Sunday, September 03, 2006

Big Dipper

Today, as usual, is Classic Sunday and will be a treat for some of you that remember this band. I always get shy when it comes to posting thoughts on some of my favorites and this would be a big one. Instead of pretending to be any type of historian, I will simply give you my story and some links to follow up on. In many cases, bands that had only a few releases during their day ended up saying exactly what I wanted to hear. This would be a perfect example that always makes my top 10 (yes, of all time) list. After listening, you might agree that almost 20 years later this sound is completely relevant and sets what I would consider an extremely high mark for today's crop of indie rockers to strive for. Let's get started with my inane ramble... shall we?

It was 1987 and I had been crashing out on different couches (and porches) around the Ohio State University campus for just under a year. I took my entire life savings of $300 and purchased a 1979 Datsun 210. After selling everything I owned on a sidewalk outside of a friends apartment, I jumped in the car and decided that Boston was my destination. Upon arrival I met a girl who informed me that Cape Cod was where the summer jobs were. She let me park the car down the street from her folks house. I hitchhiked to the cape and ended up on Martha's Vineyard. I rented a half renovated garage for $45 per week and worked on fishing boats with skinheads. Months passed after tourist season and I finally made my way back to Boston. I caught a ride in a jeep from a guy who was a house painter. He had a boom box playing this very song when we were driving along. I asked what it was and he pointed to his toolbox. I opened it and examined the tape case. This was my new favorite band. He also had Joe Jackson. Cool guy. Anyway, I stopped in Philadelphia on my way home and found my own copy of this release. I still own that tape, however it is unplayable after repairing it multiple times with nail polish over the years. The Datsun brought me back to Columbus safe and sound. Now the useful stuff.

In 1985 Big Dipper was formed by Gary Waleik and Steve Michener, both of Volcano Suns fame. They soon enlisted the guitar/vocal assistance of Bill Goffrier who had previously been in the band The Embarrassment. To complete this stellar lineup, Jeff Oliphant was added on drums. The first full length release came out in 1987 and was titled Heavens on Homestead Records. If you can get your hands on a copy of this in any form please get in touch with me. There is a Big Dipper MySpace page to hear plenty more and I'm sure the above mentioned (linked) folks would love to hear from you. For more info there is a really interesting read at Boston Rock Storybook. I only found a couple of Big Dipper MP3 files in blogland so I will need to try and fix my old cassette tape yet again. Heavens needs to be re-released big time. *cough* *cough* Rhino *cough*... Enjoy the remainder of your weekend and take note that another great song from this band is coming your way tomorrow!

Oh yeah... in my old shoebox I found this ticket stub. Although they are not listed on the ticket, Big Dipper opened up for Bob Mould in what could be the best show I've ever had the chance to experience. This is a classic Casey's Stub moment (wait... that sounded wrong). xoxo

MP3: All Going Out Together (1987)
Bonus MP3: She's Fetching (1987)


john clarke said...

Because I'm an enormous Big Dipper fan, I drove 5 and half hours to see a reunion show of The Embarrassment in Wichita KS two weeks ago to see the great Bill Goffrier play. I told him I lamented the fact that Heavens is now impossible to find. He does too. I have a friend in Dallas who owns a small indie label that's interested in rereleasing that album. Bill says he's interested. Even better, Bill says Gary Waliek has the master tapes to a whole bunch of songs that were never released after Epic dropped the band when Slam bombed.

Keep your fingers crossed --- the greatest 80's guitar pop album may be available soon, including a lost Big Dipper album.

4casey4 said...

That is great news!! I sent a message to Gary on myspace and will mention the same thing here... If any assistance is needed getting this gem back in circulation PLEASE let me know.

John, if you are on myspazzz look me up. Fingers crossed here in Ohio for sure. Thank you for the comment and info.


frankenslade said...

Great write-up. Check out this good news from a recent interview with Gary Waleik!