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The Sound

Still flying after all these years


The Flying Marsupials play J.C. Wilson’s birthday at House of Bricks on Saturday, Jan. 4.

The Flying Marsupials play J.C. Wilson’s birthday at House of Bricks on Saturday, Jan. 4.

There are few experiences in the capital city quite as sublimely entertaining as getting to chat with J.C. Wilson. Wilson’s been an integral part of the local music scene for decades, not only as the owner of the House of Bricks, but as a member of Des Moines party band, The Flying Marsupials.

Formed in 1989, the ‘Supes are as much of a Des Moines institution as you’ll find. They’ve opened for acts like Eddie Money, .38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Cheap Trick, and 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of its founding.

“Late ’89 was our first gig,” Wilson recalled. “It was a wedding reception. I was playing the gig with my high school band Rukkus, and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got these other guys who are still in the basement, so I’ll bring them along.’ So I played with Rukkus, then with (The Flying Marsupials). We only had seven or eight covers, but we played.

“Both bands outlasted that marriage.”

Prep Iowa

The ‘Supes is, at its heart, a really fun cover band. It’s got a catalog of originals — bonus points if you’re the proud owner of its lone CD, 1994’s “Working Without Annette” — but the covers are where the band has made its name. Mainly because, with the ‘Supes, the music is practically a secondary consideration. It’s just so much fun to be around the guys. And sometimes you get a great story out of it. Like where the name came from.

“We’d joked about a couple names,” Wilson recounted. “The Chrome Lunch Buckets was my favorite. (Bassist) Lance Eaton came up with Fritz and the Salivating Marsupials. Well, he said it enough that one day someone asked Steve (Rorebeck) about this name Lance had come up with, and Stevie said, ‘It’s something like The Flying Marsupials.’

“It stuck with the wives. One day we were like, ‘This is it, we need to come out of this meeting with a name,’ and one of the wives yells down, ‘You can’t change the name! We’ve told people it’s The Flying Marsupials.’ And we’re like, ‘Yeah, that was just a joke.’ ‘No, you CAN’T change the name!’ So it was kind of thrust upon us.”

He reflects for a moment. “I remember that deflating feeling of ‘crap, did that just happen?’ I wanted ‘chrome’ in the name.” CV               

Chad Taylor is an award-winning news journalist and music writer from Des Moines who would love to take his talents abroad if the rent were not so much more affordable in Des Moines.

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