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Dot Wiggin Band

Depending on who you ask, Dorothy "Dot" Wiggin was the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter with one of the greatest rock bands of all time, or one of the worst. From 1968 to 1975, Wiggin was a member of the Shaggs, a band formed at the behest of her father, which also featured her sisters Betty and Helen Wiggin; the Shaggs recorded an album, 1969's Philosophy of the World, which became a cult favorite years after the fact and continues to polarize audiences to this day. Dorothy was born in 1948, and she and her sisters grew up in a small town in New England, Fremont, NH. Their father, Austin Wiggin Jr., worked at a local textile mill, and for reasons best known to himself, he decided that Dot, Betty and Helen had what it took to be pop stars. In 1965, when Dot was 17, he pulled the girls out of school, enrolled them in correspondence courses, and bought them cheaps guitars, amps, and a drum kit. For the next three years, he put his daughters through countless hours of rehearsal, despite the fact they had no prior musical training and little inclination towards playing rock and roll, and dubbed the trio the Shaggs. Austin launched the Shaggs on a career that consisted mostly of a long series of Saturday night dances at the Fremont Town Hall, and an album financed by the family, Philosophy of the World, which author Susan Orlean once described as filled with "misshapen pop tunes, full of shifting time signatures and odd metres and abrupt key changes, with lyrics about Dot's lost cat, Foot Foot, and her yearning for a sports car and how much she liked to listen to the radio." While Austin paid to press 900 copies of the album, most of them disappeared, and few of them sold. In 1973, the Fremont Town Hall dances came to an end, and when Austin Wiggin Jr. died in 1975, his daughters broke up the band. Dorothy moved out on her own, got married, and didn’t think much about the Shaggs until 1979, when she discovered Philosophy of the World had developed a reputation among collectors of unusual music. Terry Adams of NRBQ, who fell in love with the album, arranged with the Wiggin Sisters to reissue Philosophy on the band’s Red Rooster label (distributed by Rounder Records), and in 1982, Red Rooster brought out another collection of unreleased Shaggs' recordings, Shaggs Own Thing. (Tracks from the two albums were collected for a 1988 CD release simply called The Shaggs.) While the Shaggs had become cult favorites, Dorothy was busy raising a family in Epping, NH (not far from Fremont) and working as a house cleaner and looking after kids at a day-care center, though she still wrote songs on occasion and played in the handbell choir at her church. In 1999, NRBQ staged a special concert in New York City to celebrate their 30th Anniversary, and they invited the Shaggs to open the show; while Helen, who was in declining health, opted not to participate, Dorothy and Betty said yes, and it was the first Shaggs concert in over a quarter-century. In 2012, as part of a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Fremont Town Hall, musician Jesse Krakow organized a special concert of the Shaggs' music, with an ensemble of fans and admirers performing the group's repertoire. While Dorothy chose not to perform, she and her sister Betty attended the show and took part in in public interview about the group. Following the concert, Krakow approached Dorothy about a recording project which would document a number of songs she had written but the Shaggs never recorded. Krakow eventually persuaded Wiggin to become actively involved in the recordings, singing lead with Krakow's combo, which then became known as the Dot Wiggin Band. (Dorothy's son Matthew Semprini also sang on the album.) Recording sessions -- some held in the Fremont Town Hall, where the Shaggs had played hundreds of times -- resulted in an album, Ready! Get! Go!, which was released by Alternative Tentacles Records in the Fall of 2013. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Ready! Get! Go!

1. Banana Bike

2. The Fella With A Happy Heart

3. Speed Limit

4. If I Could Be Your Hero

5. Love At First Sight

6. Your Best Friend

7. Boo Hoo

8. Eh

9. My Cutie

10. Speed Limit 2

11. Wiggin Out!

12. Just Another Crazy Day At The Farm

13. The End Of The World

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