Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Greetings, people, and welcome to the Garden Weasel Diaries. On a whim, I started this blog in order to chronicle my mis-adventures with my early 90's hardcore band, GARDEN WEASEL.
The almighty GW grew out of the Arcata/Eureka, California punk scene and lasted about 18 months, from November, 1990 to May, 1992. Anyone who was involved in this scene during the early 90's will tell you that Humboldt County had a vibrant and fun punk rock community and featured several kick-ass bands. One Man Running, Grimace, Mr Bungle, Dieselhed, the Hi Fives (Dukes of Burl/Brent's TV), Nuisance and many other punk and metal bands all sprang from the North Coast area of California and somehow turned a scummy, seaside port and mill town into a thriving arena for underground music bearing it's own regional stamp.
This may not be the definitive story on that music community, or even on Garden Weasel, but it's my contribution back to the scene that supported my earliest bands. I hope you enjoy...


-Ed Cole 2003

Okay folks, without further ado -


Perhaps my favorite band that I was ever involved with, there are as many sides to the story of GW as there are people that viewed the band. Here is my attempt to relay a complex and amazing story that also happened to be one of the most fun experiences in my life and the lives of three other guys.
In the year 1990, I was going through some young-adult adjustments (as per usual). I had just turned 20 and was working two jobs - one as a dishwasher and I also was working weekends as a DJ at a classic rock radio station in Arcata, California. On top of this, I was heavily involved in the local college radio station, KHSU. KHSU was an awesome station, with a vinyl lp collection that numbered in the tens of thousands. On it's shelves, you could find original copies of everything from Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" to first edition Velvet Underground, Ramones, Sex Pistols, GG Allin, every SST release from Nervous Breakdown through present, Zappa, all kinds of collections etc etc etc... Amazing that it didn't get completely ripped off (all the albums were marked with permanent marker "KHSU", for one thing, discouraging would-be collectors)
Alongside myself, several other young DJs were part of the "Punk Rock" clique at KHSU. Many amazing and cool people worked there - Erin Yanke, Gage Freeman, Doug Rogers, Lisa Ayers and Steve Bohner were among this group. (Honorable mention goes out to Debbie Davenport; I got my first chance at an on-air slot after she was fired for playing an 'obscene' song on the radio. Also, she was a huge influence on all the other DJs, whether they were aware of this or not). I was by far the least hip or "In" in this crowd, due to various reasons - chiefly among them, I wore my hair long and had absolutely no sense of fashion whatsoever. That was soon to all change.
In November of 1990, a couple things happened that would lead to a change-about in my lack of coolness: I shaved all my hippy hair off and I jammed for the first time with members of the semi-defunct hardcore band WD40.
WD40 was a lovable band of skate punks from Arcata/Eureka. Steve Bohner was the drummer and I knew him best of all, since we worked together at KHSU. Erio was one of two lead singers; I had met him skating up on the HSU campus when I was 18. He was a mad skater with a fluid style and a casually fearless dimeanor. I don't think I ever saw him bail. We'd bombed a few hills and staircases together and had a mutual respect for each other. Justin Hrabe, the other singer, scared the hell out of me the first time I saw him, up at KHSU when he was hanging out with Steve - he had some amazing tattoos on his arms and back and a shaved head and the most intense eyes I think I have ever seen. Lastly was Brian Faulkinbury, and here was the most confusing aspect of WD40: Brian was a regular Eureka Hesher who liked Slayer and Metallica - he had long hair and was extremely hyper due to a certain chemical that will go unmentioned for the time being. Also, everyone called him, "Boner", for reasons that I also won't mention here. Boner did not fit the punk rock mold like the others. Despite my recent experience as a long hair reject, I had a hard time accepting Boner at face value at first; this would change in the future.
Jim Shank, the former WD40 guitarist, had dropped out of the Punk scene due to a problem with various "white" drugs. I always thought this was a shame, because he was not only a good guitarist but a fine skater as well. Also, he was a quiet, introspective guy who was always really nice. BUT...he was out of the picture now. (editors note - 5 years later, 2/08/09 - Jim Shank wrote to let me know he actually left the band after a broken collar bone injury, not due to any drug use - sorry for smearing your rep, Jim! I was only reporting what I heard at the time. )

Enter Ed.

Steve Bohner and I had jammed a few times before 1990. His drumming was loud, fast and rough - good for punk, but at the time I was embracing horrible funk/rock like Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers - keep in mind, I was very young at the time. Our first time jamming was fun, but without a bassist or singer, it just felt off kilter. But, I digress...
In October, 1990, I ran into Erio and Steve while out skating in Arcata, outside the liquor store. We discussed jamming again and the time felt right, so we made the date to do it.
November third, 1990, we got together in the shed behind my house - Steve, Erio, Justin, Boner and me - and did our best to make some music. Despite it being the first time being in the same room with on another, we came up with three songs right on the spot from the pile of lyrics that Justin and Erio brought to the session - Out of the Car, Acting Up and One on One were the first tunes. Amazingly, we actually all liked these songs also, and the chemistry was great. We played the next day, which was slightly more difficult, since Boner was rather jumpy and kept plugging in and unplugging his bass from his amp, trying out a different amp and then back again to his amp...
A month later, we had our first recording session at a studio on HSU campus. By this time, Erio was MIA and Justin was now our sole lead singer. We recorded our first three songs as best we could, as well as an early version of what would later become our best song, "Questions of the Self"
Two weeks later, after a few more rehearsals and new tunes, we played our first show at a house party near Trinidad. This was an extremely scummy house that belonged to these old-school punk losers from the Yowling Zygotes, a bunch of drug-addled 80's refugees who were now alcoholics to the extreme. I think this was the first time I ever saw a porno mag featuring women and animals. Disgusting people, really. I drove out to this party in my old 69 Volvo with Brian Speenis and (I think) Utrillo or Luta Belcher. I remember vividly listening to the Minutemen, "Double Nickels on the Dime" on the drive out.
At our first show, we played every song we knew at top speed - maybe our set lasted 15 or 20 minutes. I remember Gage Freeman, Doug and Lisa, Erin Yanke and Luta Belcher being there. I don't think I was ever so amped up as I was this night. Also, this was one of the first times I'd ever smoked pot, so I was very intense and paranoid. Playing faster seemed the only answer. It worked, and people were into us like they had never been into any band I'd been involved with before. It was so fucking fun.
Grimace also played that night, but more importantly, the amazing ONE MAN RUNNING also played. There was no mic stand for Chuck to use while singing and playing bass, so we all took turns holding his microphone. They were amazing!! Chuck had a voice that was simultaneously gruff, whiny and melodic-a truly great singer. Morgan, the drummer, also sang and I think he actually wrote most of their material, which was really, REALLY good melodic punk. Mosh, the guitarist, looked like a surly redneck/punk and I think he chewed tobacco while he played. He was my least favorite in the beginning, but I grew to like him. These guys would be our closest bros over the next two years and would also be one of the biggest musical tragedies (well, not really) in Humboldt County punk history. But that's a whole different story.

