My favorite band played my garage!

Categories: Local Music
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Chaz Kangas
Flipp, My Mother, My Garage and Me.

If you grew up watching MTV or listening to the radio in the '80s and '90s, chances are you have heard about quite a few music-based contests for various record label and band promotions. Perhaps you may have even participated in a few by either trying to be the seventh caller in order to win tickets or entering your name, age, and address somewhere at AOL Keyword: MTV.

This was a bizarre time in American pop culture when Nickelodeon's Super Toy Run, a sweepstakes where the ultimate prize was the chance to win all the toys you could fill into a cart in five minutes, raised the bar for excessive wish-fulfillment absurdity. There's no harder truth than the disclaimer "Many will enter, few will win." In the summer of 2002, because of one of these contests, I had the tremendous fortune to actually have my favorite band play my garage.


I'm originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. For a music fan, it's an excellent place to grow up. Along with a plethora of diverse music stores and accessible concert venues, it's also home to some of the most fanatically beloved musicians of all time -- Prince, the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, the Andrews Sisters, the Time, and Atmosphere. With no shortage of options in front of me, my obsession in my formative high school years was a flashy band called Flipp.

Flipp frontman Brynn Arens spent time in the '90s as part of Lower East Side favorites Rattling Bones in New York. He had wild nights with his earlier groups Obsession or Funhouse. In the mid-'90s, Arens happened to win a contest of his own when delivering his homemade video of his band Flipp performing a Sonic Youth-inspired cover of the Who's "My Generation" guerilla style to the MTV offices, inadvertently entering them the network's "Warming Up the Zombie" contest that saw the group open for White Zombie in Detroit. The band subsequently landed a deal with Hollywood Records.

I discovered Flipp as I was just entering my teenage years through their cameo appearance in the 1999 Troma film Terror Firmer. My interest in Troma coincided with the time that I began becoming excited about music, so going online and discovering these show-stopping showmen with catchy hard-rocking tunes coming from my hometown floored me. I was still a few years off from being old enough to attend their shows at various Twin Cities clubs, but luckily the group fancied enough public stunts like performing on the roof of a coffee shop and playing outside of a downtown post office on Tax Day, that an eager underage fan like myself could catch one of their shows.

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Chaz Kangas

And what a show! With their stylish outfits, sing-along friendly anthems and additional mayhem like elaborate audience participation and cereal tossing being some of their trademarks, who wouldn't want to see that show up close and personal? Thanks to the band's 2002 essay contest, in honor of the forthcoming release of their album Volume on Everclear's Art Alexakis' Popularity Records, I had the opportunity to have the best seat in the house for a Flipp concert. Just outside my house, in fact, in my garage.

Rock band contests tend to be pretty out-there. From Pink Floyd giving away a plane to scoring a motorcycle trip with Aerosmith, even when you know what to expect, you never know what to expect. I asked my mother's permission before submitting my "Why Flipp Should Play My Garage" essay, and she gave her full blessing. Years of studying TRL allowed me to differentiate between appropriate expressions of fandom and creepy obsessive ramblings, so sticking to the "I really want this" blueprint and emphasizing the friendliness of the neighborhood put my essay in a pretty good light. Once I got the call confirming my essay had won, I made sure to ask my mother again.

She was just as adamantly a local music fan at my age, and she used to follow hometown favorites the Trashmen and would have been thrilled had they played her garage, so she gave it the OK. There would have been nothing worse than your favorite band showing up at your house and your parents saying you couldn't come out and play, so getting her approval was a must.

After I called all my friends (as in manually, one-by-one, on a landline) and told them the Earth-shattering news, it was time to ready the arena. I doubt in the entire annals of history there's any record of a teenager that excited to clean his garage. After three tireless days of sweeping, stacking, tossing and putting up a dartboard and some posters I received as part of Go Kart Records' street team, I felt my garage was good to go. Granted, the term "garage rock" conveys something of an implied messy aesthetic, but I wanted to maneuver the Christmas lights and 4th of July decorations just right to maximize my garage's acoustics.

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38 comments
Cole Young
Cole Young

Never saw them but remember thwm

Derek Eaton
Derek Eaton

Brynn has a new band called The Oddfathers. Great stuff!

Nate Griffin
Nate Griffin

Ha! Saw them at xfest too! Maybe 95 or 96?

Danelle Gorra
Danelle Gorra

I saw them play after they did their own demolition derby at Raceway Park. They played on top of their demod cars. It was fantastic.

David Beck
David Beck

I'll never forget them rolling up with a trailer one morning at x-fest/edgefest in Somerset and playing a set in PJ's. Good times!

Todd Hartmann
Todd Hartmann

I met my wife at a Flipp show at the Cabooze.

Tim Olson
Tim Olson

On 2 separate occasions, the lead singer found me sitting on my own in some quite little corner of two different music festivals and both times he sat next to me for a drunken chat. I didn't know who he was until the second time when some kid ran over to get an autograph on his cd. Somehow knowing he was somewhat famous made the fact that I thought he was stalking me a little less likely creepy.

Anna Jensen
Anna Jensen

I also had Flipp-O's that I got from Know Name records (Sara Beck), a bunch of stickers, and dragged an unwilling boyfriend to the Troma film lol.

Vicki Long
Vicki Long

I've never looked at cereal the same since seeing these guys!

Anna Jensen
Anna Jensen

Haha yeah they were! I've got pictures of them :) (and us) I'll look for them and post them when I get home. This just put me in a great mood Melissa Vogt!

Melissa Vogt
Melissa Vogt

I knew you were there. Anna Jensen. That was a fun concert. Weren't they at edge fest the year we went too?

Anna Jensen
Anna Jensen

Oh my god I totally did Melissa Vogt!! It was such a good show! It was in the parking lot of some clothing store on the very edge of uptown. I love them!! Saw them a million times :)

Courtney Lehman
Courtney Lehman

Saw them so many times! Somerset (X-Fest I believe) and Teenage Rampage at the Quest! Definitely still have the t-shirt! Allison Boblit, Breena Slivik, Tony Tschida

Angie Vitoff
Angie Vitoff

They played in my parents garage back in the mid 90's(95 or 96?) it was pretty cool. I recall they brought their own cereal and wore their pjs.

Steve Lundgren
Steve Lundgren

Funny thanks obsession was playing in the day barfly

Melissa Vogt
Melissa Vogt

They played in a parking lot in uptown when I was in high school. I can't remember the store though. I still have a guitar pick they were throwing at the crowd. Anna Jensen did you go with us to this?

Mo Barry
Mo Barry

I went to high school with the guy who wrote this article, as well as one of the guys from Flipp.

Dan Fuller
Dan Fuller

I used to love that band, and saw em play more times than I can count. I think a reunion of some sort is long overdue! :)

sara3deee
sara3deee

Aw man! I remember catching a few of their shows at the Red Carpet in St Cloud!  They put on a great show.


Todd Wahl
Todd Wahl

FLIPP!!!! Those were fun shows, Dusty Falcon!!!

Jason Swan
Jason Swan

Always caught them at X-Fest or OzzFest, I can't recall, but it was awesome!!

Dusty Falcon
Dusty Falcon

Dennis Breivik II Todd Wahl Shawn Bubendorf

Erin Hearts
Erin Hearts

Haha. I used to have an autographed cd.

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