Wipers

Wipin' your butt with ROCK!
*special introductory paragraph!
*Is This Real?
*Alien Boy EP
*Youth Of America
*Over The Edge
*Land Of The Lost
*Follow Blind
*Live In Nurnberg 1987
*The Circle
*Silver Sail
*The Herd
*The Power In One

Portland, OR's The Wipers was a trio founded by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Greg Sage in 1977. Although initially a somewhat straightforward punk rock band, they quickly developed their own unique style of dark emotional hard rock built upon huge washes of fuzzy distorted guitars, driving uptempo 4/4 beats, passionate regular-guy vocals and creative, hooky guitar riffs. Over the years, they tentatively dipped their toes into sleazy hate-punk, corny BLOOZ-rock, slow desert music and ugly jazz-metal, but thankfully never fully strayed from the blissfully fuzzy dramatics pioneered on 1981's Youth Of America. In conclusion, Phoenix, AZ's The Wipers was a duo retired by guitarist/bassist/vocalist/songwriter Greg Sage in 1999.


Is This Real? - Park Ave 1979
Rating = 7

Nirvana fans enthralled by the assbutt-kicking "Return Of The Rat" and pitch-black arpeggio-punker "D-7" may be disappointed by the rest of this album. Although fast and punky, it relies a bit too heavily on early-'60s chord changes of the sort already run into the ground by The Cars, Real Kids, Ramones and every other group of nostalgic young people making music in the mid- to late-'70s. Thankfully, The Wipers' interest in predictable garage rock would decrease significantly by the second album - possibly because Greg Sage replaced the entire band.

Sage's voice isn't all that great - he's not singing super-emotionally yet, so he just sounds like a regular guy like you might see down at the condom store, buying a condom. However, even this early, he'd already formulated a guitar tone that can only be classified as 'a wonder of nature.' Fuzzy, gritty, heavy, tough, raw, loud and explosive, it seems to be paired on this release with either a clean guitar doubling its efforts or a bassist who favors chords. My guess is the former, but it's hard to tell at times. Someone should ask somebody, maybe down at the condom store.

Aside from the Nirvana songs, the dark emotional drama that makes the Wipers' discography rule so much ass is Slim Pickens round these parts. The brooding and anxious "Up Front" has several strong moments, and the angsty yelling and ringing chords of "Don't Know What I Am" definitely point towards Wipey future, but happy retro rockers like "Mystery," "Wait A Minute" (reminiscent of Cheap Trick's "Voices") and the title track (which even has a reggae part! Greg Sage would be rolling in his grave!) (if he hadn't written it) (and was dead) might as well have been Knack b-sides for all the emotion they conjure. Except they're faster. The drummer certainly does keep the punky 4/4 beats a-tappin', even during songs that would normally be considered 'ballads'!

Lyrically, Sage sings of loneliness, heartbreak, alienation and a desperate longing for escape -- whether it be moving to a new town, diving off a building, or being abducted by aliens from the seventh dimension. So why do so many of the songs sound so happy? Come on songs - get depressing or you'll never influence the grunge scene.

Is This Real? is definitely a good punk rock album, but it doesn't represent the true Wipers sound. Continue reading my web site and I'll try to describe that sound for you at some point.

But first, here's a little joke I wrote about The Wipers:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Condom!
Condom who? Condom store?
No, Condominums! So get the hell out, renter asshole.

Also, Official MarkPrindle.com Interview Transcriber Jim Laakso just gave me the great news that Hustler Video is releasing a Pornography Film called Nailin' Paylin just in time for the election! The film stars a Sarah Palin lookalike who "will be nailing the Russians who come knocking on her back-door!" In another scene -- a flashback -- "young Paylin's creationist college professor will explain a 'big bang' theory even she can't deny!" There's also a threeway with Hillary and Condoleeza look-alikes. So get out your Pornography Dollar, even in this challenging financial crisis, because this is one film you won't want to not masturbate to! Hopefully there's a John McCain lookalike too, so he can die of a heart attack while impalin' her, the fossilized prick.

Reader Comments

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
Okay, I'm one of those Nirvana fans who discovered The Wipers via D-7. But I'm not disappointed by the rest of the album. What hooks me on this album is that the lyrics are usually pretty dark and so are the guitar riffs, but that 4/4 drum beat is just so bouncy happy at the same time.

Definite 8/10 and the ONLY Wipers album worth owning. On another day, I'll take a stab at commenting on one of their other albums and explain why.

amicusscale@yahoo.com
Now this one I have to disagree with. Although it doesn't represent the Wipers' true sound, when this was made there weren't any other Wipers' sound, which is probably why I love it so much. It was the first thing I heard from them. Songs like "Mystery" and "Wait A Minute" are actually some of my favorites off of the whole thing. They're poppy and all that crap but still have a hint of emotion. Something many albums lack. While Youth Of America and Over The Edge are pretty similar, this one doesn't fit in at all. I was surprised it was the same band (except for Greg Sage's trademark wail) but I still think a 7 is way too low a grade for an album this enjoyable, well to me anyway. Call me crazy but I'd give this one a 9/10. I still gotta agree with the Over The Edge review though, I've always preferred that one the most.

Steve
This is a pretty good album, starts out really strong with Return of the Rat, but I agree that many of the songs are kind of tame sounding. I'd agree with the 7 rating. Not much else to add, I'll save it for the next 2 albums, which blew me away.

chrisjsutton@gmail.com
Nirvana also covered "Potential Suicide"...No wait silly me! they ripped off its bass line for Breed.

Add your thoughts?


Alien Boy EP - Park Avenue 1980
Rating = 8

So the other day I says to myself I says, "Hay Mark, review that butt fucken Wipers EP Alien Boy" and the crazy thing is that when I said it, I actually put the EP title in bold, which is hard to do orally but I've always been good at licken the fluffy rug so that's no problem the thing is that that VERY SAME NEXT DAY, I downloaded the new Stephen Malkmus CD (Dogshit) and it came specially packaged with his old Jennie & the S-Dog CD-single. And guess what was on the b-side?

THE LABEL!

But guess what one of the other songs on the A-side was? That's right; a cover of THE WIPERS' "ALIEN BOY"!!!!!

So I took that as a sign that I shouldn't review this Wipers EP. Too many dangerous cosmic events could occur.

But get this -- The Wipers didn't even release this; their record label did. Without even telling them. "Alien Boy" was taken straight off Is This Real? and the other three songs were outtakes! You hear that? Outtakes! And two of these outtakes are as good as anything on the album! The notey-notey "Image Of Man" is total late-period Black Flag, to the point where you'd swear Sage stole it from the very brain pan of Greg Ginn (probably while he was smokin' dope) (which was about 102% of the time by that point), and "Telepathic Love" is a delightful little bass-chord rock'n'roller. Heck, even the spy-themed "Voices in the Rain" would be a great tune if Greg didn't just speak the lyrics like some kind of poet or Lou Reed (though, obviously, not both at the same time).

