Frogs are a duo from Wisconsin that lives a fiercely independent musical life.
Poking fun at racial, sexual and religious dogmas, they have created a
phenomenon of juvenile, caustic and lewd, irreverence similar to what
Frank Zappa did in the 1960s.
Jimmy and Dennis Flemion started making music in 1978, but the first document
was a self-released album, The Frogs (Frogs, 1988), an odd collection
of pop tunes that homaged Donovan, Marc Bolan and especially Prince
(C-R-Y, Funhouse, Layin' Down My Love 4 You).
For a record that was hardly played on the radio and that was almost
impossible to find,
It's Only Right And Natural (Homestead, 1989) established a world
record, as at least Rosy Jack World and
I Don't Care If You Disrespect Me became cult hits.
This album wasn't even supposed to be an album: the duo improvised these
songs while recording their first album, and hardly imagined that some day
it would be released.
It turned out this spontaneous lullabies were an enchanting new genre
for the "lo-fi pop" generation.
The following, extraordinarily controversial, 25-song tour de force
Racially Yours (4 Alarm, 2000)
would be released only seven years after it was recorded (in 1993).
The duo's racist lyrics mimick the stereotypes of minstrel shows
from the turn of the century, while the music is
sloppy, demented acoustic folk in the vein of David Peel
(No More Holidays For King, Sorry That I Am White,
Darkmeat 4 Sale).
Following the singles Now You Know You're Black and
Here Comes Santa's Pussy, the compilation
My Daughter The Broad (Matador, 1996) gave a 22-song survey of
what had never been released.
The Fugs' and David Peel's playful and guilty romps inspire the
sarcastic and provocative parable God Is Gay, the hilarious
I'm Sad The Goat Just Died Today and the shocking
Who's Sucking on Granpa's Balls, a set that, in terms of dirty behavior,
would make William Burroughs blush.
The EP Starjob (Scratchie, 1997) shows the duo is still in terrific
form, with a survey of their art that is alternately
ranting (I Only Play For Money),
satirical (Lord Grunge)
and, as usual, offensive (Raped).
The new decade gave the Frogs what the previous decade had taken away.
Suddenly, the duo was actually being prolific.
Bananimals (4 Alarm, 2000) is another batch of erotic jokes that
would fit well in a French novel of the era of the Marquis DeSade.
The duo cleaned up for
Hopscotch Lollipop Sunday Surprise (Scratchie, 2001), their most
accomplished and least criminal musical endeavour yet.
Unreleased home recordings surfaced on
Count Your Blessingsz and Squirrel Bunny Jupiter Deluxe.
The 57-year Dennis Flemion drowned in 2012.
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