Wooden Shjips - Biography

Guitarist and singer Ripley Johnson formed the alluring psychedelic band Wooden Shjips in San Francisco in 2003, originally conceiving the band as a loose collection of untrained musicians that would gather to jam. Johnson’s earliest collaborators are not documented, but at some point mid-decade Wooden Shjips constellated into a regular lineup: organist Nash Whalen, bassist and trumpeter Dusty Jermier and drummer Omar Ahsanuddin. The Shjips’ first releases—a 10-inch record, Shrinking Moon for You (2006 self-released), followed by a 7-inch on clear vinyl, “Dance, California [Radio Edit]” (2006 Sick Thirst)—preceded their first live performance.


Wooden Shjips played their first show at San Francisco’s Café du Nord in January 2007. Johnson and Jermier recorded the band’s debut album, Wooden Shjips (2007 Holy Mountain), in the band’s practice space. The album was praised in Rolling Stone, of all places, and the band subsequently toured the US and Europe. Jermier’s trumpet is prominent on a lengthy track split over two sides of a 7-inch, “SOL ‘07” (2007 Sick Thirst/Holy Mountain). Wooden Shjips also released a Sub Pop single, “Loose Lips” (2007), and covered Neil Young’s big-oil song “Vampire Blues” on the A-side of their next 7-inch (2008 Sick Thirst). Jermier and Johnson again recorded the second album, Dos (2009 Holy Mountain), on tape at the practice space. Vol. 1 (2008 Holy Mountain) collects the Shjips’ first two releases and “SOL ’07,” and Vol. 2 (2010 Sick Thirst) collects more singles tracks, including “Vampire Blues” and the Serge Gainsbourg cover “Contact.”

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