During the Boo Frog era, when Chris and I were working round the clock trying to progress musically, playing show after show (I was constantly telling him, we can’t play more than twice a month in Portland, with the idea that we needed to space our shows out to keep the draw sufficient) – sending press kits and albums to record labels, trying again and again to book tours – I recall reading an article in one of the weeklies in which Chris was described as being a “fixture” in the local music scene and getting mad as heck. Of course, I had no clue at that time that Chris was a “fixture” by outside design.
In other words, Chris was not a “fixture” in Portland in the same way that, say, Tobi Vail is a fixture in Olympia. Some people want to be fixtures. We did not.
Later, in an online discussion circa 2013, Chris’ influence on Seattle music of the 1990s was dismissed by someone saying he “wasn’t from Seattle.” In fact, that wasn’t exactly true, either and the ways that Chris’ was dismissed or diminished were almost always things that could have been said about a number of Seattle bands. In fact Chris’ connections to Seattle were deeper than many of the bands that had been associated with the “Seattle sound.” I now doubt that these comments were actually genuine – I’ve come to learn that there’s been so much cover up around Chris’ music and its links to “grunge” – and indeed, so much cover up around grunge in general – that storytellers don’t really seem to care so much about the truth as about how well (or at least how persistently) they pull off their cover stories. I however, care about the truth, and there may be some who don’t know the truth. So let me take a moment to give the low down on where Chris was from, exactly.
Chris was born in Longview, Washington, which is about 50 miles north of Portland. My research indicates that his family goes back 5 generations to this region. On his father’s side, his great great grandparents immigrated to Newburg, Oregon from Indiana. They were living in Yamhill County, just outside of Portland, by 1880. Interestingly, Chris’ father’s family line actually seems to have immigrated to North America from Wessex, England, in the early 1600s. They were Quakers and continued to be Quakers for about 300 years, before switching in the mid-20th century to a Pentecostal denomination, Assembly of God. I don’t recall as much about his mom’s side of the family but I do believe that she too, was born in Longview. That said, people didn’t always stay in Longview. Chris’ great great grandfather died in Salida, California. His obituary in the Stockton Evening and Sunday Records omits mention of his wife who had died nine years earlier and seems to leave out several of his children including Chris’ great grandfather, Lawson Henderson Newman.
The Newman family, by the way, lived in Newburg, Oregon. Chris’ great grandfather, Lawson, married in Illinois and then settled in Longview which is where Chris’ grandfather, Ogden Gould Newman, was born in 1906. They seem to have then moved to Portland, where they had a bakery (same as my maternal great grandparents in Minnesota, and during this same period of time, the 1920s) and then moved back to Washington. They lived in some interestingly named areas – like Rainbow (which was in Kelso) and Stella (just outside of Longview). Kelso and Longview are essentially the same “urban” area, but of course, in the early 1900s people didn’t travel the same way they do now. It is interesting that Chris’ first guitar was a Stella, giving to him in 1967 by his Aunt Sylvia. (According to Edmond S Meany’s 1923 Origin of Washington Geographic Names Stella, Washington – named after the postmaster’s daughter – was founded in 1880. The Stella guitar brand started in 1899.) So it is true that the Newman family has fairly deep roots in Longview, Washington (Cowlitz County) and in and around Portland, Oregon as well. But Chris’ father, Elton Harley Newman, worked for the Seattle-based Boeing company (again paralleling my Minnesota-born maternal grandmother – who was a Rosie Riveter at Seattle Boeing during the World War II – and who also worked in a sawmill in Newport, Oregon where my mother was born). Chris’ family seems to have lived in Seattle for much of Chris’ early elementary school period before Boeing transferred them to the Deep South – Mississippi and New Orleans – as his father was apparently part of a team working on the NASA space program. This was probably starting around 1963. When the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964, Chris was ten years old, watching from New Orleans.
The family moved back to Longview about the time Chris was beginning high school. The kids at the school taunted and ostracized Chris, and I’ve already told the story about the music gear theft catalyst (almost certainly a set up) that sent him to boarding school in Canyonville, Washington.
Later, between the mid 1970s and into the mid 1980s, Chris’ family lived for some time in San José, California, and Chris was also back and forth from San José.
But Chris didn’t just live in Seattle as a child, he played music in Seattle regularly, going back to 1980, often staying in town for a week or two and playing a series of dates per trip. It does appear that there were deliberate manipulations done around Chris to push and pull him in different ways. He was clearly not wanted in California, especially Los Angeles – a place that I now know, was exploiting him. In 1984, when Napalm Beach was living in San Francisco, it seems like they were hired to play, but only as openers. In contrast, beginning in 1984, Portland had essentially built a playground – a Potemkin village – an enticing trap – with Satyricon and other clubs of that type. It was during the latter half of the 1980s that Seattle seems to have moved away from booking Chris’ bands, while he was distracted by playing in Portland, touring in Europe, and increasingly drugs like cocaine, and then heroin.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to describe the exact origins of Napalm Beach. Chris tended to connect the name change from Untouchables to Napalm Beach to the changing of drummers from Chon Carter to Sam Henry. To Chris this also made sense, because of the different styles of the two drummers, Chon being a simpler New Wave style drummer and Sam being influenced by jazz rhythms of Buddy Rich and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Thanks to the help of other archivists, I’ve learned that the first show that the band played under the name Napalm Beach was on July 17, 1981. It sounds like Sam didn’t start playing shows with them until the following October. Old show calendars show a gradual adapting of the name change by clubs – for example, in August 1981 some clubs were listing them as Untouchables, and some as Napalm Beach.
I’ve written before about the name change from the Goners to the Untouchables. It sounds like the Goners was actually a Ramones-inspired punk-influenced rock band that Chris formed around 1978, who were playing shows at this time, and who recorded a demo in 1979 at Wave Studios. In fact, according to Chris’ memoir, by 1980 it looks like he’d been in the studio twice already – once with Bodhi, and once, in 1979 with the Goners.
Chris wrote: “I enjoyed hanging around with Greg (Sage) and talking about music. Soon we were recording on 2″ 16 track tape out at Wave Studios in Vancouver, Washington. It blew my mind when I walked in and realized it was the very same studio I had recorded at with Bodhi eight years before.” He was talking about the sessions with Sage for Trap Sampler which would have been in 1981. That means that Chris had recorded with Bodhi in 1973. He likely left Bodhi that same year as by 1974 he’d already formed his own original band and gone down to Los Angeles in an attempt to break into the music scene there.