Okay, people, that's chapter one. Stay tuned for more high drama, drug addiction, romance and punk rock slumming in the next installment.

The history of the Almighty Garden Weasel (as told by Ed)

Chapter 2:

I've gone back and referenced it - the first party Garden Weasel played was on December 15th, 1990 in Westhaven, California.

After that first show, we are stoked. We still don't have our name at this point and, being that it's close to the holidays we go our seperate directions for a few weeks.
In the meantime, I meet my future wife, Spirit, on a Greyhound bus travelling back from visiting my family in Philomath after Christmas. Boy, is that a WHOLE different story...

After December, the band that will be known as Garden Weasel resumes practicing with a vengence. We somehow secure a practice space at one of the most bizarre locations in the world: a row of chicken coops in the town of Manila. Now, Manila is not your ordinary town. Located on a sandy penninsula, not far from the disgustingly fragrant pulp mill on Humboldt bay, Manila was basically a sea-side trailer park with a few ramshackle houses thrown in for good measure. The chicken coops were located on a farm that was populated with a cast of characters that even John Waters couldn't have thought up. First off, directly over the farm house were the 10,000 volt power lines that carried power out to the gigantic pulp mills further up the road. We reasoned to ourselves that this was why all the adult children that lived there seemed a little...different. We're talking giant munchkin-land, here, people. The mother was a dead-ringer for the Egg Lady from Pink Flamingos. She never left her big chair in the living room and was surrounded by her large, egg-shaped adult children who seemed to be very slow in the head. Our favorite was Nick, who looked very much like the ogre from the HBO series 'Fraggle Rock'. Nick was always very curious about the bands playing in the chicken coops and would come and hang out with whoever was around.
The coops themselves were not so bad. There was one main row of coops that had four practice pads sectioned off. They were carpeted and reasonably sound-proofed and had electricity. For $60 per month, they were a great deal. So what if the surroundings were creepy? Garden Weasel, Hock-a-Loogie and a jam band played in the first row. Grimace had their own building that was big enough to accomodate their much larger sound. Other bands seemed to be coming and going. Remarkably, none of our shit ever got ripped off, despite having only the flimsiest of locks on the door.
Out in Manila, under a single light bulb, in the chicken coop, Garden Weasel would practice as much as four days a week - I don't think I have ever practiced as much in any band since. Case upon case of cheap beer was consumed. We wrote all the songs together. No one of us could claim any more credit than the others for the creative process of the band. It was a total team effort.
I should mention at this point that Garden Weasel had an interesting way of putting songs together. Rather than being a band that reflected the views and/or songwriting style of just one or two guys, Garden Weasel solicited lyrics from several people at any given time, and as long as we liked the words, we'd just as soon sing a song written by a crusty bum on the street as one written by a member of the band. By far, though, the majority of the best songs were written by a guy named Matt, or Match. Match was a friend of the band who was a smiling, young, surly-looking, hard-drinking punk with a slightly quieter demeanor than the rest of us. Strange that his songs really did represent what most of us were feeling about the world at the time.
Aside from Match, lyrics were written by every member of the band as well as friends like Cathy Meuter and John "Quitty" Quittner. These songs ranged from hateful venting about the dangers of ignorant drivers who endangered skateboarders (Out of the Car) to romantic, albeit yelled, odes to unrequited love (C.A.H.). Musically, we pulled heavily from the roots of hardcore like many other bands before us. Our agreed-upon favorites might have been Black Flag and Minor Threat, but really, we had a style unlike ANY of the other hardcore bands happening in our area at the time. I credit this not to the quirky time changes and odd, complicated chord progressions in our music, but to the fact that, somehow our songs sounded like - well, they sounded like songs instead of "Hardcore". All our tunes were well-structured and had very hooky choruses or interesting musical parts. Justin was absolutely not a melodic singer - he sounded very much like an angry blender. BUT, he had great rhythm and you could usually understand what he was singing about.

Phew! This is going to be tougher than I thought. I didn't think there was this much to say about Garden Weasel. I'll have to let you know, the best is yet to come, so you can't bail out on me just yet. It'll be worth the wading through all the unnecessary adjectives and run-on sentences. I promise, you will not be dissapointed.

...and here's where things start to get good.


Chapter 3: The naming of the band -or- "How I fought my way out of a sea of Heshers and lived to tell"

Now, it's January, 1991. Still un-named, we play a daytime party early in the month at Steve Bohner's house. I remember Brian Speenis's band playing here, but I can't remember what they are called or who else is in the band. We play to about 25 of our friends. Henry Thompson, a good hearted Eureka Hesher, videotapes this show - I wonder what ever became of the tape?
A week or two later, we're invited to play at a house party in South Eureka at somebody's parent's house. It's a swank place and the bands are playing on an outside deck. As far as I can recall, this billing also had Grimace, the Hesher/Punk band that included Chuck from One Man Running on lead vocals and the free-wheeling wheelchair guitar shredder Martin on guitar. I think that Dukes of Burl and Shark Fetish might have played that day also.
I'm busy this day, running from KHSU to my dishwasher job and playing the gig in between. Right before we go on, we're discussing band names. Boner is set on 'Date Rape'. This idea is quickly put to rest. I vote for keeping the name WD40, from the other members' old band. Steve and Justin like 'Garden Weasel'. I'm dissapproving, but luckily, Steve and Justin don't give a shit.
"Hey, we're Garden Weasel, and this song is called Acting Up!", speaks Justin into the mic with his hoarse voice.
1-2-3-4 !
We tear it up on the deck. People are watching from all sides. It feels like a beach party gone punk. During our set, after I pull out the only guitar solo in our entire song catalog (extended solos were just not punk!), Quitty yells out, "Ed Nugent!" The name sticks for the duration of the band, more or less. (at least when Quitty was around)
Once again, we feel triumphant in our little world. But things would get better - and worse.
We retreat to our practice pad for another month. Doug Rogers and Gage Freeman arrange for Garden Weasel and Dukes of Burl to play back-to-back, live on the air, at KHSU on February 11th, 1991. Looking forward to the broadcast, we get to work on some new material. In the weeks prior to our radio debut, we come up with some gems - 'Sunday Christians', a tune about the hypocricy of some religious people was, we felt, quite a statement. 'Green and Yellow' was a tune about the ongoing fight in Humboldt county between the all-consuming, greedy timber industry and the holier-than-thou enviro-protesters facing off and getting nowhere. 'You're not Me' was a departure from our more-or-less punk song structures and revolved around a great throbbing bass riff. We were having fun coming up with this stuff and we were dead serious about it.
The night of our radio performance, we are stoked. KHSU had a relatively large actual studio inside it's structure - a carpeted room where talk shows and interviews were taped + a great control room with a nice board and some Otari 1/2 track tape decks. The on air booth was on the opposite side of the 'performance' room, and you could route all the appropriate signals to the dj and put a good mix of a live band directly on the air. As I recall, Steve, Cathy Meuter and I set up the mics and co-engineered the Dukes of Burl's set. The DOB featured John Denerry and 'Chris' of the future Lookout! band the Hi Fives, as well as Green Day's original drummer, Al Sobrante, aka 'John'. Also, Quitty, of future Tight Bros From Way Back When fame, was their bass player. They are completely hilarious, playing love songs about one-eyed girls and generally having a hell of a lot of fun.
After the Dukes play their set, we set up our gear. Steve breaks his snare head right away, before we are live, and borrows Al's amazing sounding 'Black Beauty' snare drum. Without ado, the tape recording and live on the air...
"Hi - we're Garden Weasel, and this tune is called 'Acting Up', speaks Justin into the mic with his raspy voice.

