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. Still anxious to pursue their musical muses, Michener briefly played in an e...
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. 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 Wichita, 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. By 1992, Big Dipper was no more. It had been an amazing ride, but after nearly 7 years it was over.
On March 18th, 2008, Merge Records released Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology. This 3 CD set includes reissues of the band's debut EP – Boo-Boo – and first two LPs – Heavens and Craps as well as 9 bonus tracks, a video and one previously unreleased CD – the "lost" album – Very Loud Array, which was the last recorded document from Big Dipper, but never saw the light of day, UNTIL NOW!!
Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet is the latest, and perhaps boldest, excursion into the perilous realm of Astronomy Pop by veteran indie-rockers BIG
DIPPER. Inspired by a triumphant reunion tour in support of Merge Records' 2008 3- disc retrospective Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology, the band returned from the stratosphere with a stellar collection of brand new songs. Just a few weeks after touring, Big Dipper began recording the new material in GARY WALEIK's top-secret Command Module studio. The album boasts cover art by Guided By Voices' main-man ROB POLLARD, a huge Big Dipper fan (Pollard rates them the 20th greatest band in rock history, #19 being T. Rex!). The recording line-up consists of guitarist/vocalist BILL GOFFRIER, drummer/vocalist JEFF OLIPHANT, late-era Dipper alum TOM BREWITT on bass and the aforementioned vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Waleik, with special guest appearances by Commander FRANK BORMAN and Command Module Pilot JIM LOVELL of the Apollo 8 Mission as well as some of the Dippers' offspring. The disc's 12 songs shimmer with Big Dipper's trademark sound: twin vocals, ethereal harmonies, dynamic guitar arrangements by Goffrier and Waleik (dubbed by some a "two-headed guitar monster"), Oliphant's powerful drumming and Brewitt's melodic bass playing. But longtime fans may also be surprised at how easily Dipper has stretched its own boundaries.