The Goners, it seemed, had recorded something in San José in 1979. Chris doesn’t mention the name of the studio, but the name of the owner, Richard Dias, who Chris had also employed in 1984 to duplicate the Pugsley tapes.
It’s pretty clear that there was a continuum between Untouchables and Napalm Beach, the catalyst for the name change being the conflict with the LA ska band who wanted the Untouchables name. What is less clear is to what extent there was a continuum between the Goners and the Untouchables. The Goners had been going back and forth between Longview, Washington and San José, California, while it could be said that the Untouchables really started in Portland. Of course, the way the Untouchables started was that The Long Goodbye – apparently following instructions from someone in the band ALOST – changed the band name on the poster, and the new name stuck. This may have been their very first gig in Portland, and that gig may have been May 18, 1980, the day of the Mt St Helen’s eruption. In fact, that date, so far, is the earliest date I can find for the Untouchables playing in Portland.
There are other ways that the band changed around this time. It sounds like this is about the time that Chon Carter started playing drums; the previous drummer being someone named Luke Pyro. Chris mentions Pyro in his memoir, drops the narrative, and then mentions the band hiring “seventeen year old Chon Carter” of Longview, Washington to play drums, beginning either in 1979 or early 1980. It sounds like Mark Nelson was in the band at this time, playing rhythm guitar, and the bassists were switching back and forth between Dave Minick. Minick actually seems to have been the first bassist with the Goners, but by 1980, after Chris had moved back to Longview, Minick was still in San Francisco and playing with a punk band called The Cosmetics, so Dave Koenig ended up playing bass. Chris liked Minick’s playing and had described him to me as “Napalm Beach’s first bassist” – so you can see that there was in fact a continuum between the Goners and the Untouchables.
Here is what Chris wrote about hiring Chon Carter:
“We ran into the seventeen year old Chon Carter on Commerce avenue in Longview. It was a sunny spring afternoon. Chon stopped to talk to us in front of The Minder Binder. We offered him the drum posistion in the Goners based on his looks and age alone. His brother Cris Carter was a known rock drummer in Longview’s ALOST. Chon boasted, “I’m already in a band… We play heavy metal… We’re called LAMANTARA!” He held up the logo he had carefully scrawled during school detention that week. We waited a few hours, and it must have sunk in. He came back to the Minder Binder where we were playing Six million Dollar Man pin ball and drinking pitchers of cheap beer. Chon told us he was ready to join the Goners. Then he quit school. The band was off and running.”
Chris indicates that the Goners first show was at the Stop Inn in Rainer, Oregon, writing “We got our act together there just like Bohdi had done in 1972. It was still the same seedy dive owned by Bud Diss (Erika’s note: I’ve seen his name written elsewhere as Al Diss). Diss was a perfect name for the old saloon owner and card room gangster… The Goners tore it up, working out some great tunes, and we had a great old time blowing minds! I was writing pop songs with a punk edge. I followed the Monkees and the Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart school of songwriting. We were ready for the Big City of Portland, Oregon.”
If it is true that May 18, 1980 was the date of the Goners/Untouchables first show in Portland, it’s likely that is also when the band’s name was changed from the Goners to the Untouchables. This is the show where they opened for Chon’s brother’s band, ALOST.
What seems to be going on with Chris, is he seems to have been marking changes in the band partly by changes in drummers. First the Goners had Luke Pyro. Was this in San José? Was it Pyro who played with them in their 1979 studio sessions? I’m not sure, but if I’d had to guess, that’s what I’d guess. Was Mark Nelson in the band then? Possibly. Minick may have been on bass. Then Chris (and Mark?) moved back to Longview, and Minick stayed in San Francisco, joining the Cosmetics. Chris and Mark Nelson hired Dave Koenig and Chon Carter in Longview, and the Goners played their first local show in Ranier, Oregon, soon plotting out a move to “the big city” – Portland, Oregon.
So even though the roots of the Goners likely go back to 1978 – that period of time is murky. I think that based on the information currently available, the most concise and accurate way of describing Napalm Beach’s origin is to say that they formed in 1979 in Longview, Washington, and moved to Portland in 1980. And that their first show was was in Rainier, Oregon – probably in 1979 – and their first show in Portland was at the Long Goodbye, May 18, 1980, opening for ALOST, another Longview, Washington based band. And that this is the show where the band name was changed from the Goners to the Untouchables.
In researching this, I came across another couple of details that I found interesting, something Chris mentions in passing – first is that Mark Nelson had played in ALOST, and it appears that The Goners and ALOST socialized and likely played together several times. And that the lead guitar player for ALOST was named Tom Peterson – the same name as the iconic Portland car dealer who’s face was pictured on the cover of Wipers 10-29-79 album, and on the watch that Kurt Cobain was said to have always worn.
As part of an effort to preserve and when appropriate and possible, re-release Napalm Beach albums, I’ve been working on parsing out Napalm Beach’s history 1980-87. There seems to have been a number of turning points in Napalm Beach’s history that, the deeper you get into it, look more and more like pre-planned set ups, secretly spinning the band around like a blindfolded child trying to hit a birthday party piñata. These turning points seem to occur every three years or so (give or take) and often they seemed to involve processes that take about three years to work through. This kind of thing can actually be seen as a repeated motif throughout Chris’ life history, I’d say going back to 1964 and the Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan. In fact, it would be an interesting experiment to tell Chris’ life story that way – as a series of three-year increments starting with February 1964.
For now, however, I want to explore something I noticed yesterday, while working on the history of Napalm Beach during the period of time they were most closely paired Greg Sage and the Wipers, as well as teenage Courtney Love. I’d been creating a zine-style document to use as an incentive for a fundraising effort, and within this zine, trying to summarize the history around what I consider to be Napalm Beach’s first four albums – Rock & Roll Hell (1984 cassette), Pugsley (1985 cassette), Teen Dream (1985 cassette 1986 LP), and Moving To And Fro (1986 cassette 1988 LP). In doing so, I’ve found myself regularly going back to the draft memoir Chris composed, mostly in 2010, for details. Gradually, things start to come into focus with regards to the clubs Napalm Beach played most frequently, and the band’s professional progress (and lack thereof).
I will say right now that I’ve started writing this blog with only a vague idea of where it’s going to end up. This is a thinking through of patterns and puzzle pieces that seem to fit together.
