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The Flophaus Society Orchestra

Jack Rabid


Bosco's Site with Audio Links


"What's that I hear? It is twelve o'clock in the daytime… church bells ringing?”
"There ain't no church bells ringing. Somebody must be dead."
"Somebody must be dead drunk."
"No, I think I hear the trombone blowin.’ It must be that Flophaus again.”

The Flophaus Society Orchestra was yet another one of Mike D’s many side-projects. The group consisted of Mike D on drums, the ubiquitous David Sparks on washboard, Paul Henshaw on bass, Jay Wako on piano, Jeff Baker on trombone, a clarinet player in a Sear sucker suit named John Bartles, Eric Hubel on mandolin, and Bosco supplying vocals, hot cornet, & musical direction. When contacted by Beastiemania.com, Bosco said, “"What? Huh? Oh yeah, I remember now. Those gigs were real events. Nobody knew quite what to make of it. Jean Michelle Basqiat wanted to throw me out so that he could be the singer. We did old traditional jazz, or we tried to. Our main influences were Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver and of course Fletcher Henderson."

We can only imagine what it must have been like to witness the Flophaus Society Orchestra perform. Bosco recalled the following about the dynamics of the group. “In addition to wearing the washboard David Sparks, who appeared in the Fight For Your Right (to Party) music video as one of the nerds, would also pass the hat around the audience which was comprised of horrified and bemused diners. This was all going on at the same time as the band was bursting into an improv chant of pass the flask, which also happened to be making the rounds. Mike D used to call Jeff Baker 'homeboy trombone’ which on occasion nearly resulted in an altercation. Later, Jeff went on to play with Green Day. It was great fun. We had a weekly gig at the Odean restaurant (in New York) and once ruined Gene Simmons' (of KISS) dinner or so I'm told. This was all much to Jay Wako’s delight.”

The Flophaus Society Orchestra performed their weekly engagements in the autumn of 1987. It all happened following the success of Licensed to Ill. For Mike D it was a side project that dove tailed nicely with the endless touring that the Beastie Boys had done in support of their album. It came at this point where the Beastie Boys were all looking for different creative outlets. After the Licensed to Ill tour ended, Adam Horovitz left New York to make the movie Lost Angels in Hollywood. For Adam Yauch it was playing with his new group Brooklyn. Similarly, Mike D was able to find creative release by playing in Big Fat Love and the Flophaus Society Orchestra.

Cathy Fitzsimons Glen E. Friedman