Thought Seattle’s music scene in the early 1990s was dominated by grunge, grunge and more grunge beneath the city’s fuzz pedals lay a pop-punk heart That heart included groups like the long-lived, crucial Fastbacks, The Posies and Flop.
Formed in 1989 Flop consisted of Rusty Willoughby (lead singer, guitarist and songwriter), Bill Campbell (guitar), Paul Schurr (bass) and Nate Johnson (drums).
Rusty Willoughby and Nate Johnson had previously played with the group Pure Joy, Bill Campbell with Chemistry Set and Paul Schurr with the Seers of Bavaria. Willoughby, Campbell and Schurr also lived together in Seattle’s U-District near the University of Washington campus. Willoughby, Bill Campbell and Schurr frequently jammed together and Johnson, who often attended parties at the house, often joined in as well.
Their first live performance was opening for Game Theory at the University of Washington’s HUB ballroom; but their live performances over their first two years
“were marked with near fall-down drunkenness, numerous pitchers of beer poured on band members and audiences alike, and many broken instruments.”
During this period they were also banned from two clubs, one in Vancouver and one in Bellingham.
In 1990, the band’s debut record, The Losing End, was released on the Lucky Records recording label, and contained Flop’s earliest material: “The Losing End”, “Somehow”, “Dissipate” and “Fucking Thing.”
1991 saw the release of the single “Drugs” which also featured a cover version of The Sweet’s “Action.” Following the release of “Drugs” Johnson went to Alaska and the group went on hiatus for the rest of the year.
When Johnson returned to Seattle the group went into the studio and recorded their full length debut , 1992’s Flop and the Fall of the Mopsqueezer. Recorded primarily at Seattle’s Egg Studios by the Young Fresh Fellows/Fastbacks Kurt Bloch the album was released by Frontier Records.
Flop and the Revenge of the Mopsqueezer with it’s
“noise-pop, sporting a mod-influenced edge, loud, sunny guitars and bittersweet underpinnings”
and packed with singer/guitarist Rusty Willoughby’s crisp, gifted songwriting, the disc offers wry humor, buoyance and flashes of brilliance
proved to one of the 90s finest debuts.
Flop and the Fall of the Mopsqueezer! caught the attention of Epic Records who offered the band a recording contract. Their major label debut, Whenever You’re Ready, was again recorded by Kurt Bloch, but production was handled by Martin Rushent, who had worked with the Buzzcocks in their late-’70s heyday.
“The unchanged quartet brings its collective skills out to play with a burst of delight, again playing around with both more “typical” pop/punk inspirations and a strong, shuddering way around metal riffing gone pretty.”
The record was not a commercial success and after a tour in support of it Epic Records dropped the band.
The band embarked on several national and regional tours, some headlining and some supporting acts like The Lemonheads and The Screaming Trees. Following a month long tour of Europe with The Posies Paul Schurr left the band, with his replacement being former Posies bassist Dave Fox.
With an albums worth of new material the group returned to Frontier Records. Re-united with producer Kurt Bloch their last album, 1995s
“World of Today stints neither on the hooks nor the blasting power.”
“Though Flop really never changed from start to end in terms of what it did, it did it well”
“With this as an epitaph, Flop shows that while they weren’t the great lost band of the ’90s, they deserved far more attention than some of the losers who got it instead.”
Singles, EPs and Full-Lengths
“Anne” (7″ Vinyl EP)
“The Losing End” (7″) (Lucky Records US) 1990
“Drugs” / “Action” (Dashboard Hula Girl Records) 1991
“I Told A Lie” / “Hello” (7″ Vinyl EP) (Frontier Records) 1992
Flop & The Fall Of The Mopsqueezer (CD) (Frontier Records) 1992
“We Are You” (7″ Vinyl EP) (Spanish Munster Recs) 1992
Regrets (CD) (550 Music) 1993
Whenever You’re Ready (CD) (550 Music) 1993
The Great Valediction EP (CD) (550 Music) 1994
“Too Hot To Handle” / “Wonder Walkaway” (CD Single) (Lodge) 1994
“Act I, Scene I” (7″) (Super Electro Sound Recordings) 1995
World Of Today (CD, Cass) (Frontier Records) 1995
Mange-tout (CD) (Rechute) 2000
Le Desordre (CD)
Tracks Appear On:
“Disco Man” Another Damned Seattle Compilation (CD) (Dashboard Hula Girl Records) 1991
“Disco Man” Another Damned Seattle Compilation (CD) (Musical Tragedies) 1991
“Hello” CMJ Presents Certain Damage! – Volume 41 (CD) (College Music Journal) 1992
“A Popular Donkey” / “The Great Valediction” CMJ New Music Monthly, Volume 2: August 1993 (CD) (College Music Journal) 1993
“She Does Everything For Me” The World Of ‘The Zombies’ (CD) (Popllama) 1994
“Julie Francavilla (Unreleased Demo)” Hype! The Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Album) (Sub Pop Records) 1996
“Act I, Scene I” American Pie 2 (CD) (Rubber Records) 1996
“Circus Freak” Bite Back: Live at the Crocodile Cafe (CD) (Popllama) 1996
“Regrets” Dining Hall Classics (CD)
“Told a Lie” Noise Pop Compilation (CD)
Playing Time: 38 minutes 48 seconds
1. I Told A Lie (1:55)
2. Anne (1:51)
3. Glue Factory (2:33)
4. Tomato Paste (2:27)
5. Entropy (2:29)
6. Big Sky (2:20)
7. Hello (2:07)
8. Ugly Girl Lover (2:18)
9. You Would Be Right Excerpt (2:09)
10. Zeus My Master (2:28)
11. Asthenia (3:43)
12. Sistersmile (2:53)
13. Parasite (2:11)
14. Morton The Venereologist (5:39)
15. Circus Freak (1:19)
16. B (0:26)
Playing Time: 44 minutes 40 seconds
1. A. Wylie (2:30)
2. Regrets (3:14)
3. Julie Francavilla (2:10)
4. Pluto (3:04)
5. En Route to the Unified Field Theory (4:20)
6. A Fixed Point (2:59)
7. A Popular Donkey (0:22)
8. The Great Valediction (1:52)
9. Mendel’s White Trash Laboratory (2:31)
10. Z2 + C (1:51)
11. Sorry Henry Maartens (2:42)
12. Night of the Hunter (1:45)
13. Port Angels (2:35)
14. Eat (2:04)
15. Woolworth (2:38)
16. Parts I & II (4:08)
17. Need Retrograde Orbit (3:55)