We just fucking slay. It's our best performance yet, and we remember all the changes and everything. As our last tune, we start into 'Low Rider' by War. Justin sings/grunts, "Low-ri-der with a Garden WeaseL" It is hilarious. Doug Rogers from Shark Fetish rushes into the studio, overcome by some nervous compulsion, and sings a verse, then Quitty is in there and now everyone is inside, shouting along. What a blast!! It even came out sounding okay.

Many other folks were in attendence that night - Spirit, Erin Yanke, Lisa Ayers, Gage Freeman - the studio was packed with young upstarts. I feel fortunate now that we had a chance to comandeer KHSU in this fashion with little or no over sight whatsoever. If the station manager or program director had stumbled in and found us up there with all our friends, drinking beer out of paper bags and making a mockery of a public radio station that was broadcast to up to 60,000 people...they must have been at a wine tasting or something. We regularly got away with sex, drugs and near murder on the air. SSHHHH!!! Don't tell 'em , okay?

Next time: Tragedy strikes! Band rivalries arise! Shit gets broken! and Boner gets really, really, really fucked up.
(Brian Spinas and Erio Brown)


Chapter 4: What the hell is going on?

February through April of 1991 were lean times regarding Garden Weasel performances. I can remember seeing great shows in Humboldt and Eugene around this time - NoMeansNo, Victim's Family, the very popular Nuisance (Humboldt co. Nuisance, that is) as well as a few shows featuring One Man Running and Grimace (now pronounced "grih-mah-che'"). I recall playing one show in early April at the Jambalaya club in Arcata. This was one of our first gigs with Hock-a-Loogie (featuring Tyce from the legendary 80's Arcata band Eggly Bagleface).
In May, we get our first show at an 'Official' venue that was also all-ages - the McKinleyville Grange Hall. McKinleyville is an amazing city, often described as a "Little Oklahoma by the sea" by fans, detractors and married siblings alike. Our show at the Grange was on a billing put together by BleeK Imaj, a local hessian band featuring a vocalist that sang in a hi falsetto while wearing a giant sombrero. Also on the bill was Grimace (of course) I don't know how many times we played with our wicked, weed - smoking, metal-punk counterparts, but most shows somehow had us paired together.
This show, I wish I had recorded. We played so well, it was unbelievable that we were so locked in. Steve normally would set up his drumset sideways, on the front of the stage. This night, due to the small stage, he set up in the back. For some reason, this seemed to really focus our sound. "C.A.H." sounded great that night.
We are REALLY well received this night, both by the hessians and the punks. We get paid $100, which seemed like a lot of dough to us. I remember riding back to Arcata in Steve's truck with he and Justin...we were just going off about how stoked we were on the band. Garden Weasel was starting to hit their stride.
We have one more show in May of 1991. On the 14th, we play a big KHSU-sanctioned event at the International Beer Gardens in Arcata. Somehow, the right strings get pulled to make this an all-ages show, which we are all happy about. This show was also going to be the last show for the Dukes of Burl as well as a going-away party of sorts for John 'Quitty' Quittner, as he had graduated from HSU and was moving to the infinitely hipper town of Olympia to find his fortune. Also on the bill were Shark Fetish and One Man Running.
I believe One Man played first that night. They were awesome. I still cherish the off-the-board tape I have of this performance. Morgan's drum intro into "Search" was amazing - very much a fluid, punk-rock kind of Keith Moon thing. Just thinking about the opening "Whoah-oh-oh-oh-oh's" of that song still gives me chills up and down my spine.
GW take the stage next, and we're really excited. Boner gets really, really fucked up before we play and I'm partly scared to go on, but there's nothing we can do about it.
We rip through our set - it's loose, but holding together. The sound guy gives all of us microphones, which turns out to be a mistake this night. We have never incorporated backing vocals into our music before, since we only owned one microphone between us and had never practiced singing together before. People still love us and this is maybe our best and biggest crowd yet.
After I break a string, Boner gets on his mic and starts telling some really dirty jokes. I'm cringing. He's also exchanging some harsh words with someone in the front. We all are expecting the worst. Boner is really, really, REALLY fucked up.
I change my string as fast as I'm able to and start the riff to "War Within". This snaps Boner out of whatever discussion he was having with the hesher in the crowd and we are back on track.

But not for long.

Next time: What the hell happened to Ed?

...back to our story:


