Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I first heard the band Flick when I was 16-years-old. I remember driving down the highway in my car listening to the once great (but not anymore) Lawrence, Kansas radio station, 105.9 The Lazer. The Lazer was known for playing an eclectic mix of alternative, indie and local music. Given Lawrence's close proximity to Missouri (not something to be proud of, but a fact nonetheless) they started playing a "local" band from the tiny town of Stockton, called Flick.

I remember being grabbed immediately. This wonderful sound was coming from my speakers - beautifully naive lyrics sang by a voice akin to a child-like John Lennon, over guitars crunchier than a bag of potato chips. The influences were immediately obvious - The Beatles, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins - but still somehow fresh, like they thought they had just discovered those three bands and nobody else in the world had ever heard of them. Or maybe it was because most of the members of Flick were teenagers (brothers Oran and Trevor Thorton were 18 and 14(!) respectively) and went at these oft-imitated bands with the wild-eyed wonder and sincerity that only teenagers really can.

Butch Vig (Nirvana producer and member of the band Garbage) in an interview once said he thought Flick were going to be the next big thing but almost everyone else wrote them off. Google the band's debut album, The Perfect Kellulight, and the few reviews that actually come up, pigeon-hole them as a bunch of kids trying to sound like their grown up predecessors. The biggest magazine to review them, Entertainment Weekly, gave them a B- and said that perhaps, maybe, someday, this band would be great. Flick toured around the region for a while and I had the chance to meet them once backstage at an outdoor festival in Wichita (nice guys). I myself was 17 at the time and it was weird being older than the lead singer of one of my favorite bands. Eventually the band split and were mostly forgotten about (do a Google search of 'Flick' and virtually nothing about the band comes up). Today, a couple members from the band still play in a largely shitty hard rock band and oddly, some forced and cliched country music, and maybe a handful of people from the Midwest remember them (3 of those being my 2 brothers and I).

A few days ago, on a whim, I listened to Flick and realized two things - 1. Yes, the music is completely derivative of its influences. No doubt each member of the band fell asleep every night listening to The Bends or Siamese Dream. Flick wouldn't have existed without its influences and they wore them very brightly on their sleeves. The second thing I realized was that Flick totally fucking rocked. All that impassioned youth crap I was spewing about them is completely true. We Americans are obsessed with youth - we love the Britney Spears' and Taylor Swift's of the world for being talented at such an early age. That's fine, I'm not here to give some cliched rant about bubblegum pop and Disney-programmed robots on the radio. The point is, Flick was a band comprised of brothers and friends from the middle-of-nowhere Missouri, singing their adolescent hearts out about their heartache and disappointments and playing the hell out of their instruments (and no matter how old they were, they could really play). It's a damn shame that Flick never got the recognition they deserved. Ten years later, their music sounds twice as fresh as Pearl Jam or Stone Temple Pilots or anything from that genre. And even for Radiohead wannabes it's better than most others - less melodramatic than Snow Patrol, less apeshit over-the-top than Muse, and way more fun than Coldplay. In short, Entertainment Weekly can shove that B- minus up their A. Flick Rules!


  1. Absolutely! This is the only album from the 90's that I can still pop in the cd player and listen to for a week. I remember I met one of the band members at a party years later and he thought I was a friggin weirdo because I grabbed HIS cd out of my case and put it in. I'm guessing that was probably the only time that had ever happened to him. Love this review! :)

  2. if Jan Terri is not on your Halloween countdown I am starting my own JT blog and stealing all of your readers. You've been warned.... MUAHAAHAHHAHHA!!!!!!!!

  3. Pour a little out for our dead homey: The Lazer. :*(

    Is there anything that comes close on internet/ indie/ college stations today?? Help AOON!

  4. There are great college stations - but many of them lapse into 49 minute trance songs from time to time that make me want to slam my face against a tree. There's a public radio station out of Minneapolis that's about as close as it gets to the Lazer's glory days - it's 89.3 The Current, and you can listen online.

    Also, I'll throw a little Jan Terry out there for ya, don't worry.

  5. I'm listening to the album and some other things of theirs right now. Man it is so good. They actually tried to stage some type of a come back around 2000? or so.. They played quite a few shows around KC (Hurricane, Pyro Room, few others). I taped quite a few of them. They had an album sort of come out, called "Iron Bottom Sounds".. it is very good. Not quite, Perfect Kellulight, but still VERY good. It was officially recorded, but I think the label didn't really put it out there. You can find copies on Ebay occasionally. I think there was an issue with them and their record label, I have no facts to back that up, but just my thoughts.

    Trevor lives in Nashville now from what I can tell. Not sure what exactly the next move is. These guys are the real deal.

    Here is one thing I pick up on the album, and the whole context back when it was released (1998, I think).. Music was better then.. A LOT better. So a band like Flick comes out, and people could dismiss them.. But honestly.. They were amazing.. Compare them to bands of today? Not even close...Just My two cents..