San Francisco DrunkTronica duo Tipsy first appeared in 1996 with a cartoonish mix of cut-up thriftstore vinyl, twangy guitar and weird spacerock electronics.
Dave Gardner, a bay area native and obsessive record collector, got involved in the mid-80s avant/industrial/noise crowd, using tapes, record players, cheap samplers & broken guitars. He recorded a couple of albums with experimentalists PGR, and played with a dozen or so other SF groups, most notably cult industrial band IaoCore (which also spawned Matmos and Amber Asylum). While living at an art and music collective/performance space, he first met Hawaii-born Tim Digulla, then an enthusiastic Marin County teenager.
Tim eventually moved to San Francisco, worked with robot performance group Survival Research Labs and recorded with the psychedelic spacerockers Imajinary Friends (on Bomp) before ending up with Naut Humon's Sound Traffic Control studio/soundsystem.
After hearing some low-fi cassette tracks mixing easy listening with harsh electronics that Dave was working on, Naut offered to sponsor an album on his wife's then-new Asphodel label, and suggested Tim and Dave record together.
After a couple years work, they released the retro-lounge-themed TRIP TEASE (1997) which mixed cut-up exotica & electronics with real instruments in a slickly surreal, obsessively detailed way. By a lucky coincidence, it was released at the height of the brief lounge fad and turned out to be a surprise pop success, showing up in the background everywhere; obscure indie movie soundtracks, international soda and beer commercials, TV (MTV's Real World, the Sopranos, Sex in the City), the corner bar, even Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Tipsy also started doing remixes; Pulp, Lords of Acid, Towa Tei, lots of others.
Working with producer/engineer/guitarist Alex Oropeza (Broken Horse, Tarnation), they recorded their next album, the excessively eclectic, dreamily cinematic, almost unclassifiable UH-OH (2001) with a top-shelf set of guest musicians, including avant/classical percussionist William Winant, Joe Gore, Ralph Carney, and the late Vince Welnick (the Tubes, Grateful Dead) among many others.
After years of changing membership, the live version of Tipsy eventually stabilized. In person, they are a much noisier, more unrestrained thing.
Dave Gardner - turntable, keyboard
Tim Digulla - synthesizer, electronics
Alex Oropeza - guitar
Travis Threlkel - drums
Mayumi Ota - bass
Despite being distracted by commercial corporate money music for hire (as well as occasional substance abuse), Tipsy has finally assembled a much anticipated new album, BUZZZ, on Ipecac Recordings; more rhythmically oriented, less loop-heavy than before. Featuring quirky Japanese singer Coppe', and many of the players from the previous album, Tipsy continues to push their pop weirdness another step beyond.