Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Two Felipes - Eat Your Fill

(The Two Felipes live in Milwaukee, WI circa 1986)

Considering this is my first music post, I thought I'd upload one of the most influential recordings that ever came into my life.

When I was in my mid-teens, my dad and I used to frequent Aron's Records (RIP) in Hollywood. Actually, frequent is an understatement - it was like a second home. They had a 99-cent tape section that we'd always carouse; my dad would find high quality tapes that he could erase and re-use and I'd look for all the tapes with handmade covers, which were either demos by unknown bands or homemade recordings.

One day, my dad went to Aron's during the week without me (I lived with my mom) and he called me to tell me he found a tape for me. He told me
it was really awful, but it had a song called "Explosive Enemas." He gave me the tape and, for whatever reason, I ignored it for a while. Anyway, a few weeks later, I was on the phone with a friend and I mentioned that my dad had given me this tape, and my friend suggested that I put it on. I did and my life was changed forever.

The Two Felipes were vocalist/lyricist Dan Vebber, Steve Marchese on baritone sax, Kris Desch on alto sax, Karl Desch on keyboards and percussionist Jay Tollefsen. The result probably most closely resembles very early Negativland or Residents, but these five Cheese Heads had a sound that was completely their own: screaming sarcastic vocals, bad saxophone playing, cheesy Casio keyboards and metronomic beating on a bucket for drums. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this tape was utter crap, but I do know better, so I recognize the sheer genius of The Two Felipes.

The tape quickly became an obsession. I'd play it for anyone who'd listen, each person becoming as obsessed as I was - everybody wanted a copy of it. (One friend eventually went to Columbia University in NYC and he played it on his lunchtime dorm radio show.) The tape became regular listening in my car when I'd drive to and from school during mid-terms and final exams. I even wrote a fan letter to the address in the tape, but I never got a response. For a long time, The Two Felipes remained a mystery.

(Original lyric sheet.)

My first real job was at a computer chip distribution company. One April Fool's Day, I convinced the receptionist to re-route the hold music, so when incoming callers were placed on hold, they'd listen to The Two Felipes instead of Michael Bolton or whatever the standard hold music was. Oddly enough, nobody said anything about it at all...

Over the years, I'd hear snippets of information about Dan Vebber. A good friend of mine, who worked for Comic Con in San Diego, told me Vebber's number was in the Rolodex, but he wouldn't give it to me for some reason (something about professionalism). I saw Vebber's credit on Futurama and I had no doubt it was the same guy - that sense of humor is unmistakable.

Finally, my friend, Ackronomicon, did some searching and found out that Vebber's wife worked next door to him at NBC. He spoke to her, she spoke to her husband and finally I spoke to the man himself, Dan Vebber. He told me that The Two Felipes were his high school band and that his family had taken a typically mid-western whitebread vacation to Los Angeles in the late '80s. Seeing his chance to promote the band, he brought tapes with him and handed them out on the Boardwalk in Venice Beach. I guess it's one of those tapes that ended up in my hands so many years later.

Dan Vebber edited The Onion for a while. In addition to his work on Futurama, he has written for American Dad!, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Daria. From what I understand, the other Felipes went on to be doctors, lawyers and respectable businessmen.

The Two Felipes story isn't quite over yet, though. There are two other full length studio "albums" and some live recordings as well, so leave some comments and let me know if you want me to post that stuff in the future.

The images and music were uploaded with Dan Vebber's full consent. Thank you, Dan!

The Two Felipes
Eat Your Fill CS
(Flaming Cow Productions)

Or try out some sample tracks first:

Rick the Drunk

Explosive Enemas

You're a Bird

Evil Robyn


  1. Ah - total twisted genius. I am playing it now. My co-workers shall hate me forever.

  2. Dan Vebber and all of his stupid "friends" are jackasses. They butter their friends' asses for kicks. I hate them.

  3. Hey Gern, "Learn with Gern" was terrible. "Simply Gern" was okay-ish.

    More Felipes!!!!!!!

    I've looked and looked for these guys for 20 plus years. Finally

  4. Right on, Gern, except Dan's "friends" are just people who enjoy basking in his pffffft.

  5. I'm glad we're all on the same page here (I think).

    Lydon, you may not be rotten, but I'll get some more Felipes up soon, I just have to make sure I have the proper scans in order.

    Give it a month or so. I have some other things to put up first.

    Thanks for your interest!

  6. I remember being in love with this tape back around 86. Have not heard it since. Takes me back. Thanks so much for posting this. Viva los dos Felipes!

  7. two felipes reminds me of lawn mowing

  8. awesome. my sister went to art camp in WI in highschool and brought Eat Your Fill home, one of the band members was at the camp, too. We enjoyed it for years. she is going to freak. I hope you post some more, but this has made my week.

  9. Glad you found it! I've already posted two more Felipes tapes! Go to the list on the right and click "two felipes" to see everything else!

  10. I thought that I was the only one who still listened to this crap. Yes...I still have your tape Dan! It's nice to see that you are still using your talents! Could use some more episodes of "The Dude"
    Hope all is well with you. (maybe you read this?)
    ~Chris Luecke

  11. I also attended the summer art studio with Dan, and was given a copy of the tape....I played it over and over for months....and still appreciate its great lyrics....I only wish I could say this tape was the reason I went into proctology, but I never did. But I do wanna put on those rubber gloves and spread your cheeks and pretend you're in love with me.

  12. Back in '86 I attended a house party in Milwaukee and the Two Felipes were playing in the backyard. Their sound caught my ear and I went out to listen. After a short while I was entranced. They hit all of the weird buttons my DEVO, Residents loving brain had and I was an instant fan.

  13. I'm so glad to see this thread after 10 years. Mr Phreek got me into the Felipes around 98 and I was the one who tracked down Dan's wife at my workplace at NBC of all places in LA. I met with him and he gave me the other albums and a video and the world was forever in balance.