The craziest thing about this unapproved EP is that all four songs sound more like the modern driving rock Wipers than the new wave "Return of the Rat" Wipers of Is This Real?. Is that why they were left off the album? Because they were too ahead of their time and would've torn your little world apart?

Well, evidently Park Avenue Records didn't give a rat's ass about your little world, and gleefully tore it asunder without blinking a lash.

Global warming? NOPE! This EP.

Deteriorating ozone layer? NOPE! This EP.

A Native American with no home? NOPE! This TP.

The death of Robin Gibb? NOPE! This BG.

Hilarious? NOPE! This urine sample.

Add your thoughts?


Youth Of America - Park Ave 1981
Rating = 9

Melvins fans stimulated by the driving, powerful tour-de-force "Youth Of America" will likely be just as pleased with the rest of this CD. Youth Of America is comparable to Slint's Spiderland in that, although only 6 songs and 32 minutes long, it makes every moment count. Jampacked with tension, trauma, despondency and dread but determined to overcome these paralyzing emotions, this collection of hypnotic and extremely well-written songs weave together operatic levels of suburban angst, Crazy Horse guitar saturation and Ramones-tempo punk rock to create a sound so dramatic, desperate and real that it makes today's 'emo' stars look and sound like The DeBarge Family.

For example, here's a recent photo of Fall Out Boy:

I know! Am I right? That's what I'M talkin' about! Who's with me?

Greg Sage has replaced Dave Koupal and Sam Henry with Brads Davidson and Naish, and the classic Wipers sound has arrived in full force.

For example, here's a recent photo of The Wipers:

Ain't that the truth! See what I mean? You ain't just talkin' trash! What's up with that?

I'm glad we've all had a few laughs here today because with the stock market in the tank, the economy in the pisser, the financial sector in the shitter, unemployment levels moving their bowel in the sink, and the insurance industry urinating in the yard while waving its dick back and forth like a sprinkler, it's hard to raise a smile, let alone avoid human waste. But now I'd like to seriously discuss Greg Sage's compositional style and why it appeals to me personally.

Because he writes songs the way I used to! He's much better at it, of course, but the key songwriting tenets are the same as those I practiced in college:

1. The drums should always be playing a fast 4/4 beat. There is simply no excuse for playing the song any slower than the top speed at which you are physically capable.

2. The most important musical element of the song -- by a HUGE margin -- is the guitars. Save the bass solos for Billy Sheehan! Save the fancy time-signatures for Billy Sheehan! Save the keyboard solos for.... you guessed it! Billy Sheehan!

3. Make the guitar both kick ass and express emotion at the same time. Play loud fast sequences of bar chords, but use finger lift-offs and quick fret changes to create unique riffs inside the bar chords. Also, occasionally switch to open chords (so a few strings sound the exact same notes throughout the entirety of your chord sequence); this is an easy way to convey the feeling that life events are changing but you're not sure you want them to. Also, never learn any actual music vocabulary so you have to use confusing terms like "fret changes" and "finger lift-offs" to describe basic guitar techniques that undoubtedly have actual names.

Actually, that last tenet probably applies to me more so than Greg Sage. But one thing's for certain: the momentum of a particle when you are locating it in a small region of space; and conversely, the position of a particle when you're measuring its momentum. So really, two things are certain.

More specifically, the record kicks off with two songs deep in the grip of defiant but hopeless emotion, the second of which is highlighted by a five-minute psych jam of echoed guitar swoops, feedback and grinding noises that contributes powerfully to the song's crash-burn-and-rise-again atmosphere. Then the knife-cuttable-thick tension is briefly set aside for a clever Carsy pop-rocker and a blisteringly fuzzy but upbeat punk song similar to those that marred the first album but much, much hookier. Finally, Sage employs his tremelo bar to create two closing tracks of sinister, tormented anguish that invoke both predator and victim at once. All six songs are both good, they rule, and awesome. Also, there's a piano in the first and last songs but only barely.

Barely MANILOW. that is!

When I posted on MySpace that I was reviewing the Wipers, 'Flux=Rad' replied, "YOUTH OF AMERICA = TEN." And he makes a good point, this 'Flux=Rad' (or 'Pavement Ist Rad,' as he is known on the Sound Opinions Message Board). But quite frankly, the darn thing only has 6 songs. This is no great shakes when you're Slint and your only other album is a piece of dung taped to a penis, but The Wipers did Over The Edge!

I'm not sure why they appeared on the popular Negativland radio program, but indeed they did. And the Weatherman was all like "HELLO GREG SAGE! LISTEN TO MY FUNNY VOICE! ISN'T IT FUNNY? FOR A WHOLE FUCKING HOUR?"

And here's a little song for all the physics afficionados out there in the audience tonight:

Quantum Physics
Takin' a shit!
Quantum Physics
Grabbin' some tit!
Quantum Physics
Suckin' some clit!
Quantum Physics
Drinkin' some jit!

I apologize for getting so deeply into the intricacies of quantum mechanics theory.

Reader Comments

garret@ameritech.net
Well, thank you very much for what Sarah Palin would call a “shout-out”! SOME “EXTRA CREDIT” WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

Sort of embarrassed that so many of the internet screen names I created for myself are references to a ‘90s indie rock band. And that this was pointed out in your review of one of my favorite albums of all time.

Anyways, ‘Youth of America’ is great. It’s short, but I think it’s perfect that way. Every track is so beautifully distinct and well placed. Nary a wasted moment. Sometimes the short albums are the most immaculate ones. Imagine if Billy Corgan had shortened ‘Meloncollie & The Infinite Sadness’ to one record and that record was the Wipers’ ‘Youth of America.’ It would be quite the wise decision on his part. I don’t think you can argue with that.

The Crazy Horse comparisons are spot on. Probably a major reason why I love this music so much

Meat Puppet
Hey, its cool that you've finally reviewed The Wipers. I guess i'll comment on YOA first, as it's the first Wipers album i heard. Pretty much all their albums have a cool, murky atmosphere but I think Greg Sage gets it just right here. I'd rank this and Over the Edge as the two best albums they did. The unrelenting gloominess of these albums probably stops me from listening to them as much as I should, though

Steve
Wow. This is the one that sold me on the Wipers. I remember the first time I heard it. I had just picked up the Wipers Box Set (one of my finest purchases in recent memory, just a few months ago!), and threw this album real loud while driving home at night. Each song is so hypnotic yet powerful, they seem to last much longer than their running time but are all the better for it. Pushing the Extreme is probably my favorite, but all 6 songs on here are classics. I'm not sure if this deserves the 10, but it's very close.

BTW Mark, best of luck in pursuing a new path. I've seen one of your appearances on Red Eye and I think you're a natural in front of a camera.

munsey3@comcast.net
The release of this that I have has the song order all mixed up from the LP version I originally heard, which makes it weird to listen to, but does not detract from its power. Imagine a Pacific NW version of Marquee Moon and you'll have a pretty apt feel for what Youth of America delivers, i.e., layer after layer of in-your-face guitars riding over an incessant beat.

