The man’s face on Cobain’s watch, and on Ivan French’s banner above, is Tom Peterson.
Something I notice now, every time I see this image from Cobain’s suicide, is that when Chris was sent home from the hospital in January 2021, after his terminal cancer diagnosis, he arrived wearing a hospital gown with a pattern very similar to Cobain’s suicide shirt. On August 1, 2021, about three months after Chris died I was having such a terrible time with pain in the teeth to either side of the tooth 14 extraction site, I went to an emergency dentist. As I was walking to the dentist’s office from the bus stop, I saw a hospital gown with a pattern identical to the gown Chris had been wearing thrown into a pile of dirt near a highway overpass, along with a bunch of trash including food containers, masks, syringes, and a ripped up copy of Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”
I don’t know if this has anything to do with Chris Chalenor who I was just writing about, or something else but I just fell asleep and had this dream where there’s a sense of the stairs, chain link fence, and a gate between Reservoir 6 (near 60th) and Reservoir 5 (uphill). Then there was a scene where Chris was going to get somewhere but finds he can’t walk – his legs are swollen, purple colored. Then there was something about being at an ATM – someone else using ATM, me driving the car. Concern about backing up, trying to control car, not hitting people. Something about going into bank versus using a drive up ATM.
Sense this might have something to do with The Obituaries and Monica Nelson’s links to New York City.
Sometimes I give sweeping broad overviews. Sometimes, not very often, I focus on the same thing, more and more, like a microscope drawing down to see that one detail. If you are genuinely interested in understanding the truth about something, both approaches can be useful. In this post, I’m going to focus in on three comments on the long Pacific Northwest Music Archives Facebook thread that was closed down.
Being as I’ve been blocked from the group, and the group is not viewable to me, this means that not only am I unable to post, I am unable to see what has been posted. I don’t think this is really a small matter. Yes, of course it’s within their rights. But there’s what you have a right to do, and what is the right thing to do – those may be different things.
I was never told that I was out of line and asked to modify my behavior in a particular way. Rather, some of my posts were deleted and then I was blocked. Why would that be? Was I harboring some passive aggressive attitude? Maybe some of it could have been interpreted in that way – but is this how fragile all these rock n’ rollers are? In honesty, I don’t think my “behavior” was the real problem. I think the real problem is that I don’t adhere to the script, and secondarily, there are a few other people in the group who may post things that I will see that give me clues about sources of malfeasance in the Seattle scene – malfeasance that affects me personally, malfeasance that led to Chris being homeless, and ultimately murdered.
This idea that the northwest music community is a big supportive family with healthy sporting competition and minor regional rivalries is a marketing scheme that both Chris and I bought into. It doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.
There are about three posts from the first thread that was shut down I want to look at a bit more closely.
First Post Under Microscope: Burdyshaw shifts the topic
A few comments. Pattern-wise, something I’m seeing increasingly are discussions that start out being about one thing, but then someone within the discussion sliding it into something else. When you’re involved in a discussion like this, that can be really disorienting. I think we’re talking about a certain topic, then suddenly it’s a different topic. In this case, the question was pretty simple: First, did Nirvana open for (or even play on a bill with) the Obituaries at Squid Row in Summer 1988 as was reported by Jerry Thackeray aka Everett True in 2006, based on an interview with James Burdyshaw of Catbutt, who said that he had seen Nirvana open for the Obituaries at Squid Row in Summer 1988. And secondarily, as a follow up, did Nirvana ever play on a bill with the Obituaries, as has been reported by several sources, and has been on the Obituaries Wikipedia page, I think since 2007 (that’s fifteen years if you’re counting). And I had done some follow up research and had by this point concluded that based on the available evidence, Nirvana never played on a bill with the Obituaries.
I had originally tagged Monica Nelson into this thread, not Burdyshaw, mainly because I “know” her. But she didn’t respond directly. Meanwhile, Burdyshaw comes back and says he spoke with her, “and she’s not certain when or where she saw them either.”
But this wasn’t about Monica and the Obituaries seeing Nirvana, it was about them playing on a bill with Nirvana. The topic has shifted.
There there’s a lot of lady doth protest too much stuff, but even within that, it looks like Burdyshaw is throwing out hints and suggestions about how the world works. The word “ultra.” The mention of the Beatles. The phrase “bloody show.” The reference to Hamburg and the Reeperbahn. 64 Spiders. The Rainbow Tavern. Xmas. Nobody.
