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Flipper

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San Francisco, United States (1979 – present)

Flipper is an influential band from San Francisco, USA, forming in 1979 from the ruins of punk bands Sleepers and Negative Trend, and continuing in often erratic fashion to this day. They are also associated with the post-punk and noise rock genres.

They made their first recordings available in late 1979 via the SF Underground 7” compilation series released via Steve Tupper’s newly-formed Subterranean Records. In 1981 a 7” followed Love Canal andHa Ha Ha and the original lineup made 2 full-length studio albums on Subterranean, 1982’s Generic and the 1984 followup Gone Fishin’.

Flipper’s music was very shambolic and noisy, and oft considered “slow” for a punk band of the time. In many early shows, the band had half the audience on stage with them singing backup vocals, and encouraged horn players to join them for their anthem,Sex Bomb — and the crowding on stage usually knocked the stringed instruments out of tune. Guitarist Ted Falconi installed spikes in the head of his guitar to help prevent this, but blaring, out-of-tune dissonance became part of the band’s signature sound.

Bassist/vocalist Will Shatter died in 1987 of a heroin overdose. The remaining members reformed for the 1993 album American Grafishy on Def American Recordings which re-issued Generic, and a compilation called Sex Bomb Baby on Rick Rubin and Henry Rollins’ Infinite Zero label. This relationship soured and the surviving Flipper members allegedly were duped out of their rights to their back catalog.

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