Friday, November 19, 2010

And I Can't Stop Thinkin' 'Bout That Thing Between My Legs: Whatever Happened To Blue Hippos?

There were so many good bands that came out of the Twin Cities during the 80’s that it’s a shame you only know about two or three of them.

Blue Hippos were one of those bands that you’ve forgotten or never heard about, but back in the late 80’s they seemed like they could be one of those bands that was ready to fall in line with the more notorious acts of the Minneapolis area.

Blessed with a shit-hot guitarist by the name of Paul Osby and featuring former bassist for Riflesport (another Twin City gem), this trio cooked up some sloppy funk and hinted at upper Midwest soul.

Whatever that means.

Their records for Twin/Tone only told half the story. The other half could be found in their great live show, where Osby usually ended up sweating through his shirt while still managing to deliver jive with his sunglasses on.

Sometimes they’d bring on a saxophonist with them to really bring out the Fun House freak flags.

The rumor-and again, this is tenth tier scuttlebutt that probably isn’t true-was that Osby battled with addiction until the momentum was so far from the Blue Hippos that is was impossible to regain it.

Some favorites from back then include the fun “Can’t Stop Thinkin’” from Forty Forty and the legendary “Drug Party” from their debut e.p.

Below is a rare clip of that song, featuring the drummer falling out of time right at the beginning.

Because you can’t have sloppy funk without the sloppy parts.

Did you notice that can of Jolt soda sitting on one of the amps?

The night of that video, the band opened (that's why their gear is in front) for Run Westy Run who was opening for Soul Asylum.

Betcha that was a good show.

What’s crazy is that there are a bunch of Twin/Tone bands that only ended up selling around 2,000 copies during their initial run. To me, bands like Blue Hippos, Run West Run, The Magnolias, etc. all seemed like huge stars. Maybe a tier below the Mats or Husker Du or Soul Asylum, but still worthy enough that you didn’t dare approach them or carry on a conversation with the members.

That, my friends, is how rumors get started.

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