Words: Christopher Laramee
Flipper – Blow’n Chunks (ROIR) 1984 / Reissue: 2001
Despite being consistently labeled a “hardcore” band by dint of association of the scene they grew out of and the bands they played with around the San Francisco area in the late ’70s/early ’80s, Flipper were one of those one-off anomalies the universe likes to throw up every once in awhile.
When I first encountered the band years ago on a Henry Rollins compiled retrospective on his short lived Infinite Zero imprint, my first reaction was balls out laughter. “They can’t be serious,” I giggled to myself as I scanned through the CD. Zig-zagging atonal guitar lines smashing head long into a wildly careening rhythm section, topped off with a particularly vicious vocal spew concerning liquor, drugs, bubble gum sex, the status quo, more drugs and nihilism, nihilism, nihilism. Fun, eh? I filed the disc away, only occasionally pulling it out to hear my favorite Flipper jam, “Sacrifice”, a song I always gravitated towards for its unholy dirge tempo, akin to a collapsing galaxy, the whipping-a-slave Bruce Lose vocal decrying war as society’s validation of itself, an animalistic self hatred turned outwards. If I had to offer a starting point for the Flipper experience, this would be it.
But anyways, flash forward a few years later, I spy a used copy of this disc and seeing that it had a live version of “Sacrifice” on it, decided to pick it up. And, hey, it was only five bucks to boot. And now I get it. Big time. Like the donkey laughter of a drunken idiot god raining down on a stupefied, dumbed down world, Flipper honestly reflect everything: the pathos, love, stupidity, humour, hopelessness, hope of this insignificant little spinning acorn we call home.
Yeah, tall words, I know, but the coat fits in this case. Check the track “If I Can’t Be Drunk” for confirmation. This sort of retard roar is surely some kind of bastard genius, naysayers be damned. Any groop that can pull off a Wagnerian swoop of molasses stomp like this deserves a lifetime achievement forever award. “Falling apart” doesn’t do justice to what goes down here. This is Bukowski at his drunkest jammin’ with The Who on downers. Someone randomly firing a rifle into nothing, nothing shoots back, nobody wins. One could posit this song as a endgame of sorts for ROCK in general, if one were willing. I’m not.
So I could go on and on, such is my love for this warm beast. Just check it out. Oh, and there’s also a whole lotta love going on with Flipper. They have love, laughter, ice-cold beer and so much more.
Tunes from the Crypt is a semi-regular feature from the previous incarnation of Texture with a rotating cast of writers. Its aim is to unearth overlooked, forgotten or little-known musical artifacts, found in the dusty discount or used bins of record shops, your cool uncle’s attic, church bazaars, garage sales, so-called ‘alternative channels’ or simply hiding in plain view on the Internet.