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[missing] Pray for Dennis Flemion

 

According to the Matador blog, Dennis Flemion of the Frogs is missing and presumed dead.

This is the worst.

That dude, along with his brother, Jimmy, got somewhat famous in the mid-90s for getting sampled by Beck and being friends with Kurt Cobain. 

But they should be famous--scratch that. They should be immortal for making the funniest rock record ever made.


This record is so important to mankind that I had high hopes for writing a 33 1/3 about it. I still remember the first time I listened to it. 

It is 1997, my sophomore year of college, and I'm sitting on my boyfriend's living room carpet, an unfortunate composite of beige nylon pile, faint traces of cigarette ash, and rancid bong water.

There are also mice.

The boyfriend's roommate, [REDACTED] has just driven back from Tower Records with two LPs.

One of them, the shabbier one, has a picture of a hairy man sitting Indian style in a baby's crib, his hands gripping the bars, his face raised up at the camera in abject supplication. This is Barry Lewis Polisar -- a name we can't say without laughing -- who wrote songs for children in Baltimore.The second one, still in its cellophane wrapping, bears a black and white photo of an apple-cheeked prepubescent in suspenders and a Hitler Youth haircut. Hovering over his breast pocket: a hot pink triangle.

I read the band's name. I recall I had seen them back home in Chicago, when they had opened for the Smashing Pumpkins at the Aaragon Ballroom. Some friends who saw the show on the first night had told us about the opening band, a bunch of ugly, sexist assholes who couldn't even sing.

On our way to see the Pumpkins, in the back seat of Mrs.[REDACTED]'s minivan, we plotted. [REDACTED] fished a tampon out of her purse, daubed the tip with red nail polish, and held it out the window.

After jostling our way to the front -- a journey always fraught with ass grabs -- we awaited the Frogs. After a while, they slumped onstage, and they were uglier than we could have imagined. One of 'em had the most alarming haircut I had ever seen: though thin, greasy hair cascaded down his back, his lumpy crown was altogether bald. He wore silver angel's wings and held his guitar like he found it revolting. He sang as though he was cut off from the rest of the room by an electric fence. He flipped us the bird.

Midway through the first song, a warm rumble penetrated the thin racket coming from the stage. Boo. In seconds, the whole room was either cheering for the Pumpkins or booing outright. We plucked our bloody tampons from Julie's purse and flung.

But when we put on that record, I listened anyway:

I've done drugs

That will blow your mind tonight

Real fine tonight

Blow you blind tonight

Tonight

Going out of my mind

Tonight

They'd done drugs? Well so had we. Within seconds, we were howling lumps on the floor. When they sang about the fucking priest with a yeast infection, we were almost dead.

And thus began our questionable habit of listening to It's Only Right and Natural on repeat. I'm pretty sure we played that record at least three times a day, every day, that entire academic year. It was ritual, as ritual as yelling out "Ice dildo!" in that scene in the porno we had rescued from the dollar bin. We'd hunch around the record player, grinning dopily. When we knew a funny part was coming up -- like the part in that song about mouth-raping the S&M baby -- we'd catch each other's eyes. And when Jimmy and Dennis really got going, we'd crack the fuck up.

Fourteen years later, I still laugh every time I listen to that record. Laughed, I should say -- I don't know if I'd still be able to laugh if the worst is true, but I mean it as the holiest of compliments when I say I'd expect to, someday.

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