The Wipers: Greg Sage (vocals, guitar); Dave Koupal (bass); Sam Henry (drums).
The Wipers are Pacific Northwest rock legends. Led by frontman Greg Sage and a rotating cast of players, the Wipers play simple punk songs marked by a unique sense of melody, a hint of darkness, and Sage's inimitable guitar work. Maybe nowhere is his and the Wipers' singular vision better experienced than on their debut full-length, IS THIS REAL? A brisk, supremely tight set of songs, the album is perhaps most notable for its seeming simplicity. While guitars blare, drums are smacked, and Sage shouts his lyrics with palpable ire, beneath the din of such brilliant stand-outs as "Return of the Rat," "Mystery," and "Tragedy" is a superior sense of songcraft, a dichotomy not unlike what one finds in the best work of Sage's most well-known fan, Kurt Cobain (in fact, Nirvana covered several Wipers tracks, including the aforementioned "Return of the Rat"). Originally released in 1979, IS THIS REAL? has been reissued several times and now includes the four-song ALIEN BOY EP as a bonus.
Spin (5/01, p.112) - Ranked #40 in Spin's "50 Most Essential Punk Records" - "...[They] mined grunge for years before it hardened into fossil fuels..."
Q (6/93, p.126) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...IS THIS REAL? is frantic and punky and begs the question: What if Hendrix were alive today and fronting a grunge band?..."