Big Dipper

After parting ways with Peter Prescott and his post-Mission of Burma project Volcano Suns two years before that group released their 1987 debut The Bright Orange Years, guitarist Gary Waleik and bassist Steve Michener (who also served in fellow-Bostonians Dumptruck) recruited guitarist/vocalist Bill Goffrier, and drummer Jeff Oliphant to form Big Dipper. Mixing post-punk jaggedness with Amerindie jangle, the band gigged regularly throughout Boston in the mid- to-late ’80s, garnering regular college radio airplay and releasing three well-received records for Homestead – ’87’s Boo-Booand Heavens, and ’88’s Craps — before making the leap to the majors for 1990’s Slam on Epic, an album that, after a few fits and starts, proved to be their swan song. The band members have remained busy in the years following Big Dipper’s dissolution — Goffrier returned to his previous band, Kansas’ The Embarrassment, while Waleik performed with Crush, Sr and has produced records for everyone from Eleventh Day Dream to Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard — and the band’s profile was noticeably raised in the 21st century when Merge Records released the lovingly-curated Homestead-era anthology, Supercluster in 2008 (which necessitated a reunion show in April ’08 at the Middle East Downstairs) and three of the band’s songs appeared in the Rock Band video game in 2009.
(by Stephen Haag)

Published on December 28, 2012