West Coast Dates for The Frogs Begins February 15, 2020
The Frogs, Jimmy Flemion, along with good friend (and Frogs fan) Evan Dando (The Lemonheads), hit the road for select West Coast shows beginning this Saturday, February 15th in Seattle and run down the West Coast including the 19th at the Roxy in West Hollywood.
The first album is more than a vast departure from The Frogs previous works, it’s an arrival at the beginning. It’s the “1st” original debut album. Recorded within the realms of time stamped January 1986, it presents 12 songs and 8 unreleased bonus tracks. Understanding correctly, “1st” aka “Pat’s Session” was intended to be the initial release by brothers Dennis and Jimmy Flemion, prior to “The Frogs” 1988 self-titled debut. Minneapolis based Twin/Tone Records (Soul Asylum, The Replacements label at the time) approached The Frogs and expressed fawning interest, extending an invitation to record the band after their 1985, 7th Street Entry live performance (First Avenue’s sister club).
It was at this point, the famous fork in the road, where The Frogs opted to record closer to home, thus the path deviated a few weeks later to Nexus Recording Studio in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Twelve rapid fire songs emerged and were captured on reel to reel, one night, recorded live, first take, no overdubs. Upon playback review, the late Dennis Flemion (d.7/7/2012) opted not to release due to the overabundance of reverb. Throughout the years the discussion would persist from other sources on pursuing to fix the reverb on “1st.” Thirty-two years later, in 2018, Jimmy would take the recordings to a Portland, Oregon recording studio to remaster. The studio engineer successfully cleaned-up & removed the excess reverb. As a result, David Swider from End of All Music Records, expressed further interest in a follow up to the 2019, 30th Anniversary reissue of “It’s Only Right And Natural.”
The vibrant album is just as relevant today as it was 34 years ago. Rocking, straight ahead electric guitar, drums and bass coming right at you, tight in control and at times out of control. The music is melodic, raw, beckoning, smothered in darkness, occasionally flickering lights liven up the festivities. Goth, maybe pop, perhaps punk, reimagining journeys and paths gone awry. You will find yourself one way or another, in a maze of mystery and in the midst of swampy waters, kings, businessmen, Christians, volcano gods, gurus and dungeons. Life and death, hope and darkness, the songs that took their form between the span of 1982-85, give a glimpse into the psyche of the then 20-something brothers. It’s the duality The Frogs take to heart lyrically and musically that always keep you wondering and guessing, seeing it from all sides with colorful eyes.
Our story begins in the unlikely city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where roller skating takes on importance in early formative years, thus creating competition among the three brothers. Ultimately the older brother skates off into the sunset, whilst the two younger brothers harmonize through music. Studying great musical artists, they become that which they study. They are gifted with wordplay and notes played, a gift they know that is given to them from a higher place. A gift they do not take lightly, considering the source. The Frogs are perplexed by the reaction and non-reaction by god’s so-called children to their brilliance and chalk it up to a long awaited explanation they long to hear after this life when it is again time to meet their maker. The band don costumes to stand out, set themselves apart from others and to get noticed, only to have some place greater importance on visuals, rather than the celestial sounds they produce for all to cherish and behold. The Frogs mean a lot to a lot of people but not even close to what they mean to me, for I play guitar and sing in The Frogs and have penned this bio from my heart to yours.
The Frogs are an American band composed of brothers Jimmy and Dennis Flemion. They formed in Milwaukee Wisconsin in April of 1980. Jimmy on guitar and vocals and Dennis on drums and vocals. The brothers are two of the best songwriters around and their improvised home recordings are nothing short of sheer genius. Their live shows are something of legend. Their first show was at a college coffeehouse. Soon thereafter they frequently played a punk club in Milwaukee called The Starship. The early days consisted of punk cover versions of Beatles, Donovan, Leonard Cohen folk and nursery rhyme songs. Then in 1982 came the costumes, bat wings, boas, fog and flashpots that coincided with the new “Death Songs.”
The Frogs then played in Minneapolis where Wendy and Lisa of Prince’s band The Revolution saw their show and said that their troubles were over. In early 1986 The Frogs began work on their first LP “The Frogs” which would be self-released in 1988. Their classic “It’s Only Right And Natural,” was the first improvised made-up songs LP released in 1989. Their follow-up LP “Racially Yours” was ready in 1991, but was ultimately released in 2000 on 4 Alarm Records. Another collection of Made-Up songs would be released in 1996 on Matador. In 1997, their Starjob EP, produced by Billy Corgan in 1994, was released by Scratchie Records. 1999 saw a new LP of Made-Up songs released on 4 Alarm and in 2001 their “Hopscotch Lollipop Sunday Surprise” LP was released. On the 4th of July, 2012, The Frogs released their first albums in 11 years, “Count Yer Blessingsz” & “Squirrel Bunny Jupiter Deluxe.”
With his brother Dennis, Jimmy Flemion concocted one of the most singular and slyly provocative acts of rock music – The Frogs. Their dark humor and biting satire – moored by an impossibly catchy and copious catalog of songsmithery – is championed by indie cognoscenti and arena rock stars to this very day. Their sartorial flourishes and outrageous performances are rightly the stuff of legend, as is their video work that riffs on the ribald. While their 32-year run together was cut short by Dennis’ untimely passing in 2012, Jimmy has continued on with his songwriting, and in 2017 he regaled a lucky audience in Austin, Texas with a Frogs set dedicated to – and featuring songs penned by – his brother.
“What do you do when your brother is here one day and the next day he’s not. You honor him and yourself by always holding yourself to the high standards that he wanted for us and you give thanks for the blessings that have happened in our careers. We were and are artists who see and saw the world in our own way. Whatever we created was a reflection of what exists and the truth. We sing and sang of characters and ourselves but always through a window of love. Music has always been my saving grace, it’s given me a purpose and a deep feeling of why I believe I’m here. The Frogs were always Dennis and me. It will never be the same again. No matter what, I will always continue to make music because it is in my soul and always will be.”
The Frogs with Evan Dando and Jimmy Flemion: Tour Dates
Feb 15 Substation, Seattle WA
Feb 16 Mississippi Studios, Portland OR
Feb 18 Chapel, San Francisco CO
Feb 19 The Roxy, Los Angeles CA
Feb 21 Soda Bar, San Diego CA
Feb 22 Bunkhouse, Las Vegas NV
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