A few months ago, I filed a defamation lawsuit. Valarie Newman and at least some of Chris’ siblings have published claims that I was abusive to Chris, and forced him into isolation. They have refused to unpublish the claims, which are false. Others have picked up on these false claims and republished them on social media, etc. In the answer to the lawsuit, Valarie made counter claims, saying that I had published defamatory information on this website.
A few months prior to this, a former bandmate of Chris’ tried to talk me into removing basically everything I’ve published. When I tried to get him to be more specific about what he actually had problems with, and why, it appeared that he wasn’t actually familiar with anything I’d written – he just felt very strongly it all needed to be deleted.
Because it appeared that people had all these problems with what I have published here, I made the site password-protected and sent a letter to the people whom I understood to have had complaints about me and the things I’ve published, giving them a password and asking them to tell me specifically what they had problems with. Outside of the former bandmate and Valarie who both thought I should remove everything that wasn’t directly related to music (like generic music promo I suppose) – no one had any response.
Rock n’ roll is a way of life. It’s not just a bunch of notes, or recordings.
I know Chris and I saw these things the same – but where we differed is that he was unable to see how or why he was being blocked professionally. Everyone – including everyone who appears to be offended by my writings – lied to him. Literally everyone but me and my daughter lied to Chris Newman – in ways that were damaging to him. And I saw that, and he didn’t. And while he was alive, I tried, mostly, to avoid creating conflict. But the lies endangered both of us, and in the end, he was killed because of this fraud.
I understand that for decades Portland, Oregon and beyond lived in a blissful bed of lies, and I’ve disrupted that. I cannot understand the mentality of the music community here. The town turned into a hole where everyone just circled around, as Seattle became a musical destination. Chris accepted that because he was trained, brainwashed, and deceived. Not because he didn’t care about success.
He deserved to earn an income off of his own work, to support his family, to be able to work with musicians of his own caliber, and to do the things he knew he could do – record professional albums, tour, make music for movies, etc. Because of this deceit, all of this was denied to him. Successful musicians literally took his ideas, never giving him credit – not because they were bad people – but because they were rewarded for this. And he ended up being given cancer deliberately, tortured to death, not permitted to record the last album he wanted to record – died feeling like a failure, professionally.
But that still wasn’t enough. The co-conspirators had to turn around and somehow make me the villain.
They started making Chris disappear from his already tiny sliver in history shortly before he died – this was clearly planned out and methodical. YouTube deleted our band accounts. He’s no longer remembered in articles about Portland music history. Seattle times suddenly changed their obituary policy – apparently between the time I purchased an obituary and the time it was published – so that the obituary we published would not be fed into a legacy feed, just published on their local site. The paper version was shoved into a corner of the paper all alone, with the usual print paper subtext all around it. And none of the local music news sites will publish anything about him, or anything about new musical releases – nor will local labels put out records, even records that are historically significant remixes. I don’t even know if the snubbing is about Chris or about me, because usually my emails just don’t get answered.
So I can only speculate – no one has anything to say, specifically – about what I’ve published – but the blacklisting has just gotten worse, and worse, and worse.
Years ago, I thought that the problem was that Chris had been a drug addict. But then I couldn’t see why, after he cleaned up, he still wasn’t being given respect. I probably didn’t really see until after he died and I did a deep dive into the history that in fact he was never really given respect. That what there was, was a lot of manipulation and mental control around him.
For me, I keep coming back to my own value system – not just what rock n’ roll is, but what art is, and what it means to care for another person. Chris was a uniquely talented person. Where he was weak, he should have been protected. Instead he was deceived and exploited. And there just isn’t a prettier way to put it.
I’m not out to be bitter about this – but I’m not out to cover it up, either – because behind Chris are dozens of other artists who should have had much longer, healthier lives, and who didn’t because of these exact same forces.
Our family was deliberately torn up, that much is clear. And no, I’m not going to make it comfortable for those who have contributed to this. Nor will I accept having my reputation – or Chris’ reputation, or my daughter’s – dragged through the mud.
I’ve always been willing to listen and engage with people who have a different opinion than me – but I will not accept being lied to, lied about, or controlled.
Stop telling lies about us.