience couldn't actually hear the music, but feel the vibrations through the dancefloor.
The band was very funny in their own way, using social commentary in nearly all their songs. At their best they were totally outrageous, original and hilarious, while at their worst they basically rumbled into town and onto stage in a messed up, incohearant state, leaving the audience dissed that the band even bothered to show up.
In 1983 Flipper appeared in Rick Schmidt's movie "Emerald Cities," and "Shine" found its way on the soundtrack.
They've influenced many other bands, including Mudhoney (Mark Arm wrote the liner notes for their album "Sex Bomb Baby"), Nirvana and the Melvins, who covered "Way of the World," "Love Canal" and "Sacrifice." But they were also notorious drug abusers, and Will eventually died in 1987 from an accidental heroin overdose. The band broke up after that.
In 1990 the three remaining members re-formed, recorded two songs and released the album "American Grafishy." It was the first official release on the new label founded by Henry Rollins and Rick Rubin. They toured with GWAR and the Melvins with a new bass player, John Dougherty. Bruce Lose sang on all the songs.
In 1993 Bruce was in a car accident, which forced Flipper to break up again, because of injuries at his spine he wasn't quite able to perform live any more. Later, in 1997, John overdosed on heroin as well.
Flipper Timeline - by Bruce Calderwood A.K.A. Bruce Loose
Flipper started in April 1979, its name was 'Five White Guys with Dicks Bigger than Ni**ers.' That was the name proposed by its orignal founder, 'Jim.' That's all I know about him. Oh yeah, he was a very tall Hungarian man, taller than Joey Ramone. He had a large enough truck that it had 1) an electrical generator 2) a complete setup for a band, stacks of Marshall amps for both guitar and bass, drum kit, P.A. system and 3) the fucking idea of what Flipper was.
The band would practice jamming until we could just play together instantly, be spontanious. Drive around the country and 'crash' County Fairs. Pull up out side the gates and set up, and start playing. He met Ted, Ted talked to Will, Will talked to me, Bruce Lose, and Tim Mooney (Sleepers drummer). We did about five rehershals and I left, due to a young heart in love, follow that girl. Also, Jim wanted my stage name to be "Nazi Dog," that really turned me off.
So Jim's idea was to pratice jammin' a Jimmy Hendrix song, "Night Train" or something like that. Tim never showed up to rehersal at all when I was around. We never acually jammed, just fought through what we were trying to do. So I left in end of May '79. September '79 I returned, maybe August. I went to a show at the Deaf Club to see this band Flipper and Avengers (I think), and some other halfway-on-the-rise at the time bands. Flipper had a reputation for playing every time with Ricky, and he'd be completely messed out of his mind (when was he not?), rolled in on dollys, handtrucks etc. So he didn't show Flipper was freaking out "What we do no singer." "What we do? What do we do?"
It turned out to be a competetion between Vince Deranged and Bruce Loose, Bruce reconized Ted, Bruce recognized Will, Bruce knew about Steve a little from exposure to Negative Trend. Bruce performed his ass off and won his RIGHTFUL place in the band that he was AN ORIGINAL member from in the first place. I really need to get that out. NO ONE EVER MENTIONS THAT in any press I've ever seen.
I might have an article on that show, or an anomious review of another performance at the same place pre-White Guys Flipper. Vince went on to an interesting life, to say the least, and was involved in the band Animal Things, who played with Flipper a lot and even did an mini-tour with Flipper, to Arizona. A very crazy adventure, FUN. They where a P.E.T. Rock Band, too.
- bl (October 18th 2001).