Portland Met (closed Jan 1, 1983) and Seattle Met (March 1983 – March 6, 1984)
I do not think it is an accident that there was a club in Portland called The Metropolis aka The Met which closed on New Years Day 1983 (Wipers and Napalm Beach having played the last show there together on New Years Eve 1982) – and a club in Seattle that opened under the same name (Metropolis/Met) four months later, then closed after almost exactly one year in March 1984. Nor do I think it’s an accident that the last show at the Seattle Met – a club that featured almost entirely local punk/alternative bands with some punk/alternative touring acts, almost always from the US* – was Alien Sex Fiend, a band from England. Nor do I think that it was an accident that the Seattle Met closed almost exactly the same time Satyricon started up in Portland. Nor do I think it was an accident that I was told by several people in the early 2000s that the “favorite song” on Satyricon juke box was Alien Sex Fiend “I Walk The Line” – a song I would describe as hypnotic, possibly trance-inducing.
Seattle Met was founded by Hughes Piottin, a French immigrant who had moved to Seattle (either from Alaska or after fishing in Alaska) in 1982. In a 2014 article, Countercultural Seattle Remembers: May 13, 1983: The Metropolis, Piottin (Loser 1996) and Bruce Pavitt (in an undated “later” Seattle Post-Intelligencer article) both describe the Settle Met in ways that to me, sounded a lot like how George Touhouliotis described Satyricon. In some ways, the Seattle Met sounds a bit like a combination between all ages community spaces and Satyricon.
One of the things that Chris mentioned in describing the Portland club was that “Courtney Love and her friends Robin and Ursula were the femme fatales of the underage side of the Met.” If you look online, you may find photos of Courtney Love, Robin, and Ursula as early as the Met days, but having been researching this history off and on for a few years now, I’ve noticed these photos often tend to vanish or become difficult to find. I have a photo of the three of them, plus Venarays singer Marti Wyman, at a Napalm Beach show at Satyricon, in 1987, after Courtney had her film roles in Straight To Hell and Sid and Nancy, and probably wasn’t living in Portland.
I find it’s an interesting thing to think about, because the early 1980s was a period of time when it seems Courtney Love was just getting into music on all different levels – writing about music, playing music, becoming romantically involved with musicians – and it’s also a period of time that she was traveling a lot. In 1981, after a stint hanging out in Portland and house-sharing with Napalm Beach – she went to Ireland and the UK – apparently with her dad and Robin. And there are photos that occasionally surface online of Courtney, Robin, and Courtney’s father Hank Harrison at a 1981 photoshoot in San Francisco.
Robin and Chris Newman stayed in touch. Robin has always been friendly to us. Robin is one of the people whom Chris chose to sign as a witness on his will. When that time came, Robin arrived with a plywood cutout of a guitar, that I think she said came from Germany, that she asked Chris to sign.
I’m including this detail only because it suggests there might be a link between Robin Barbur and Germany. There definitely is an ongoing link between Robin and Courtney.
Cutouts, LSD, San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, Berlin
One of the patterns that I see with Courtney Love is the whole time I have known Chris, she almost never has communicated with him directly – key word being almost. Every so often she would sneak in and make an exception to the rule – but never long enough to establish any kind of relationship or meaningful communication. Meanwhile, it seems like she has proxies everywhere. I doubt that Rozz Rezabek ever lost touch with Courtney Love. And there are things that suggest she’s had links to people I didn’t ever realized she’d really been linked to, like Monica Nelson.
The more I study this time period with Chris, also, the more I realize how important San Francisco and Los Angeles were.
With regards to Minneapolis, I’ve already seen that in 1988, while I was living in St Paul, Minnesota; Courtney Love was in Minneapolis and had contact with Erika Schlaeger, who was close to me. And I have detected a pattern of teenage honey trapping linked to Courtney and/or someone handling her. And I have noticed proximity links to LSD.
Now I’m noticing more things. I’m noticing lots of movement between San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle – with lots of different people. Maybe this isn’t so strange, or maybe there’s something special about San Francisco (and I will say I think there’s something special about San Francisco). San José, Oakland, San Francisco, Marin – are all part of the San Francisco Bay Area. People who seemed to travel frequently to San Francisco included Rozz Rezabek, Courtney Love, Chris Newman and his band mates Sam Henry and Dave Minick, and the guys in Mudhoney (who IIRC had a party pad across the street from Rozz’s) and Melvins (Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover circa 1988). Chris met Valarie through Sam in San Francisco, 1983, a few weeks after recording Rock & Roll Hell.
Back to Minneapolis – I started college in St Paul in late August 1987 – and I already knew Erika Schlaeger going back to 1985 (at that time Schlaeger had already been to Germany and I think England at least once) – so of course when I got to the Twin Cities, she’s one of the first people I contacted. I feel like, one of the first things she did was play me a cassette of Babes In Toyland – but maybe that didn’t happen until later. She talked about them like they were all friends of hers, and I guess she did know everyone in the band. And it’s interesting to speculate how Babes In Toyland got together, because I think that Kat Bjelland had moved to Minneapolis in 1987. Bjelland’s Portland band, The Venarays, seem to have been playing fairly frequently, mostly in Portland, at least at Satyricon, in 1986-87.
I can currently find very little history online about the Venarays, especially as far as dates are concerned. There is no existing Wikipedia page for Venarays. My recollection is there used to be a little more information online about this band, for example, who the other players were, when they started and ended, and any line up changes. Right now I’m finding most searches on the band lead to Kat Bjelland’s Wikipedia page, which I believe is informationally problematic. Did Kat Bjelland move to Minneapolis in 1985? If so, was she traveling back to Portland to play in the Venarays? It’s possible that she was no longer in the Venarays after 1985 – but I don’t think so.
I find it odd that it’s so difficult to find specific information about the Venarays – a band that actually wrote and performed songs – versus a “band” like Pagan Babies (and its previous/subsequent forms) which most of the time wasn’t a band that actually wrote and performed music.
It is possible that Erika Schlaeger, Kat Bjelland, and Courtney Love form a trio of links that extend out into different areas. Courtney Love travelled all over throughout the 1980s. Erika Schlaeger also often travelled to Europe and South America. Of course Bjelland and Love both travelled a lot in the 1990s, as they were both in successful touring bands. In 1988, when I was in St Paul/Minneapolis, and apparently Courtney Love was also traveling the same circles in Minneapolis, Erika Schlaeger travelled to places like New York, Chicago, Berlin. Berlin was her big destination spot at that time.