Something I’ll add is that I believe that Chris Newman met Kurt Cobain in 1988, in Portland, backstage at Satyricon. If you think about this, even if you weren’t part of the community at the time – it starts to get pretty hard to believe the stories about Kurt Cobain first meeting Courtney Love anytime after 1990.
Second Post Under Microscope: Matthew B Ward can totally understand
Matthew B. Ward seems to be the guy who deleted my posts, etc. I didn’t know any background about him, but when I look him up online, it gets interesting (to me) pretty quickly, because he has this weird kind of adjacent to me thing going on that certain people (including Courtney Love) have, by which I mean, they have a background that seems to cross paths with or run parallel to my background in different ways. Here are the things in Ward’s background that are adjacent to things in my background (or people who were close to me, like Mike Payne)
Ward has a history of travel to, working in Japan, Thailand (Mike Payne worked at a Japanese restaurant and with Japan-linked people and has been to Thailand several times)
Ward says he’s from Lopez Island – that’s next door to San Juan Island, where I was born
Ward went to Roosevelt High School and University Washington – my dad went to Roosevelt High School and University of Washington
Ward studied English writing in college and so did I, and he was a teacher and so was I (briefly). My Seattle grandfather was also a teacher (Garfield High School) and both my parents were teachers as well (high school, college)
“A book written about your S.O.” – I was talking about the factual inaccuracies in Eric Danielson’s book, without referring to it or him directly. I have mixed feelings about Danielson’s work overall, because in some cases, he did some good work with archiving, for example, a discography (although it’s possible a lot of the work was done for him behind the scenes). But in the full scheme of things, there’s probably been more harm than good done because of all the inaccuracies and distortions, and because there is such a paucity of material available, and Chris is no longer around to personally interview, etc. Danielson’s book was self-published, however, while Everett True’s book, and the Willamette Week article, etc, were not. So publishers are not doing due diligence in checking basic facts – and this isn’t just happening with one book – it’s a pattern.
Back to Ward – look carefully at the language he chooses:
“I can totally understand that it must have been bizarre and disorienting…”
This is the way people talk to me. It is a pattern. “You are anxious.” “You are disoriented.” “You feel a loss of control.” It’s always always always focused on my emotional state, as if that’s what this entire thing is about. The language is patronizing while feigning concern. And this is always when I’m trying to discuss facts.
Mansplaining on steroids.
I responded that (Danielson) – who Ward called an “attempted journalist” – literally has (I thought) a Masters Degree in Journalism and I explained my background, and why I know what responsible referencing and source checking looks like and that is a post which was deleted. By the way, I didn’t use Danielson’s name at all in these posts. I should say I just re-checked his bio and possibly I made a mistake (I say possibly because there’s a lot of shifting around going on). Danielson’s current Amazon bio says that he studied journalism, but both his BA (from University of Washington) and is MA (from George Washington University) are in history. This is a minor issue, because my complaint about Danielson is specifically that 1. he gets facts wrong 2. he doesn’t cite sources, and I have to add a third one now, which is that 3. when mistakes are pointed out to him, with evidence, he refuses to correct them. Historians know how to do this kind of due diligence as well as if not better than journalists. This refusing to correct factual and even damaging mistakes is another pattern. In some cases, it’s libelous. (I may come back to this because Danielson just republished his book on Chris with a new title.)
“I also don’t think there is an agenda in that particular case” Ward writes of the Danielson situation – but how exactly would he know, being as I gave no specific details? I didn’t mention Chris, Danielson, or the book by name. The truth is, Ward does know. He knows there is a massive agenda around Chris. At risk of being a bit harsh – how stupid does Matthew Ward think I am? Or is he simply trying to make me look stupid (another pattern) while possibly triggering me with his patronizing attitude?
I saw this kind of thing done to Chris all the time, and how he tried to cope with it year after year after year. Sometimes he would get triggered. Most often he just kept trying to do his own thing, looking for appreciation where he could find it.
Ward finishes the post by saying he’s blocked in a group that he co-administers for pointing out something factual – I can’t even wrap my mind around how you would be blocked from a group that you administer so I’ll just let that one go.
Third Post Under Microscope: “Thanks in particular to James Burdyshaw for clearing up an interesting mystery”
What mystery, exactly, did Burdyshaw clear up? It looks to me more like he got caught in a lie, which he was then permitted to back out of, relatively gracefully.
