Cabrera, Posey win MVP awards

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I own two pieces of music paraphernalia: A Fall t-shirt and a yellow Flipper badge that I wear more often and, at times, in far more formal settings than I should. It isn't that Flipper is my favorite band or anything close—even half of their better stuff is nearly unlistenable—but more that like, say, the Minutemen, they stood for important principles and values.

"Will Shatter and Bruce Loose," drummer Steve DePace said. "Those guys were the real deal. They didn't give a shit. It wasn't about, oh, let's play a great show and we'll sell a lot of records. It was about torturing the audience to fucking death. To them, if you walked out, then they did their job right."

Torturing the audience may not be an inherent good, but the "zero fucks given" principle matters. Flipper, who were always pretty idealistic underneath it all—they had a chorus that went, "Life! Life! Life if the only thing worth living for!" and meant it—really just wanted people to listen to their consciences and act as if they believed all the fairy tales about how good things will happen if you stay true to yourself and your beliefs. If they deliberately went out of their way to alienate everyone in San Francisco who might possibly have wanted to listen to them that was probably because they wanted to see who would be left if you drove away everyone who didn't understand what they were about. (Also, the drugs.) That's ridiculous—Flipper was like a group of grown Holden Caulfields ranting about how everyone else was a phony—but also does reflect something worth holding onto, that unbearable inner 20-year-old who's just discovered that the world isn't fair and is really truly hurt by it, and a pin I picked up for $1 at the Reckless Records on North Avenue beats a tattoo as a way to do it. But really Flipper matters because they backed up their disgust and vague philosophies with stuff like "Sex Bomb," which really is, I think, the single best rock & roll record ever made.

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