Chris Newman became linked to Berlin through a very small label called “Love’s Simple Dreams” aka LSD Records. He was put in touch with them through Henk Van Dreumel, a Düsseldorf-based German man who was working the door at Satyricon. Or at least, Chris understood Henk to be German – however his name is Dutch and Düsseldorf is very close to the border with The Netherlands. Henke’s girlfriend at the time was named Heike and I believe she went on to be an international booking agent. I do recall Mark Lanegan having known her. It was Henk and/or Heike who set Chris up with this Berlin label “LSD.” Henk then went on to form his own small label out of Düsseldorf which he ultimately called Satyricon Records. A test pressing of Napalm Beach’s LP Moving To And Fro, was sent to Chris, via Satyricon, with Henk Van Dreumel’s Düsseldorf return address under the name “Positive Sinking Records.”
The Berlin-based Loves Simple Dreams record label, according to Chris’ memoir was run by the owner of the Ecstasy club. Here is what Chris wrote about that club:
The Ecstasy club was a huge building. It housed apartments on top, four bars, and at the least five stages. It was run by Thomas and his beautiful wife Petra. We were extremely excited about playing there. The aprtments were covered in entertaining graffitti. Bands from everywhere had witty scrawlings, and drawings. I had to contribute. I saw a message from Mudhoney. It was a syringe dripping blood, and it said,’Hello Napalm Beach.’
This would most likely have been November 1989. Mudhoney had played the Ecstasy on April 1, 1989, and they had also played there on October 10, 1988. Of the 1988 show, Mudhoney tour book notes “This festival (Berlin Independence Days Music Festival) was sponsored by the former government of East Germany, which also featured a performance by French band, Les Thugs.” This show stands out for a number of reasons. First – the bizarre mention of the “former government of East Germany.” What does that even mean? The fall of the Berlin Wall didn’t happen until the following year, November 1989 (a month when Tad, Nirvana, and Napalm Beach were all first touring Europe, and playing Berlin) and East Germany was still a nation until October 1990. Another strange thing about this show, is it appear to be the only show Mudhoney played in Europe in 1988. Mudhoney had actually only existed as a band since April 1988, Green River having officially broken up in October 1987, and it appears to me that the 10/10/88 show at the Ecstasy club was their one and only European date that year – and very likely the very first Sub Pop linked European show. Both Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman were there. This show was followed by Mudhoney’s first US tour. Mudhoney then returned for a European tour the following spring, 1989. You could say they hit the ground running. As for shows played in the first six months of their existence (April – October 1988) , Mudhoney played Seattle’s Vogue five times, Portland’s Satyricon four times, Seattle’s Central Tavern and Squid Row once. The last show they played before flying to Germany was Portland’s Pine Street Theatre, October 2. Ten days after their Berlin gig, on October 20, 1988, they played with a band called Toadstool at Minneapolis’ Uptown Bar – a favorite haunt of Erika Schlaeger. This about a month before Mike Payne left Minneapolis and I essentially never saw him again. Payne would soon end up at Western Washington University in Bellingham and eventually settle in Tacoma, just south of Seattle.
It would be interesting to look further into this and figure out how big this government – or possibly government to government – connection actually is. Mark “Arm” McLaughlin, the lead singer for Mudhoney, is the son of a German-born mother and Air Force veteran father, and he grew up in Bellevue, the same Seattle suburb where my grandparents had lived since the 1960s. Bizarrely, on April 9, 1994, one day after Cobain’s body was “discovered,” Mudhoney and Pearl Jam were both in Washington D.C. with the Pearl Jam meeting and taking a photo with President Clinton.
Everett True links to Olympia and Seattle
It’s worth remembering that June 27, 1988 is the date that Sub Pop Sundays ended and Bret Bowman, while high on LSD, was hit by a car. He would then remain in a coma for about 15 years. The situation with Bret is a link to medical malfeasance and financed FBI files. It’s also worth remembering that Bret was on his way to Oregon meet a mutual classmate of ours – Scott Gear, who at least by the end of 1988, had a job in Seattle with Sub Pop as a driver for the English rock critic Everett True. I do believe Scott ultimately worked for Sub Pop for several years.
The standard story about the global grunge explosion is that it was ignited by a story or a series of stories in the UK music magazine Melody Maker written by Everett True. That Sub Pop had the brilliant idea to finance True’s trip to Seattle to steward around town and show him there was an exciting music scene happening. What is less clear is what the roots of the connection were between Sub Pop (especially Olympia and Portland linked Bruce Pavitt) and Everett True, for example, at his prior job with New Music Express, where he was known as The Legend! – actually an interesting parallel Rozz Rezabek’s self-appointed tile years later “Punk Legend” – a title possibly spun off of one of Rozz’s self released albums “Lover Legend Liar” – which itself is an interesting title when you think about potential links between Rozz Rezabek, Courtney Love, and Everett True.
What I’m trying to say is, I think that Everett True’s links to Olympia, and K Records (from which Sub Pop essentially spawned) goes back years earlier. In his 2006 book Nirvana: The True Story Everett True says that he first became aware of Beat Happening in 1985. He mentioned specifically the cat in a spaceship album cover on the Beat Happening self-titled debut, which was a riff off of Wipers’ Greg Sage’s 1981 Trap Sampler that featured both the Bruce Pavitt managed band Pell Mell, and Napalm Beach. Both Trap Sampler and Beat Happening were recorded by Greg Sage. If True was dialed into Beat Happening, he was likely dialed into the Wipers and Bruce Pavitt as well. Did True have direct contact with Pavitt, Calvin Johnson, Tobi Vail, or others linked to this scene before 1988? I think he did. But again, this is rarely mentioned.
Coming back again to February 1988, that is the postmark on the test pressing of Moving To And Fro.
In other words, Napalm Beach’s fourth album (second album on vinyl), Moving To And Fro, was being pressed as Mudhoney was being formed, and it just so happens that the first European show Mudhoney ever played was at the club owned by the guy who was pressing Napalm Beach’s album, Moving To And Fro. And it also just so happens that this is the same period of time that I was living in the Midway district of St Paul Minnesota, and Courtney Love was about to arrive in Minneapolis to intersect with Erika Schlaeger, who was traveling back and forth from Minneapolis to Berlin. If I recall correctly, Erika S often flew first to New York, and then from New York to Berlin. And it also just so happens that the town where I’d gone to school in Germany 1984-85 (Kamp Lindfort) was about 30 miles from Düsseldorf, where Henk had been centered. These kinds of things are why, even though it would seem that Chris and I had different kinds of lives, we also had a lot in common. It also seems increasingly like these weren’t just non consequential coincidences. There were manipulations happening to me as well as to Chris, including manipulations intended specifically to sabotage my dreams of living in Olympia or Seattle and being in a rock band – both of which I’d wanted to do in the 1980s.