Youth of America more or less is a huge, pulsating taproot that fed what eventually became the Grunge sound. This is the original soundtrack for living life in the NW, a continuous grey/green drizzle in one's face, unable to clearly through the shit, though Greg Sage certainly did and, lyrically-speaking, wasn't real happy about what he saw.

Remarkable for expressing the punk ethic in a ten-minute song when none others were doing so. No reductionism here.

I give it a ten myself...

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
Holy hell, this album is marvelous.

I really loved "Is This Real?" and still vehemently protest the 7 rating you gave it (it's an 8, at least). When I first heard this album, I was a bit disappointed because it didn't sound like "Is This Real?"

This album is amazing, but I do have some problems with it. I still think the production on this one could have been better in some areas, especially considering how great and unique "Is This Real?" sounded. My main complaint concerns the drum sound, something I almost never complain about - but, really, where's the bass drum? I honestly have to strain to hear it at any time on this album, and half the time I can't even hear it at all. Is it even there? Was it mixed out? Got a problem with a backbeat, Greggy?

Also, I still kind of wish that the Koupal/Henry rhythm section had been kept around for this album. Koupal at least plays on some tracks here - I think he left midway through the album's recording - though I'd've preferred Henry's marvelously driving drumming. Don't get me wrong, the Brads are really great; I just prefer Henry's style on drums.

But, all things considered, this album is clearly better than "Is This Real?". There are, undoubtedly, better and scarier songs on "Youth of America." Greg's singing has become more intense, moodier, and angrier to match the material, with a newfound tendency to speak in a deep, threatening voice. He does this on a lot of the songs, but it's always used really well.

Seriously, though, the main reason this album is better than "Is This Real?", aside from the amazing songs (and it's certainly not like "Is This Real?" was lacking in those), is the in-fucking-credible guitar playing. I don't know what happened to Greg Sage between 1979 and 1981, but the guy turned into a certifiable guitar genius - and it's certainly not as if he was any kind of slouch before! I already knew I'd never get close to the kind of neck-snapping guitar bends he pulled off in "Up Front," but hearing what he does on the guitar on this album makes me just hang my head. It honestly makes me feel like a hack to hear him ripping off those astounding guitar solos on songs like the mind-melting title track, "When It's Over," "No Fair," along with one of the best, most expressive uses of a tremolo bar I've ever heard outside of Neil Young on "Pushing The Extreme." The guitar is more distorted on "Youth of America," too; on "Is This Real?," Greg's guitar was heavy, thick, warm, jangly and distorted all at once - but you couldn't hear the fuzzed-out edge in his guitar tone that's all over this record. That's another thing: Greg Sage has one of the most amazing guitar tones ever recorded.

Listen, to whoever's reading this: If you like good music at all, you should get "Youth of America." Immediately. Now.

(Though I think "Is This Real?" is probably a better introduction to the Wipers. Get that one first. Or, better yet, just get the Wipers box set like I should. I still need to hear "Over The Edge.")

As a final note, what the hell is the proper sequencing for this album? I've seen at least three different tracklists for this album: the one that I believe Mark is referring to goes: Side 1 = "No Fair," "Youth of America." Side B = "Taking Too Long," "Can This Be," "Pushing The Extreme," and "When It's Over." I've also seen what I believe was the original sequencing: the above sequencing, except Side 1 is Side 2, and vice versa. But then I've also seen this listing on the Zeno Records site (Greg Sage's label): "Taking Too Long," "When It's Over," "Can This Be," "No Fair," "Pushing The Extreme," "Youth of America." Which one's right?

"Youth of America" will stay a 9 if I hear "Over The Edge" and think it's better. I don't know how it could be, though, unless the production and songs are even better. It's hard to imagine Greg topping this album, though.

There's also a piano in "Taking Too Long."

a while later, I see that I left the review somewhat unfinished.

Youth of America gets the ten. Why? Over the Edge, while it's great, isn't sequenced worth a damn. it just does not flow well and doesn't have the same kind of unified atmosphere that Youth of America does.

mjvoelke@gmail.com
Two things:

Firstly, I want to thank you for getting me to love punk again. I thought those days were over until I started buying random hardcore and punk cds you gave good reviews

Secondly, Your nod to the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle made me larf. You have at least 1 physicist in your audience.

Add your thoughts?


* Over The Edge - Trap 1983 *
Rating = 10

Well yes, the very first riff is stolen from The Dickies' "Give It Back," but (a) it's not even the best riff in the song, and (b) the rest of the album KICKS ABSOLUTE SONGWRITING EMOTIONAL UPTEMPO ROCK ASS. Plus, isn't it probable that The Dickies specifically wrote that song hoping that somebody would steal it, thus rendering its title ironic? I think that's most likely precisely the situation.

Before I forget to mention this, let me DEMAND that you go online or to The Tire Store or wherever you buy CDs and purchase an item called The Wipers Box Set. This 3-disc set includes remastered versions of the first three albums, plus tons of bonus tracks (rarities, outtakes and remixed album tracks), all at the cost of a single CD. I'm not reviewing it separately here because I think I'd get annoyed at all the bonus 'remixes' and give it a lower grade than it deserves. But YOU NEED IT!

Over The Edge is the pinnacle of Wipers achievement, and a near-spotless collection of emotional punk-speed scorchers. Some reach to Heaven with guitarms of passion, confusion and desperation; others combine the retro vibe of Is This Real? with the killer songwriting of Youth Of America (check out the mean-as-nails rockabilly "Romeo," blissful reverbed two-chorder "Messenger" and heavy-hearted Del Shannoner "No One Wants An Alien"). Every song is uptempo, the guitar tones are once again absolutely gorgeous (some fuzzed-out, others straight outta the reverbed, ringing '60s), Greg has developed into a singer as intense and melodic as his songwriting, and most importantly good sweet jesus god are these fanfuckingTASTIC rock songs. "Only the good die young!" he wails. "In a Doom Town!" he mourns. "Romeo roam. Roam Romeo" he sorta just says in a low voice.

Aside from the unfortunate stolen riff of the title track (which may have just been an accident), the only song on here that doesn't strike absolute pay dirt both musically and emotionally is the decent but kinda all-over-the-place 50's throwback "What Is." The others are IT. The Crazy Horse guitarwork is back in "The Lonely One," menacing open chords drive "No Generation Gap," pissed-off fuzzed-punk blasts apart "This Time," unique 3-beat guitar rhythms distinguish "Now Is The Time," and genius songwriting, recording, playing and singing permeate the entire album.

I refuse to belittle this superlative work of art by making a knock-knock joke.

Oh okay just one.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Over The Edge!
Over The Edge who?
Over The Edge, but still wild about Larry Mullen Jr.!!!!!

Drat. I just ruined the album, didn't I?

