#75 KQED’s The California Report on Big Dipper

Giant Dipper. The Roller Coaster of Love.

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This is an interview I did with KQED for The California Report. As part of their California Songs series they ask me about Big Dipper. So todays blog is simply the audio recording of that interview.


Look for the full or extended interview file.

Gabriel Coan/KQED
David Lowery

The wooden roller coaster on the Santa Cruz boardwalk is a magnet for families, kids and teenagers on dates. It also inspired musician David Lowery’s song “Big Dipper.” Lowery studied mathematics at UC Santa Cruz, and “Big Dipper” appears on the album titled “The Golden Age” released in 1996 with his band Cracker. Lowery tells us the story behind the music.

Here is the short version as it was broadcast:

KQED California Songs David Lowery/Big Dipper

: Am  .   C   .     F .     G       .     Am  . C   . F       .       G .


[SECTION 1 (see tab):]

[Am] Cigarette [C] and carrot juice [F]-[G(sus4)]
And get yourself a [Am] new tattoo [C] for those sleeveless [F] days of [G(sus4)] June

I’m sitting on the Cafe Xeno’s steps with a book I haven’t started yet
watching all the girls walk by

Could I take you [F] out
I’ll be yours without a [Dm] doubt
[C] on that big [G(sus4)] dipper

And if the sound of this it frightens you
we could play it real cool
and act somewhat indifferent

And hey June why did you have to come, why did you have to come around so soon
I wasn’t ready for all this nature

The terrible green green grass, and violent blooms of flowered dresses
and afternoons that make me sleepy

But we could wait awhile
before we push that dull turnstile
into the passage

The thousands they had tread
and others sometimes fled
before their turn came


And we could wait our lives
before a chance arrives
before the passage

From the top you can see Monterey
or think about San Jose
though I know it’s not that pleasant

And hey Jim Kerouac brother of the famous Jack
or so he likes to say “lucky bastard”

He’s sitting on the cafe Xeno’s steps with a girl I’m not over yet
watching all the world go by

Boy you are looking bad
Did I make you feel that sad
I’m honestly flattered

But if she asks me out
I’ll be hers without a doubt
on that big dipper

Cigarettes and carrot juice
and get yourself a new tattoo for those sleeveless days of June

I’m sitting on the cafe Xeno’s steps
I haven’t got the courage yet, I haven’t got the courage yet,

I haven’t got the [ending Am] courage yet



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