Tag Archives: Portland Punk
Leave a comment
October 3, 2012 by tonetribune
This enigmatic guitarist/songwriter has influenced generations of guitar players with his vast catalogue of obscured releases (now available directly from the source here http://www.zenorecords.com/shop/store1.htm) under the legendary Wipers moniker and his own name.
His origin story is particularly interesting and almost a reversal of the usual rehearse, record and release process that most musicians follow.
Here are his own words from his own website/label zenorecords.com…..
“I think I got that concept early on as a kid. I was very lucky to have my own professional record cutting lathe when I was in 7th grade due to my father being involved in the broadcast industry. I would cut records for friends at school of songs off the radio and learned the art of record making long before learning to play music. I would spend countless hours studying the grooves I would cut under the microscope that was attached to the lathe and loved the way music looked, moved and modulated within the thin walls. I might have spent too much time studying music through a microscope because it gave me a completely different outlook on what music is and a totally opposite understanding of it as well. There was something very magical and private when I zoomed into the magnified and secret world of sound in motion. I got to the point that I needed to create and paint my own sounds and colors into the walls of these grooves.”
As he describes above using words “like magical and private”
and likening sounds to colors, you can see from the beginning his motives for making music were not the typical cars, chicks, sun and fun aspirations surfing the radio waves of the early sixties. Indeed being incubated in the wet, rainy environment of Portland, Oregon watered the seeds of a whole new sound.
In 1977 punk rock was the headline hoopla. Most of the great bands of the era were still on major labels and though the sounds, ideas and attitude were fresh, new and exciting, many were still puppeteered behind the scenes by big collared business men and subjected to the same pressures and processes that any other record-company rock band had to endure. This fire and ice combination lead to the demise or homogenization of many of the first wave.
Greg Sage and his Wipers operated completely outside this rat race of media and music and consequently pioneered the DIY boom of the early to mid 80’s with fiercely emotional music that transcends genre and time. Most of his lyrical messages deal with the human condition directly and his delivery is a pure signal uncontaminated by pretension or inhibition. He speaks just as articulately with his guitar and uses different shades of distortion, fuzz, vibrato and reverb to drench the listener in epic sonic journeys of pain, joy, sadness, love and paranoia, sometimes all at once.
Greg Sage’s exemplifies unyielding independence in every facet of his art even down to building his own amplifiers and recording equipment. This self-reliance has ensured his own sonic signature that will be bold and legible for as long as people still listen to music made by humans.
It would seem that this is an artist who prefers to let his music speak for him so listen closely and discover for yourself…