Reader Comments

escepticojr@hotmail.com
ahhh... isn't it cute when two people share the same feelings towards an album? This fucking album kicked my ass in the teeth years ago and made me wonder why on earth Greg Sage recorded that atrocious stuff lately in his career. Gotta love the guitar tone, the lyrics, the uptemponess, etc. Love it. And honestly I don't care much about the predictibility or lack of originality in their debut, most of the songs are really great on that one and I have to say that Youth of America may be a great album but you can't hear the drums properly on most of the tracks. Which reminds me the overall sound of all of the recordings of this band, in my opinion, the absolute failure in the wipers' discography.

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
Hi,

Joe the Plumber here - Billy is busy so he asked me to share his view on this album. We've got to completely disagree with Mark and his view on the Wipers after their first album. It's probably got to do with the fact he is anti-American. He doesn't live in Real America (TM) - he lives in New York City. Besides I have a Wikipedia page and he doesn't! He's been on Fox News in the middle of the f'ing night - well, I've been on every news channel on the entire planet!

You noted the Dickies ripoff on the first track. What about the whole bass/drum line being taken straight from "Baby, Please Don't Go" (the AC/DC version)? Is there an original part to this whole song?

You know what us Real Americans like? I mean besides not paying our taxes and pretending to be a licensed plumber when we are not. Real production - not this Lo-Fi tinny crap - it sound very thin and weak - just like Barack Obama. Their first album had much better production.

Anyway, this whole album sounds like just another typical messy Garage Band. I've heard this album a hundred times by dozens of different bands. Better played and without so much feedback, but basically the same.

Steve
If Youth of America was lacking anything, it was that extra "oomph" that cranks up the intensity level. While YOA makes a great "zone out" album, this one combines the best aspects of punk and powerful guitar rock. The only really weak cut I think is the quasi-hit "Romeo", which I find a little annoying with its moronic refrain, but the guitar work is still pretty neat. The title track goes through my head a lot. I don't really see how that riff was ripped off of "Give it Back" by the Dickies. I think it's roughly the same chords, but the feel is entirely different. Both are great songs. Maybe I should rip off that riff too, it seems to work!

Chris
You're weird Mark, everyone likes the first Wipers album the best, myself included. The guitar just has no presence on the next two albums....I'm all for raw recordings, but it sort of sounds like the guitar amp was miced from another room in the studio. As for the Dickies 'rip off'.....that riff is pretty close, the feel is different though. I'm not saying that just because the Dickies used it as the verse whereas the Wipers seem to use it as a refrain within the chorus. The Dickies do it peppy and very energetic, whereas it sounds like Greg Sage's limbs are encased in cement. I'm not dissing the Wipers though. If you use this comment, please don't publish my email address....just my first name. I presume you're not updating this anymore anyway.

If a riff that sounds similar upsets you, you must have a very hard time writing tuneful, melodic music. Because that's the thing - everything remotely melodic or pleasing to the ear has been used by someone somewhere. We may just have to agree to disagree I guess. I mean, I really don't understand your fascination with GBH for example. Such an irritating, glassy, warbly chorus effect. But whatever, as long as we listen to stuff that makes us happy, I guess.

Add your thoughts?


Land Of The Lost - Restless 1986
Rating = 8

Hey, I guess all you one-legged women are out of luck because Paul McCartney has hit the town with a new girlfriend. And apparently this girlfriend - New York socialite Nancy Shevell - is so taken with the legendary vegetarian and ex-Wing that she’s even given up meat! Yes, Paul McCartney is impotent.

More importantly, side one of Land Of The Lost displays a new side of The Wipers - a mean hard rock/blooze/metal-punk side reminiscent of the Dwarves' sudden gutter-reverb turn on Sugarfix. The guitar tone is gritty, the mix is trebly, and the songs are pissed-off as a bee! But don't worry: side two is a return to typical Wipers emotion/drama, highlighted by the awesomely original chord-riffer "The Search," which sounds so much like something I would've written in college that I'm pretty sure I wrote it in college!

The songwriting as a whole isn't as strikingly creative as on the previous two records; "Way Of Love" is more mood than tune, "Nothing Left To Lose" is Wipers-by-numbers, and I'm pretty sure Motorhead has already recorded "Fair Weather Friends" about six times. However, if you enjoy guitar tones so filthy and scuzzy that you could mistake them for GG Allin, this album will excite the dick out of your ear. The most formidable example is the title track, which as written is simply a cliche'd blues riff with new lyrics (it's the same riff AC/DC used in "Badlands"). By all rights it should be a miserable embarrassing failure (see Follow Blind below), but the guitar tone is so menacing and street-evil that the song doesn't just work -- it excels.

They also have a new drummer - Steve Plouf. If he sucked, I'd joke about how his last name sounds like a fart.

Luckily he's perfectly fine, so they didn't have to replace him with Larry Fffft or Jim BRAAAPPPP!

Add your thoughts?


Follow Blind - Restless 1987
Rating = 6

Somewhere in the world, this exchange needs to take place:

Person: "AC/DC! The 'Thunder From Down Under'!"

Other, Lesser Person: "Hell yeah!"

Person: "You know why they're called that? The 'Thunder From Down Under'?"

Other, Lesser Person: "Why's that?'

Person: "Because all their songs go (*makes rumbling noise, holds arms out in enveloping 'thunder' gesture*)"

Other, Lesser Person: "What!? No they don't!"

Person: "Sure they do!" (*makes rumbling noise, holds arms out in enveloping 'thunder' gesture*)

Other, Lesser Person: "What are you talking about? They do not sound like that!"

Person: "Yes, they do! If you play them at the right speed."

Other, Lesser Person: (*confused silence*)

Person: "Which is.... 1. 1 RPM."

Other, Lesser Person: (*buries head in hands, weeps*)

Person: (*makes rumbling noise, holds arms out in enveloping 'thunder' gesture*)

Say! Anybody out there got the BLOOZ? 'Cuz "Blind Greggy" Sage - he got the BLOOZ! He got him some of that Hendrixy soul-BLOOZ, a lil' bit o that George Thurlygood rock-BLOOZ, and a whole helpa heapin' helpins o' that sweet sweet Stevie Ray Vaughan cornball goodtime guitar BLOOZ. Hey man, he even gots them all Stooge-alicious punk-BLOOZ. Aww hang on while I pull out my harmonica.

FRAPPP FWEEE FRAPPP!!!!

The drums are too quiet to give it any oomph, the guitar tones are either clean or a raspy messy trebly form of distortion, and - aside from 2 (two) warm optimistic pop-punkers and II (2) reliable Wipers lozenges of melancholy and anxiety - the songwriting's got the BLOOZ!

FWAPPITY FWIPPITY FWOOO WOOO WEEEE!!!!!!!

I apologize for eating a live bird.

Somebody must've told Greg Sage, "Hay you're a regular Jimi Hendrix" because this album is a big knucklehead of guitar wank and almost non-existent emotion. And though the drums are still mostly uptempo, they're completely buried in the mix, as if Steve Plouf showed up wearing a stinky shirt so they made him perform all his parts outside in the parking lot. You wouldn't believe how many bands do that when their drummer shows up in a stinky shirt. You know the first 6 minutes of "Stairway to Heaven"? It was supposed to feature a loud peppy polka beat, but they made John "Bonzo" Bonham run home to change out of his stinky shirt. Ditto with Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. I," which would have introduced the world to the grindcore blastbeat had Nick Mason not -- You guessed it!! -- proven incapable of playing more than 11 beats per minute.

