Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Big Dipper
Boo-Boo Six-song EP
Homestead Records, 1987

If you ever wondered what happened to those guys in bar scene from Good Will Hunting. No, not those guys and not the guy who became the demented brother of Ryan O'Reily in Oz. No, the guys in the back, drinking, bitching about the crappy jukebox, talking about their next jam and not even bothering to get Minnie Driver's number because they know she's a stuck up Ivy Leaguer with a phony accent and shaved eyebrows and they can get a much better class of female down at the local strip joint. I mean, how about
them apples?

Big Dipper were formed by two refugees from first line-up of the Volcano Suns (they quit "cuz Peter was an asshole... he's not anymore, though") and Dumptruck - in reality, they probably weren't art-punky and gloomy enough for either of these bands. The singer came from Embarassment, a Kansas punk band that wasn't going anywhere and the drummer who got in because he had a practice place and "lots of pot" - though I'm sure there's more to it as he's pretty damn capable.

Somehow they hook up with Lou Giordano, uber-producer and engineer, record a few songs of hard-edged guitar pop and bank they have a deal with Cosloy. The results are a far-ranging, very listenable recording. Several of the songs ("What in the Sam Hill...?" "San Quentin CA") sorta celebrate the Dirtballus Americanus so much in vogue among the indies at the time. Different styles such as C&W ("San Quentin"), surfpunk ("Wrong In the Charts"). Others just are about driving around, getting by, get fucked up, y'know normal stuff ("Ancers").

Two cuts are presented for your consideration. "Faith Healer" is an interesting garage pop tune in that it has that Bollywood snake charmer riff but without any sort of arty doo-dahs and vogueing (like, say a Franz Ferdinand song). "Loch Ness Monster," a song about an Ahab-type obsessed with the Nessie myth, is more a prime example of the Giordano magic. Each instrument can be heard clearly on its own and that especially works on a song structure that builds upon each instrument. The flourishes such as the "woo!" song between the 1st chorus and 2nd verse are mixed just right to make for a nice accent. And listen to the back and forth back-up singing in the "It's a mystery why she left me" portion of chorus.

Fun Facts: In astronomey, The big dipper is a constellation of stars also known as Ursa Major which is also known as The Great Bear. Yogi the Bear was a great bear. His little friend was Boo-Boo. The cover of Boo-Boo, the EP, is a photo of a hunter (left) with what looks like two bears.

Faith Healer
Loch Ness Monster


The quote about Peter Prescott comes from this comprehensive article in Boston Rock Storybook. Read this for the long version.
Byron Coley sums up the band output. Read this for the short version.

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