Tag: X

Equipment theft, Christian boarding school, the CIA and the Los Angeles recording industry

Just putting something together here – in 1967 or 68 Chris – the 9th grade “flower boy” – was essentially run out of Longview, Washington because he’d discovered that some kids had stolen another 14 year old’s Vox amp, and he told the kid who’s amp had been stolen so that he could recover his amp from the thieves – and this was seen as being a “snitch” and related in community-wide harassment behaviors that eventually drove Chris to leave town and go to a private Christian school in Canyonville, Oregon.

A question I have – where did Chris’ family get the money to send him to private school?

From my perspective, the community response is out of line; doesn’t make sense. Makes me think that Chris was being deliberately driven out of town and probably deliberately channeled to that school. Because this kind of thing has happened to me as well – and the way it works is someone dangles out an interesting opportunity in another location, and meanwhile, everyone around you makes sure that your life is a living hell, so that you think that your best choice is to take that new opportunity. That’s how I ended up in Minneapolis in 1985 and again in 1987, and in Las Vegas in 1989.

In my case, it seems I was driven to Minneapolis so that certain individuals could make contact with me, and in Chris’ case, I think the same thing was going on. One of the people that Chris seems to have been intentionally linked to was Ray Shelton, who showed up after Chris, transferring to Canyonville Bible Academy from Hollywood high school.

Years later, 1981-83, X formed a brief alliance (or apparent alliance) with Napalm Beach in the northwest, but that all fell apart after gear was stolen from Napalm Beach’s van in a situation I believe was a set up – a situation that involved teenage Sean Croughan (later of Crackerbash) in a rescuer role.

A typical pattern for these set ups is for someone involved in the set up to take on the role of rescuer. It seems like something similar may have happened to Jimi Hendrix in a 1969 kidnapping incident (hard to tell for sure as there are lot of lies around this and the victim is conveniently dead).

In Chris’ case, because there were twin incidents involving equipment theft and recovery, it’s easy to wonder if there was a common source – the Los Angeles recording industry working through the CIA – because it’s the CIA who is so good at pulling off these elaborate schemes and getting the victim to take all the blame.

Canyonville Bible Academy was, from my perspective, a shark tank. Although Chris enjoyed his time there, mostly, I know that he was (and other students were) surveilled in their private spaces and that the surveillance was distributed, and there is pretty solid reason to believe all the staff were complicit. Also, probably based on this surveillance, Chris was expelled right before graduation – denied his high school diploma – because they “found out” he’d had sex with his long time girlfriend. He was shamed and traumatized. My opinion is that schools who surveil their students this way or who allow their students to be surveilled in this way should be shut down and the teachers put on public trial.

Unfortunately – the entity behind this was the US federal government via the CIA. And since they’ve never been truly held accountable – they’ve never stopped doing this.

Meanwhile, people worldwide consume this surveillance, and corporate money flows in, funding the set ups.

X seems to have been an arm of this machine. And that, I believe, is why they enjoyed major label support.

Black Flag / X / Big Time

December 1979 Los Angeles punk poster
1979

All kinds of dreams again about reports to FBI saying I’d been places I’ve never been and done things I’ve never done, with the strong sense this is linked to Black Flag. That Black Flag are strongly tied to false reports made to the FBI in return for record deals and other favors linked to the recording industry.

This would fit a pattern I’ve already seen with punk rock in general, which is that it now looks to me like it was always a front for string-pullings of the recording industry, CIA, drug trafficking, etc. This doesn’t mean everyone involved in punk rock was involved in that that – but probably anyone who was anyone in their scene was linked into the back room deals. It sounds like a lot of these back room deals involved filing defamatory (untrue and harmful) reports with the FBI in return for favors.

As someone who was enamored with punk music in the early 1980s I guess that I’d observe – even back then I questioned this – how did X end up getting to where they got, signed to Warner Brothers? That was a pretty unique position for a band with the look and sound they had at that time. And I believe it’s fallacy to say that punk bands didn’t want some level of commerical success. I think most people who are seriously into their music and art want to be as successful as they can be, without making terrible compromises. But if you weren’t let in the door, you weren’t going to let that stop you – is how I saw the punk rock attitude.

Ramones were not shy about saying they wanted success. They even had a song called “We Want The Airwaves.” X wasn’t shy about it either. There was a 1986 movie called The Unheard Music in which, to my recollection, they admitted they were seeking commercial success. I myself only started to hear this stuff about deliberately eschewing commercial success as a matter of principle in the 1990s. I’m not sure when Chris first heard it; if it was a concept in the 1960s underground (another CIA op) – but it was pushed pretty solidly by Greg Sage and the Wipers in Portland and by K Records in Olympia.

Did X get a contract with Warner Brothers because they were such a stand out band, quality wise, or was there another reason?

Music equipment theft as catalyst 1967, 1982

Valarie, Sam Henry, X, Sean Croghan

Canyonville Bible Academy – 1967 – 1971

From Chris’ biography – My ninth grade year was a bizarre culture shock. I had gone from being adored as Pugsley in Mississippi, to the ridiculed and strange chubby flower child that wandered the halls of Olympic Junior High carrying flowers with my new found girlfriends Patty and Sharon. All the jocks and squares taunted me with “Hey Flower Boy,” and “Faggot.” There was the occasional shoving and threats when the girls weren’t around.

