San Francisco punk band Flipper, once described by Henry Rollins as being “heavier than anything,” announced Friday that they will reunite for a series of shows this fall with a new singer: former Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow.
The band will tour Italy in November with Yow, and will possibly play shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles with this lineup around the same time, according to drummer Stephen DePace.
Started in 1979 by former members of local punk band Negative Trend, Flipper became the scourge of the early ’80s punk scene, refusing to follow the pack of fast-and-violent hardcore bands of the day. Instead, the band made its reputation as being the band punks loved to hate by playing long, slow dirges that were driven by bass riffs, DePace’s plodding drums and Ted Falconi’s out-of-control guitar sound. Their sound would influence bands like Nirvana and the Melvins, and they would later be referred to as the godfathers of grunge music.
The band broke up in 1987 after bassist Will Shatter died of a drug overdose, but reunited in 1990 with new bassist John Dougherty just as grunge was about to break into the mainstream. Two years later they were signed to Def American Records by founder and massive Flipper fan Rick Rubin; around the same time Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain would be photographed wearing a homemade Flipper t-shirt, sparking a renewed interest in the band.
The band released their comeback album American Graffishy in 1993, but a car accident the following year broke singer Bruce “Loose” Calderwood’s back, forcing the band to abruptly end. In 2005, the band reunited again with longtime backup bassist Bruno DeSmartass — DePace says Dougherty died of a drug overdose in 1995 — and played several high profile shows before DeSmartass dropped out and was replaced by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. Flipper would go onto to record two albums with Novoselic: 2009’s Love and the live album Fight.