At one point in his memoir, Chris abbreviated the Berlin club name as “XTC.” In fact, this period of time does seem to mark a turning point in an “X” – which the band Napalm Beach was sent down, and other bands like Mudhoney – but especially Nirvana – were sent up (crossing paths about this time – 1989-1991). Generally speaking, it looks to me very much like Napalm Beach and Nirvana were picked out ahead of time to parallel each other in a rise and fall kind of way, but that the intent was always to destroy both bands and their artist bandleaders – Chris Newman and Kurt Cobain.
German labels – L.S.D. and Satyricon Records
It appears that both Love’s Simple Dreams / L.S.D. and Henk Van Dreumel’s Satyricon records released a total of 18 items each, according to current information on discogs.com. LSD records released 18 titles between 1986 and 1990 (Moving To And Fro LP being number 7) – (in fact the number of unique releases seems to be closer to 14, others being the same title in different formats). Satyricon records (1988-94) released five Napalm Beach titles, at least two of which should never have seen light of day for reasons that would be obvious to anyone listening to them or understanding under what conditions they were released, and in fact, being as Napalm Beach’s contracts with Flying Heart were fraudulent, I think could easily be argued that most or all of these releases on Satyricon should have never happened. Chris has said he was reaching a point in the late 1980s and early 1990s when all that mattered to him was survival and drug money – and it’s clear that his choices for publishing were unduly limited – but from my perspective, that doesn’t make it ok to exploit an artist, regardless if you’re the record label or the alleged “manager.” By “exploit” I mean to take advantage of the person in a way that is clearly harmful to that person. I do suspect that a confidence game was being played here. By the time the really ugly recordings came out, Napalm was about to be, or had already been frozen out of touring for good.
In retrospect I think it has to be asked whether either one of these labels ever was truly intended to succeed as a label, or if they were not also constructed as a type of trap. They seemed to have worked out deals with Flying Heart on behalf of Chris – for example the addition of Snow Bud songs – songs to which Jan coercively stolen publishing rights – on Moving To And Fro – without asking Chris first. There were times when Chris could easily be manipulated simply by someone he saw as a person in a position of authority telling him “this is how we’re going to do it.”
All of these things of course were done under the guise of friendly and supportive relationships. The whole thing is complicated by that, and by the fact that Chris was increasingly blacklisted, meaning that by 1988 any record deal looked like a good deal to him. Chris didn’t understand when beginning in 1990, he was having to open for bands like Dead Moon, who had previously opened for him. This is epitomized I think by Nirvana playing Napalm Beach’s usual New Years Eve spot, headlining at Satyricon – while Napalm were in Berlin – at the Ecstasy Club – opening for Dead Moon.
On most articles I write, I leave the comment fields off, because first of all, no one ever comments on my blogs, and second of all, should someone decide to comment, I don’t want some random Kurt Cobain / Courtney Love conspiracy theories or shaggy dog tales.
I think, however, I will leave the comment field open on this particular article, and here is why – I’ve covered a lot of ground, made a lot of connections, and mentioned a lot of names. I want to give people the opportunity – especially if their name has been mentioned – to explain, clarify, counter, or rebut. My intent is never to shut down dissent, to insulate myself from justifiable criticism, falsely accuse, or twist facts. So if anyone feels I’ve done any of these things, and has a countering viewpoint to offer want to make sure they have that opportunity. I don’t have a problem with debate. I do have a problem with people who object to things I say, but refuse to do so directly to me. How, exactly, is that helpful?
I said at the beginning of this article that I didn’t know where it was going. To me, I feel like where I ended up was at the idea that Napalm Beach (and their mirrors, Nirvana, Mudhoney et al) was at the center of an international conspiracy and confidence game linked not just to different branches of the music business, but possibly to a number of government entities both foreign and domestic. I mean, I feel like that’s basically what I have just described. And that the proto-Satyricon Records name “Positive Sinking Records” – was far more than a German accent joke.
* One of the other few instances of a non-US act playing at Seattle Met was John Cale with a band called Memory, and Napalm Beach on August 6, 1983.
Recently I wrote about my Napalm Beach bandcamp account being accessed, songs going missing from the Rock and Roll Hell album, and the digital distribution through CD Baby having been ended for some reason, it turns out way back in September 2013, shortly after I’d published the Napalm Beach article. Right around that time (Sept 2013-Jan 2014) every single one of my social media sites had been hacked. It might have been done then, and I never noticed because things were never the same after that.
Then I couldn’t find the master CD with my others, and I got pretty upset. Since then I realized there was another potential location, and I found the CD, so that is another crisis averted. I will be able to put the songs back into digital distribution. However there was something a bit odd about this – which is, the CD I needed – an album that was engineered and released by Greg Sage on Zeno Records – was in a binder that was in turn in a tote bag, and shoved into the bag, outside of the binder, was another Greg Sage recording – a CD version of 10-29-79. This is the album with a collage-type cover depicting a city (I’ve always assumed it was Portland, since all the bands were Portland bands) being attacked by a swarm of disc-shaped UFOs – but if you look closer you see that the UFOs are actually vinyl records. And then, if you look even closer, you see that there’s one person in the crowd just smiling, not running a way – and that is Portland car dealer Tom Peterson, the same guy on Kurt Cobain’s watch.
One thing that’s interesting about this album to me is it was recorded just a few months before Chris and his band The Goners moved to Portland.
Originally I thought this was just an entertaining 1950s horror movie cover, but now I see more in it – because now I know that record deals are made based on people willing to file defamatory reports with the FBI, and that people are harmed and killed by radiation weapons on starlike drones in the sky (UFOs, basically) – and all of this is financed – and it’s linked to the recording industry, and it’s linked to cars.
From this perspective, it looks really good for Greg Sage that he released his own music (mostly) on his own label.
One thing that’s kind of interesting about this image is it kind of links to the cover Chris painted six years later for Land Of The Lost in which he imagined Portland as a city ruined by some apocalyptic event, with the streets taken over by jungle plants and brightly colored dinosaurs.
The powers behind this crime have been amazing in their capacity to weaponize friends and family – the people you trust the most. In some cases, childhood friends were secretly and perhaps slowly turned against us, though likely they grew up in families who were strategically positioned for this purpose. I’ve been able to see traces of this looking at census data on ancestry.com. Just as, when I was driving to California in January 2014 I was surrounded by a swarm of infrared-equipped weaponized cars and trucks, it seems that my family, Chris’ family, and my daughter’s paternal family were always surrounded by weaponized neighbors; families with a mission.
