WFMU's Brian Turner hipped me to some great videos being hosted by the controversial youtube website last week, including this clip of legendary San Francisco noiseniks Flipper performing the classic dirge from their Generic LP, apparently as seen on some local access TV show. [Download 23 MB .wmv file]
The video was posted by a youtube user calling themselves "Texaspoutine", and whoever they may be, they've got exemplary taste for the audio/visual treats, and I encourage you all to head over to the index of Texaspoutine's other videos if you're a fan of artists like The Mummies, The Victims, Screamers, The Scientists, Spacemen 3, Suicide, and more.
Though it's far from an unusual opinion to be carting around these days, Flipper records meant a whole lot to me when I first discovered them, especially Generic (which, although released in 1982, was still enjoying regular airplay by the time I found out about college radio some years later.) Hell, they've been played 53 times on WFMU just since May of 2001, so that's evidence of some sort of curse or accolade, right?
As an overweight and zit-plagued kid who was eager to sculpt an identity based on almost anything my peers hated or didn't know about, I took to songs like "Way of the World" and "Get Away" (streaming Real Audio) almost immediately. In hindsight, I think they were the first band whose music felt like real art to me, though my perceptions didn't get anywhere near that lofty until years later. To that end, Flipper has (interestingly) maintained their relevance better than almost any of their contemporaries, simply for being too smart, too weird, and for having too good a sense of self-awareness to fall into the pit of nostalgia. Like many of the best artists, no one really "got" Flipper, knew what they were trying to do, or understood why they kept bothering to do it. Even though they re-formed in the early 90s (sans original bassist Will Shatter, who tragically passed away of a heroin O.D. in 1987) and released a record on Rick Rubin's Def American label, Flipper proved they were still capable of delivering the kind of utterly mental pleasures they'd laid out more than a decade earlier. Witness and compare:
Not many people really cared about Flipper in 1982, and 11 years didn't make much difference. What can I say, the world ain't a kind place and I doubt you'd hear surviving members Bruce Lose, Ted Falconi, or Steve DePace try to claim otherwise.
Last I heard, the band had reformed once again and recently played a benefit to help save CBGBs -- An effort which failed, as the club is scheduled to have its lease yanked in October. Figures. Flipper still rules, okay?