BLOOZ influences aren't necessarily a bad thing. For example, the BLOOZY descending note run in "Against The Wall" adds an unexpected quirkiness to the otherwise Wipers-sounding driving rocker. But when you base your entire song on a worn-out cliche' (see "No Doubt About It," "Don't Belong To You" and the vomitous Fabulous Thunderbirds soundalike "Coming Down"), that's just a glove smacking your fan base in the collective face. And maybe some guitarologists are enamored by Sage's constant BLOOZY soloing, but I find it not only characterless but at times downright painful -- for example, am I a crazy cuckoo or are the lead and rhythm guitars in "Someplace Else" not actually tuned to each other? And what's with the chintzy guitar sound? Did he get that delay pedal from a box of Waffle-Os?

Oh, I'm sorry. I sometimes forget that most of my readers weren't even born yet when they started reading my site. Waffle-Os was a delightful syrup-flavored cereal of the early '80s marketed by a cowboy named Waffle-O Bill and his talking horse Big Thick Bologna. I have no evidence that the horse was actually named "Big Thick Bologna." But mmm what a cereal was to be had by those who enjoyed eating it!

Greg's untimely BLOOZ obsession doesn't destroy Follow Blind, but it certainly makes for one of the least consistent Wipers releases. (Unless you're a BLOOZ-rock fan, I guess) (in which case, lay off the dope Mr. Shitty Taste) Standouts like the longing title track, driving nerve-wracker "Losers Town," and speedy uplifting hooker "Next Time" prove that Greg hasn't lost his ability to pen an unforgettable post-punk riff, but God Forbid he should stop imitating Robert Cray for five minutes so you can really get into it.

Add your thoughts?


Live In Nurnberg 1987 - Zeno
Rating = 6

This is one of about a krillion live albums that Greg Sage has made available for purchase on CD-R. It features the band running through two songs each from the first three albums, five from Land Of The Lost, four from Follow Blind and two from Sage's first solo album, Straight Ahead. Most of the songs are great of course, but the bassy murky bootleg-quality recording guts most of the socks out of them; even the cymbals drown out the guitar half the time.

Other specific complaints:
- You can't hear the bass line in "Any Time You Find" -- and it's the only riff in the song!
- Sage just shouts the lyrics to "Over The Edge," depriving us all of its haunting vocal melody
- The formerly astonishing "Pushing The Extreme" includes a far-too-goddamned-extended middle part with Greg talking over the bass line or some crap
- The terrible sound quality converts the masterpiece "Next Time" guitar line into a hopelessly messy blur
- As expected, "Land Of The Lost" stinks to High Heaven without that mean ol' studio guitar tone

But that's not why you're here. No, you're here to chide Ol' Prind for his appearance on Fox News Network's Red Eye program. "What are you, suddenly a neoconservative?" you want to know. "Don't you feel like a hypocrite supporting that biased Republican network?" "Also, why was your face so wide? Do you weigh like 300 pounds now?" "And another thing - why was your voice so high? You're a girl, aren't you?"

These are all valid queries, so please allow me to respond:

No, I did not suddenly turn into a Republican. The reasons I appeared on the program are (a) host Greg Gutfeld is a great guy who has been very supportive of my writing for years and is actively working to help me "take it 2 tha next lev-L" (he's also an extremely funny writer); (b) Neil Hamburger and King Buzzo have previously appeared on the program, thus paving the way for lower-rung liberal blowhards such as myself; (c) I'd never been on TV before; (d) the show offered national broadcast visibility for my web site; (e) my segment had nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with music and humor, and (f) no other network is exactly knocking down my door for a booking! I very much appreciate Mr. Gutfeld giving me the opportunity - and he enjoyed my performance so much that he offered me a once-every-two-weeks slot!

So believe me, it's fine if you're down on Fox News Network -- and if you want to consider me a hypocrite for accepting this opportunity, I totally understand. But if so, you also have to hold it against Neil Hamburger, and you're not allowed to listen to the Melvins anymore. Try to see it this way: (a) it is a tremendous opportunity for me to increase national awareness of my poor sense of humor; (b) Greg Gutfeld is well aware of my politics, but is still willing to do me the huge favor by having me on; and (c) every minute I appear on Fox News Network is one minute less they'll have to trash Barack Obama. I see it the same way that I see bands selling their songs to commercials: (a) it's more money for the band, which is especially great when it's somebody like The Fall or Stereolab, and (b) okay I don't watch TV, but if I did I'd much rather hear songs I like on commercials than the bullshit they usually use. Unless the band changes their lyrics to suit the product (as some bands used to do for Coke commercials back in the '60s), I don't see this as 'selling out.' I see it as 'doing TV viewers a goddamned favor.'

So please let me 'do Fox News Network viewers a goddamned favor' as often as Greg Gutfeld will let me. I can't change their politics, but maybe some of their viewers will visit my site, read my illiterate political rantings, and go, "Say.... he's RIGHT!"

Yes, that is going to happen. I am 'infiltrating the enemy from within.' That's how I'm going to justify it to myself -- and YOU! -- from now on.

As for why my face looked so wide on-screen, I've no clue. I've weighed 160-165 for the past decade, and certainly don't look that wide in the mirror! Funnyman Neil Hamburger tells me that it's due to the make-up; he claims he looks different every time he goes on the show, depending on which make-up woman is there that day. As for my high voice, there are two theories floating around: Mr. Hamburger thinks it was due to microphone placement, Mr. Gutfeld attributes it to adrenalin. I certainly was nervous -- they were filming me in the middle of a newsroom! I was surrounded by people sitting at their desks working, for Pete's Sake! So Gutfeld may be right. Whatever the case, I'll try to suck in my cheeks and speak in a baritone from now on.

However, there's unfortunately not a whole lot I can do about the male pattern baldness. Maybe I can have the make-up woman paint a lower hairline on me next time?

Finally, here are some additional answers to questions I thought he might ask. He didn't though, so the pleasure's all yours! (theoretically)

How many albums have you reviewed?

Four. It looks like more because of the way I formatted it though.

Do you think Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy will be any good?

Were they ever any good? Even their original line-up was incapable of writing more than six good songs per album. So now that Axl has replaced the whole group with some guy from the Replacements, they're suddenly going to be the greatest band ever? I think listening to Chinese Democracy will be like putting a smelly sweatsock on your ear and having someone urinate on it.

Why did AC/DC take eight years between records?

For years Malcolm Young has been saying that they would only release a new record if it was 'not just pretty good, but great.' Having heard Black Ice, I have to assume he needed rent money.

What are they singing about this time around?

