Big Dipper

Big Dipper

Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne), The Zamboni's

Sat, February 2, 2013

8:00 pm

The Middle East Downstairs

Cambridge, MA

This event is 18 and over

Big Dipper
Big Dipper
Big Dipper was formed in 1985 amidst the fertile Boston music scene of the day, after guitarist Gary Waleik and bassist Steve Michener left the original lineup of Volcano Suns (which they'd formed with drummer and vocalist Peter Prescott after the breakup of Prescott's earlier band Mission Of Burma). Still anxious to pursue their musical muses, Michener briefly played in an early line-up of Dumptruck, while Waleik started writing songs with singer/guitarist Bill Goffrier, who had moved to Boston after his former band, the Lawrence, KS-based indie pioneers the Embarrassment, had split up in 1983. Completing their lineup with the additions of Michener and local drummer Jeff Oliphant, the band took to writing songs in their practice space and playing a few small gigs around Boston and Cambridge, before finally getting around to laying down a few tracks at a local studio. The band sent 6 songs to the legendary Homestead label, just to see if anyone might be interested. The response was clear and to the point as a recording contract and a hefty check for $1000 soon showed up in the mail. At this point, the band did not even have a name. But they settled on Big Dipper, and went back into the studio to record three more songs, thus giving life to the Boo Boo EP, which came out on Homestead in March of 1987. Leading off with the killer "Faith Healer," Boo-Boo was well-received on both the local and national indie scenes. Later the same year, the band's debut full-length LP Heavens was released to even greater acclaim. An excellent synthesis of sunny power pop, neo-psychedelia, and indie rock angst, Heavens launched the band onto national tours, critical acclaim, and respectable record sales. All Music Guide has called Heavens "one of the finest American indie albums of its era."

In 1988, Big Dipper released Craps, their final album with Homestead, and continued to tour and cement their reputation as one of the most vibrant bands from the thriving Boston music scene. The band signed to Epic/CBS in 1989, and released one album Slam, before being chewed up and spit out by the major label machine. It was not a pleasant process for anyone involved. Steve Michener left the band in 1990, moved out west to San Francisco, and after gigging with the likes of Barbara Manning and Richard Buckner for a while, he left music behind completely. In 1991, Epic unceremoniously dropped the band. Not long after that, Jeff also decided to leave the fold, and was replaced on drums by Woody Geissman (Embarrassment, Del Fuegos). Bill and Gary continued on as best they could, touring through various line-up changes, and frequently heading back into the studio, recording new tracks "sensibly and faithfully, something we had temporarily abandoned while making Slam," according to Gary. But before long even Gary had had enough of the grind, and by 1992, Big Dipper was no more (Bill, Woody and bassist John Styklunkas continued on post-Big Dipper as the trio Saucer). It had been amazing ride, but after nearly 7 years it was over.

Lucky for us, those last recording sessions from the early 90's were preserved, and we are proud to offer them up to you as the 3rd CD of Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology. Titled A Very Loud Array, this previously unreleased CD is a fitting coda to Big Dipper's amazing journey.
It is a return to the vibrant, angst-ridden yet undeniably infectious pop that first burst upon the Boston music-scene in 1986, and left an indelible mark on all who experienced it. There's just something eternal about great pop songs, and Big Dipper had those in spades. We look forward to helping fans rediscover this amazing band, and for many others we are excited to bring this music to the fore for the very first time!

Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology is a 3 CD set. 48 tracks were re-mastered from the original tapes, plus a video, all for an incredibly low price. Extensive liner notes are included, with background and history provided by the band themselves, as well as exclusive liner notes from Tom Scharpling, who famously set out on a crusade to get the band back together for his "Best Show on WFMU" in 2004.
Venue Information:
The Middle East Downstairs
472 Massachussetts Ave
Cambridge, MA, 02139
http://www.mideastclub.com/