Ward goes on to mansplain “we should not read too much into the fact that aspects of the past will probably never be established for sure, especially when talking about murky, alcohol-fueled adventures that happened over 30 decades ago.”
30 decades – ? a weird – typo? So let’s say he meant 3 decades or 30 years. It’s a valid point explaining how Burdyshaw may have made an error (even though I don’t think he did and I’ll spare you that scrutiny) – but it doesn’t explain the point that I made several times which is that the editor/publisher/fact-checkers of the book did not do their jobs.
All these words are potentially coded language linked to financed malfeasance: murky, alcohol, fuel.
Ward again displays a sign that he’s got a background meshed into a mind control agenda (CIA) – “aspects of the past will probably never be established for sure.” Look, you can get a pretty good handle on certain aspects, like did a band play a show at a particular location at a particular time, especially if the band was Nirvana.
The thing about Nirvana is they became so famous so quickly that it sent a shockwave through everything. If you saw Nirvana prior to them becoming famous, you didn’t have decades to forget about it before they became famous.
My current claim is this: the reason for muddying the water around Nirvana is because there was a plan for Kurt Cobain and the plan was murder by suicide. And it was conspiracy. And in order to cover it up, more murders. And I am a big target for these people and you can imagine why. That is why this crowd relentlessly patronizes me, libels me, and tells all these lies.
With regards to my own background in music, I’ve written about it in an essay years ago called How I Learned To Play Guitar. Maybe I’ll consider republishing it, though I see it all a lot different now, since I’ve gotten a bit of a handle on the outside machinations that have been going on. That essay probably focused mostly on my early years and was an exploration of why I thought I stopped pursuing music and rock n’ roll in the mid 1980s.
In any case, when I moved to Portland in 2001, I started playing again, and teaching myself to write songs. This is the same year that I myself really discovered Nirvana. I’d ordered some CDs, pretty much randomly, from an online retailer that had some kind of special running, and one of the CDs was In Utero and that is what got me hooked. Eventually I was trying to get my hands on every album, every live performance I could, deconstruction how the songs were put together, where and how things were improvised live, trying to deconstruct the sound and the lyrics.
Something that is really important to keep in mind is that when you have the kind of science background that the CIA has, and when you are permitted to do the kind of surveillance on a person that’s been done to us by the CIA/FBI and others, and especially if the person is completely unsuspecting as we were, with that kind of covert access to information, you can really exact a lot of control and if desired, wreck a lot of havoc. The honeytraps that are set up are super-charged with inside information, psychological profiles, and instructions on sophisticated psychological manipulation techniques, and they’re handled and paid by outside interests with ill intent.
So in the early 2000s I was teaching myself to play guitar again, learning about songwriting, and listening to a lot of music I’d missed out on in recent years, with a lot of focus on Kurt Cobain both as guitar player and songwriter. With Cobain I felt an affinity, not of the type where I thought he was cute and imagined being his girlfriend (never really was my thing anyway) – but I felt like we came from the same place, which I now think, was a lot more prescient than I realized. Yes, we were the same age, and both came from little logging towns along highway 101, but more than that.
In 2006 during MySpace heyday I set up a fan page for Satyricon that quickly grew popular and seemed to turn into sort of a high school reunion kind of atmosphere. I really liked that, I liked hearing about the oldschool punk scene in Portland, and I liked feeling like I’d helped people reconnect with each other in a postive way.
In the midst of this, one night it seems like I’d come home late from somewhere, maybe I’d been out to see some music, to see an email addressed to me, and then this image appeared – a very large scan of a photo of Kurt Cobain I’d never seen before.
It was this photo of Cobain performing at Satyricon on January 6, 1989.
By this point I’d read enough about Nirvana to know this photo had never been published before. So I was pretty psyched. That’s how I got to know photographer David Ackerman. (The photo, and others from the set, has since been re-scanned and reproduced online in several places, and that’s where I got the copy posted here.)