Well, as you know, their previous records have included hits like "Rock N' Roll Singer," "Rock N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution," "Rock N' Roll Damnation," "That's The Way I Wanna Rock N' Roll." That's all in the past now. That's their 'old' style. Black Ice is a 'new phase' AC/DC album, where you'll find all-new compositions like "Rock N' Roll Train," "Rock N' Roll Dream," "She Likes Rock N' Roll," "Rockin' All The Way" - songs that you'll be hard-pressed to even recognize as AC/DC songs. But more importantly, with their decision to release Black Ice exclusively through Wal-Mart, it seems that the band that once sang "It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock N' Roll" will soon be singing "It's A Short Walk To The Cashier If You Wanna Buy A Handgun."

Why do rock stars like Eddie Van Halen always insist on monogamy when it just doesn't work?

I think you're generalizing there. Certainly the dopier party-hearty guys like Tommy Lee have trouble holding a marriage together, but Paul McCartney and Linda were married for like 25 years before she passed away and he got mixed up with Ol' One-Leg. Also, I think Neil Young and his wife have been together for a pretty long time, churning out retarded babies.

And there you have it! Jokes that will never see the light of day, at 3:40 AM on the Fox News Network.

Add your thoughts?


The Circle - Restless 1988
Rating = 8

New York City has its share of personalities. Why, just the other day Henry The Dog and I The First-Person Narrator were waiting at a crosswalk staring at the red hand across the street when suddenly a loud "splortch!" noise entered my right ear in wave form, converted into audible sound, and ultimately alerted me to some happencurrence to the right side of my person. I swiveled my head approximately 40 degrees around on my neck to see a derelict in the middle of the perpendicular crosswalk, motioning to a spilled drink in the road and glaring accusingly over his shoulder at a group of three nerdy-looking college student type fellows walking the other direction. One of these young buckos glanced back confusedly, but the others displayed no physical response. An outgoing sort, I asked the beggarman, "Wha' happon'?" He replied, "Those guys bumped into me and spilled my drink, and didn't even say 'Excuse me' or 'Sorry'!" Walking towards me, he bemoaned, "That was my tea!" Then a little white man replaced the red hand, so The Prindle Gang(TM) walked onward in our own special direction. Being no fool, I suspected foul play - and my spouse concurred. "It looked to me like he just threw the cup down!" Indeed, he was not touched by the three youngsters, nor was the cup 'his tea.' He most likely pulled it from a corner trash can and staged his little ruse to engage my sympathy. I commend you, Thespian Derelict. But I didn't have any change so UP YOUR ASS, UNEMPLOYEDY!!!!

And I can say that because I'm depressingly close to Unemployment myself.

Manhattan possesses its portion of characters. Why, just the other day I was purchasing some bric-a-brac at a local thrift store as Hen-Ben and Bren-Prin waited for me outside. And who should walk in but a delightful German Shepherd dog! "Awww, what a cute doggy!" I thought to myself, and immediately upon completion of the financial transaction ventured to pet said doggy. Then the skinny old bag whore who owns him was all like, "I'm always a bit cautious around Henry!" And I was all like, "Why? Henry's a good dog!" And she's all like, "Well, he may be a good dog, but that doesn't mean he's good around other dogs! He's out there with his hackles up." This of course confused the dirt out of me because Henry's never rude to girl dogs. The only dogs he's ever rude to are unneutered males or puppies that are all up in his shit, yo. Speaking of which, am I nuts or did Gwen Stefani have a huge hit a few years ago in which she sings "Oooo, this my shit" about 55 hundred times? First of all, what the fuck kind of language is that to be teaching our children, (B) stop pointing at your feces and, in conclusion, nice grammar Dipshit.

So I went outside and ol' Bren-Prin had a hill of anger-beans going on, announcing "I hate that crazy bitch! Henry and I were just standing here doing nothing, and out of nowhere she yelled, 'WE'RE TRYING TO GO IN THE STORE!'" I replied, "She said Henry had his hackles up. Is that true?" She retorted, "No! That's that little spot where you Revolutioned him." (http://www.revolution4dogs.com/). So we continued on our sunny way to Ward's Island so Henry could swim in the East River as he so enjoys, when suddenly my wife looked over her shoulder and exasperatedly announced, "Oh no! She's going to Ward's Island too!" Just minutes later, when the raggedy old whore and her adorable German Shepherd were right behind us, I decided to be a good samaritan and clear up the whole strange matter. I took Henry's lead out of my wife's hand and began walking towards the Crazy Old Bitch and her dog. "Look," I said in calmed tones. "They get along fine!" She cowered back in fear, pulling her dog away and screaming, "NO! I DON'T WANT IT! GET AWAY!" I continued, "Calm down! Look! They want to be friends! They're fine!" (and they were - German Shepherds love meeting other German Shepherds) And she was just going nuts! "I DON'T WANT IT! TAKE HIM AWAY! GET AWAY FROM ME!" Man, it was weird! Finally she ran up ahead of us and I angrily yelled, "What is wrong with you!? Poor dog -- she's got a crazy Mother!" It was a rude and unnecessary thing to say, but I wanted her to realize how insanely she was behaving. Plus, she was accusing Henry of being a bad dog, and ain't nobody fux with my Henners.

There's literally a gigantic elephant in the room, so let me go ahead and address it, even though I lack the musical vocabulary to do so correctly. Greg Sage has a little trick he uses to make a song sound emotional. And he uses it over and over and over again throughout the Wipers discography, until by the last couple records you're like "Dude, STOP DOING THAT!" I don't know the technical term for it, but basically he plays a high-end longing minor chord, then removes one finger from the fret to create a slightly lower longing minor chord (as the other notes in the chord remain the same). And he does it a lot - sometimes as a key part of the melody, other times just to add bonus trimming atop a lower-end riff. On The Circle, you can hear this little gimmick in "Time Marches On," "Be There" and the title track. Now that I've alerted you to it, it's going to annoy you every time you listen to a Wipers album (if it doesn't already!).

With The Circle, Sage, Davidson and Plouf say "Stick it, you" to the stylistic experimentation of the last couple records and return to the dark fuzzed-out emotional hard rock of their salad days - with one key difference. They're slower now. Only five of these ten songs are powered by the driving uptempo locomotive beat that gave their previous work such a powerful kick of urgency. 'Slower' doesn't mean 'worse' though. Aside from the terrible '80s cornball rocker "Time Marches On," Sage's songwriting is still golden to the touch (hear)!

Notable points to note, pointedly:
- The bizarre 'Frash-Frash' guitar chording in "True Believer" makes it sound like a particularly brooding ZZ Top song!
- "Make Or Break" switches keys like three times! Who writes songs like this!? Apparently, Greg Sage! (On at least one occasion)
- Generic rock'n'roller "Good Thing" has a harmonica solo!
- The album ends with three slow and somber songs in a row! MARK MY WORDS: THIS DOESN'T BODE WELL FOR THE NEXT ALBUM.

Greg Sage intended for this to be the final Wipers album, and with such forceful anthemic rockers as "I Want A Way," "All The Same" and the title track, it would've been a much stronger career-ender than the ugly Power In One, but hey -- Life Happens!

