Interview: Craig Flipy – Punk rock cinematographer / Bigfoot hunter

Slider image from the URTC video for The People Are Home.

Craig Flipy has filmed numerous videos for Recess Records and photographed touring bands passing through California or his now home of Portland, Oregon. Flipy has also worked filming the wildly popular Animal Planet reality show, Finding Bigfoot, and is currently in the process of making the documentary, Crappy Little Dreams, based on his fascination and obsession with hunting down the elusive skunk ape.

TuffGnarl.com: You work with both but do you identify more as a photographer or cinematographer?
Craig Flipy: I have more fun with photography lately, but I’ve always had a video camera. Since 1991 I’ve been filming all kinds of crazy stuff with some photography mixed in. I have a hard time calling myself a photographer or cinematographer because I’m blown away by people that deserve that title. It’s a little too easy these days to get a camera and label yourself a “pro photographer.” I try to stay out of that. I take pictures and shoot video of things that interest me. If I get paid for it, I consider myself lucky!

You’ve shot two videos for The Underground Railroad to Candyland: “We Aren’t the World,” and more recently, “The People Are Home.” How’d you hook up with those guys?
I’ve been jocking Todd Congelliere since the early 1990s. The first seven inch I bought was F.Y.P. Made in the USA. Before that I didn’t know bands still made records. I had a bunch of tapes then, mostly the usual stuff — Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, etc. I loved Todd’s parts in skate videos and there was nothing like F.Y.P. I’ve been a fan ever since. I sent him some home movies in like 1992. He was a fan of “Beastboy” and that helped kick off my weirdo movie making habit. Over the years I was always in touch. Then, in 1999, I moved out to San Pedro and filmed all sorts of mayhem. We made music videos and I captured some pretty funny things. We were free back then, taking a late night shit at a bus stop while your friend attacks you in a gorilla suit and someone shoots at you shattering the bus stop glass was art to us. Anyways, I moved to Portland in 2006 to search for Bigfoot, but I try to make videos for Recess bands whenever I can because Recess is still the best!

beastboy

Freeze frame of the short Beastboy.

You’ve photographed quite a few bands over the years. Who’s been your favorite ever?
Florida’s own No Fraud! Dan Destructo is one of the best frontmen you could ask for and has solid guys backing him. I love to watch people’s reaction. You find out pretty quick who’s really “punk” and usually it isn’t the ones who look it the most.

You’ve also worked on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot how’d that happen? Do you believe in Bigfoot?
Like I said, I left San Pedro and the Recess crew because I thought I could find Bigfoot. I went to a Bigfoot conference in 2003 in northern California and left convinced that they existed. I also discovered that there was a punk/Bigfoot connection. Several of the guys that were super into this Bigfoot phenomenon were also into punk. Most people don’t know this, but Bobo from Finding Bigfoot has the Black Flag bars tattooed on his arm, only instead of bars they are Bigfoot feet. Matt Moneymaker, the other co-star, used to write for Flipside and Cliff used to play in a sorta punk cover band in Long Beach, Mr. Mister Miyagi. I wouldn’t say Cliff is into punk but he makes some pretty crazy music. I was friends with Cliff and Bobo, they got the show and I would hop in there once in awhile when they needed someone to film the solo Bigfoot searches that each episode has.

I believed that Bigfoots existed so hard that in 2005 I took a moped from L.A. all through the Pacific Northwest searching. Since then, I’ve gone back and forth on the subject but hope to sort it all out in a documentary I’m currently making called Crappy Little Dreams. I’m also starting an Indiegogo campaign for it and the info will be at Crappylittledreams.com

You’re originally from Connecticut and now you’re in Portland, OR. What’s better in New England versus the Pacific Northwest?
I like the Pacific Northwest better with its creepy wet moss, but nothing is punker than fall in New England! [laughs]

Todd Congelliere from Recess Records asked me to ask have you ever had sex on a trampoline?
That’s a good way to cut off your head.

What are your favorite three records that you can always go back to no matter what?
Feederz’s Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss, Sockeye’s Retards Hiss Past My Window and and Rudimentary Peni’s Cacophony.

Those records will always be there for me, but bands that I can always listen to are Toys That Kill, URTC, Lenguas Largas, and any Frank Black album anytime!

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Chuck Livid

Chuck Livid hails from Miami, Florida. He ran a zine in the '90s called Muddy Chaos but is best known for his work on Livid Records. Chuck now lives in Boca Raton, Fl with illustrator wife Helena Garcia and their son Nico. He founded TuffGnarl.com and on occasion hosts the music podcast - Another Music Podcast for Jolt Radio.

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