Gareth Sager is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Edinburgh and the founding member of The Pop Group, Rip Rig & Panic and Head. As a vital presence, both in The Pop Group’s original incarnation and in their subsequent reformation, Sager remains a principal foundation in one of post-punk’s most relentlessly evolutionary and antagonistic groups.
Despite the ongoing importance of this affiliation Sager has remained open to the possibilities afforded by other projects. After The Pop Group first disbanded in 1980, Sager formed the conceptual collective Rip Rig & Panic, headed by a young Neneh Cherry. Releasing three acclaimed cult albums, a prolific run of singles and indebted to the freeform and wildly discordant jazz of some of Sager’s acknowledged inspirations (Ornette Coleman and Rahsaan Roland Kirk amongst them) the collective persistently upended expectation throughout their four year existence.
Soon after, Sager helped initiate Head, transforming his work once again and pursuing a soused, anthemic pop under the influence of The Pogues, Captain Beefheart and the traditional sea shanties and folk tunes of Sager’s base for many years, Bristol.
Besides this activity Sager has instigated a slew of projects as a solo artist in his own right, as CC Sager, Pregnant and as Gareth Sager respectively, material which has been championed and collated by Glasgow institution and John Peel favourite Creeping Bent. Sager has also been engaged in manifold collaborations with Scottish punk poet and ‘tragedian’ Jock Scott, including live performances at Manchester’s Hacienda club and Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, as well as a record, ‘Caledonian Blues’, released by Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records. Alongside his work with Scott, Sager has embarked on a stint playing live and on record with Davey Henderson’s The Nectarine No 9.
An industrious collaborator and a prolific solo artist Sager has been an unremittingly restless and versatile force in the post-punk movement and beyond, throughout an ever-progressive career of urgency, experimentation and reinvention.