A Wipers Tripleheader…

The Wipers were a punk rock group formed in Portland, Oregon in 1977 by guitarist Greg Sage, drummer Sam Henry and bassist Dave Koupal. The Wipers were one of the earliest American purveyors of the genre, and the group’s tight song structure and use of heavy distortion has been hailed as extremely influential by numerous critics and musicians.

The Wipers – Is This Real?

Originally released on Park Ave. The band was cheated on the rights to the recording , and didn’t get any royalties for it until 22 years later when it was re-issued in 2001, then digitally remastered by Greg Sage and with the songs in a slightly different order along with some previously unreleased tracks.

The album was later re-issued on Sub Pop in 1993 with 3 bonus tracks from the Alien Boy EP. In 2001 it was re-issued on Greg Sage’s own Zeno Records as part of a digitally remastered 3-CD set, with the track list altered so that the song “Alien Boy” appears together with the other 3 tracks of the Alien Boy EP after “Wait a Minute”.

The songs Return of the Rat & D-7 have both been covered by Nirvana.

The Wipers – Youth of America

Youth of America is the second album by the The Wipers. The album marks a distinctive change in the band’s sound. Compared to its predecessor Is This Real?, which was mostly compromised of raw, sleek and relatively traditional songs, Youth of America features much longer and complex compositions; the title track alone clocks in over 10 minutes. This change of pace was according to Greg Sage a deliberate counter-reaction against the trend of releasing short songs, which many punk bands did at the time. The album was, according to Sage, not well-received in the United States at the time of its release, though it did fare better in Europe. Along with other records by the Wipers, Youth of America has since come to be acknowledged as an important album in the development of American underground and independent rock movements of the early 80s.

The Wipers – Over the Edge

A distant cousin of the preceding Youth of America but undoubtedly no less excellent and no less venomous, Over the Edge is a return to the easily digestible song lengths of Is This Real?; however, it all but leaves that debut in its wake. On the strength of some brave/smart radio stations that decided to play this album’s “Romeo” (a propulsive horn-flecked slammer in the vein of “Youth of America”), Wipers solidified their status as a certifiable force in the American underground of the early ’80s. Songs like “Messenger” and “What Is” show Greg Sage’s increasing skill as a pop songwriter. Despite the fusion of punk and pop, the record hardly mirrors the bands that would later be called punk-pop. In fact, this collision of the two elements makes what followed decades later seem twee. There’s just too much blood and sweat, and there’s too much tightly wound tension released. The overload is tempered somewhat on the album’s second side. The arrangements are sparse (and there are less guitar fireworks) when compared to their first-side counterparts, but the level of intensity is hardly sacrificed. Over the Edge is a kind of classic; it might have been created with guitars and drums, and it might have verse-chorus-verse song structures, but it’s doubtful that Wipers were allowing any influences to creep into the record. – AllMusic Review


One response

  1. Poison Idea do a nice cover of a Wipers’ tune 😉

    September 13, 2010 at 3:05 am

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