Former Pure Joy head honcho Rusty Willoughby formed the band in 1989 with guitarist Bill Campbell, formally of Chemistry Set, which also featured future KZOK DJ Scott Vanderpool on drums; drummer Nate Johnson, formally of the Fastbacks; and bassist-background singer, Paul Schurr, formally of Seers of Bavaria. Their 1990 debut EP, The Losing End, was the first Lucky Records release and was recorded by C/Z Records co-founder Chris Hanzek at Reciprocal Studios in Ballard. Lucky went on to release great records by the Supersuckers, the Mono Men, Bum, the Fastbacks, Man or Astroman, Ward Dotson’s post-Gun Club and Pontiac Brothers band the Liquor Giants, and Japan’s brilliant Teengenerate before vanishing in the mid-90’s.
Flop followed the EP with the “Drugs” b/w “Action” (Sweet cover) single on their manager’s label, Dashboard Hula Girl Records, in 1991. Later that year, Dashboard Hula Girl also released one of the better tribute records, the Another Damned Seattle Compilation, which included Flop’s cover of “Disco Man” along with Damned covers by the Young Fresh Fellows, Fastbacks, Mudhoney, Gas Huffer, Skin Yard, the Derelicts, the Accused, and a handful of others. We’ll eventually get to that record when we do a Northwest Tribute Record Month sometime in 2011.
The band soon signed with Los Angeles-based Frontier Records, which went from releasing early records by bands like Suicidal Tendencies, the Adolescents, Circle Jerks, Christian Death, and Redd Kross to the less hardcore and much underrated Thin White Rope, Young Fresh Fellows, Dharma Bums, and Heatmiser (featuring Elliot Smith). They debuted with the Flop and the Fall of the Mopsqueezer record in 1992. Trouser Press rightfully wrote that it was “one of the ‘90s’ finest debuts,” and the record also featured a great version of the Kinks’ “Big Sky.” Following their first full length, they released the 1992 We Are You EP on the Spanish label, Munster Records. The tracks “Told a Lie,” “Hello,” “Anne,” and “Tomato Paste” were taken from the record, while the non-album track, “Doll” came from a 1990 recording session. A thousand were pressed.
Flop’s Wikipedia entry gives a great detailed band history and also does a good job talking about their second and third records, Whenever You Are Ready and World of Today, so we’ll skip them and cover some odds and ends. In 1994, Flop contributed their versions of the Zombies’ “She Does Everything for Me” and “Girl Help Me” to the Popllama record, World of the Zombies compilation, which also featured covers by the Young Fresh Fellows, Fastbacks, the Posies, the Model Rockets, and Carl Newman’s pre-New Pornographers band, Zumpano and we’ll also cover that record during Northwest Tribute Record Month.
Their last release was the 1000-pressed, “Scene 1 Act 1” b/w “”I am a Potato” (Devo) and “The Place I Love” (The Jam) single on Super Electro (SE 709). Flop also backed up Thrown Ups vocalist/Love and Respect and Sad and Lonelys member/illustrator Ed Fotheringham for a 1993 golf-themed EP, which was credited to Eddie and the Back Nine (Super Electro Records SE704).
After Flop broke up in 1995, Rusty re-formed Pure Joy for a couple of records, recorded a self-titled solo record for Kurt Bloch’s Book Records, released a solo 1999 Sub Pop single of the month, and now fronts Llama. Paul quit the band after Whenever You Are Ready and joined Best Kissers in the World for a bit. Best Kissers also featured Danny Bland, formally of Cat Butt. Ta-Da!
“The Losing End”
-- MC Tom