Flipper - FLIPPER

Formed: San Francisco, California, USA

Band Bio / Lineups / Discography


Flipper - still rules I.R.S. CORNER: "One of San Francisco's most famous punk rock bands, Flipper never had a charting hit and never had more than a small cult following, despite being a favorite among US rock critics. Flipper was long considered a fringe punk act, lacking the vicious social commentary of their Bay area brethren, The Dead Kennedys or the musical finesse of more mainstream punk acts like X. Founded in 1979 by Will Shatter (formerly of Negative Trend) on vocals, Bruce Loose on bass and vocals, Ted Falconi on guitar and Steve DePace on drums, they are most famous for their debut LP the generic-looking Album and the hardcore punk "masterpiece" 'Sex Bomb'. They took their name after seeing pictures of thalidomide babies and remarking how their arms looked like "flippers." The rest, as they say, is history. With rock critics singing their praises, Flipper went on to near-famous status as the reigning kings of American underground rock. Despite a few more albums, they never released anything quite as good as Album, considered a "punk classic" today. They split up in 1987, after Shatter's death from a heroin overdose. In 1992, Flipper fan and American Recordings label founder Rick Rubin convinced the surviving members to record a new album. Entitled American Grafishy the LP only echoed what Flipper could have been were it not for Shatter's death. The reformed Flipper continues to record and Def American has reissued the seminal Album among others."

NATIONAL EXAMINER: "During the past 30 years, there have been any number of times when then San Francisco-based noisemeisters Flipper could’ve folded. Founding member and original vocalist Ricky Williams — who gave the group its name — was gone before the band’s first recording session. Williams died of drug-related causes in 1991; by then, Flipper’s vocalist/bassist Will Shatter had succumbed to the same fate in 1987, as would Shatter's replacement, John Dougherty, a decade later. Vocalist Bruce Loose developed severe back problems, a serious impediment to any touring. And drummer Steve DePace tactfully notes that “bickering amongst the living members” also contributed to the band’s occasional spots of “down time.”

Flipper - San Francisco Punk

MARK PRINDLE: "Flipper was one of the leading punk rock bands over in San Francisco in the early- to mid-'80s, giving a big "frig you" to the rest of the punk scene by playing a louder SLOWER mess of the blues that relied wholly on attitude and bass line. See, the guitarist just played a bunch of scraggly noise. So the drummer would play his little rhythm and if they weren't too doped up, one of the two bass players (Will Shatter or Bruce Lose) would try to keep in time enough to play a catchy four-note bass line for you to tap your toe to. Then the OTHER of the two bassists (whichever one wasn't playing bass at the time) would yell some words that would seem nihilistic but would also occasionally make a statement about how important it is to rise above all the garbage that life throws at you and SURVIVE. They also had a great sense of humor (sample lyric: "Who cares anyway/who it is or what I say?/This song rhymes/And we play it in time!). Unfortunately drug habits have dogged the band since day one, resulting in one premature death and one immature reunion. Great ass band though, giving us more catchy bass lines than any band since The Tarney Spencer Group or whatever that band was that did that Run For Your Life album that my dad used to have. I don't know. I never actually listened to it, but if an album was going to have great bass lines, then it was bound to be that one. I mean, just LOOK at it. It LITERALLY screams "catchy bass lines". Over and over again. Eventually we had to lock it in the basement."


Lineup 1 (1979):

Ricky Williams (ex-Crime, pre-The Sleepers and Toiling Midgets; RIP 1992) - vocals
Bruce Lose - bass + vocals
Will Shatter (ex-Negative Trend; RIP 1987) - bass + vocals
Ted Falconi (ex-Rad Command) - guitar
Steve DePace (ex-Negative Trend) - drums

Recorded: nothing

Lineup 2 (1979-1987):

Bruce Lose - bass + vocals
Will Shatter - bass + vocals
Ted Falconi - guitar
Steve DePace - drums

Bruno DeSmartass also played bass/vocals instead of Will Shatter for a US tour in 1983



Subsequent studio albums: American Grafishy (1993), Love (2009).

Singles & Albums / Extraneous Releases / Various Artists

Flipper - Love CanalLove Canal (7", 1981)

Flipper - Sex BombSex Bomb (7", 1981)

Flipper - GenericAlbum - Generic Flipper (LP, 1981)

Flipper - Get AwayGet Away (7, 1982)

Flipper - Gone FishinGone Fishin' (LP, 1984)

Flipper - Blow'n ChunksBlow'n Chunks (Tape, 1984)

Flipper - Public Flipper Limited Live 1980-1985Public Flipper Limited Live 1980-1985 (2xLP, 1986)

Extraneous Releases

Flipper - Sex Bomb BabySex Bomb Baby! (LP, 1987)

Flipper - Sex Bomb (Remix)Sex Bomb (Remix) (7", 1993)

Flipper - Live At CBGB's 1983	Live At CBGB's 1983 (CD, 1997)

Flipper - Single Single - Generic Flipper (10", 2009)

Various Artists

S.F. Underground US 7" 1979 (Subterranean): Earthworm

Live At Target US LP 1980 (Subterranean): Falling / Lowrider / End Of The Game

Let Them Eat Jellybeans! US LP 1981 (Alternative Tentacles): Ha Ha Ha

Take It! Magazine US 7" 1982 (Take It): The Game's Got a Price

Rat Music For Rat People US LP 1982 (Go!): Life

Not So Quiet On The Western Front US 2xLP 1982 (Alternative Tentacles): Sacrifice

Eastern Front US LP 1982 (ICI/Sanoblast): Ever

Rat Music For Rat People Vol I, II & III US CD 1987 (CD Presents): Life

River Of No Return US Tape 1988 (United Piss): End The Game

10 ROIR Years US Tape 1990 (ROIR): Way Of The World

Old School Punk US CD 1998 (Music Club): Ha Ha Ha (Live)



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