Chapter 5: Summer of love

Oh geez, that sounds really punk. Maybe it should read: Ed Cole: MIA

Now, it's May 1991. HSU is out, which means students are gone and the only audiences left are the true Humboldt County punks - these were really a cross section of the young , "Eureka Punks" punks and the slightly - over - 21 Arcata student punks that lived in Humboldt year-round. Also, there were always heshers that just wanted to see some aggressive music, whether it was hessian or not.
At this point, I'm getting pretty involved with my future ex-wife, Spirit. After she takes off to Washington for the summer to stay at her parents, I keep my Arcata room and follow her up. Off and on, I spend the whole summer on I -5 between Arcata, Portland and Sequim, Washington. I work several odd jobs throughout June and July - I buck hay on a farm in Sequim, paint doors and windows in Portland and recycle a whole lot of cans for gas money. Garden Weasel gets put on hold for awhile.
In the midst of my "Summer of Slum", I see a several amazing shows in Portland: (I know this barely relates to Garden Weasel, but bear with me here) the Jesus Lizard at Satyricon, the final tour of the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr (blech!) with NIRVANA opening. I'm going to digress just a little and touch on these shows that changed my life and also influenced, in some small way, the music that was about to be created in GW.
At the time, the Jesus Lizard were my favorite band in the world. Duane Dennison was my total guitar inspiration - noboby else was playing stuff like that. It sounded like Stravinsky had picked up a brittle-sounding electric guitar, dropped acid with the band CHROME and came out with the most wicked, dissonant guitar rock from outer space. Never mind that the bassist and drummer were unbelievably solid and talented and their frontman was a freak's freak if there ever was one. I have to borrow a fake id for this show; the doorman laughs at me, since the picture doesn't look anything like me at all; then, he lets me in. This show is great and hits me hard.
The next week, I see two fantastic shows back to back. First up is Dinosaur Jr (bleccchh!!!!). I spend my last $14 on the ticket to this because I really want to see Nirvana. This is before Nevermind came out, but they are still huge in the NW. HOLY SHIT! I'd seen Nirvana before, when they'd opened for Sonic Youth; at that time, the had Dale Crover from the Melvins on drums. This time, they had the not-yet-so-famous Dave Grohl and fuckin' A - they killed. I didn't even want to like them and I walked away loving Nirvana that night.
The next night, I am totally broke. I want so bad to go see the Replacements at the Fox theatre on 6th in P-town. I walk all the way there from my sister's apartment and just wait around outside the show. I have exactly two cigarettes left. Also outside, a young, normal-looking guy is hanging around, looking for some friends. He comes up and asks me if he can bum a smoke. Against my poverty-stricken better judgement, I give him my last cigarette. He then goes on to tell me about how he won three tickets to see the Replacements and his friends were supposed to show up but instead, they blew him off. He asks if I want the extra tickets. YEAH! I'm in for the price of one smoke.
The Replacements I have always loved; even though they were as far from Punk as Tom Petty at that point, I wanted, NEEDED to get in and see them. They play all my favorite old and new 'Mats tunes and I walk home about a foot above the ground that night.
After much more driving in the Green Pickle van, it's july and I'm back in Arcata for a regrouping of GW and another show with One Man Running, Capitalist Casualties and the Dread at the Grange Hall. This happens on my 21st birthday, August 2nd, 1991. This ends up being one of our more violent shows, due to the fact that some really drunk redneck heshers are throwing punches around in the mosh pit. I still have the tape recording of Chuck from One Man yelling, "Take it outside! Take it outside! Gentlemen, step outside..." Later, there is another scuffle inside the show and I think Doug Rogers gets involved. Things seem tense when we go onstage, but once again, the Grange Hall's little stage is a magic setting and we kick out a fine set. I remember Cathy Meuter and Brian Speenis taking turns snapping photos at this show; also, many of our favorite Eureka Punks were there - Utrillo and Luta Belcher, Chris Gambin (r.i.p.), Dave Atlas and many others. We all end up pilling in the Green Pickle van and driving back to Arcata. Ironic that on my 21st birthday, everyone was smashed except me - I purposefully don't drink a single beer or smoke any weed.

Then, I was back on the road to Sequim, following my heart.

Next time: The students are back; more shows, booze and drugs + Ed gets violent and the G-boys back him up!

(September, 1991 show at the plaza, Arcata)

Back to ...

GARDEN WEASEL ...and the Dodge they drove up in

Chapter 6: Stoner fetus, Dodge trucks and broken bongs

At the end of Summer of 1991, the local punk scene in Arcata exploded with the return of HSU students. On August 31st, Garden Weasel played one of our rare, over-21 shows at the Jambalaya club on the Arcata plaza. Also on the bill were the ever-popular One Man Running as well as Grimace and the scuzz-spewing drunk-punks Hock-a-Loogie. This show was like a homecoming of sorts for us - the bar was packed with friends and fans and we really fed off of the primal energy of the room that night. I remember Steve drumming like an animal at this gig and getting rave reviews from some college jocks that had never seen us before.
This gig also saw the debut of one of our definitive songs, "Stoner Fetus". With the words written by Quitty and a strange amalgamation of styles (a Jesus Lizard-style intro into a crunchy mid-tempo riff into a full-throated chorus), "Stoner Fetus" marked the beginning of a real evolution in the band's songwriting style. Other songs coming together in this stretch of time were, "In One Ear", "Understand", "What has gone Before", "Soap Scum", "I want to Conform"...the list goes on. Lyrics were plentiful; between Justin, Boner, Steve, Match, Erio and Quitty, we had a backlog of good words to put music to. Somehow, we managed to never write the same style of song twice - every one of our songs was a distinct departure from the last, and yet all were equally Garden Weasel. In less than a year's time, we had written over 30 songs! And there were many more to come.
On Sunday, September 8th, 1991, Garden Weasel plays a show at an all-ages pool hall on the Arcata plaza. This show is an opening slot for a band called the Fixtures , from LA. This gig is attended by several friends and fans, including one of our biggest supporters, Chris Gambin. On the video tape of our performance, you can see Chris singing along with just about every song; Justin hands him the mic at one point and Chris sings some of "Boasting". A few years later, Chris would turn up murdered in a car in Oakland at the tender age of 20 (or 21)...sad.
Saturday, Sept 21st was a house party at Cathy Meuter's house. We played on an outside deck. I think I almost died when we were riding in the back of Steve's Dodge pickup and he stepped on it and roared up the hilly street that Meuter lived on. Luckily, I held on.
September 24th was the first time (I think) that Angelo's pizza parlor started hosting all-ages punk gigs. We didn't play this night - it was only One Man Running. This show stands out as being a bitter-sweet turning point in One Man's career- it was apparent how strung out Chuck was. He was coming down hard and looked like shit, as if he'd been up for days; he probably had. Still, their music was as sweet as ever and his trademark rough-voiced whine came through better than ever. All the Eureka punks were sitting in a semi-circle on the floor; it felt like an intimate affair, and everyone there was digging the music. I skated home feeling blissed-out that night.
October 5th, 1991 was a block party off of Sunset on the north side of town. GW, One Man and the newly-formed Students from Marin, a band that included Gage Freeman on vocals, Dave Atlas on guitar, Sherri Frost on drums and Chuck on bass. This is a fun party. We all share equipment at this gig. I should take this opportunity to mention that One Man Running and Garden Weasel always shared equipment, cheifly because the only equipment that One Man owned was a shared bass; they didn't own a guitar or a drumstick between the three of them! And they played somewhere every just shows, you don't need to be a spoiled brat rich kid to make some music. In fact, you are more likely to make good music if you DON'T have good equipment. Hell, we never had anything nice, equipment-wise, but we were always happy to share with our friends.