This all changed later that year when some of the bad kids heard I played in a band with Ed Banning, who was known for living at his Mom’s doing what he ever he pleased, being kicked out of Jr. High and he knew where to get pot. A couple of the more influential popular kids asked me to hook them up with some weed. I half heartedly agreed and then I panicked, not really wanting to ask Ed to help me out.

I ended up giving the kid a bag of oregeno and he seemed okay with it, since it was free of charge and he had no idea what the stuff looked like. Eventually I was in the position to get a joint now and then, but this also brought the riff-raff out. This one hoodlum kid showed up at my house and tried to sell me a Vox bass amplifier he had stolen from the school gymnasium along with a couple of the school’s microphones.

I knew the kid who the amp belonged to and I had jammed with him at my house. He had a band called Green Square, and they were really advanced players for fourteen year old kids.

I got my friend on the phone and told him who had his Vox bass amp and his dad was right on it. My school principal called me and my folks into the office to hear my part in it. This caused the entire school to look at me as a dirty rat fink! Not cool!

Everywhere I went that summer I was accosted by these assholes. What was I supposed to do? Let the jerks rip off my friend for his equipment? After getting hassled and ridiculed all the time, I decided, “Hey Mom? You know what? I might be interested in going to the private Christian high school that you and your sister’s and brother attended.” C.B.A. Canyonville Bible Academy. Nestled in a peacful Southern Oregon mountain valley, almost four hundred miles from Seattle, I could start a new life.

On my own, away from home at fifteen.

X – 1983

Something I realized now, going over this history with a fine toothed comb, that I’d somehow managed to miss before was that it appears that the notorious X and Napalm Beach show at Euphoria may have occurred on the same tour where I’d seen X perform at an all ages show at Mojos in Arcata. It was one of my first concerts, and the first show I can remember seeing in a club setting. I was 15 years old – Erika

Chris: I first met Valarie at Sam’s apartment in San Francisico in the Tenderloin district. Sam’s girl Kathrine had a fatal overdose in San Fransisco while Napalm Beach were gone to Portland recording Rock N Roll Hell with Greg Sage in the Summer of 1983. This all had happened just six weeks before we all met Valarie and her friend.

Valarie was an obvious speed freak. Sam met her and this punkrocker chick in the park down on the street below. He brought them up inside his apartment where I was smoking my killer bud. I was thirty then and they were only eighteen. They were up all night folding clothes, tweaking on what ever could keep their fired up brains busy.

The next day Valarie informed us the other chick was planning to rip off Sam for his guitar, practice amp, and anything else of value. She and a couple of dudes were going to break in by climbing the fire escape.

This foiled their plan, and Valarie stayed around to party with us. She was Sam’s girl for a couple of days. She mentioned she lived in San Jose with her Grandma Caldwell most of the time. It turned out to be a couple of miles away from my Dad’s store on the Alameda Expressway.

We all went to see X play at the Kabuki Club. It was weird to see the expression on Exene and Johns faces when me and Sam were standing there in front of the stage. Our little incident at the Euphoria club had only gone down a few months before. This was September 1983.

The Euphoria was a one thousand capacity venue. Napalm Beach had played the night before in Seattle, and we were pumped up for the show with X. We ended our rousing set with a tribute to Jim Morrison and the Doors, and a song much like “THE END”, called “LAST DAY”. It brought the house down, the audience was on its feet and cheering. Even John Doe and Exene were up front banging their heads. A standing ovation for a local opening act is almost unheard of. It was the kind of show a musician dreams about.

Afterwards John and Exene invited us up to their dressing room. Mark was the sensitive martyr, but he was my right hand man and and I should have grabbed him out of respect, especially when Sam and Gwartney came up on their own. Mark was in his low self esteem mode, acting as if he was nothing more than a glorified roady. He had Gwartney help him load the van with our gear. This was before X had even hit the stage.

X invited Napalm Beach to come and play some shows in LA. John Doe tried to beckon me to get to the Big City. LA or New York. He was right. You can’t get anywhere here. Things did change ten years later in the great northwest.

X went on to play a rowdy inspired set that night. By this time I was fucked up royale. It was time to load out and split but Mark had already done that. Then… I blew up like an Atomic Bomb! Someone had broken into our van and stole my Marshall amp head and a few of Sam’s drums. I was livid and caused a huge scene there in the alley behind the club. Gwartney joined in the rage. Shaking and pounding the dumpster and primal screams making X’s skin crawl, I’m sure of it!

John and Exene looked horrified as I gazed into their vehicle with a crazed look in my eyes, and started to tell Exene how I could go for her if she was available… They took off with haste, and I soon recieved an official letter from their management and booking agency in Los Angeles.

“Napalm Beach, we cannot work with such unprofessional behavior. Do not come to Los Angeles. I repeat!!!…”

A few days later, two young kids told me the name and address of the boys who stole my Marshall and the drums. I called the cops with the information. They said they couldn’t do anything about it. Those Montoya boys were trouble.

I got a posse of four huge dudes to go with me. We got up to the door, and a little fifteen year old red headed kid answered.

“Here’s your drums, and our friend has the Marshall head in Tillamook. We will meet you at the corner of 39th and Powell tomorrow at 3:00 PM.”

They were there with ten other boys. They quietly handed over the amplifier, and I sincerly thanked them. It was amazing. We howled with laughter driving away with the equipment.

Years later a local musician and man about town, Sean Crogan of Crackerbash, told me he was one of the skater kids who helped out by giving up the Montoya boys as the thieving culprits.