Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Wipers V's Nirvana

The history of music is full of artists who receive little critical acclaim and minimal record sales, yet who manage to help create a completely new genre. Often this music would develop in remote areas, such as Portland, Oregon in America’s Pacific Northwest, the breeding ground for Greg Sage and his band The Wipers. The Wipers emerged in the late 1970’s, vehemently independent visionaries who would form part of the bedrock for the Seattle grunge scene which developed a decade later.

Sage's musical vision reflected the punk ethos of the time “to avoid press, shows, pictures, interviews” and his desire to “look at music as art rather than entertainment” helped to survive numerous lineup changes over the years. Sage was also one of the first people to develop all-ages shows in the 1980’s.

Despite the criticism and difficulties created by the music industry bigwigs, the Wipers still managed to release 10 albums. This desire to remain truly independent garnered Sage and the Wipers credibility from people such as Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) and Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana) who paid for the recording of the 1991 tribute album Fourteen Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers.

It seems unbelievable that Greg Sage isn't as well known as his musical contemporaries and followers such as Bob Mould, J Mascis, Kurt Cobain or Mark Arm.

A big thanks and howdy goes out to Dirk, an old buddy who turned me on to the music of The Wipers and so many other excellent bands back in the days when we used to swap mix tapes. Check out some of Dirk’s great photo’s here and here.

Nirvana, also from the Pacific Northwest, took many influences, including The Wipers, and after releasing one mediocre and one groundbreaking album were usurped by the music industry and took distilled punk rock to the masses in the form of grunge.

The Wipers - D-7

Nirvana - D-7


Blogger explodingheart said...

I knew them from my greater brother, even before I listened to Nirvan the first time!

Wed. Dec. 14, 12:43:00 am  

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