David had taken lots of photos at Satyricon, especially between about 1986 and 1993, and his negatives were well-organized. When I started to play live sometimes he’d come and take photos of me. We were pals for a few years. He came to my performances, and I helped him publicize his work online. But it got weird after I started to go out with Chris, and once I had published the Introducing Napalm Beach article I began to lose touch with everyone, because it was clear that for whatever reason, they could not or would not be honest with me (or Chris). And how can you trust someone or really be friends with them once you realize they can’t even tell you the truth? I think it’s impossible. I never held the lack of honesty against anyone, because I believed that if everyone is lying to me, maybe they have a good reason – like maybe they’re afraid to tell the truth – maybe they’d be in danger if they told the truth. And it seems like this idea was encouraged by them. But I no longer think it’s quite that cut and dried. I think that a lot of this is about finance.
Anyway, Monica Nelson was one of David Ackerman’s favorite subjects to photograph, and they were friends. Monica it seems had been living in New York City – maybe since around 1990, and between 2006 and 2007 was in the process of moving back to Portland. They re-released their 1987 album as I recall, and I liked it. I was impressed by Monica’s vocals. Being as her band went back to 1986, based on her onstage look and vocals I thought she must have been an influence on Courtney Love and Hole, though I’d never seen anything written about that. At that time, around 1986, Courtney Love was in and out of Portland, and there were a lot of female fronted bands in the Portland and Seattle scenes, including Kat Bjelland’s Venarays. Monica gave me advice like an elder sister. She was obviously more experienced as a performer though age-wise she’s only two years older than me.
Monica has described her music as “pre-grunge” but that doesn’t really make sense to me, being as most of the so-called “grunge” artists were older than her. Why a band was or was not called grunge, or what grunge is or is not is not so clear cut, but it probably less about the music and more about one’s social, political, and financial attitude and environment. I actually believe that this is part of the gatekeeping. Grunge was a marketing term. I don’t think that bands from Portland, generally speaking, were permitted to be “grunge.” That said, I had a flyer at one time, advertising Pat Baum’s 1986 movie about Chris, which described his music as grunge. But that was before it was a musical genre.
So what was going on, exactly, with David and Monica making contact with me in 2006? Based on the patterns that I’ve now identified and come to understand, I think someone else told them to make contact with me, and gave them information about how to reel me in. And I think it was part of a set up. I think they have something to do with fictionalized FBI files.
As to why Monica Nelson and the Obituaries would either falsely give the impression they’d played on a bill with Nirvana, I suspect there could be a number of reasons, from pumping up interest in their band reuniting to muddying what is starting to show through as far as patterns with Nirvana and Napalm Beach, to making sure that they were interesting specifically to me. I suspect that this was not Monica’s idea. If I had to guess I’d say there’s a good chance the idea came from Courtney Love.
I recently posted an inquiry on a Facebook page for NW music. Basically, I was trying to fact check a statement published in Everett True’s 2006 book on Nirvana, made by James Burdyshaw, best known for the 1980s band Catbutt. He had mentioned, and True had published, that he had seen Nirvana perform during a certain time period (“Summer of 88”) at a certain venue (Squid Row, Seattle) opening for a certain band (The Obituaries). I had run across this in the book as I was also working on putting together as much information as I could about Napalm Beach’s live history in Portland and Seattle, and I knew, based on what I’d come across already, that there was no listing for the Obituaries playing with Nirvana at Squid Row in June of 1988, or ever.
In my research, however, I ran into another article, this time in Willamette Week, around the time of the Obituaries reuniting, where writer Jason Sims stated matter of factly, that “both Soundgarden and Nirvana” had opened for the Obituaries ( The Obituaries: 1 am, Ash Street Saloon. August 28, 2007). The statement is also still on the Obituaries Wikipedia page, and to my recollection, it’s been there since 2007 when the band first came to my attention (though bizarrely, the bit about the bands they’ve played with is uncited).
Because I’ve seen problems with regards to Chris’ history where false things are published and then promulgated through subsequent publications, I suspected this was what might be going on here – and so I decided to double check via the aforementioned Facebook post.
Now I’m going to stop the tape for a moment – picture a train about to run off a cliff – the train is the Official Story of Everything Seattle Music – and it’s full of people in a state of panic, doing everything they can – including setting people on fire – to keep this train on track, because it’s generating a lot of money for people, and it’s also preventing light from showing the ugly cracks in a very old facade of lies and injustice.