Alright, this chapter suddenly got long. You'll have to wait until next time to find out about the most violent GW gig ever.
The REAL dope on the fistfight

Garden Weasel : Chapter 7

October 10th, Garden Weasel played our first show at Angelo's pizza parlor. Hock-a-Loogie share the bill with us. This is the first time I get to use a bona-fide Marshall amp-borrowed from the Hock-a-Loogie guitarist- and I love it. Our set is well received and we bust out some new tunes.

On October 24th, 1991 , GW are on a bill once again with One Man Running, Students from Marin and Hock-a-Loogie at the Jambalaya club. This night has the feeling of impending doom. The bartender is grouchy about the local punk bands invading her club and keeps warning the bands to "turn it down or else."

Another problem with this night is that Spirit's ex-boyfriend, Greg, has shown up and he is totally trashed and spazzing out, hugging and kissing everybody in sight and totally making a scene. This guy has been stalking Spirit since they broke up, nearly a year earlier, and is obviously having a hard time moving on. I try to keep Greg as far away from Spirit as is possible before I go onstage. Right before GW play, Greg is nowhere to be seen, and I figure he must have left. Not the case, I would soon find out.

This is flat out the worst gig that Garden Weasel ever play. Everything is off-kilter - Boner's cord keeps shorting out; I break 3 strings and have no replacements; the bartender is screaming at us to turn down, and things are just going shitty. We cut our set short and try to get our gear off of the stage, when Spirit comes up to me. She's very upset and freaked out - apparently, as soon as GW went on, Greg came back into the club and slapped and kicked her in a desperate rage. Several friends intervened and he was kicked out of the bar and was now nowhere to be found. I am in a trance-like rage like I have never been in before.
I ran outside the club, looking for the spineless bastard who hit my future ex-wife; I can't find him. My friend, skinhead Craig, sees me looking around and says, "Ed - is that the guy you're looking for?", and points across the street from the club.
Instantly, as if in a dream, I focus in on Greg and, feeling very out-of-body, I rush the guy. I must have covered 30 yards in what seemed like a fraction of a second. I tackle Greg with all my force, onto the concrete and we start scuffling. I get in some good blows; he is chicken-kicking me the whole time, but I can't feel a thing. Finally, Doug Rogers and John Denerry pull me off of Greg and some of his friends hold him back as well. I'm trying to get at the bastard, but they hold me tight until I calm down.
Afterward, I go and find Spirit, who is still really upset. Cathy Meuter is there with her, calming her down. Justin, Steve and Dave Atlas, in the meantime, are running out the door to get their licks in. Cathy snags Justin as he is following the other two guys and makes him promise not to get in a fight. Despite the situation, Justin agrees and flies out the door of the bar.
According to all accounts, Steve tracked down Greg, held him back and said, "You don't EVER hit a girl!" and punched him hard in the nose. Steve is not the kind of guy you would want to punch you in the nose-he was a solid and stocky guy, ripped with muscles from doing construction. All I can say is - ouch!
Dave Atlas gets in some licks on the guy also, but they stop short of being inhumane. At this point, reports get hazy, but somehow the cops come to follow up on a complaint that the bartender made about Greg making a scene. While they are trying to arrest him, he kicks out a shop window in a store. The end result is : he spends a night in jail and wakes up very sore the next day.
It must be said that Justin kept his word and did his best to diffuse the situation. God forbid he get into the fray - I know Justin was capable of kicking some major ass if he wanted to; he was also capable of more restraint than your average guy.

So ended the most violent episode in Garden Weasel's career. There would still be fights to come, but somehow none as bad as that one. I almost feel bad for Greg, just don't ever hit a girl.

Post - log: I don't condone violence, people! This is just shit that happened a long time ago and is part of GW history.

Next time: a late-night recording session documents history; Angelo's pulls the plug on shows and GW hits the home stretch of their short-lived career.

Back to the saga of...

GARDEN WEASEL : desperate working class punks on (not quite enough) dope!

Chapter 8: Happy Thanksgiving from the Landing Seafood Restaurant

Throughtout October and November, GW play several shows at Angelo's pizza parlor with the usual other local bands - One Man, Grimace, Hock-a-Loogie. Halloween stands out as a fun show - I remember people screaming 'whoooooooo!' when I take off my sock hat to reveal my shaved head. Now, 3 out of 4 Weasels are sporting buzzed domes; Boner still has his long hesher hair, but we respect his decision to not conform to our little buzzed-dome club.
It's becoming apparent at this point that Angelo's has outgrown it's potential as a venue for local punk bands. There are no regular pizza buying patrons in attendance on show nights; underage kids are sneaking beers from pitchers bought by older folks; people are sitting on the salad bar and video game machines - it is a zoo! We should have guessed that this venue would not last, but the kids are hungry for live music and will go see it just about anywhere. Still, this venue would plug on for awhile longer.
On the night of November 11th/12th , Garden Weasel sneak up to KHSU and record our first official demo tape in the wee hours of the night. After some set-up, Cathy Meuter runs the board and tape decks and engineers about 17 songs. I end up going back and doubling most of my guitar tracks while we dub the tape onto another reel, since the first tape's guitar is not very loud. This is a rather primitive way to multi-track, but it works out fine. Aside from the guitar overdub, it's totally live and sounds good to us. By 3 or 4 in the morning, we have our master tape; this, we edit and send of to the duplicators a few days later.
On November 22, we play at a new show venue - the Landing Seafood restaraunt and lounge in Eureka. This ends up being a really cool place to play, although I think GW only get to grace it's stage once. Finally breaking away from the One Man Running (they've broken up temporarily)/Grimace/Hock-a-Loogie billing, this show we play with Students From Marin and Doug Rogers' new band, LANK . LANK we like a lot - Doug Rogers, Doug Grimes on bass, Greg ____ on drums and a guitarist who's name escapes me now. Very self-destructo punk with raging guitar feedback.
This show is one of the few where I get nearly plastered before getting onstage. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you I NEED to loosen up - I'm uptight onstage; still am, UNLESS you get enough beer in me - then watch out! I felt on fire and have a great time bouncing around like an idiot. I don't recall if we sounded good or not, but everyone there had fun watching us rock out. Spirit and Erin are having fun pushing around girlie-girls (both those women could get quite surly when drunk) and yelling out new lyrics to our songs.
The next morning, Justin flies down to LA for a few weeks and GW take a much-needed break.

next time: GW regroup and take some further stylistic leaps + record at a "real" studio with mixed results. Band rivalries start to heat up, and the death of a dear, dear cat.

