Tag: Snow Bud and the Flower People

Seattle Squid Row deep dive

It looks like, according to livenirvana.com, the band that would become Nirvana began going by the name Skid Row in 1987. There was another band in New Jersey that called itself Skid Row beginning in 1986. I think that Everett True mentioned Cobain was unaware of this other band and that seems likely to be true, especially back then.

So to recap, first I realized that Burdyshaw’s comment to Everett True about seeing Nirvana open for the Obituaries was false, and then, while trying to fact check this on Pacific Northwest Music Archives Facebook group, I watched Burdyshaw and others wriggle around trying to explain the error even though I wasn’t initially accusing them or Everett True (in this case) of lying – I just said it was likely a mistake and poor fact checking, though based on patterns and the fact that this easily correctable misstatement has been on the Obituaries Wikipedia page for 15 years, I always had doubts about this being a mistake. I also mentioned that these kinds of errors, when they’re not caught and corrected, are consequential because they are then repeated by other writers and false histories are created, and false histories often have negative consequences for real people. And then this other guy, an admin named Matthew Ward came in and shut the whole thing down, profusely thanking Burdyshaw for “clearing up a mystery” – and then after my next couple of posts to the group which I did not expect to be considered particularly controversial, I was deleted and apparently blocked. (One post was an Untouchables poster from 1980 and the other was the post about my family’s links to Jimi Hendrix.)

Of course that makes me think there’s more going on, like – if the statement about Obituaries opening for Nirvana at Squid Row in 1988 was not a mistake but a lie, why this particular lie? I may have accidentally found part of the answer when I explored the New York Times and saw Cobain’s 1994 obituary which featured a photo of Nirvana playing directly underneath the word “Obituaries.” So that likely largely explains the Obituaries part – but what Burdyshaw specifying Squid Row as the venue?

I started to follow that thread, first by looking into the venue itself. It was a hole in the wall dive that went through a lot of different businesses including, according to an 2007 article in The Stranger, Rebellious Jukebox (a record store run by Nils Bernstein 1989-92 – Bernstein later became VP of PR for Sub Pop, then did I think publicity for Matador and now is a New York based editor at Wine Enthusiast magazine described as an “exhaustive traveler” – I feel like he may have been someone I tried to contact in the past, trying to generate interest in a Boo Frog album), Righteous Rags (Jeffrey Ofelt), Squid Row, the Puss Puss Cafe, Tugs Belmont (a gay bar), Bimbo’s, the Cha Cha Lounge, Double Trouble, Lipstick Traces (early 2000s), Manray, Kincora, Bus Stop, and Pony.

I’m going to stop here because clearly this is a rabbit hole and I think the Stranger intends it to be that. In the Stranger article, two anecdotes stand out: a story about someone finding decomposing severed fingers in a crockpot, and a typical type of Courtney Love story.

poster for Sherlock Holmes Woman in Green
The Woman in Green 1945

With regards to the severed fingers, this was a theme in the 1945 hypnosis-themed Sherlock Holmes movie Woman in Green. It symbolizes murdering witnesses or potential witnesses. There’s another thing that it evokes as well which is the severed hand that appears in the Migos video for Stir Fry. The Stir Fry video seems to allude to the 1983 Wah Mee massacre that killed another Seattle club owner, John Loui of the Golden Crown. (It’s increasingly clear that many hip hop videos allude to backroom activities around grunge era Seattle. I believe it’s because the activities, issues, and people I’m writing about here about are so deeply interwoven with entertainment industry, US government, and high finance.) Also – this is worth its own entry – there seems to be something in the Migos Stir Fry video that I would call a smoking gun to tell you that Mark Lanegan, who died of COVID complications on 2/22/2022, was actually biomedically murdered. With regards to Lanegan’s death being a murder, there are actually a few smoking guns. So I will revisit this.

With regards to the Courtney Love story, it is told by (Cha Cha Lounge co-owner) Jeffrey Ofelt and takes place during the Righteous Rags era, probably around 1993. “Courtney Love came in to pick up a coat for Kurt Cobain that she had on layaway and was buying as a Christmas present. It was a leather trench coat or something. She came in to make a payment, and she wanted to use the phone, and she was smoking.” The coat was “a leather trench coat or something”? Was Kurt Cobain – or anyone in the early 1990s – ever seen wearing a leather trench coat? I mean, I’ve been wrong before, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say not.

This whole thing about combining two memories into one? That happens. But in this case, I suspect two garments were combined into one. This is another entry, maybe.

I did not expect things to get this complicated.

Back to Squid Row, specifically. That bar seems to have opened in 1986 (possibly) but really got going with live music in 1987. The only record I have of Chris Newman playing there is for Claudia Gherke’s 28th birthday in 1988, with Snow Bud and the Flower People. I’m thinking this venue might have been a bit small for him during that era, but he would usually play for people he considered friends who asked him to do special events like birthdays. He was even cajoled into reviving Napalm Beach for birthdays years after he swore he’d never play as Napalm Beach again.

This is partly why I’ve focused so hard on Squid Row – because Chris was asked to play first as Napalm Beach at the Vogue for Claudia’s 27th birthday, and this was right before the Vogue started doing Sub Pop Sundays – and then he was asked to play Claudia’s 28th birthday at Squid Row as Snow Bud – and both those times, a Sub Pop super group known as Bundy Creature opened for him. It was like some weird book end.

I did not know (or remember, I suppose I’d read it) that one of the names for Nirvana, in early 1987, was Skid Row. According to livenirvana.com, that name lasted about three months between April and June, and they played around four shows under that name. They played Tacoma’s Community World Theatre on June 12, 1987 as Skid Row but on June 27, 1987 they played the same venue as Pen Cap Chew. June 27 is an important date because June 27, 1988 was the day Bret Bowman was hit by a car, it was the day that Sub Pop Sundays ended, and I know that date was picked out for Bret to be hit at least June 27, 1987, a year ahead of time, because I’d recorded a predictive dream that night. But it’s possible, and I’ll have to look into this more deeply – by June 1987 Kurt Cobain was also already on the creep store murder menu.

Cobain stands out among other musicians because of his willingness to distinguish, from my perspective, right from wrong, with regards to what Chris and I were being put through. Thus, the symbolism of a severed finger (accusation).

With regards to Cobain using the name Skid Row – the history of the term Skid Row is interesting and I didn’t know that a lot of sources trace it directly to Seattle. Basically, in the early days of Pacific Northwest logging, lumberjacks were faced with moving these giant trees out of the forest by pulling them with horses (usually) or oxen. The easiest way to do this was to pull them downhill (obviously) so that’s how they logged – they’d build a flat “road” into the woods, and skid the trees down the road to the mill. The road was called a skid road. Lumber camps or tent cities were built along these roads, and the tent cities were eventually called “skid row.” I think the reason that the name Skid Row is associated with Seattle is because there was a large and maybe famous or semi-permanent skid row area in Seattle back in those days. This links to me. How? Where I grew up, in Humboldt County, we had the same thing going on. I grew up at the edge of a redwood forest that had been logged in the late 1800s and again in the early 1900s and right behind our house in the woods was a skid road. We called it “the old logging road” but it was a skid road. I played in that area a lot as a child and I have reason to believe there was surveillance around our favorite spots – probably wireless cameras attached to trees feeding data to hidden drones. In addition, in the summer of 1986, Bret Bowman and I both worked at the Samoa Cookhouse, an old logging camp cookhouse in Eureka that catered to tourists. He was a dishwasher and I a hostess and I’m sure there was surveillance in there, too.

Also, my assertion is there was always a plan to leave Chris and I impoverished, as others grew wealthy from exploiting us and spreading damaging lies about us. It was no accident that by the late 1990s Chris became homeless, living in “tarp town” San Francisco, a modern skid row. Finally, it’s possible that Nirvana’s temporary band name was a direct nod to the Squid Row tavern, because clearly the Vogue was important with regards to an agenda around Chris, and like I said, 1987-88 were bookended by Chris playing with Sub Pop’s Bundy Creature first at Vogue, and then at Squid Row.

Bars seem to be important with regards to the structure of this surveillance-linked exploitation, probably because they are gathering places, and exchanges of money, goods, or backroom deals can be made without drawing undue attention. And squid are sea creatures known for having large eyes, excellent vision.

Sometime between June 27 and August 9, 1987, according to livenirvana.com, Cobain played a house party in Raymond, Washington called the Green House. Other sources, like Charles’ Cross’ Heavier Than Heaven, say their first show was at a Raymond, Washington house party. on March 7, 1987. So there’s some conflict about what was going on in these early days, but I’m putting all of this here because Cobain killed himself in a greenhouse, because the Seattle police, when they released suicide photos in 2014 filtered all the photos to have a green tinge.

Photos of Cobain suicide scene released by Seattle police are tinged green.

Raymond is a small town, a half hour drive from Aberdeen. According to the Charles Cross biography, the March 7, 1987 show was set up by somene named Ryan Aigner. Cross’ claim that this was Nirvana’s first show conflicts with the information posted on livenirvana.com which has him playing as early as December 1985 as “fecal matter” with Dale Crover on bass and Greg Hokanson on drums. None of this online stuff is sourced, so I don’t know where the information comes from but maybe over time I’ll figure it out. If I were a writer being paid to write a book about Nirvana, I’d definitely want to chase down these leads. I’m guessing this has been addressed somewhere in a more recent book.

I want to also draw attention to this name “Bliss” which shows up briefly as an August 1987 proto-Nirvana band name and say that, like Heck being a name from my family tree, Bliss a name from Chris’ family tree, on his mother’s side. They were descended from the brother of a famous hymn writer named P.P. Bliss who had died along with his wife in a train crash (Ashtabula River railroad disaster).

Squid Row Info Sources:

The Beginning of Snow Bud and The Flower People 1985-86

by Chris Newman

When I used to work part time at the sign shop, I would take an hour lunch at my buds house, Greg Slyter. Slyter was a real character. He reminded me of Dennis Hopper or Ed Norton the goofy neighbor on the Honeymooners. Slyter was a jazz nut, and a Hendrix buff. He played guitar and he always had the best pot in town. He wasn’t a dealer, but he would help out close friends. We got to be close. He didn’t hang with the chicks, ever. He camped, jet skied, and did moto cross racing, until he busted his jaw.

We had the Jam for Lunch Bunch, and others would join us too. We even became room mates for a while, but Kim couldn’t be trusted. The first week she was fucking my drummer Tim Pederson.

One Christmas vacation, I believe it was 1985, I decided to record a tape to amuse Slyter when he returned from his ski trip. I had a record called Drum Drops, it had studio recorded drum parts with fills running the average length of a typical song. They had Hard Rock, British Rock, Blues, Punk Rock. It had a lot of beats with fills and endings.

What I did was write down some silly song titles.


I then played bass along with the desired drum drop beat, and hit the record button. What ever came out was the basic track for the song. Then I had three more tracks open for guitars and vocals.

When I finished that night, after about six or seven hours straight, I listened. I got scared. What I heard happened so effortlessly and naturally, I felt like it was guided by the hand of the Devil himself. Of course i was stoned out of my gourd, and exhausted from working straight through the night without a break. Nothing fries the brain like recording, overdubbing, and mixing.

This of course was me still dealing with the remains of my religeous upbringing, which someone like me can take a lifetime to re-adjust to a normal mode of thinking. Even now at almost 60, I sometimes feel traces of guilt over my silly outdated childhood beliefs.

Needless to say, my tribute to Marijuana, and the music I grew up smoking it to, turned out to be a big hit with a lot of local kids.

Matt Loomis nabbed a cassette of the original recording. I called it SNOW BUD AND THE FLOWER PEOPLE, referencing a note I had left on Slyters door a few weeks before this recording. I had been wanting to obtain one quarter ounce of the new frosty white pot he had acquired called Snow Bud. My note was cryptic, so as to throw off any law enforcement officer happening to stroll by and read the note’s contents.

I need the new quarter inch tape of Snow Bud and the Flower People

That was where I came up with the goofy name. Matt told me all his friends and their friends want a cassette of Snow Bud and the Flower People. It was music styled from the mid 60’s early psychedelia we both grew up on. A naive time. The world belonged to the youth, and we were going to change some things. Slyter and Roth joined me in Gregs living room. We set up the oversized blue vista lite Ludwig drums, on loan from Tim, my sisters husband. Me and my Teac A-2340 4 Track and Roth’s keyboard, Twin Reverb amp, Fender Stratocaster, and my 1980 Gibson custom white Flying V. The Mig Muff Fuzztone, and Cry Baby Wah-wah pedal, and a MXR stereo Flanger, Boss echo pedal. That’s all I needed.

Jeff Roth was originally the drummer, and he could play the best fake jazz ever. He can play some cool Latin type beats too. I would play the caveman pounding drum parts,like on Bonghit and Killer Bud. I called myself TUMBA on drums. I was also FUZZ ROCKMAN on guitar and SNOW BUD on vocals and Ukelele.

When Roth heard the bizzare noisy sped up vocals and backwards masking on BAD TRIP he really freaked out. He was scared, and said “This is wrong, we can’t do this!” It was worse than my initial reaction.

Snow Bud cassette side A

That first cassette became an underground regional hit.

My friend Hippy Brad bought over one hundred cassettes from me and distributed them and sold some to kids on Haight Street in San Fransisco. He travelled there a lot. He owned the Pied Cow, a cool coffee shop on Belmont Avenue in Portland. He said kids were wearing jackets with Snow Bud and the Flower People on their backs. It was so great. I had complete control of this product. I would put together cassettes outside of 2nd Ave. records, and sell the owner twenty cassettes at $60.00, and they would double their money and sell for $6.00.