I recently have been writing quite a bit about Courtney Love, a person who came into Chris Newman’s life around 1980 in the capacity, he thought, as a teenage friend and fan, but who was actually, literally, on a mission of destruction. In 1981 or 82 Courtney started a relationship with a man named Rozz Rezabek, four years her senior.
Over the past three days or so, I’ve had this experience of dreaming about one person every night, with this idea that there is more to say about them, regarding malfeasance. First it was Courtney – and I should go back and examine what I dreamt about, because I see increasingly that there’s an intertwining with Rozz, California – hospitals? bikers? – and then the next night it was Mark Lanegan (another person to revisit), and last night it was Rozz.
I remember dreaming about Rozz, forgetting the dreams, just wanting to sleep, and then I had this dream where I saw a photo of Rozz in large resolution, 1500×1500 pixels, linking it to my discovery of Courtney’s photo on January 6 at Satyricon, and all the questions I starting asking about what was going on at Satyricon in January 1989 and increasing signs of a larger strategy at work aimed at both Chris Newman and Kurt Cobain.
Rozz was born in a small coastal town, Bandon, Oregon. I know that about him, and then everything about his past is a blank to me until the late 1970s when in November 1977 he joined a San Francisco punk band called Negative Trend. According to Wikipedia, Rozz was only in Negative Trend for four months (!) Granted, it seems to have been an action-packed four months, but maybe what is more significant is the positioning of Negative Trend with regards to the punk rock world. Somewhere, several blog posts back, I hypothesized that the entire punk rock movement was basically a CIA op, and that I also suspected the 1960s flower power movement was also basically CIA, especially the parts having to do with dropping out, turning on, acid tests, doing-crazy-stuff-to-your-kids, Timothy Leary, Grateful Dead, etc. I have also mentioned that in this geography of malfeasance, there are certain bands that stand out, and also, that zines, or zine-like publications also seem to come into the fore. I would right now hypothesize that any time you see a zine pop up, especially between the 1960s and 1990s, you might suspect malfeasance links. I say this entirely based on patterns – I can’t yet explain why. Or maybe it’s not only zines but access to DIY media in general – film, video, audio, photography, and print.
I’m thinking of this now because I see that one of the first members of the band that became Negative Trend was V.Vale of Search and Destroy magazine who seems to be a linking person between the 1960s flower power movement and the punk movement of the 1970s and 80s. I am vaguely familiar with Search and Destroy (a fair amount of Rozz’s punk rock fame is from photos published in that magazine) – but I didn’t know that it had been started out of City Lights Bookstore, linked to Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Vale was replaced by Will Shatter, and in 1979 Shatter and another member of Negative Trend formed the band Flipper. Flipper has long been on my radar as seeming to have weird links to people around me I’ve never quite been able to figure out.
Anyway, Rozz quit Negative Trend in March 1978 and then there’s a blank spot in his history again before he pops up in Portland, almost exactly the same time as Chris, and forms a band called Theatre of Sheep. At some point in his life, maybe later in the 1990s I believe that Rozz had dual residences, one in San Francisco and one in LA, bringing up the question, how did he afford it? As far as I can tell, he’s spent his life working odd jobs. But he seems to have links to medicine.
I have the strong sense right now that Rozz was linked to an early 1980s San Fransisco punk band called The Cosmetics, which shared a bass player with Napalm Beach, Dave Minick. I have the sense of this, but no direct evidence. But it makes sense, because having been around Rozz a bit, I am aware that the group of San Francisco punks who were in bands performing and making records between 1977 and 1983, say – is a very close group. They all seem to know each other. Minick for his part is not just a link to San Francisco but to Los Angeles as well as he seemed to have girlfriends and eventually a wife who were from Los Angeles, probably Hollywood specifically.
The cosmetic industry keeps popping up as a potential finance connection going back, probably, to the Chuck Berry song, Maybellene. (Cars indicate finance as well – in the Chuck Berry song, Maybellene is driving a fast car.) When Napalm Beach was featured in the June 1989 issue of Seattle’s Backlash, the caption underneath the band read “Yay, Fabergé!”
My own history with Rozz began in late 2007 or early 2008 when I was working on a recording project with Marty Vincelli. In retrospect, what I see are a series of set ups. Every time I think to myself – “Ok, that was a set up” – and I start pulling on the thread, I realize that one set up led to another set up to another, etc. And I can only imagine this was also true in Chris’ life, and in Kurt Cobain’s life, and I very much fear in my daughter’s life as well. Let me pull on this string for a minute.
I was introduced to Rozz by Marty Vincelli. Marty was I think raised in Oregon but his dad was a northern California Biker, not a Hell’s Angel but Hells’ Angel adjacent (Gypsy Joker maybe) – and a drug dealer. Speed, maybe. (I have a sense of FBI connections, in the sense of financing and concocting false reports about me.)
I was introduced to Marty Vincelli by Tom Harrison who was from Springfield, Missouri, but who had lived in the Minneapolis area. Research I’ve done since we broke off contact in 2005 indicates that Harrison has links to a lot of other places he never bothered to mention to me in the 3 years that we were friends, including Hollywood, California and Irving, Texas. Harrison’s history (and even, possibly, his last name) indicate potential links to Courtney Love and Michael Payne.
And how did I meet Tom? I met him on an internet mailing list aimed at Portland musicians. This was probably in early 2003, before the social media era, when people who wanted to interact one-to-one online did it either through chat, bulletin boards, or email listservs. This was a list serv called PPIUM which stood for Portland Punk and Indie Underground Music, and it was an offshoot of an older listserv called OPIUM – for Olympia Punk and Underground Music. Both of these listservs were run by Matthew “Slim” Moon who had founded, and was at the time still running, the independant label Kill Rock Stars. Moon was also in bands like Earth and Nisqually Delta Podunk Nightmare, and thus was in the Nirvana orbit going back to the Skid Row era (1987). Later, he was, for a period of time, a boyfriend of Mary Lou Lord. This means that Moon has links to both Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith.
At the time PPIUM appeared on the scene a number of Olympia based musicians were moving to or near Portland, almost like a mass exodus or immigration. I found this mailing list because I was already on another mailing list, maybe called pdx-pop or something – and Moon posted a notice to pdx-pop saying he was starting a new mailing list for discussing music, but he didn’t want it to be for promoting shows. (Something like that. Olympia artists are a bit – controlling – sometimes with interesting results.) More stuff happened to me or around me because of PPIUM but I’ll leave that for now.