Garden Weasel

Chapter 9 : the beginning of the end of all things

November, 1991 comes and goes. After Justin returns from L.A., our tape is ready for distribution. We have the cover designed and copied and assemble them with a bunch of our friends at Steve's house. We are stoked on the way-cool (we thought) cover design - a stoned weasel carrying some harvested pot plants + lyrics to the songs inside. We are drinking and admiring our collective handi-work when someone notices a problem - the tapes have absolutely no contact information inside of them! No phone numbers, no address - nothing! Undaunted, we decide that it's cool that our tapes are so non-commercial that we couldn't be contacted by a label, even if a label WANTED to contact us!
On December 9th, 1991, Spirit, Cathy Meuter and Erin sell at least half our tapes at an all-ages show on HSU campus, in the Kate Buchanan room. The strange thing about this wasn't even our show. The headlining band that night was God and Texas, along with Sister Placebo, Lank and the now reformed One Man Running.
In the meantime, Spirit and I have relocated to Eureka and are living in a really bad neighborhood. Our neighbors are a strung-out meth/pot dealer and a cocaine-snorting, "can I borrow some baking soda while I leave my kid at your house?" kind-of gal who we suspect is whoring on the side - very sad and disturbing. Some of our stuff starts getting ripped off and the mood is ominous.
Worst of all, Spirit's cat , Ramona, who has been a constant punk rock companion for us, dies of kitty leukemia. We are feeling alienated in a very sketchy town.
We are dirt poor during the Christmas season. My dishwashing job at the Golden Harvest cafe' hardly pays the bills and leaves next-to-nothing to spare. Much of this time, we survive by writing rubber checks at the local Ware Mart, stocking up on food and beer and then crossing our fingers that we would be able to get some money in the bank to cover what we had spent.
During this cold and ominous winter, after playing music together for a year, Boner and I finally start to hit it off as friends. It helps that we now live in the same stinking hell-hole of a town. Brian starts to appreciate some of the music I like and in turn he shows me the joy of Mickey's big-mouths and shoplifting at the gas-n-mart while totally plowed. I must have had some kinda luck, because I never got caught any of those crazy times.
New Year's Eve of 1991/1992, Spirit and I spend the evening with Doug Rogers and Lisa Ayers (at the time they were engaged) and Erin Yanke and Luke Puke, playing a game called "Naked Lady Concentration Camp", which was played with two identical decks of old naked-lady playing cards. We figure the year coming up would have to be better than the one we were leaving behind. Time has shown all those years to be an incredible adventure.
On February 1st, 1992, the scene at Angelo's finally ends up imploding under it's own excesses. Up until now, all the shows here have been free. On this night, the owner has the bright idea of charging a $3 cover and making some additional dough for himself. Supposedly, the bands are going to get paid also. On this bill are Sister Placebo, our "rival" band (barely!), One Man Running, Garden Weasel and Nuisance, who have made the drive up from Santa Rosa to play in their old (more-or-less)hometown .
Now, this show was truly fucked up. Way too many people are let into the pizza parlor - the capacity was 150 and there had to be close to 300 people there that night. Things were just getting out of control and there was tension in the air.
Sister Placebo started playing and right away, a bunch of aggressive punks start up a formidable mosh pit inside of the pizza parlor. Up until now, punk kids were coming to Angelo's to see their favorite bands and have a good time. Now, as is almost always the case, some meat heads were ruining it for everyone by making the show into an aggressive scene.
It seems like the whole place is shaking-people are starting to get pushed and pushing back. Something had to give.
Suddenly, the manager/owner that set up the show turns off the power and the room falls dark. Everyone is screaming and the tension is at a fever pitch.
When the lights come back on, the owner is yelling at everyone to get out. No mention is made about a refund. People are exiting, but we're all the way in the back and can't get out easily. Doug starts yelling something about the owner being a greedy and pathetic crook for charging admission and then cancelling the show without a refund. Steve starts getting in Doug's face, yelling back at him that at least someone tried to set up a show in the first place. Things start to escalate and before we knew it, Steve and Doug are duking it out. We're all trying to pull them apart - man! They are really hitting each other hard! Steve is like a powerhouse and he is just pummeling Doug. Doug, on the other hand, is long and lanky and able to reach Steve even as he was being pulled away, all the while yelling his ass off about how fucked the show was.
Eventually, we get the hell out of there and are glad the ordeal is over. The end result is that the manager pays Nuisance at least part of the door money, so at least they get to recoup gas money for driving up to Arcata. But, that was definitely the end of punk rock shows at Angelo's.
" Everybody goes to Angelo's...for pizza with pizazz!"

Next time on "Garden Weasel - the sounds that shook a generation"

GW FINALLY get into the studio and find out the true meaning of "excess"

PLUS ... Ed gets the surprise of his life!

The ongoing saga of...


Chapter 10: Let's make a record!

A few days after the Angelo's pizza incident, GW are back at our chicken coop. Actually, by this time we have moved to the most luxurious coop in our row - the end unit. Now, we are able to stand upright while we play; a real treat. We've been talking to Todd Congelliere at Recess Records about making a 7", so now we're rehearsing and figuring out which songs to put on it.
On February 4th, 1992, we borrow a 4-track recorder from our hesher friend, Gabe Douge, and record about five songs and then have Justin overdub the vocals. Up until this point, we've only recorded "live", with everyone playing and singing at once. We figure that we want to get some practice in recording the "studio" way so that we won't waste time when we finally go into a real studio. These tunes come out okay and this is the only time we record two little-played songs - "GW theme song" and "Illegal Prescription."
On Febraury 22, 1992, Garden Weasel go into the local Arcata studio - Vinyl Taco to record our 7". I'll go on record and say that this was mainly on my insistance and it was also the wrong way for us to record ourselves.
For one thing, the engineer was of the old school of 70's rock recording and was not a fan of hardcore punk. We get the feeling that he is rushing the session and not really helping us achieve a good recording. Another wrong move on our part was that we tried to record too many songs. Instead of sticking to the 6 songs we know are going to be released, we end up recording 11 songs - we bit off more than we could chew. Our playing ends up being sloppier than usual. Having brought an entourage of our friends doesn't help things either - distractions abound, people are drinking and getting stoned - it just doesn't go well.
We end up having to come back a few weeks later to redo some parts and remix. This time, the engineer is different and screws up all the mixes by starting the DAT tape too late on every mix - all the beginnings are cut off! We don't even discover this until the end of a very long night.
The end result is: we fix a few parts (and also add some background vocals by Chuck Anderson from One Man Running) and mix at one final session in March and get our 6 songs worked out. What should have taken an afternoon takes 3 sessions and more money than we planned on. The mixes are just okay and don't really sound like us. Still, we send them off to Todd and hope for the best.

