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|Birth name||Gregory Vernon Sage|
September 21, 1952 |
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Origin||Portland, Oregon, U.S.|
|Genres||Punk rock, post-punk|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, record producer|
|Labels||Restless, Zeno Records, Jackpot Records|
Gregory Vernon Sage (born September 1 1952) is an American songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist, regarded as an important influence on many punk rock and post-punk artists. Between 1977 and 1988, Sage was the principal songwriter of the influential Portland, Oregon-based band Wipers.
The mood of Sage's lyrics is frequently dark, and rife with references to confusion and severe alienation. His song structures often take unexpected turns and are typified by fractured melodic passages punctuated by massive, intricate guitar parts, usually played on a Gibson SG.
Sage has been involved in music professionally since the age of 17, when he worked on a full-length album by the professional wrestler Beauregarde (Beauregard, 1971; re-released 2004).
Since the demise of Wipers, Sage has also recorded several albums as a solo musician and operates his own label, Zeno Records, based in Phoenix, Arizona. He also builds musical equipment, including his own studio.
Sage is also notable as a rare example of someone who plays guitar left-handed even though he is a natural right hander.
Sage had an affinity for music and recording from a young age.
"I think I got that concept early on as a kid. I was very lucky to have my own professional record cutting lathe when I was in 7th grade due to my father being involved in the broadcast industry. I would cut records for friends at school of songs off the radio and learned the art of record making long before learning to play music. I would spend countless hours studying the grooves I would cut under the microscope that was attached to the lathe and loved the way music looked, moved and modulated within the thin walls. I might have spent too much time studying music through a microscope because it gave me a completely different outlook on what music is and a totally opposite understanding of it as well. There was something very magical and private when I zoomed into the magnified and secret world of sound in motion. I got to the point that I needed to create and paint my own sounds and colors into the walls of these grooves."
Sage's first instrument was bass guitar, because of the low tones that made larger grooves in the vinyl records due to slower modulations. Basses were harder to find and much more expensive when Sage was in grade school, so he used guitar instead.
Wipers started as purely a recording project. Sage planned to record 15 LPs in 10 years without touring or promotion. He believed it would be possible to avoid live shows, press, pictures and interviews, and this – coupled with the mystique of his unorthodox music – would encourage a deeper, more imaginative engagement with the recordings.
In 1979, Sage established his own record label, Trap, and asked several Portland punk bands to record singles. Some of those early bands were The Stiphnoyds, The Neo Boys and Sado Nation. Sage later re-released some of the material on a compilation record entitled The History Of Portland Punk.
- The Wipers official homepage
- Greg Sage at TapeOp.com
- http://www.zenorecords.com/beauregarde/intro.htm – Greg says he was 17 when he met Beauregarde in 1969.
- "California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VL1L-8ZW : 27 November 2014), Gregory Vernon Sage, 21 Sep 1952; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
- Greg Sage. "The Wipers' history". Zenorecords.com. Retrieved 2008-06-11.