As such, Greg Sage had to marry 17-year-old Bristol Palin and raise their unwanted child, Silver Sail.

Reader Comments

Steve
After I got the Wipers Box Set, I asked my friend if he knew anything about this band. Turns out he's been a long-time fan and has a complete collection of their albums! So I've been able to hear them all once or twice. After the pleasant shock of the first three albums, though, it's been hard to really digest all the others. I just need to invest more time in them. Thanks for the reviews, that should help me distinguish them from each other better. Even my friend concedes that after Land of the Lost, they start to get kind of samey-sounding. I will say, though, that I still kind of like Greg Sage & Co even when they get slow and moody. I think the 80s drum sounds are an initial turn-off, I need to try and look past that and get into the music.

Add your thoughts?


Silver Sail - Tim/Kerr 1993
Rating = 3

This is just for me; you don't have to read this. But it might explain the rather straightforward nature of this particular page.

I am under terrible stress. My boss currently owes me $11,000 - AFTER TAXES - in back pay. She keeps promising to pay up, but hasn't done so. I'm going to confront her about it tomorrow, which may mean the end of my employment -- which is fine, since I'm apparently not being paid for it anyway! However, because times are tight all over, I'm fairly certain that most other companies in my field aren't hiring. Furthermore, though this seems like a 'great opportunity' for me to update my book proposal and pursue a music writing career, (a) publishers for some reason aren't seeking books by online record reviewers nobody's ever heard of, (b) I can't apply at All-Music Guide because I've trashed Erlewine too many times on my site, and (c) music magazines are laying people off, not hiring. And even if they weren't, what the hell would I write for them? A feature about Kings Of *&^%$ Leon!? And even if I did manage to secure a piece somewhere, freelance music writing pays about one cent per hour. So I definitely have to return to my industry at some point, and we've been over this before in a previous review.

Although my spouse has always been the chief breadmaker anyway, I was raised to believe that I should always be earning income. It's instinctual. The thought of not doing so is making me worry more, which is making me sleep more to escape the negative feelings. My ladyfriend doesn't want me to worry, because she knows it will raise my blood pressure and that heart attacks run in my family. But I can't help it. I'm infuriated about being ripped off by my boss, and frightened by the thought of being unemployed again. I have to imagine these are universal fears, particularly during this financial crisis, but it's making it very difficult for me to write funny record reviews.

On to the album. The legend about this record is that the band had already broken up, Kurt Cobain made them commercially viable again by namechecking and covering them all the time, and Greg Sage purposely torpedoed his chances of cashing in by releasing a quiet, gentle Wipers album that had no similarity to his previous work or relevance to the youth grunge audience. What the legend inevitably fails to mention is that the album is boring as shit!

The first half comprises six slow-to-midtempo, clean and moody songs that sound nearly identical. For some reason, Greg sings through an awkward, distancing slapback effect that makes him sound completely detached and emotionless. And the music itself is so soundalike, with its constant minor keys, Sage-by-numbers high-chord doody-doo's and stultifying lack of energy that it might as well be one long, tiring song. It feels like you're stranded in the desert with a clinically depressed songwriter. Which I guess you are, since Greg lived in Arizona at this point.

The final five tracks at least hint towards earlier Wipers glory, with faster tempos and fuzzy distortion. But the mix is still wispy and powerless, and songs just aren't very good. The heavy metal "Line" and goodtime rocker "On A Roll" are built upon downright stupid chord changes, and "Never Win" is simply a peppier take on the dry doldrums of the album's first half. This leaves us with exactly two great songs -- a disgracefully low number for a band of the Wipers' power. These would be "Sign Of The Times," which still sounds like Silver Sail but with an intriguing chord sequence and much more energy, and the album-closing title track, which is ESSENTIAL WIPERS. This fuzzed-out uptempo driving mean moody hard rocker represents everything that Silver Sail should've been - an album that doesn't sound like it was recorded on Quaaludes.

Silver Sail? More like Silver SHIT!!!

Or, alternately, SHITTY Sail.

Reader Comments

andrew.moncrieff@virgin.net
I am, in the words of Mark Prindle "durnk", so I'll try not to embaress myself too much in this comment. While I can understand some people finding this album boring, I find it very calming and if the album is full of moods and melodies, they are definetely nice moods. Silver Sail is definetely the best track of the lot, harkeneing back to the title track of "Youth of America", it's an electric tour-de-force. Incidentally, fuck "rock legend", the album is what it is, regardless of what legend has it. Frankly, it's more of a Greg Sage solo album than a true Wipers album (I know there's no real difference, but it's just this is all acousticy like the last bit of "The Circle", but more like "Straight ahead" and "sacrifice (for love)".

Anyway I like to listen to this album very quietly in long boring lectures at my university where I just wonder why I am even around, why I Was born, or at least why I was born with a dick to instinctively breed to pass on the misery to another generation

Add your thoughts?


The Herd - Tim/Kerr 1996
Rating = 7

Jesus, turn your lead guitar down! Greg! GREG! CAN YOU HEAR ME!??? TURN YOUR LEAD GUITAR DOWN!!! YOU'RE DROWNING OUT THE ACTUAL 'RIFFS'!!!! AND YOU'RE JUST PLAYING A BUNCH OF DICK-AROUND BULLSHIT LIKE MID-'90S DINOSAUR JR.!! FOR GOD'S SAKE, SHUT YOUR GODDAMNED LEAD GUITAR UP!!!

The Herd is thank heavensly a complete return to the classic Wipers sound (leaving the doldrums and slowdrums of Silver Sail to history), except that Greg is soloing endlessly now to the detriment of everything else going on in the songs. The rhythm guitars are beautifully fuzzy and thick, the drums are rockingly crisp, and the vocals are delightfully un-slapbacked, but it's all undermined by near-constant 'diddly-doo doo-dah-diddliddly doo' soloing nonsense that's twice as loud as the melodic, non-irritating components of the songs.

Here's the breakdown of song styles:
4 driving dark rock songs of awesome killerness
2 anxious and ass-kicking punk rock songs of bonus wicked coolery
2 warm and happy pop songs
3 boring slow songs (though "Sinking As A Stone" does have a beautiful, heartbreaking chorus)
1 ripoff of Suicide's "Ghost Rider"

If you enjoy the classic Wipers sound, don't be frightened away by Silver Sail's dragginess; The Herd is a strong return to form hindered only by a few uncompelling compositions and an overused, overloud lead guitar.

In other news events, I was on the TV again last night! And once again, I anticipated questions that the host didn't end up asking. I really must fall out of this habit; coming up with stupid answers is time-consuming! Here are some answers to questions never asked:

Britney Spears' mom allegedly has convinced her to stay away from sex, because it always gets her into trouble. Don't you agree this is sage advice?

Well, if there's one woman who should've stayed away from sex, it's Britney Spears' mom.

In other Britney news, the Associated Press today reported that "a jury in Los Angeles is determining whether Britney Spears will have a new record: a criminal one."  What can you tell us about that?