During this period of time, unbeknownst to my bandmates, I am dealing with some serious life changes. Spirit is now pregnant and we're dealing with some intense decisions that inevitably are thrust upon us. The end result is...we are going to have a baby! And, we are also going to plan our move to Eugene, where Spirit is already accepted at the University of Oregon.
When this news finally comes out, my band is totally behind me. We now know our time as a band is limited and we plan our final two months of gigs.
After our 7" comes out in April (thanks, Todd!), we play a handful of shows around Eureka. Things are winding down and we all know it; in a way, this makes our final two months together a more-focused stretch of time. There is still some time left for a little bit of glory in our close-knit scene.

Next time: This is the end of Garden Weasel!?

Friday, November 14, 2003

GARDEN WEASEL : The unexpurgated history

Chapter 11 : Countdown to the end

After our recording session woes of March, 1992, we keep the band in gear and keep taking the shows that people offer us. Garden Weasel were very fortunate in that there was almost always someone else setting up a show where we would be invited to play. I don't recall that we ever had to hustle too many shows on our own.
Our gigs this month included the Jambalaya club and one of our biggest shows, opening up for NOFX and Lagwagon at the Eureka Armory.

Throughout the month of April, 1992, the Humboldt county punk scene is going strong. There are many new bands coming on the scene now, many of them really good. Some of the ones I can remember from this period are My Name is Chris (Chris Colin on guitar and vocals; Utrillo Belcher on drums; sorry -can't remember the bassist), the Jolly Ho-Ho's (notorious trouble-makers from TRINIDAD??) ...actually, that's about all I remember. One Man and Grimace are still going strong, as are Sister Placebo. Lank has petered out by now - I think Jeff Grimes moved away and so did their drummer, Greg.
At this point, there was a short-lived all-ages club in Eureka called the Powerstation, where both dance music and live bands could happen. On April 4th, 1992, Garden Weasel played our first show here at a well-attended showcase that featured our arch-rivals Sister Placebo as well as SFM, My Name is Chris and the omnipresent Grimace. I recall being somewhat pissed at (My name is)Chris Colin for abusing my guitar with a microphone stand after I loaned it to him and was changing the string he had just broken on his own guitar. (Never mind that I regularly threw my own guitar around like a rag-doll and strangled all kinds of awful sound out of it-my guitar was still my baby and my one possesion in the world that I valued at the time.)
Another cool show we caught here was Citizen Fish with Antiseen + My Name is Chris. The punk kids seemed to be getting younger and younger; they packed the joint for M.N.I.C. and Citizen Fish; by the time Antiseen came on, all the schoolkids literally disappeared and only a few of us get to witness the amazing,self-abusing biker punks from North Carolina do their thing. Of course, these were a few of the many shows that my future son Cosmo would attend while in utero. I can't help but reason that the music he heard and felt before birth is part of the reason he has been adept at all kinds of music throughout his life.
Early in May, we scored another choice opening slot - this time one of our collective favorites, Jawbreaker, along with One Man. This might have been the last time we played with our favorite Arcata band. At this show, I think the One Man guys snuck off to get high or something and left their guitar and bass backstage. I took the liberty of tuning their instruments to a tuner without them knowing. I was shocked to find out how utterly low they had them tuned - of course, no one in the band owned a tuner, so they would just tune to whatever note the lowest string happened to be at.
When One Man Running went on, all their songs were pitched considerably higher and Chuck was straining to sing songs that now were higher than he was used to. I really don't think anyone noticed this, though, and they still kicked ass with one of their best sets ever, especially the song "Algebra" - "My mom said to me once/'you look just like your dad/when you don't get what you want'/Well, I can't help it /after all, I'm his only son/then she threw me out on my ear/and my baby doll, she left me in the very same week/but they were both really nice about it..."
Later, during Jawbreaker-who also played great- I was jumping around in the mosh pit and got a serious elbow in the eye. It hurt like hell, but I kind of enjoyed showing up at my restaraunt job with a huge shiner and healing cut on my face.

By the middle of May, we have our two final shows set up - May 30th at the Garberville community center and May 31st at the Powerstation club in Eureka. On both nights, we play with Grimace and a band from out of town called Muzza Chunka. Both of these bands were to become the first wave of artists on the Bong Load record label - the label that would shoot into the spotlight in about 2 years after releasing a single called "Loser" by some guy named Beck.
Since Boner has lost his license due to a DUI, I make the drive down to Garberville with him in tow. We have a good time driving down together and talking about his new career as an exterminator.
The scene at the Garbeville community center is cool - it feels like we're playing in a courthouse; wooden floors, curtains, the whole bit. We actually set up and play on a strange set of steps in a small "hall"-type room; we're all on a different level and the setup is awkward, but there we were, ready to play. It was very cool to see the different rural punks - kids and adults - that came to this show. They are all very cool and appreciative that we're there.
Our set goes well with a few minor PA mishaps. We rock it hard, knowing that this is almost the last time we'll get to do so. Grimace and Muzza Chunka also crunch it up. It feels like we're in a classroom music video and at any moment, a film projector could go on, projecting a sex-ed film on the band.

May 31st, 1992. This is it - our final show. The turnout at the Powerstation club is fantastic. Even though we are the opening band this night, most of the people there come to see the Weasel. I sneak several beers in with my equipment and proceed to get a bit drunk before we play. I'm feeling very emotional and having a hard time dealing with this situation any other way.
As we go on, the crowd goes wild. We've never gotten a response like this before tonight. The kids are slamming and moshing their hearts out, but in that goofy, less-aggressive, fun way of moshing. Utrillo, Chris Gambin, Cathy Meuter, Luta, many other Eureka punks-all our friends are there in the small sea of faces in front of us. I do recall that the bouncer at this club was a little wanna-be Marine who was getting off a little too hard on throwing the stage divers off of the stage. I bump him off of our stage by "accident" while landing from a jump off of Steve's kick drum. He doesn't seem fazed bt this, but he moves out of our way a little bit after that.
This was probably our longest set of any we ever played - I think it was around 20 songs - but still only around an hour at most. That was it. The final show.
Afterward, we all - maybe 7 of us - were sitting in my old Volvo out in back of this place. Steve was talking about how they'd try and carry on, making music with another guitarist after Garden Weasel was over. Spirit chimed in, " But it won't be the same without Ed, Steve;It will never be the same." ...of course, that goes double for me in regards to my feelings about the excellent people in that band.

Although that was the final show, GW still had about five songs we hadn't ever had the chance to record. On June 15th, 1992 we got together one final time with our friend Gabe Douge to record this final set of music. Gabe has a small studio set up in one of the buildings adjacent to the chicken coops in Manila, so we meet out at the sacred grounds of the high-voltage egg-shaped mutant-people one last time to put these songs to rest.