This train, when it crashes, is not as far as I know, going to kill anyone – but as long as it keeps running, people keep dying. So maybe the train metaphor isn’t apt –
What I want to say is it looks like this is a very small fact or mistake. But in reality – let’s try another metaphor – it’s more like a loose thread in a sweater, that, if you pull on it, begins to unravel the sweater. And there are a lot of loose threads in this sweater. So when people try to stop me from pulling the threads, as they inevitably do, what they’re actually doing is promulgating lies and cover ups and crime. I’m not sure there’s a nicer way to put this while still being accurate.
That’s why, even this is a very small fact – it’s important. It links to other things that deserve light.
So allow me to explore this small seeming issue a bit more deeply.
The first thing I want to mention is, band names, especially “punk rock” band names – often seem creepy/weird/bizarre – to the point that you might just ignore them. But they have meaning, and in some cases, band names interact with other band names and/or songs. I won’t do a deep dive into that here, but say that the names of these bands shouldn’t be ignored or considered meaningless.
The other thing I want to mention is that I’ve noted before that these “scenes” – the 1980s-90s music scenes in Portland and Seattle – have historical gatekeepers, and Burdyshaw is a gatekeeper. This actually may be something that goes on all the way to the top in the music business, I don’t know. What I do know is it goes on here. So if you are a writer and you want to write a book about Elliott Smith, Kurt Cobain, or someone in that immediate orbit, there are people you are permitted to interview, and there are people you are not permitted to interview. And I know this because I’ve been involved in this whole thing for some time now. It has to do, I gather, with whether you want your book to be published and/or stay in print, which most writers do.
James Burdyshaw responded to my Facebook post, and it was determined that it was an error. I thought I made it clear that I wasn’t intending to play “gotcha” with him – of course people can make mistakes, and it is the job of the author and/or publisher to fact check and correct the errors. But I was troubled, because I’ve found quite a few errors in True’s book – and I speculated that perhaps the book was poorly fact-checked because the book itself was linked to the music publishing industry, at which point a number of people felt they needed to explain that I was reading too much into this, it’s a simple mistake, not a global music industry conspiracy.
Burdyshaw in particular kept coming back and harping on this. Sometimes when people are busy trying to mislead me or shame me for asking follow up questions, they also sneak in other information, like the sentence “It’s not a big deal.”
Then I posted a couple things that suggested that there might be something else to all of this – and that indirectly implicated Monica Nelson and The Obituaries in a bigger – the only way to describe it is as a conspiracy.
I also asked if the folks on the site had discussed yet, why so many musicians from this scene are dying young of cancer, heart attacks, suicides. (I should note here, though I didn’t include this – that strokes, aneurisms, and car crashes are also a risk.) At which point a moderator, Matthew B Ward, deleted – it looks like three of my comments, including
a clarifying response as to why I referred to a certain writer as a journalist, rather than, as Mr Ward had suggested, an “attempted journalist” (it is because, I said, this writer literally has a Masters Degree in Journalism). In the same response, I had also clarified my own background level of expertise with regards to research ability, fact checking, citing sources – and what is and is not appropriate.
A comment implying that Monica Nelson and the Obituaries are part of a bigger conspiracy
The comment asking if they’ve all had a discussion about the premature deaths of musicians from 1980s scenes in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and New York City.
All of that was deleted, and the whole post shut down thusly:
I’m closing down comments on this post, as the issue has been cleared up. Thanks in particular to James Burdyshaw for clearing up an interesting mystery. Also, one thing that this group has taught me is about the fallibility of memory, particularly about our misspent youth in the 80’s-in a way it’s amazing that we remember anything at all. Writers should strive towards the truth, but we should not read too much into the fact that aspects of the past will probably never be established for sure, especially when taking about murky, alcohol-fueled adventures that happened over 30 decades ago.
So basically, information I gave establishing my own credibility was deleted. Information supporting the idea that there might in fact be a bigger story behind this was also deleted. And information suggesting that people are being harmed or even killed because of this bigger story – well that too, was deleted. Nothing to see here, folks.
I will be honest. Based on how the discussion unfolded, I think this thing about Nirvana opening for the Obituaries was a planned lie, and maybe even a clue about the aforementioned premature deaths. I’ve already seen this (calculated) lying going on, and written about it here (famous blue raincoat) and here (Satyricon riot) and probably elsewhere. I can’t yet quite figure out why they would lie about this, but a separate path of inquiry is leading me to see ongoing parallels between Nirvana and Napalm Beach as far as show dates, so it may have been an attempt to muddy that water. Also, I think that a trap was being set for me.