Music equipment theft as catalyst 1967, 1982

Valarie, Sam Henry, X, Sean Croghan

Canyonville Bible Academy – 1967 – 1971

From Chris’ biography – My ninth grade year was a bizarre culture shock. I had gone from being adored as Pugsley in Mississippi, to the ridiculed and strange chubby flower child that wandered the halls of Olympic Junior High carrying flowers with my new found girlfriends Patty and Sharon. All the jocks and squares taunted me with “Hey Flower Boy,” and “Faggot.” There was the occasional shoving and threats when the girls weren’t around.

This all changed later that year when some of the bad kids heard I played in a band with Ed Banning, who was known for living at his Mom’s doing what he ever he pleased, being kicked out of Jr. High and he knew where to get pot. A couple of the more influential popular kids asked me to hook them up with some weed. I half heartedly agreed and then I panicked, not really wanting to ask Ed to help me out.

I ended up giving the kid a bag of oregeno and he seemed okay with it, since it was free of charge and he had no idea what the stuff looked like. Eventually I was in the position to get a joint now and then, but this also brought the riff-raff out. This one hoodlum kid showed up at my house and tried to sell me a Vox bass amplifier he had stolen from the school gymnasium along with a couple of the school’s microphones.

I knew the kid who the amp belonged to and I had jammed with him at my house. He had a band called Green Square, and they were really advanced players for fourteen year old kids.

I got my friend on the phone and told him who had his Vox bass amp and his dad was right on it. My school principal called me and my folks into the office to hear my part in it. This caused the entire school to look at me as a dirty rat fink! Not cool!

Everywhere I went that summer I was accosted by these assholes. What was I supposed to do? Let the jerks rip off my friend for his equipment? After getting hassled and ridiculed all the time, I decided, “Hey Mom? You know what? I might be interested in going to the private Christian high school that you and your sister’s and brother attended.” C.B.A. Canyonville Bible Academy. Nestled in a peacful Southern Oregon mountain valley, almost four hundred miles from Seattle, I could start a new life.

On my own, away from home at fifteen.

X – 1983

Something I realized now, going over this history with a fine toothed comb, that I’d somehow managed to miss before was that it appears that the notorious X and Napalm Beach show at Euphoria may have occurred on the same tour where I’d seen X perform at an all ages show at Mojos in Arcata. It was one of my first concerts, and the first show I can remember seeing in a club setting. I was 15 years old – Erika

Chris: I first met Valarie at Sam’s apartment in San Francisico in the Tenderloin district. Sam’s girl Kathrine had a fatal overdose in San Fransisco while Napalm Beach were gone to Portland recording Rock N Roll Hell with Greg Sage in the Summer of 1983. This all had happened just six weeks before we all met Valarie and her friend.

Valarie was an obvious speed freak. Sam met her and this punkrocker chick in the park down on the street below. He brought them up inside his apartment where I was smoking my killer bud. I was thirty then and they were only eighteen. They were up all night folding clothes, tweaking on what ever could keep their fired up brains busy.

The next day Valarie informed us the other chick was planning to rip off Sam for his guitar, practice amp, and anything else of value. She and a couple of dudes were going to break in by climbing the fire escape.

This foiled their plan, and Valarie stayed around to party with us. She was Sam’s girl for a couple of days. She mentioned she lived in San Jose with her Grandma Caldwell most of the time. It turned out to be a couple of miles away from my Dad’s store on the Alameda Expressway.

We all went to see X play at the Kabuki Club. It was weird to see the expression on Exene and Johns faces when me and Sam were standing there in front of the stage. Our little incident at the Euphoria club had only gone down a few months before. This was September 1983.

The Euphoria was a one thousand capacity venue. Napalm Beach had played the night before in Seattle, and we were pumped up for the show with X. We ended our rousing set with a tribute to Jim Morrison and the Doors, and a song much like “THE END”, called “LAST DAY”. It brought the house down, the audience was on its feet and cheering. Even John Doe and Exene were up front banging their heads. A standing ovation for a local opening act is almost unheard of. It was the kind of show a musician dreams about.

Afterwards John and Exene invited us up to their dressing room. Mark was the sensitive martyr, but he was my right hand man and and I should have grabbed him out of respect, especially when Sam and Gwartney came up on their own. Mark was in his low self esteem mode, acting as if he was nothing more than a glorified roady. He had Gwartney help him load the van with our gear. This was before X had even hit the stage.

X invited Napalm Beach to come and play some shows in LA. John Doe tried to beckon me to get to the Big City. LA or New York. He was right. You can’t get anywhere here. Things did change ten years later in the great northwest.

X went on to play a rowdy inspired set that night. By this time I was fucked up royale. It was time to load out and split but Mark had already done that. Then… I blew up like an Atomic Bomb! Someone had broken into our van and stole my Marshall amp head and a few of Sam’s drums. I was livid and caused a huge scene there in the alley behind the club. Gwartney joined in the rage. Shaking and pounding the dumpster and primal screams making X’s skin crawl, I’m sure of it!

John and Exene looked horrified as I gazed into their vehicle with a crazed look in my eyes, and started to tell Exene how I could go for her if she was available… They took off with haste, and I soon recieved an official letter from their management and booking agency in Los Angeles.

“Napalm Beach, we cannot work with such unprofessional behavior. Do not come to Los Angeles. I repeat!!!…”

A few days later, two young kids told me the name and address of the boys who stole my Marshall and the drums. I called the cops with the information. They said they couldn’t do anything about it. Those Montoya boys were trouble.

I got a posse of four huge dudes to go with me. We got up to the door, and a little fifteen year old red headed kid answered.

“Here’s your drums, and our friend has the Marshall head in Tillamook. We will meet you at the corner of 39th and Powell tomorrow at 3:00 PM.”

They were there with ten other boys. They quietly handed over the amplifier, and I sincerly thanked them. It was amazing. We howled with laughter driving away with the equipment.

Years later a local musician and man about town, Sean Crogan of Crackerbash, told me he was one of the skater kids who helped out by giving up the Montoya boys as the thieving culprits.