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, 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. 12 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.
Jimmy Flemion, along with good friend Evan Dando (The Lemonheads), hit the road next month for select West Coast shows beginning February 14th. The “1st” album will be available to purchase at those dates, ahead of its April release.
Feb 14 Vancouver, B.C Rickshaw Theatre
Feb 15 Seattle, WA Substation
Feb 16 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
Feb 18 San Francisco, CA Chapel
Feb 19 Los Angeles, CA Roxy
Feb 21 San Diego, CA Soda Bar
Feb 22 Las Vegas, NV Bunk Bar