Research and Writing – I – Deletions
In order to write a history of someone or something, it is helpful, to say the least, to have documentation from which to draw. These can include official documents of various types, or in the case of an artist or entertainer, dates of shows, publication dates, album release dates, contracts. They can also include newspaper articles, mentions in books, and things of that nature.
This is when it gets really sticky writing about Chris Newman and his bands. Chris, but not only Chris – there are others.
In 2013, when I published the article called “Introducing Napalm Beach” I started with what had ultimately become my conclusion – that the band had been deliberately buried – unpermitted to succeed financially, then written out of history. Most who bothered to respond lept all over this conclusion as being false, and though I thought I had made the case pretty well in the article – and trust me – it is not what I thought until I’d already been working on the article for weeks if not months – maybe I didn’t make the case well enough. Or maybe the problem was putting my conclusion at the beginning of the article. Or maybe all the criticism was just plain disingenuous.
I do seem to run into problems when I made a general statement and then support it with arguments and evidence. Usually the criticism is something along the lines of “that is ridiculous” and/or “you’re crazy and should be institutionalized/medicated/seek therapy.” And while that might not be the most well supported counter-argument a person could make, if enough people get together to form a chorus of this type, and if the chorus includes professional people who ought to know what they’re talking about – then it’s pretty hard to refute, facts and evidence be damned.
Nonetheless, I have to keep trying.
Yes, Napalm Beach was written out of history, and no, it was not an oversight. But rather than make this big claim all at once, maybe a better route is to look at smaller pieces. This is important not just because of the legacy of an artist, but because the CIA-driven machine that was and is behind all of this has is continuing to cause a tremendous amount of harm.
Yes, I now know that it is the CIA/FBI who was behind this, and that labels like Sub Pop and Flying Heart (and others) were (and are) tied into it, and this is why there have been so many premature deaths (including cancer, heart attacks, car crashes, and overdoses) in the San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle music communities. But look at me, there I go, getting ahead of myself again.
Chris isn’t the only person who’s life is being or has been deleted from history. I am on that list, my daughter is certainly on that list, and my childhood friend Bret Bowman is on that list. How should I know that Bret Bowman is on that list being as he was hit by a car while tripping on acid at age 22 while on his way to the Oregon Country Fair and spent more than 10 years in a coma before waking up and then committing suicide on the anniversary of my matriculation date from Humboldt State University? I know because as a child, Bret excelled in two areas – music and shooting.
Bret won several trap shot awards, and he also won awards related to musical performance. These are the kinds of things that would have been written up in local papers. But when I was doing research on Bret, searches in newspaper archives on his name brought up absolutely nothing. His awards did not come up, nor the incident that ultimately took his life.
I found a similar void when searching on my own name in newspaper archives. Even though I didn’t win awards as a child, I was in the local papers once or twice. And I found a similar pattern with Chris, at least in the major newspapers. What I’m saying specifically is that our names would not trigger results in searches of online newspaper archives. Could we be found by browsing specific newspapers page by page? Possibly. But to find information that way you need a lot more information – you need to know when, and in which publication, an article appeared.
There are a lot of other examples I’ve run into of centralized manipulation of data – both personal data – for example – the deletion and manipulation of my images from Google cloud accounts – and public data – manipulation of newspaper archive searches – to control information. The only groups that I know of which could be doing this kind of thing across several different platforms are federal spy agencies. And the data manipulation is sophisticated, by which I mean there’s an understanding of psychology applied here as well. If I were to make a public statement about some specific piece of data that I know should exist in a certain location not being there, or not being found, there’s a significant chance that the following day, said data will suddenly re-appear, thus making me look like I’m misinformed or careless at best, or delusional at worst. In other words, data manipulation is only one part of what is going on – defamation, disinformation, and other psy-ops are also at work here.
“Why should they care so much about you?” is the question that usually comes next – it’s a valid question, though the question always comes from those who already know the answer. Any kind of answer that I give which fits into some kind of soundbite then automatically receives the reply “you should seek therapy/medication, etc.” It’s not that the question can’t be answered – it’s just that the answer is designed – was deliberately designed – to be a bit crazy.
Just to be complete about this – information also has regularly been deleted from my computer hard drives and even from my back-ups. So as I’ve been attempting to collect and archive what I can, following right behind me is this big deletion machine. I can’t trust my computer, I can’t trust back up drives, I can’t trust newspaper archives, I can’t trust my web servers, and I can’t trust any cloud service to keep my data secure. Putting 2 and 2 and 2 together – this is intelligence agency level activity.
There were things written and published about Chris’ bands in various newspapers beginning at least by 1981. There was an article by Charles Cross in the Seattle P.I. published on July 18, 1981. When I tried to find the print version of that article and I was unable to do so not because of deletions, but because the only reasonable way I could find to access that archive required me to have a library card for the Seattle public library.
So there’s the issue of silence (being ignored in music histories), and there’s the issue of data deletion, there’s an issue of some data being unreasonably difficult to find, and there’s another issue – there’s the issue of being written about poorly. I’m not talking about bad reviews, necessarily – there are more insidious ways to sabotage an artist.