So what I discern from all of this is I somehow was introduced to Rozz Rezabek by a series of what seems like chance encounters that ultimately can be traced back to someone linked to the Olympia/Portland music scene, Slim Moon – but that within all of this, looms also the shadow of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.
At the time I knew Rozz he was often blogging about his early days, including his crazy-making relationship with Courtney, on his MySpace blog. He’d often talked about writing a book but as far as I know when MySpace crumbled, Rozz’s writings went with it. Rozz had a lot of interesting stories – being at Winterland to open for the Sex Pistols and then never getting a chance to do so, and the chaos of that show; meeting Sid Vicious; meeting Billy Idol; meeting Joan Jett; being at a party with Andrew Wood and becoming so jealous of his rising star Rozz decided to walk home from Seattle to Portland; having a 15 year old fan/groupie (not necessarily sexual) named Stefanie Sargent (would later become guitar player for 7 Year Bitch). His stories about Courtney Love were particularly colorful.
I don’t know if or how much of Rozz’s stories about Courtney were true, but from the collection of stories about her from him and other people – but especially from him – you start to realize that she is incredibly crafty, and to me, I can see she’s been trained, as others around us were trained – in mind control tactics. But Courtney is in a class of her own. She seems to be working from a long-term strategy and she also seems to have access to a tremendous amount of finance and connections – almost like she’s amassed a clone army. By “clone army” I mean, legions of people, bands, etc, working from a common script. I’m not saying she’s at the top of this hierarchy, but I think she’s fairly high up, and that her links to the CIA go back at least to her parents generation. In fact, I’d say it’s clear that her parents – both of them – are linked to CIA mind control. This could be its own essay.
So I met Rozz in 2008, via Marty. At this time, Rozz would have parties, inviting various people – other musicians, scenesters from the 80s and 90s, and some younger women (not sure where they came from). Some of these folks were linked to San Franciso as well as Portland. Some of their histories seemed both interesting and somehow random – one woman, for example, had been the “whip girl” for live performances of Velvet Underground’s Venus In Furs – I guess she walked around stage in shiny boots, cracking a whip?
Chris Newman was at one of these gatherings. I think he was brought by Anton Long. This was one of the early times we “met” – I think I’d met him before this, but we didn’t really know each other. He was married to Denise but she lived in Pasadena.
In talking with Chris later, I learned that even though they’d both been in bands in Portland in the early 1980s, he didn’t really know Rozz. Chris was a serious musician in a way that Rozz was not (this is the truth). Rozz is not at home writing playing and writing songs every day as Chris was. Rozz was into a lot of artistic and creative endeavors, but not interested in artistic success in the way that Chris was. But Rozz was entertaining to watch, and he was able to draw a trendy crowd, and that probably made Chris a bit jealous. Chris could also draw a crowd, but by the time I knew Chris, he was really being pushed down. For example, in 2010, Napalm Beach had to open for the Obituaries. Napalm Beach’s history was far more extensive than the Obituaries who had played a few years, disbanded by 1990, then got back together in 2007. Napalm Beach’s performances were still incredibly powerful. This kind of thing was done to Chris over and over and over, going back to 1990. Honestly, his tenacity in the face of what was thrown at him in terms of set ups and humiliations, was astounding.
Anyway, I liked Rozz and Chris grew to like him as well. But it sounds like Rozz was a connection for us to meet people who would set us up or create damaging reports for the FBI. And then there was a drug/medical thing.
When you get to a certain group of people, there are some really weird connections to hospitals. As far as I can tell, all the major hospital networks on the west coast are deeply involved with FBI/CIA mind control. By this I mean, “punishing” people by literally making them sick (or killing them with cancer, heart attacks, strokes, etc), and rewarding people with drugs and/or not making them sick for a little while. It is a horror show. But there are people around us who seem – I guess the only word is complicit – and relatively unbothered. But it’s weird, because some of these people also either have, or pretend to have serious medical conditions. I’m increasingly suspecting that with some people who are closely connected to this system, they literally go to the hospital for conditions they don’t actually have. In other words, their medical histories are strategically falsified.
Because medical histories are supposed to be private, it’s really hard to prove something like this, but I’ve seen signs of this over and over, with people linked to mind control. I don’t mean that their medical histories are falsified as mine are, to be defamatory – but that they are active participants in this particular form of falsifying – and the agenda is manipulation. Again, this is worth an entire essay. There are just so many tactics and strategies around this mind control system, and a lot of it is cover up, deception, misdirection, and control of focus.
Around 2011 I started to suffer severe increases in back pain. At the same time, I was cut off my opioid-based pain plan at Multnomah County Health Clinic after I delayed a urine test. Even though I was still in severe pain, and even though opioids were the only thing that worked, they refused to relent. Now, this severe pain was actually torture, and it was entirely created via biomedical implants – but I didn’t know that at the time – and even though I’ve known it since 2017, so far there’s nothing I’ve been able to do about it. I still need opioid based pain medications.
Rozz at this time was going to a doctor at OHSU Richmond Family Clinic and getting large prescriptions of oxycodone for chronic hip or knee pain, supposedly from a performance-linked injury. I’m not saying that he does or doesn’t have severe chronic pain – he might indeed have it – but he did not take opioids the way I take them. He took them, at least sometimes, to get high. I will say as a chronic pain patient that I don’t know why any chronic pain patient would do this, because it creates tolerance, rendering the medications less effective.
Based on Rozz’s recommendation, I switched to the same clinic he was using, Richmond Family Clinic. But they refused to put me on an opioid based pain plan, suggesting that I instead try medical marijuana, which I did. But in reality, I still needed opioid medications. Rozz had a lot of these, and fairly frequently I’d find myself in severe pain, and he would give me enough medication to get me through.
Now this is a big no-no for doctors. But here’s the thing – they literally forced me into this position. It turns out that 2011 was an absolutely horrific year for me, pain wise – the exact year all the doctors refused to medicate me. And do not forget – this pain is deliberately being caused. The amount of time in my life that has been consumed by suffering in severe pain is staggering. I’ve had Tylenol overdose scares, and other life threatening situations occur because of this severe pain. And it’s entirely medically concocted. I can show evidence of this now.
So Rozz really helped me – but the situation was entirely a set up.
In the background, apparently have been these “FBI files” – maybe the set up was in part to concoct more files on me, though, like I say, the FBI says they have no files on me. But that really doesn’t make sense, when you look at the big picture. They’re hiding something, clearly.
