Flipper – Subterranean Records 1982



San Francisco crazies getting it on, in just under six minutes, with the kind of tune that you would like to see as some countries national anthem. The two copies I have come with hand-printed ‘artwork’ and are in red vinyl, ummm lovely, still enough about me and mine!

Sex Bomb, Flippers second single, must be heard over and over again, LOUD. These original versions are different from the LP version (Yellow cover with fake barcode on) and it does in fact end the way that it does. Suddenly…This ending is not a recording error! Also the car starting and 15 seconds later crashing is a total irrelevance to the song, but it works…

Brainwash is to my memory the only 30 second song to last over six minutes, again the ending IS NOT a recording error!

William Shatter, all round party guy, vocalist and the founder of Flipper (after his late 1970’s band Negative Trend) stopped partying altogether, and forever in 1987. Shame…

Flipper had split up by then, but they resurfaced in the early 1990’s with obviously a different front man.

  1. Nic
    January 12, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Ah, yes – absolutely classic…
    I think the version of ‘Sex Bomb’ presented here is more exciting than the version on the 1st LP: it’s raw-er and with a little more ‘edge’…
    Terminal Cheesecake (ex-The Vibes / Purple Things) did a nice cover of ‘Sex Bomb’ on their 2nd LP ‘V.C.L.’ (1989)…

    The previous single (‘Love Canal’ / ‘Ha Ha Ha’) is a really great record: I love the way the effect on the vocal in ‘Love Canal’ gets more twisted and manic as the piece goes on ending up sounding like a Rohypnol-ed Dalek…

    The influence of early PiL is all over the Flipper records (as it is over other early 80’s records by groups like No Trend, Church Police and Mission for Christ) which is no bad thing…

    I have an LP from the end of the 80’s by a Swiss band that is a total homage to Flipper, even down to calling the band Shatter…

    I saw Flipper a year or so ago (on a great bill with Nurse with Wound featuring Tibet amongst others): Ted Falconi’s guitar playing was as incendiary as ever…The rest (including ex-Nirvana bassplayer) left a lot to be desired unfortunately…

  2. Steve
    January 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    But didn’t Flipper pre-date PIL?! think it was more a case of great minds etc etc.

    Also, PIL blatantly ripped off the Generic Flipper concept/artwork on Album – hence Flipper’s riposte with the Public Limited Flipper live double.

    The 90s post-Shatter reunion LP was pretty lame but I have a good feeling about this:


  3. Simon
    January 12, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Guys re the dates…I think Flipper’s first release was in ’79 and was ‘Love Canal/Ha Ha Ha’ and I distinctly remember buying P.I.L.’s ‘Public Image’ in ’78! Absolutely loved that single from Mr Lydon and crew, a real classic. Would probably rate Flipper’s ‘Life Is Cheap’ as my favourite track.

    OK added my two pennyworth!

    Cheers all.

  4. Simon
    January 12, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    OK re the other comments, also just found this on Wikipedia:

    “John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd was widely accused in the U.S. of stealing the cover art and concept of Flipper’s album, Album. Consequently, Flipper entitled their 1986 double live album, Public Flipper Ltd. The album unfolded into a board game complete with a cutout spinner and game cards with Subterranean once again providing extra covers through mail order”

    Interesting huh?!


  5. Nic
    January 13, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Yes, Simon – PiL’s formation and first release(s) pre-date Flipper…
    and I do remember Flipper praising PiL in early interviews…
    (and – after all – they were both partial to a bit of brown 😉 )

    PiL certainly ‘borrowed’ the Flipper artwork (I have both Flipper albums)…

    I’m not even going to bother with this new album based on the material I heard live – sometimes it’s better to just let it go because the moment has passed…

    Thinking of the message on the front page of this site (about the focus being on the ‘content’ of Punk rather than just the music):
    There is a link between the attitude/approach of Flipper and the writings of the Situationists (whose position was one of the inspirations for Flipper’s approach)…
    They were also inspired by Mail Art (which provides a link to Throbbing Gristle (through their early work in the medium from Coum onwards), and then on (via Beck Road) to Hackney and 96 Tapes / All the Madmen)…

    Flipper’s use of a simple but easily recognisable symbol as the focus of a grafitti campaign also provides a parallel with Crass’ ‘London Underground’ campaign in the late 1970’s…

  6. sean/dirtbox/shocker
    February 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I loved flipper,especially the Generic Flipper album.Animal and me were so into it that we wanted to paint the whole house frontage at woodstock rd yellow,with a barcode on the front door and the word “house” as a contents label (although contents:idiots,may have been more accurate) but we never managed to save up enough for the sandtex.Shame.Funnily enough,I moved to san francisco for a while in 88,and when me and john apostle got thrown out of MDCs house for our drunken antics I got DH Peligro,of the DKs room on mission st,in the same house as flippers ‘nam vet drummer.He was an excellent psycho,one of my all time faves

  7. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    August 27, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Oh this is just too good. Felt like listening to it again after uploading Love Canal earlier…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *