Tag: Untouchables

Tom Peterson, ALOST, and the Goners

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.

This is what Chris wrote:

ALOST were from Longview and they were the band of which Nelson was once a member. They played mostly modern cover tunes and light metal originals. Their originals were weak and out of step with the times. I had spent the last two years as guest guitar shredder at all ALOST’s outdoor keg party’s in Longviews surrounding hills. I heard some cute chicks say, Oh yeah, he’s the guitar player that’s better than Tom Peterson (ALOST). The Goners made them sweat. We always built a fire under their asses. We were a tough act to follow for sure. Soon other bands halfway ruling the roost, had to step down when Newman and company came around. We were now known as The Untouchables, thanks to ALOST and the poster from our first Portland show.

Matches: Untouchables 1980 and Nirvana 1993

This is one of the many posters advertising for a show Chris would play that was secretly making Chris the butt of the joke (and of course later, when it was Boo Frog, we were both the butt of the joke. You can decide for yourself whether the Nirvana poster deliberately evokes it. Bound, endangered women were kind of a staple of 1980s punk rock posters. In this case she looks like a 1940s movie star… kind of like Francis Farmer.

What’s in a name? (part 1) Goners/Untouchables/Napalm Beach

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.

Chainsaw Music

1982 Portland AM NW “punk scene” segment (excerpt)

What you see throughout the full video are people struggling to capture what their scene and sound is about in a TV soundbite, as well as complaining their music is being ignored by the local music press.

Chris used a lot of fuzz tones. Someone says “chainsaw music” – when Chris is asked “what is chainsaw music?” Chris says “I don’t know, you have to ask these guys.”

Untouchables / Napalm Beach shows in Seattle 1980-83

This is a distillation of some of the information recently published on a blog called Three Bands, Three Bucks: Seattle Clubs That Rocked 1980-95

Although it seems to be an ongoing project and not an exhaustive list, one thing I noticed is a drop off in frequency of Napalm Beach being booked in Seattle after 1989. Eric Danielson has also indicated that Napalm Beach, at least to him, seemed to “disappear” after their first European tour in November 1989. Although I’ve been critical of Danielson’s fact checking, this was a personal experience observation.

I now suspect that the disappearing was by design.

Information on the website also confirms what Chris had told me back in 2010 when he talked about his history playing in the northwest – that most small and mid-sized rock clubs seemed to close down in 1982. This happened in Seattle and Portland simultaneously. That is when Chris moved briefly to the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where he met Valarie, whom he would later marry. It is also where he was introduced to heroin. For various reasons I suspect all of that too, was by design.

When the Satyricon got running in 1983, 84 – Chris moved back to Portland. For many years Napalm Beach would headline at Satyricon at least twice a month, once with Snow Bud and once with Napalm Beach. Napalm Beach and Snow Bud also played many other clubs in Portland and Seattle, and occasionally elsewhere.

Untouchables started playing around Portland and Seattle in 1980. They changed their name to Napalm Beach in August 1981. Untouchables/Napalm Beach shows in Seattle before 1983 included

The Wrex (1980-82)


March 21 – Untouchables
May 8-9 – Untouchables, X-15, Tiny HolesJuly 15 – Untouchables
July 17 – Untouchables, Crisis, Spectators
July 18 – Untouchables, Spectators
August 5-6 – Untouchables
August 9 – Untouchables, Executives
October 8-10 – Napalm Beach, Grey Matter
October 31 – Napalm Beach, Visible Targets, Sleeping Movement
November 14 – X, Napalm Beach
December 11 – Napalm Beach
December 12 – Napalm Beach, Visible Targets


February 5 – The Untouchables
February 19 – The Fleshtones, Napalm Beach

The Wrex closed in March 1982, re-opening in January 1983 as The Vogue. The last published show was on February 20 and it was The Fleshtones with Blackouts.

The Showbox


May 30 – Rescue The Rock Of The ’80s Spring Collection w/Untouchables, RPA, Nouveau Cliche
August 30 – Save The Gorilla Room Benefit w/The Enemy, Napalm Beach, Student Nurse, Spectators, Rapid-I, the Executives, DT’s, the Deans, Scizzors, Shatterbox, Fastbacks, the Rats, Joe Despair & the Future

Gorilla Room calendar July 1981
Gorilla Room calendar July 1981


May 9 – KCMU Benefit – Visible Targets, Three Swimmers, Napalm Beach
September 26 – KCMU Benefit – The Cowboys, 54/40, Life In General, Napalm Beach, The Frazz, Pamona Boners
November 12 – Public Image Ltd., Napalm Beach

Gorilla Room (1980-81)


December 12-13 – The Untouchables, Casey Nova


February 27 – Red Dress, Untouchables
February 28 – The Enemy, Untouchables
April 28 – Cowboys, Untouchables
April 29 – Untouchables
April 30 – Untouchables, Skinny Ties
May 26 – The Cowboys, Untouchables
July 16 – Executives, Untouchables (this entry is missing from the website)
July 18 – Untouchables

With regards to the end of the Gorilla Room, the website states “On July 23rd, 1981, the PI noted that the Washington State Liquor Board ordered a month-long closure of the Gorilla Room due to numerous minor violations.” The club was given a number of sanctions and never re-opened.

August 1981 is when Untouchables changed their name to Napalm Beach. My 2013 version of story (relayed from Chris) was: “Napalm Beach closed down the Gorilla Room. The place was packed and everything and everyone was sloshing under a layer of beer. They partied until they passed out onstage. That was the end of the Gorilla Room.”

It sounds like the violations had to do with minors drinking on the premises. My notes state that “Underage patrons found onsite included Duff McKagan and Chuck Biscuits.”

Baby O’s (1980-82)


August 7-8 – Untouchables
September 2-5 – Untouchables


May 14-15 – No Cheese Please, Napalm Beach
June 18-19 – Hi-Fi, Napalm Beach

Golden Crown (1979-83)


June 12 – Visible Targets, Napalm Beach
July 16 – Beat Pagodas, Napalm Beach
July 30-31 – 54/40, Napalm Beach
August 20-21 – Toiling Midgets, Napalm Beach
September 17-18 – Napalm Beach, Life In General, Rally Go
November 26 – Napalm Beach, Student Nurse, LeMax
December 17 – Napalm Beach, Next Exit

The site states “On February 19th, 1983, Golden Crown co-owner John Loui was killed along with 12 others in the infamous Wah Mee Massacre. Loui had sold his interest in the club before his death, but it is unclear if his partners, The Woos, were still part of the ownership at this time.

To be continued.

Untouchables at Long Goodbye – May 18, 1980

I have now found a part of Chris’ draft memoir that claims that The Untouchables did play on the night of the Mt St Helens eruption, at the Long Goodbye. It was possibly their first show in Portland, but it’s hard to tell as Chris was writing stream of consciousness and he would veer off on tangents. So it is possible that May 18, 1980 was the date of The Goners/Untouchables first show with Longview band, ALOST. However, Chris was pretty clear that the show where he met Greg Sage was the following June with Fred and Toody’s The Rats and Tom Roberts’ Imperialist Pigs. (Chris would never call Roberts by the “Pigg” nickname which he found insulting.)