We hit Seattles Vogue nightclub. Mark Arm of Green River was there. He was digging the wah-wah and Big Muff fuzz pedals. He seemed to like the goofy retro buttons I had made and the beaded peace sign. Arm talked about Green River splitting up. He claimed some of the guys wanted to go the MTV route and the big bucks.

Pearl Jam became that band.

I told Mark Arm I admired him for sticking with his initial desire to play music he loved first and secondly for the fans, and hopefully some money.

The first couple of Mudhoney records were exciting and edgey. They were channeling Iggy Pop from the Rolling Stones inluenced RAW POWER stage in the Ig’s carrer.

When Napalm Beach was touring Europe it was the same club circuit that Mudhoney, Tad, Hole and Nirvana worked. I saw some cute graffiti left behind on the dressing room in a Hamburg venue. Courtney Love had left a message for Jerry A of Poison Idea, reminiscing about their practice space parties with 40 ouncers of Old English 800. I was a little hurt she never mentioned me on the walls. I did see the message from Mudhoney on the dressing room table in Stuttgart I believe. It said “HELLO NAPALM BEACH – Greetings from MUDHONEY!” with a drawing of a dripping syringe carved below.

Sub Pop was a new label. They started out as a fanzine and developed while Bruce Pavitt, Mark Arm, and Poneman worked at Muzac. Some other future label mates worked their too. That night at the Vogue in the Spring of 1986, Pavitt approached me in the backstage area. He was excited about the show and the cassette. He expressed interest in Snow Bud. I loved the Snow Bud music, but dreaded the thought of forever playing the cartoonish character the rest of my days. The music was inspired by the Cramps, Jimi Hendrix, the Stooges, Velvet Undergriund, and Gun Club. This was the music I was engrossed in and studying at that time.

As usual, I didn’t follow through. I wasn’t paying attention. I heard promising talk all the time. I didn’t realize these Seattle dudes were actually onto something. I could have grown with the SUB POP label, or possibly been buried by the label. They went on to become huge in the music industry, changing the whole playing field, and some of the the rules.

Music is competetive. They have the sleazy underhanded stuff going on. People ripping off ideas, and squelching and dousing the flame of their rivals.

Mother Love Bone was the first spin off of Green River. Andrew Wood was a little gypsy Steven Tyler type rock star in the making. I met him at the Satyricon the one night they headlined. He was friendly and respectful to me. He made me feel important, and that always endears a person to another. I was waiting outside the stall in the Satyricon Men’s room. Wood was on the single toilet, obscured by a crude curtain since the door had long been broken off. I was waiting to fix myself. I realized as I saw him stick the needle in his arm through the shabby curtain’s gaps.

Andrew Wood went on stage before a packed house and you could see him pointing to the bleachers at the top back row of the Kingdome in his mind. He was going to be the old school rockstar reborn.

It was sad when he overdosed a few months later, right on the verge of stardom. Eddie Vedder took his place as the Pearl Jam frontman. He is the “Every Man” frontman ala Bono.

I felt that these Seattle bands were getting every kind of break a band could wish for as far as exposure and good press. The trouble was 90% of it was mediocre bullshit.
There are potential Kurt Cobains and Elliot Smiths out there even now, but they will go unnoticed with the distractions and slight of hand drawing any attention away from the true and the beautiful. The bottom line is party bands and hate fuckers get on your nerves after a few listens, but a well crafted beautifully delivered song will tame the savage beast and make the little girls cry everytime.

Snow Bud Sub Pop single 1993
1993 Snow Bud Sub Pop single

Snow Bud did eventually get a Sub Pop release with the Single of the Month club series.

It was Killer Bud, (4 track version) and side two was “Third Shelf” from Green Thing, 24 track and Drew Canulette produced. It included a twelve panel cartoon, “Snow Bud in Hell” 1,000 in print. It was an honor and a delight to be on the label at the time. I recieved a few copies, and got paid a few hundred dollars, which I generously split with Jan Celt.

Vanishing Point (in reverse)

7 Jan 2014 blog comment "you're insane"
January 7, 2014 Introducing Napalm Beach blog comment

“Stop taking so many drugs and seek therapy to relieve yourself from your poison idea that, somehow, your boyfriend is the subject of some bizarre conspiracy.

No one buried Chris (Newman), except Chris himself. He is a loser and so are you.”
Mudhoney - Vanishing Point - 2013
2 April 2013- Mudhoney – Vanishing Point – released (image on front is Roman Forum?)
Vanishing Point (movie) title screen showing Shell gas station
March 13, 1971 Vanishing Point (the movie)
Vanishing Point (movie) screen reading "Barry Newman"
starring Barry Newman