Best Record Label: Most alternative vision of utopia
In the minds of Ipecac founders Mike Patton and Greg Werckman, utopia isn't all babbling brooks and world peace. It's more a place where people are free to express their wildest impulses through music where weird music is king, creativity is honored, and the mainstream is sidelined. You might never expect such a vision to emanate from a backyard cottage in Orinda, one of the East Bay's most quiet, upscale neighborhoods. This is the label's main office and the workplace of 42-year-old Werckman, former manager of legendary underground punk label Alternative Tentacles. His primary partner Patton used to be the lead singer of hard-rock group Faith No More. Recently the label has signed Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices), Peeping Tom (featuring Dan the Automator and Patton), Isis (which released one of last year's best metal records), and Melvins (sludge-rockers in their third decade). Home to some of the country's finest alternative and underground bands, Ipecac is realizing its own utopia.