I saw that too!  It has to do with her driving without a license or something.  Boring.  I was hoping she'd thrown her baby out the window like Eric Clapton.

Why do you need a license to drive a car, but not to put out a cd? Isn't putting out horrible music a danger to society?

I don't think Britney Spears' problem is putting out horrible music so much as putting out for Kevin Federline.

Who votes in the American Music Awards, and does this matter at all?

Its winners are chosen by online voting - yet the choices you're given are all terrible.  For pop/rock album of the year, you get three choices:  the Eagles, Coldplay and Alicia Keys, an r&b performer whose album is also one of the three choices you get for "r&b album of the year."  and that's it!  If we really lived in a world where the best pop/rock albums of the year were by the Eagles, Coldplay and an r&b artist, i'd literally stab everybody.

And what about The Eagles - Why are dead musicians getting nominations? Is that fair to artists who are still alive?

I'm a pretty opinionated guy, but I'm being completely objective and unbiased when I say that The Eagles are the worst band in the history of the world. If I were given a choice between listening to an Eagles album or replacing my ears with a pair of hornets' nests... Well, it'd be a toss-up.

Aren't music awards shows stupid to begin with? Nobody good ever wins!

Yeah, try telling that to all the Coldplay fans out there!  They won't know what the hell you're talking about!!!! They're illiterate.

Who would you like to see win?

Remember back in the 80s when that terrible Jethro Tull album beat Metallica's "And Justice For All"?  I'd like to see that happen every year.  The same album.  So it'd be like, "Okay, this year's nominees are Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Linkin Park, and the winner is  -- Jethro Tull's terrible "Crest of a Knave" album again!

As a prolific music reviewer, are you often asked to weigh in on nominations?

If by "weigh in on," you mean "have nothing to do with," then oh heck yeah!  Constantly.

Also, if you enjoy YouTube, please enjoy these four old college videos that my friends Chris Williams, Chris Crowson, Nate Florin and I made in 1991-1992:

Just Digging The Vibes

Rat

This is just us acting like idiots

Ditto

Add your thoughts?


The Power In One - Zeno 1999
Rating = 6

Thank you for turning the lead guitar down. However, what's with all these ugly high-pitched chords you're playing now? Are they jazz chords? I think they are! Either that or you just made them up. They're ugly! Your guitars are wonderfully heavy, thick and fuzzy though. Yes, I'm talking to you, Elton John.

But interestingly, the same could be said about The Wipers' The Power In One CD. One could also add that tracks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 all start with the sound of Greg Sage running his finger down the E string in the exact same manner. Or that tracks 3 and 9 are the exact same song with slightly different tempo and lyrics. Or that the CD - which otherwise follows general uptempo/midtempo Wipers tradition - inscrutably concludes with three slow, sad ballads in a row.

There are some great instant winners on here, ranging from the expected pulsating rockers ("Power In One," "Rockett" and "Still Inside Of Me," about an ass dildo) to the surprisingly playful high-end chorder "Misleading," funky '70s licker "The Fall" and heartbreaking arpeggier "Stay Around" (okay, it's not really about an ass dildo). But many of the other tracks seem purposely calculated to be too UGLY to love. "Shaken" is at its core a ripoff of Nirvana's "Very Ape," "Rest Of My Life" simply a rewrite of the already weak "Shaken," "Loser's Revenge" a sluggish and disgusting set of strangled chords and poetry, and "Take It Now" a clean low-end excursion destroyed by Sage's inexplicable decision to pluck two open strings as part of the riff -- making it sound like it was written by a 12-year-old picking up a guitar for the first time. Add two dull closing ballads and the vomitously sugary sweet "Ship Of Dreams" (imagine an even happier Screeching Weasel), and you've got one heck of a disappointing Wipers CD.

Oh no! I forgot to name and briefly describe "I'll Be Around"! I'VE RUINED EVERYTHING!!!!

In summation, Power In One finds Greg Sage experimenting with some new high-end jazzy/weird chords. Sometimes the result is an oddball selection of strange fuzziness that somehow works, but at other times it boggles the ear why he would've found such sounds pleasurable. As such, it's not one of the more consistent Wipers releases. It's certainly worth a listen though, if you like the others and are prepared for a bit more tonal homeliness than usual.

And I'll close the page with a few 'hilarious' answers I gave during my second Red Eye TV appearance that didn't wind up being posted on Fox's site (and are thus lost for all eternity):

Let's move on to your personal favorite, Britney Spears - her new single "Womanizer" was released thursday, and went straight to top of billboard's "hot 100" chart!  Which sign of the apocalypse is this?

I know. It's incredible. To top THAT kind of chart?  I have the chart right here - man, it's simply PACKED with timeless visionary geniuses! Look at this.... T-Pain Featuring Lil' Wayne, Kevin Rudolf also Featuring Lil' Wayne... It's like 1967 all over again!

And apparently the video has britney playing the roles of four different characters!  Were you aware she was this versatile an actress?

Have you seen the video? She's naked!  Completely naked!!  No clothes on at all!!! Naked as a bluebird!!!!  I didn't notice any other characters.

I hear that the title of the song is repeated 300 times during the song. As a musician, how do you characterize this kind of songwriting?

Exactly! She keeps going "Womanizer womanizer womanizer...." I have a theory about this. You've seen The Shining, right? Remember that scene with "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"? Just reams and reams of it? Wheeooo! (*twirls finger around ear*) She's mentally ill! HA HA HA!!! A-HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!!!!

Now, Britney claims that the horrible elements of her past are far behind her. Do you think this comeback has staying power?

Wait, I've heard the new single. Believe me, the "horrible elements" are all still present and accounted for.

Moving on - the American Music Awards nominees were announced earlier this week, and Alicia Keys scored five, with Coldplay and the Eagles each getting four. What do you think of these nominees?

Somebody earlier was actually telling me that they didn't think Coldplay should've been nominated because they're American. But that's a misconception. When Dick Clark started the American Music Awards in 1973, they were initially intended to be mostly for American artists. However, there have been other winners throughout the years. Elton John for example, and George Michael. And now Coldplay - basically, if you're gay, it doesn't matter where you're from. They'll give it to you.

Reader Comments

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
great page. some of the funnier one-liners i've seen recently.

I can't believe you rated "Is This Real?" a seven, though. It is an eight at least.

andrew.moncrieff@virgin.net
You ARE ruining everything by not mentioning "I'll be around", that's just a LOVELY song. I love it, one of the best on the album that is nowhere near as bad as you trash. Frankly I don't know what you have against "Follow Blind" either! Yeah, it's slow, it relies on blues patterns, but it takes ME places I've never been - and I'm not as inexperienced as you seem to think. Jesus, the Wipers aren't trying to be the next/new Pink Floyd, they're just trying to occupy a small portion of underground music to themselves. Your reviews are always quite reasonable, but you should always take bands on the basis of what they are and are trying to be, not what you wish they were....

Add your thoughts?


Man, there's cheap Wipers CDs all up and down this here link page!

Or wipe the tears from your windshield and return to MarkPrindle.CORN