I will say that even if they had a file saying I – I dunno – let’s say they have a file saying I did 9/11. If so, I still deserve a fair trial like everyone else, to determine whether in fact, I did or did not fly a plane into the WTC and Pentagon.
Another thing about Rozz you might not realize if your only knowledge of him is from what’s published online – is his links to Courtney Love didn’t end in the 1980s. His stories about her extended into the 1990s and he also told me that his interview in the Nick Broomfield movie Kurt and Courtney was an act concocted by him and Courtney together. In that interview, he acts like Courtney is this awful woman he can’t stand. He also, as I recall, pulls out her old medicine bottles, maybe for Valium.
That, and similar things I’ve witnessed, suggests to me that a lot of the vitriol from people around Courtney is concocted. But also, I think a lot of the positive portrayals of her are concocted as well. The aim is to confuse.
What the dream from last night suggested to me is Rozz was connected to the set up of Courtney Love with Kurt Cobain – and thus to the demise of Kurt Cobain.
The size of the image in the dream – 1500×1500 – also links Rozz to a Federal Torts Claim Act against the FBI I filed yesterday with the Department of Justice – and the idea that Rozz has something to do with negative reports about me filed with the FBI (Op Anne Boleyn), which presumably the FBI has been using as an excuse to physically harm me.
What is in the name of a rock and roll band? Nothing and everything.
I want to start by talking about Napalm Beach, with the idea that I’m now moving toward the idea of Nirvana and Napalm Beach as mirrors of each other, because that seem to have been an intent. “One above, one below.” I believe this is what you see indicated on Tarot Card number 1, the Magician, with the double edged wand that looks like it has a candle flame at each end, one arm pointing up, one down. What is magic but a potent type of mind control? That’s how I see it, anyway. Obviously there’s a lot more at work (global finance), but it’s really clear beyond clear there is an occult element to this running all down the west coast – Los Angeles, San Francisco (Monterey, Marin, Sonoma), Portland, Seattle.
With regards to Chris’ history in Portland, he seems to have formed this band called The Goners while living in San Jose, where his family had relocated in the 1970s. After trying and failing to get traction with his first all-originals band in Los Angeles in 1974, he’d spent a few years working as a sign painter. His family was going to a Pentecostal mega church in San Jose, where his two sisters would meet their husbands and marry young. His sister Becky’s husband (the one who in 1996 helped dump all of Chris’ belongings) had a father who worked for Boeing in San Jose, and I think that’s significant for a number of reasons. For one thing, that particular Boeing plant is closely linked to Stanford University. Both my parents have their PhD’s from Stanford. There is also a link to directed energy weapons.
So in that world, Chris formed this band called the Goners. Then Chris and his band relocated back to Longview. When and why Chris moved back and forth between San Jose and Longview is a bit murky to me, but I think there were tensions between him wanting to pursue rock n’ roll and trying out other more conventional ways to make a living. He had been in a covers band called Bodhi 1971-74 which had done pretty well, but he’d always been trying to transition to a band that did all or mostly originals and could still work regularly, progress, make records, etc. There was a whole thing going on at that time period with regard to managing the expectations of small town wanna be rock n’ rollers which is worth another entire essay (I swear I could write a thousand page book) – but I’ll leave that for now, except to say, things that Chris and I thought were just reasonable life-advice in the 1970s and 1980s often were in fact calculated, top-down, control and expectation-management programs. (My working theory right now, fwiw is that the punk movement was a CIA op.)
So the Goners, which I believe was basically Chris, maybe Dave Minick, and probably shifting drummers at first – moved to Longview, and then, because Longview was a small town, to Portland, which to them, was the big city. Chris had lived in Seattle in the past so I’m not sure why they chose Portland rather than Seattle, but they did. It may have been influence of people around Chris, like the band they first played with in Portland, another Longview band called Alost. What Chris wrote was that it was Alost who told the first club they played the band name was “Untouchables” and then the name stuck. As I said earlier, it shows how suggestible Chris could be. Where I would spend months trying to come up with a band name, or tweaking lyrics, Chris tended to go with first thoughts. He often wrote out songs fully formed. No draft one, draft two, crossouts, etc. If he was drafting and editing, it was all in his head.
Under the name Untouchables, between spring of 1980 and summer of 1981, the band blazed a trail through Portland and Seattle. They were playing constantly at Portland clubs like Urban Noize, The Met, 13th Precinct, The Long Goodbye, Euphoria; and in Seattle at The Wrex, Gorilla Room, and Metropolis. They opened for Joan Jett in Portland, Johnny Thunders in both Portland and Seattle. They were given a spot opening for a band called April Wine at the Paramount Theatre (not the best fit for them as it turned out). Then, in the summer of 1981, an LA ska band wrote a letter about the name Untouchables. Chris has described this in diffrent ways. At first it sounded like a cease and desist letter, but in his biography he indicates something subtler – that the band asked if he “owned” the name Untouchables. And Chris responded that they did not own the name, and the ska band thanked them, and began to use the name. What Chris wrote in his biography is this: “When we played our showcase gig at the Paramount a few months later, Double T productions changed our legal name to Napalm Beach.” Honestly, it boggles my mind, that as late as when he was writing these memoirs, 2010, Chris thought that a promoter could change his band’s “legal” name. As for how that name was developed – my understanding is it was Mark Nelson’s idea. Chris was obviously ok with it, and again, how he was thinking at the time, and the different influence pushing and pulling on him are worth examining in part because it speaks to where music was at that time, but also, what kinds of influences were beginning to surround Chris, and how they were – I think the word is manipulating – him. Mark Nelson was one of those influences.
The reason why I bring all of this up is, it seems to be part of a pattern. I wrote earlier about how the band was forced to slow down when in 1983 all of the clubs suddenly closed in Portland and Seattle. In this case, before that even happened, they’d spent a year creating buzz under the name Untouchables, only to get pushed from at least two different angles to change their band name. A name change is not the best move when you’ve already established recognition and momentum.
The reason why I started thinking about all of this right now is, as I’ve said, I’m now looking at Napalm Beach as the other side of the Nirvana coin. Nirvana’s show dates are, for the most part, all archived online now, and in taking a look at them, I realized something that wasn’t really clear from the biographies I was reading prior to 2010, which is that Nirvana also went through several name changes early on. Yes, this gets mentioned – but I never realized that, for example, Nirvana was actually playing shows under names like Pen Cap Chew or, more notably to me now – Skid Row.