A Potted history of the Ipanema Story

“I’m writing about now. I’m writing about the things I care about and trying to find solutions, or at least the start, where people will start to talk to each other about finding a solution. It’s forever” – Wiz

Ipanema were formed in early ‘02 from the debris of the much revered globe-trotting “Mega City 4” and the oracular Serpico. Wiz, the creative force behind the rock trio having been round the world, not to mention the block more than once, joined Canada’s infamous Doughboys after the split of MC4. With appearances playing for “Ned’s Atomic Dustbin” and “Therapy?” also under his belt, the big nosed bard of the ‘boro had the talent and the experience to rock hard and mean it. Together with Simon Dorey the “bass powerhouse” and “Darren “Paddy” Thorpe “Tub-Thumping extraordinaire”, Wiz and the boys set about crafting tunes of immense quality.

2003 saw the release of Ipanema’s debut single “Je suis un Baseball Bat”, recorded and produced by legendary Chris Potter. Mixing melody with aggression, the single soon sold out and paved the way for the tantalising aural abuse that was to come.

And then as with all hardworking bands, the line-up started changing with the weather. Stalwart Wiz didn’t let it shake his creativity and once the band seemingly became settled, seeing a reunification of half of the old Mega’s line-up and new “drumming animal” on the block Lawrence, the boys hit Stakeout Studios to record their six song salvo “Me Me Me” in early 05. Received to great acclaim, the mini album gave way to numerous tours, taking place in France, Spain, Scotland and the UK to a feverous soundtrack of enrapturing proportion.

Then Gerry, bass Rock-God, quit amid a heavy schedule of band/business/sound engineering conflicts. In stepped an unlikely saviour in the shape of Rauf, just 2 weeks before another tour de France kicked off. Thankfully the “ginger, quiet one” was a very fast learner. And so like a phoenix from the flames, Ipanema rose to musically inventive heights Wiz, self-admittedly, had only dreamed.

Rocking Europe wasn’t enough. September 06 saw Lawrence, Rauf and Wiz jet off, sans their much loved equipment, across the pond for a pit-stop tour of the East Coast. Again each show they Rocked the unsuspecting Americans to the core, praise a plenty ensued and any remaining CD’s and merch disappeared as news of “the next big thing” swept the USA like wildfire.

The boys were on to a winner and they knew it, not least in the freshly written tracks they had lined up to let loose on an unsuspecting public in the coming year.

Then fate dealt the fecund Ipanema a tragic blow. Wiz suffered a brain haemorrhage during practice on the 3rd December ’06, slipping away with his nearest and dearest beside him on 6th of December. Wiz had played and sung his heart out to the very last in the true spirit of the restless, aspirational talent he was.

Lawrence and Rauf knew the story couldn’t be ended with such an horrific chapter. Gathering up the newly demo’d tracks for Ipanema’s envisaged album, the boys once again returned to Stakeout to complete the Ipanema story, the way Wiz wanted to start it.

And so it goes…

Ipanema released their split single with French tour mates Atomic Garden on 7th July ’07 through Boss Tuneage. And then finally their anthology a little later on. Nothing can keep good music down.

The Ipanema story? Triumph over adversity. The power of good honest Rock.

“This is not the end, but you are very close…
…this is not goodbye, those words won’t pass my lips”
-Defeat of Echoes”, Ipanema