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.
The Facebook group that I had been interacting with, writing about here, called Pacific Northwest Music Archives has made some changes. It’s no longer accessible to me, which means they likely blocked me, but more than that, it is no longer publicly accessible. So it’s possible that it’s still viewable to someone logged into Facebook who isn’t me. I’m curious, so I’m looking into it.
If they blocked me and changed the settings on the group, I wonder why. Was it because of my posts/comments on the site itself, or was it because of what I’ve been writing here? Or a little of both?
I have learned to be a bit tenacious because there is so much misdirecting and control of focus. When they say “there’s nothing to see here” I admit, it just makes me look harder.
Also, let’s step back for a moment – although the site is about music in general, the focus is on late 1980s and early 1990s grunge era. And the whole vibe of that is supposed to be not taking anything too seriously, and being rebel rock n’ rollers, etc. There’s a lot of tough guy posturing as in we rock really hard and so on. Yet this same group can’t tolerate a little bit of inconvenient truth?
Here’s what I’m seeing and trying to get across – this idea that music doesn’t really matter and this is just a do-your-own thing good time for everyone is patently false. To quote the Butthole Surfers in Pepper, “there’s big money on the line.” But more than that – look at what I’ve been talking about. I’ve made allegations of surveillance based sex trafficking, including involving children. I’ve made allegations of massive hospital malfeasance including child abuse, nonconsensual human subjects research, and murder. I’ve made allegations of intellectual property theft on a global scale, of a global conspiracy to cheat, rob, and murder a musician – or a group of musicians, and I’ve also alleged that this whole thing directly involves Sub Pop and the FBI.
And they’ve been telling me it’s no big deal.
In all honesty, outside of the MySpace Satyricon fan page I ran 2006-2009ish, I really haven’t been super active in online communities, but there have been a couple exceptions. I tried to get involved in a “portland punk” oriented community at one point and quickly ran into trouble with a guy named Mark Baar, an old associate of Courtney Love that Chris described as being kind of a thuggish street punk, who didn’t just lie to me, he was abusive, sort of like “who the f are you???” kind of thing. And there was a pile on, with this guy named xj elliot telling me that I was everyone could tell I am just a crazy lady and so of course they all ignore and avoid me. I think that maybe what set this mess off was the perennial “when Kurt met Courtney” discussion, where I chimed in. (Another whole topic.) Several of Courtney’s old school friends were in this group including Robin (Barbur) Bradbury who tried to stand up for me a little bit. But the whole discussion was shut down very quickly with a finalizing decree of We Do Not Speak About Music After 1984. Because in this group, punk ended in 1984. There is another group online, I think it’s called The Rise and Fall of Portland Punk, which declared punk as “over” as of 1981. So if you get into the latter 80s in these groups, you’re off topic and out of line. Perhaps in danger of having the cops called on you. (It seems like I’m exaggerating, but barely. They take this stuff seriously.)
It’s not like I’m in danger of making any enemies at this point that I don’t already have. But what I will say about this here, that I didn’t say there, I find it pretty transparent. In other words, it’s very clear who they are excluding, and it’s Chris Newman. Yes, the group for which punk ended in 1984 can give him a nod, but he’s really not worthy of the group for whom “punk” ended in 1981. In fact, perhaps it is him who is responsible for the “fall” of Portland punk, though they’d never give him that much attention or credit. The thing that is significant to me about 1981 is that is when Sam Henry (of the Wipers and then the Rats) joined forces with Chris and they became Napalm Beach. (It’s also when Poison Idea formed.) The thing that is significant to me about 1984 is that is when Satyricon opened.
These groups include, but are not focused around hardcore punk which got going in the early 1980s but more the open, arty first wave of punk. The concept of punk in the 1980s and 1990s was pretty malleable, from my perspective. But there was often this thing about “I was here first.”
