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Toonari Post recently had the chance to interview the historical punk rock band Flipper, currently composed of Bruce Loose (vocals/bass), Ted Falconi (guitar), Steve DePace (drums) and Rachel Thoele (bass), during the latest band’s tour.
The band gave some fascinating insight about their vision of music and their approach to the scene. Here is the first part of the interview.
Toonari Post (TP): You’ve been on the scene since 1979, with a long break from the mid-90s to 2005. How have you seen the punk scene, as well as the music scene in general, change during this time? Assuming they have changed at all in your opinion.
Stephen DePace (SD): Everybody else made money and we didn’t [laughs].
Bruce Loose (BL): That’s a very valid answer. I’ll go with that one. I didn’t see anything, because I wasn’t around.
SD: Green Day made all the money, and they didn’t leave any for Flipper [laughs].
TP: What about touring? Do you see any difference between now and then? Do you find a difference in the approach that fans have to your shows?
BL: We’re being hit by a whole new group of people, it seems like, people that haven’t even seen us before, so, I don’t even know that they are fans, but people are coming up to say “I grew up listening to this” or “I’ve been waiting 30 years to see this.”
Ted Falconi (TF): We have people, though, that have come to more than one show, that’s been pretty cool. There are a few real ‘Die-Hards’ still out there.
TP: You have changed bass player quite often, for several reasons. Do you think that this fact has influenced your sound?
SD: Yes, each time we get a new bass player it changes a little bit.
BL: They add their own personality to the mix, and that always changes things.
TP: What about you Rachel? Was it hard for you to fit in the band, as you joined only recently?
Rachel Thoele (RT): I was a really big fan of theirs when I was super young; I think they’re all excellent musicians, and it’s really great to be able to play with all of them. It makes me really happy to play with what probably influenced my own bass playing as a young person.
BL: Rachel has been around as long as we have, in the same scene; it just seemed a very natural fit to have her come in, because she had the best grasp of what we were doing then, and all through all of it.
TP: Your musical style has inspired bands that then took different musical paths: grunge bands, punk bands, and bands such as ‘The Melvins.’ What was the key that made this happen in your opinion?
SD: All I can say is that I think it’s pretty cool that we influenced all these different people, in all these different bands, in all these different styles. I don’t know what else to say, other than it’s cool that that happened, and it’s cool that they give us credit.
TP: Speaking of credit, how do you feel about music downloading? What’s your position in this regard?
BL: Well, we see something from the download, but it’s pennies. It’s not anything like what royalties used to be, or collections would be, or something like that; like if it was just regular distribution of CDs and vinyl through proper distribution channels, because you have a lot of people doing bootleg downloads. Unless you have a team of people working 24 hours per day, seven days a week, monitoring computer use, constantly sending out cease-and-desist letters, it’s almost impossible to keep on top of it.
TP: Do you think there should be some sort of regulation, on the shape of SOPA or ACTA, to control this?
BL: As long as we’re gonna be in this computer age, they’re gonna monitoring us, or follow us, and follow our consumer patterns, and design their adds after what our preferences are on Facebook and stuff like that, hell yeah, monitor us off!
SD: My concern is that you have to be careful with what governments are doing and what corporations are doing, because it might be worth it to let our stuff be bootlegged and downloaded for free and all that other stuff, as long as we are able to maintain a free flow of information and communication around the world. Because if they use that as an excuse to shut down our abilities to communicate from the U.S. to Italy, for example, to talk about what’s going on in our countries, and so on and so forth, Because I know that’s what they wanna do…
BL: Yeah, they wanna prevent another “Arab Spring.”
SD: The occupy movement got shut down by the police, and next thing they’re gonna do is come after that free flow of information and communication, and they’re gonna come after saying, they wanna protect art, trade-mark, but what they really wanna do is keep us from talking to each other.
BL: Shut down the freedom of speech.
SD: Yeah, exactly. So the bottom line is that if it costs us free downloads of our music to maintain freedom of speech, well, so be it.
TP: What do you think about streaming? Do you consider it a positive tool, an incentive for musicians, to improve music quality? Streaming an album before it is released makes the consumer decide if buying it or not, hence, it could push the artists to make an entire good album, and not only a couple of good singles.
BL: With stream capturing programs streaming is soon not gonna be that preview of something, people are starting using them for streaming and catching that stuff.
SD: That’s why a lot of bands will give you a short sample of the songs, 30 seconds or so; then they can’t steal the whole song.
TF: Another thing is giving you an mp3, that’s really low quality; so people who like the song will go to get the better quality.
RT: you can hear stuff of bands that not many people know; using a streaming device you can have a push on bands.
SD: if you see the potential to promote your music, you can build a fan base and sometimes it really works hugely. There’s a band out of Los Angeles, that recently put out a record, and it’s huge, I can’t remember the name of the band. What happened it was this young kid, he put the song together by himself, he recorded it and he put it out on the internet and the song was so catchy that it took off like wildfire.
He had 50,000 hits, 50,000 downloads, all of a sudden and that got him a record deal and then he got his buddies together, they got a band together and they made this great record and they’re these young, twenty something year-old guys and they’re good, they’re really good. So putting your stuff out on the internet can work for you like that, so it is a good tool.
Image Courtesy of rokkosadventures.at/Klaus Pichler