Sub Pop Sundays

Untouchables/Napalm Beach played shows at Wrex going back to at least March 1981. Wrex closed in March 1982 and Vogue opened in the same location January 1983. (source: )

Claudia Gehrke aka Claudia Lemon was the booking agent, and invited Chris and Napalm Beach to play her 27th birthday party on August 25, 1987. Supporting Napalm Beach was H-Hour who must have just arrived from Idaho. Tad Doyle who later fronted TAD, played drums. And then there was Bundy Creature. The following year, August 26, 1988 Chris’ side project Snow Bud and the Flower People headlined again for Claudia’s 28th birthday, this time at Squid Row.

Sub Pop Sundays seems to have begun on September 13, 1987 – 19 days after Claudia’s 27th birthday. According to something she wrote on Facebook, she let the Sub Pop guys (presumably Bruce and/or Jonathan) book whom ever they wanted on those nights. Sub Pop Sundays seem to have been once a month, ending on June 27, 1988. This, again, is according to the 3band3bucks website. But June 27, 1988 was a Monday, not a Sunday, and 3bands3bucks does not show a band for that date, just “Sub Pop Monday.” I have tried to figure out who, if anyone, played on this date, so far without success.

For context, here is the full calendar as listed on 3bands3bucks from June 1988

Vogue – June 1988
1 – The Beatnigs (SF), Skin Yard
6 – Jayne County (NY), Fastbacks
7 – Pop Defect (LA), Kristen Barry
8 – Feast, Lethal Gospel
13 – The Pink Slips
14 – Accused, Derelicts
15 – Bundle Of Hiss, Nirvana
20 – Ash
21 – The Option, The Groove
22 – Catbutt, Babyteeth
27 – Sub Pop Monday w/….
28 – Action Buddie, URU
29 – Napalm Beach (PDX), Coffin Break

And here are all the listed Sub Pop Sundays bands

Sub Pop Sundays 1987
September 13 – Sub Pop Sunday w/Swallow
October 25 – Sub Pop Sunday w/Chemistry Set
December 27 – Sub Pop Sunday w/Dead Moon

1988 Rocket advertisement for Vogue

Sub Pop Sundays 1988
January 31 – Sub Pop Sunday w/ My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder Than All The Dead Christmas Trees In The World
February 28 – Sub Pop Sunday w/ Snow Bud & The Flower People
March 27 – Sub Pop Sunday w/Doll Squad
April 24 – Sub Pop Sunday w/Nirvana
May 28 – Subpop Sunday w/The Derelicts
June 27 – Sub Pop Monday w/…

Aside from June, the only month missing is November 1987. Maybe it’s missing or maybe it didn’t happen. Of the nine Sub Pop Sundays listed, two are headlined by Portland bands – Dead Moon and Snow Bud and the Flower People. Both those bands were three-piece bands. There was a common member in both of those bands, drummer Andrew Loomis. Of those two bands (five people), only one person survives today, and that’s Toody from Dead Moon. Everyone else has died of cancer. None of them lived to see their 70th birthday. Andrew didn’t live to see his 60th. He died in 2016 at age 54, with his brother Matt dying four years later at age 55. Chris and Sam died less than a year apart. All of cancer.

It’s hard, at least for me, not to look at all these Sub Pop Sundays band line ups and see something like a storyline. Because there’s another thing about the calendar and that’s that last date, June 27, 1988. That’s the date that Bret Bowman was hit by a car.

Bret was my neighbor. He was about 2 1/2 years older than me. I’d known him since we were both young children. In June 1988 I was living in St Paul, Minnesota and it seems like Mike Payne was back and forth between Humboldt County (where we had lived) and St Paul. Bret had been hit while walking along Highway 101 in Crescent City, California. He was with a schoolmate of ours named Jimmy Shaw. They were high on L.S.D. They were on their way to Oregon Country Fair (aka “the hippie fair”) where they had planned to meet up with another classmate of ours named Scott Gear. Bret struggled to survive, and ended up in a coma for more than a decade. This is where it gets very confusing to me because no one has ever been fully honest with me about any of this. Bret’s obituary states that he was in a coma for 16 1/2 years. I had heard rumors that he came out of the coma and died by suicide. I tried to get more information but people would at first seem receptive, then suddenly not want to talk about it. Also, while Bret was alive, in this long term coma – something that is very unusual, by the way – I never could get good information about where he was, nor did I understand his condition. I thought he was brain dead. A “vegetable” they sometimes called it back then. Everyone around me who had known Bret pushed that idea, that he was “gone” – but I now think they knew better and were working from a script or an agenda.

I had a dream relating to Bret exactly one year before he was hit, and I had ominous dreams about Bret in weeks and months before he was hit, and I dreamt about Bret the night before he was hit. Being as I was in Minnesota, I didn’t find out about the incident until later – maybe a couple of weeks later.

Last time I spoke with Jimmy via Facebook, he was living in Washington State and I asked him what kind of acid did they do and he said “please don’t ask me anymore questions about Bret.”

Jimmy and Scott might be one year older than me. It seems like Jimmy befriended me first, then Bret later. I never really was friends with Scott, but I knew who he was. He seems to have gotten a job with Sub Pop sometime that same year, 1988.

The Oregon Country Fair is potentially linked to Courtney Love’s family, or family connections.

1986 – Snow Bud and the Flower People – Uppers Downers Inners Outers
Snow Bud Sub Pop Sunday at Vogue