Last night I went to a party where Flipper played, which seems pretty hotsy-totsy to me, but it turns out no one under 40 even knows who Flipper is. I discovered this a couple of years ago, when I was out at WFMU during Pseu Braun’s Marathon show. I was sitting at a big, round table stuffing envelopes with a few FMU staff members and volunteers when Pseu put on “Sex Bomb.” “This is a great song!” someone said. “Yeah,” I chimed in, “You can’t beat Flipper.” “Wait! You know who this is?” someone else asked. I thought they were kidding, or just making fun of my general inability to ever remember the names of bands I like, but no—NO ONE—at that table had ever heard of Flipper before. Gol-durned whippersnappers! It was the first time I ever felt old.
Before the party last night I went to the premiere of the movie “American Hardcore,” which is an excellent documentary about the 1980s punk music scene. The crowd was pretty interesting—there was a guy who looked like someone had hit him in the forehead with a ballpeen hammer, but it turned out he’d trepanned himself, and a girl in a slinky, floor-length, red gown—because she was at a movie premiere—and Moby. Dr. Know and HR from the Bad Brains were there, and Steve Buscemi, and WFMU Program Director Brian, and my husband, Sluggo, who’s in the film. But mostly the crowd was old. The screening was put together by Paper magazine, and apparently all the old hardcore folks went to the movie and all the young hipsters went to the afterparty.
Those kids missed a really good film—it’s well-balanced, funny, and thorough, and covers the entire punk scene across the U.S. (and in Canada!), not just in L.A. and New York. Thanks to historical hindsight, the Bad Brains are given their due as being perhaps the most influential band on the scene. I knew PMA stood for “Positive Mental Attitude,” but until I saw “American Hardcore” I had no idea that the concept came from Napoleon Hill’s self-help classic, “Think and Grow Rich.” I also didn’t know that the Beastie Boys chose their name because the “BB” was like a little homage to the Bad Brains. (The Beastie Boys are mentioned just once in the film, accompanied by the image of an original flyer for one of their shows. Just so you know, that flyer was drawn by David Waid, who is now executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party.) And I learned about Nig Heist, my new favorite band! Of course, the film’s soundtrack is spectacular. My only problem with “American Hardcore” is that they spelled Sean Taggart’s name wrong. It’s T-a-g-g-A-r-t, the last syllable spelled “art,” as in artist, and I don’t know why no one can ever get that right. It was spelled wrong in the credits, too—so annoying! But otherwise, it’s a terrific documentary and I recommend it very highly.
Eventually Sluggo and I shuffled over to the afterparty with some of the other codgers, and we saw Flipper play, and Moby jammed with them and played bass on “Sex Bomb.” Those Flipper guys are old, too, but they still rock.
Thanks for reading my blog post this time, and may God bless.