INTERVIEW WITH FLIPPER

27-exl
Ever look at a flower and hate it? Ever feel stupid and know you really are? Ever watch David Yow order a dairy-free enchilada? Ever spill a beer on Stephen DePace? Well, have you… I have. So what.
On November 6, 2015, the legendary Flipper descended upon the Acheron for an intimate show with David Yow in tow doing vocals. I had an in to the sold out show, and while gushing excitedly to my roommates about the upcoming gig I had a brilliant idea: I should ask them for an interview! Fuck it! Much to my delight, they agreed! Too bad for them, I guess.
I will introduce this interview by admitting it is not my best work. I only had a day to prepare and when it came down to it, I had no fucking idea where to begin or end. I felt a little in over my head for the first time doing one of these damn things. Flipper are one of my all time favorite bands and as any fan knows, they have been through all sorts of mishaps and hell, including a lot of death.
When I arrived for my interview, the band was about to sound check. I awaited them at Anchored Inn, Acheron’s next door restaurant and bar. I drank. I received a photo of a former friend pissing on one of my bands tapes. Shots.
When the dudes were done, David Yow complimented me on my bangs and Stephen DePace invited me to join them while they got some food. We shot the shit casually. I wish I had rolled some tape, because it only went downhill from there, but I wanted to let the men enjoy their tacos in peace.
By the time audio began to roll, I was pretty wasted. I began the interview by squealing several times. I was instantly thrown way off track by their answer to my first question and just instantly derailed. All my intentions went out the window. I couldn’t get my shit together or keep any conversation rolling. I accidentally knocked a beer onto Stephen DePace’s lap. My voice grew octaves and octaves higher as the disaster went on, reaching a sort of Minnie Mouse impersonation. I stuttered. I couldn’t get my questions out. The dudes were tolerant.
Thankfully, Flipper had to take the stage about 15 minutes into our conversation and thus both parties were relieved of our respective torture. At least I got them to give me the scoop on that Moby rumor. And, most importantly, they fucking ruled. Every once in a while, one blows it. Unfortunately or me, I was blown’ chunks that night for sure. The following is what I managed to salvage.
27-exl
You’d had to face a lot of shit to continue playing as a band…
Stephen DePace: Oh, she’s going to try and be intelligent. I thought this was going to be what’s your favorite color?
What’s your favorite color?
David Yow: Pussy
[Interrupted by our drinks being served. I say I am thankful because I needed a shot. I very much did not need a shot.]
How do shows compare not to the good old days? Do you feel satisfied?

DePace :I think we are the best we have ever sounded, frankly.

Yow: The only time I saw Flipper before I joined was in 1982, and I never really saw em again until I was a part of us.

So, one of my favorite bands of all time is Throbbing Gristle

Yow: Yeah, I saw that Lisa Suckdog shirt, her mortal enemy is Genesis.

Well, I heard a rumor that you guys played the last ever Throbbing Gristle show, and I was wondering how that went down?

DePace: We did. It was 1980 in San Francisco. It was their last show until a reunion many, many years later. It was super loud. Around 2006, 7, 8 we played a show up in Portland Oregon and whatever configuration of their band that is was at that time marched into our show carrying a gigantic crucifix. It was bizarre.

Do you feel any affinity to weird, freaky electronic music like Throbbing Gristle?
DePace: Sure. I like anything that is good.

Are there any electronic based bands that you are particularily down with?

DePace: Well, it ain’t got that swing if it’s played by a thing. And that is just the codger in me. Early stuff like Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream or ambient stuff I thoroughly enjoy. I have not heard any newer electronic stuff that really does it for me.

It’s so weird to me that you would be more into ambient stuff as opposed to hard hitting, fucked up stuff!

DePace: Nah, nah. I listen to Jazz, Psychedelic rock, David Allen Coe, Miles Davis.

Yow: Sleeping is just about my favorite thing. I never get to do it, at all, but I like it when I do. Cooking.

DePace: Have you head of a band called Barbed Wire Dolls?

No…

DePace: There are this punk band from Greece and they moved to LA about ten years ago. But they are so punk, even in their lifestyle. They are like nomads, always playing, always touring, constantly making records, for like ten years straight. They have played 45 countries and 600 or 700 shows. They are pretty amazing. I appreciate that, as far as bands go. That is sort of how it should be done.

Do you think less people are doing it right?

DePace: Yeah, I get bored easier. I have seen so many bands and so many shows.

What about playing them though?

DePace: Shows are still exciting to play, as long as it is a great venue, a great crowd, great energy. I’ve been bored at shows… Usually it is when the staff doesn’t care and the audience doesn’t care. But that doesn’t happen very often. I have to say that over the thirty plus years that I have been playing shows there have been very few bad shows.

What was the worst show?

Yow: The worst one for me was not when I was playing with Flipper, but when I was with Jesus Lizard. We played in Boise, Idaho at a place called the Zoo. It was an all ages show, fairly big room for the youngsters and a room in the back where the minors were not allowed in. I guess most of the audience was back there, but we couldn’t see them. There were three people in the room: a drunk Eskimo and two drunk frat dudes who would not stop heckling us. I don’t care. Usually I laugh at hecklers and am down for a challenge but it was humiliating. It was the only time I ever turned to the guys and said ‘why are we here? We don’t have the finish this’. I mean we have played shows before to two people or eight people but those three dumb-asses…

How did crowds compare with Scratch Acid?

Yow: In the old days, with Scratch Acid, people were more complacent. People seemed to give a shit about the Jesus Lizard. But we are not here to talk about that

[I spill my beer]

DePace: It’s okay. Nice beer smell. I have smelled worse, I am ready.

Alright, since I already spilled a beer on you, can I just go for the real dickhead question? So besides being pretty irritated by his music, Moby was a thorn in my side as an annoying costumer at a Vegan spot that I used to work at. I need you to confirm that he is lying about being a singer for Flipper.

DePace: No, he did! He sort of made it out to be like he was the Flipper singer for a while, but it was one night! He got up on stage with us for one night and sang. It was in his hometown in Connecticut. He just jumped on stage and sang with us. He knew all the words, he was a big fan. I think the singer at that time was passed out or high or arrested or something. For years he had it in his bio that he was one of the original singers of flipper. For years! This girl I know who ran a club in Germany called me and said ‘Moby is coming through, and we got his press kit and it says he was the original singer in Flipper, what is that all about’. I read it and thought, well, he embellished a little bit. But that’s okay, I like him.

Yow: Well a couple of years ago for Halloween I sang with Shellac as The Sex Pistols, so I was actually the original singer of The Sex Pistols.

Check out my weak stage dive at 20:50

 

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