Big Dipper (band)

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Big Dipper
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Alternative rock, indie rock, Jangle Pop
Years active 1985–1990, 2007–present
Labels Homestead, Demon, Epic, Merge
Associated acts Volcano Suns, The Embarrassment, Dumptruck, XS, Iron Gerbils, Saucer, Mars Classroom
Members Bill Goffrier, Gary Waleik, Steve Michener, Jeff Oliphant

Big Dipper is an American indie rock band formed in Boston in 1985 by former members of Volcano Suns and The Embarrassment.[1] They released 4 albums between 1987 and 1990, before splitting up. The band reunited in 2008.[1] They were described in a New York Times article as "musical contortionists: they love to toy with extremes, juxtaposing ferocious guitar noise with celestial vocal harmonies or planting a delicate melody in jagged rhythm".[2]


In 1986, former members of Volcano Suns, Gary Waleik and Steve Michener (the latter was also in Dumptruck), recruited guitarist/vocalist Bill Goffrier (formerly of The Embarrassment), and drummer Jeff Oliphant (formerly of XS and the Iron Gerbils), who was Gary's cousin.[3][4] Goffrier struck up a friendship with Waleik when he attended a Volcano Suns gig in mid-1985, and the next year the band was formed.[3] They recorded a six-song demo and one of the tracks, "Faith Healer", received regular airplay from local college radio stations.[4] Their first release was the 1987 mini-album Boo-Boo on Homestead Records (released on Demon Records in the UK). The full-length album Heavens, which was released later in 1987, has been described as "one of the finest American indie albums of its era".[5] The album sleeve featured Goffrier's painting of a UFO.[4] Their second full-length album, Craps, followed in 1988. Three of the band contributed with songwriting. One of the tracks on the album reflected Goffrier's interest in extraterrestrial phenomena, with the song "Semjase" about a Swiss farmer who in the 1970s claimed to have been regularly visited by Semjase, a female from the constellation Pleaides.[3] They signed to Epic Records for 1990's Slam. This would prove to be their final album. Michener left the band and they continued with various players for two years, splitting up in 1992 after releasing a 45 and recording more than an albums worth of material. In 2008, Merge Records released a 3-CD anthology of Big Dipper's Homestead recordings, with additional material,including the unreleased tracks recorded after Michener left, titled Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology. This renewed interest has prompted the band to reform for some live shows in April 2008.

In 2009, MTV Games released the songs "All Going Out Together", "She's Fetching", and "Younger Bums" for the Rock Band video game series. The songs are available on Nintendo Wii,[6] PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.[7]


In 2011, their 1987 song "All Going Out Together" appeared in the film I Melt with You, directed by Mark Pellington. The song also appears on the soundtrack CD to the film on Lakeshore Records.

In November 2012, Big Dipper released their first new album in twenty-two years, Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet on Almost Ready Records.




Compilation appearances[edit]

  • "You're Not Patsy" on The Wailing Ultimate (1987) Homestead
  • "Lou Gehrig's Disease" on None Whatsoever (1987) Vacant Lot
  • "He Is God" on Human Music (1988) Homestead
  • "Another Life" on Theodore: An Alternative Music Sampler (1990) Columbia/Epic
  • "Homosapien" on Freedom of Choice: Yesterday's New Wave Hits As Performed By Today's Stars (1992) Caroline
  • "You're Not Patsy" on Roots of Nirvana (2011) Mojo[3]


External links[edit]