In 2014 was told by an owner/booker of an early club that booked Chris bands a lot that “the Untouchables were not cool” – as if it was self-evident. It was her way of explaining what I saw as writing Chris out of his own history. In other words, only “cool” bands make history. And I’m thinking – wait – you booked them all the time back then, and they were drawing crowds – and now you’re announcing that they were never “cool”? And for that reason, they deserve to be omitted? This too was a script that by that point I’d already heard from a number of people who consider themselves regional arbiters of taste and coolness. But who the arbiters of cool are appears to have been manufactured, too. Young people tend to be impressionable. If a crowd all says “wow this guy is so cool” and you’re just getting started going out to shows, who are you to disagree?
I’ve spoken with Chris a number of times about his early experiences playing in Portland, and what it was like meeting Greg Sage. Chris already knew that Sage was a revered musical genius type. So in 1980, when Sage appeared in front of the stage, studying Chris in action, Chris was excited. They soon developed a working relationship that lasted into the mid 1980s.
Sometimes I get chastised for having the audacity to speak about things when I wasn’t there. In other words, I’ve looked into something as historical research, rather than a personal memory. It’s a useful stance for gatekeepers, because if I were to accept it as a premise – that an event can only be discussed, or issues around it debated, by those who were physically present at a given event – that would shut me out of all of this. Chris never took this kind of stance, and it’s honesty incredibly disingenuous. But then it is not about history anymore, but a social bonding thing “this is our little group and we all knew each other back in 19XX and we are here to personally reminisce.”
People can do this with their own Facebook groups. What it does, is throw obstacles in my path, as I try to get to the truth of one story or another, and that is by design. It’s pretty clear that aside from Chris, most bands linked to the Portland punk or underground scenes had no expectation or intention of progressing professionally. The only explanation I can think of for this, is they had made some other kind of deal, and Chris’ ambitions, and my ambitions and investigations, are in danger of messing that up for them. And that’s the real reason that my inquiries bother them so tremendously.
What deal do I think Portland made? I think that it wasn’t just Portland but that it includes Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I think the deal was that it was their job – a globally-financed team effort – to control, stifle, set up and slander Chris and me. I think it’s understood that’s how to get paid and maybe some minor recognition and rewards. This is why it was so important to keep Chris out of Los Angeles. Because people in Los Angeles want and expect to succeed in music. Eventually they figured out how to make it so some Seattle acts could sneak through (while also preventing Chris from success and inflicting maximum damage on his sense of self-worth). So yeah, every once in a while, someone is let through professionally, to make the stifling not so obvious, but those who are let through are forced to make compromises and are very closely followed, and are in danger of elimination.
Elliott Smith – Miss Misery
Earlier today I did a post about thread that developed on a Northwest Music Archive Facebook page based on an inquiry I’d made, and how several of my posts – posts asking important questions – were deleted and the thread shut down by a moderator. There is a whole thing with me getting shut down on music history online communities worth deeper exploration. But anyway, I thought, what the heck, I’ll try again.
This time I posted something about my family’s links to Hendrix. There have been plenty of other posts about Hendrix and lots of personal reminiscence on the site so I thought maybe it would be ok. But no dice. It posted momentarily, was immediately pulled and put into “pending” and then it was deleted.
Fortunately, I kept a record. Here is what I had posted:
“One more thin gypsy thief” – A photo of Aunt Marge in the Canturbury Inn, Ocean Shores, Washington, probably right around Christmas 1970. She was a nurse at Swedish Hospital, as was my Grandma Helen. Through the 1980s had a time share at Canturbury, and one at the Polynesian Resort next door.
My Grandpa Harold was a counselor at Garfield High School for decades. He was Jimi Hendrix’s high school counselor. He kicked Jimi out of school for truancy. Seemed to know the Hendrix family, but was never interviewed for any books. The photo of Aunt Marge was always kept in a photo album with a lock of my hair in an envelope marked “Sept 1970”
Of Jimi Hendrix’s return to Garfield High School in 198, my grandpa said, “all I can say is he looked very sleepy.”
So what exactly was wrong with this post?
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.Matthew B Ward, Pacific Northwest Music Archives
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.
To be continued.