Life Is Pretty Cheap - Flipper in Vancouver
Flipper are flopping their way to Vancouver, BC tagging in Scratch Acid’s David Yow once again and Frightwig’s Rachel Thoele to round out their lineup. It’s the 40 year anniversary of their particularly heavy version of punk rock and fourth year with Yow as the replacement for Bruce Loose. He joins original 1979 members, Ted Falconi and Steve Depace.
Flipper started in 1979 after splintering from other early San Francisco punk groups, notably SST and Negative Trend. At a time when punk was giving way to hardcore and started pushing speed as the main musical direction, Falconi, Loose, Depace and Will Shatter were grinding slow, dirging and tense rock ‘n’ roll in clubs all across America for the better part of the 80’s. It was a heaviness unexplored by their peers which made them stand-out. The music press had no way to describe them so they opted to focus on their chaotic nature and called them one of the most hated bands. Still, they never had much problem gaining a fan-base or getting respect from the eras godheads like Black Flag and Dead Kennedys. The filthy, nature of repetitive bass and drums, coupled with discordant guitar playing and spiteful, nihilistic lyrics is as hypnotic as it is crushing. You can hear the influence in bands as diverse as Nirvana and Brainbombs. The fish logo has been scrawled on brick walls all over the world. You see - “Life is pretty cheap” but Flipper have managed some longevity within their disgust and people have taken notice. Early on, some performances had the band playing a single song for the entirety of the set, purposefully baiting the audience into reaction. Chaos was common. Hardcore bands used pure aggression to provoke. Flipper just fucking provoked you. They weren’t there to tell you how to vote, they weren’t attempting to provide release. They were there to ruin your day.
Falconi was in Vietnam at the tender age of seventeen running communications and cites his experiences as a direct influence on his musical output. You can hear the scraping and bombastic nature of actual war come out of the speakers - A function manifest in seeing the fragility of life. No doubt that coming home and reflecting on the mundanity of common American society after seeing war in your adolescence leaves some kind of itch. Falconi, with his peers managed to tame it enough to present it to us in all it’s fucked up glory.
Flipper will be appearing live in Vancouver with Lié and Chain Whip on June 7th at the Astoria. Opening the show will be Stockton’s Authorities. Yes the same Killed By Death punk legends. The show is being put on by Modified Ghost and Neon Waste. Tickets are on sale now..