As with most of our recording sessions, things don't go exactly as planned or sound the way they should, but we hammer through our tunes. "Smerb" is a play on the words "Some Herb" (stoners til the least until the end of the band). "Ant Hell" is a comparison of our society with an ant hill. "Air, Water,Food" was all you really needed to live. "Criminal" was a rumination about feeling guilty about life, even if you played it by the rules. And "Can't Find my Smokes" was just fucking hilarious - Steve often wrote the funniest songs in our catalog.
The songs came out alright, but were definitely rushed and sloppy. Still, we worked hard and tried to make the best of our final hurrah. This would be the last day that the four of us would be in a room together.

Garden Weasel had finally left the building, never to return.

Still to come: The epilogue of the early 90's Humboldt punk scene

Chapter 12: Epilogue

It's hard to really put all the pieces of the GW puzzle back together for a summation of "Where are they now?"; I only know part of the other member's histories in their post-Garden Weasel lives. Here's what I do know:
After 1992, Steve and Justin went on to form a band called Grout, with Jeff Langdon on guitar and Ty on bass. Justin got married in 1993 and eventually moved down toward San Diego. I think he has at least one kid. The last I heard, he was living in Kansas.
Steve Bohner and Jeff Langdon still play in the Hitch and live in McKinleyville.
Brian "Boner" Faulkinbury has been in the Navy for several years. I get the occasional email from him; I don't know if he's seen this blog yet, but it's only a matter of time until he does, I'm sure.
Me, I live in Eugene, Oregon and am co-raising my rock-and-roll kid with my former wife, Spirit; she's re-married, works at a local record label and rides horses.
From my point of view, the year and a half I spent in Garden Weasel was like a punk rock version of 'Stand By Me' - we didn't know we were on an amazing adventure until it was all over. I dunno, maybe I'm candy-coating the whole experience, but those were some fun times - the kind of thing that only happens once or twice in a lifetime. There was no grandiose scheme to become famous or even well-known; we just wanted to rock and create on our own terms. Mission accomplished.

Post-post epilogue: It was cool to have heard from Gage Freeman - living in L.A. and working for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who I dissed in chapter one - eep!) He tipped me off that Chuck Anderson from One Man Running is doing well and possibly driving a beer truck in Seattle. GW lyric-man Matt "Match" Batham teaches grade school in L.A. Cathy "Stray Cat" Meuter lives in the Bay Area and is working in the field of law. WD40 guitarist Jim Shank has been cleaned up for years and is now a proud punk rock daddy, according to Todd Congelliere. Todd's Recess Records is still putting out great music and is now based out of San Pedro, California.
I HOPE NO ONE FEELS OUTED OR OTHERWISE DISSED BY MY LITTLE STORY ON OUR OLD SCENE. I have fond memories of all of you and hope some more people from the old Humboldt punk scene get in touch with me. I might print this out, zine-style, if anyone is truly interested.


-Ed Cole

Monday, November 03, 2003


From newest to the oldest, working backwards.


This is Steve Perry's (Cherry Poppin' Daddies) brainchild. As far as I can deduce, it's a glammy-metally band that has elements in common with New York Dolls, AC/DC, David Bowie and Wayne's World (oh-and Queen also). This band finished an album over the summer of 2003 and I think Steve and Billy Barnett are almost done mixing it (as of 11/3/2003)

Line-up: Steve Perry-vocals; Jason Moss-guitar; Mark Rogers-guitar; Jivan Valpey-drums; Ed Cole-bass

Ed Cole and the College Girls of Tora Bora:

This is my current "main" band. When I set the release date for my first solo CD, Rainy Day Manifesto, I had no band to play the show with, so I brought together Billy Barnett on bass and Raenie Kane on drums - voila'! Billy thought up the name. Our first appearance was April 11th, 2002 at Sam Bond's Garage. If all goes as planned, we'll have an album released by Leisure King within the year.

ACTIVATOR: The super-group that almost could

This was originally Me on guitar and vocals backed up by John Laney on bass and Ryan Sumner on drums, starting in the year 2000. Dan Jones later joined and Ryan left and was replaced by Eric Jensen in September of 2001. We had a decent run for about a year and sunk a whole lot of time and money into a CD we recorded at Jackpot! studios in Portland. Unfortunately, the band dissolved before the CD could properly released. I liked Activator just because Dan and I had very different yet complimentary songwriting, singing and guitar-playing styles, and Eric and John were a super-energetic rhythm section that never sounded trite. Our last show was June 14th, 2003. I always wished that this band could have lasted through an entire album/tour cycle, but it wasn't meant to be.


This is the band I do that features my 10 year-old, Cosmo H Cole, on drums and my former wife, Spirit Brooks, on bass. We play a few times a year and have done maybe 10-12 shows since our inception in 2000. Our first show was October 30th, 2000, which was the very first show of the "Parents who Rock" series at Sam Bond's Garage. We cover the Ramones, Misfits, Cramps, Black Sabbath, the Who and have a handful of originals. Cosmo kicks ass on the drums - he's been playing since before his third birthday and has never stopped. I remember the first time we played in public, people's jaws were on the floor and I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face. I always have fun playing with Cos.


Perhaps the longest-lasting band I've ever been associated with. Nasayers was born of the demise of Trike, the first band that my ex-wife, Spirit, and I played together in. Our first show was December 31st, 1996 at the old John Henry's on 11th, with Birdie Jo and Ching Ching Swing and the Varicoasters. Our line-up at the time was: Spirit - bass, vocals; Ed - guitar, vocals; Dan McClure - guitar; Sarah Steen - drums. This line-up lasted about a month and recorded 3 songs at Rob Jones' old studio on 27th avenue. After that, Sarah left and Gordon Kenyon played drums with us. Dan then bailed and we carried on as a three-piece and then, Gordon exited and Raenie Kane became our full-time drummer in August of 1997. Our first show with this line up was opening for the Kelly Deal 6000 at John Henry's on August 26th, 1997. That was a fucking fun show. We were close friends all the way around and had many fine mis-adventures.
I would describe the Naysayers' sound as being very close to X, Oswald 5-0 and perhaps a jagged version of the Fall, with our wailing m/f vocals and heartfelt break-up songs as well as sonically piercing proto-punk metal love songs. Many home recordings were made - a 1997 tape + a 1999 cd that was aborted due to ??? At the end of our creative run (2000) we recorded 10 additional songs with David Hughes which were hastily completed, but then 1/2 the ADAT tapes became lost, so all we have are the drum and bass tracks from those sessions.
Naysayers have managed to reunite a few times per year since then, but aren't what I'd consider a functioning band anymore. I really loved our songs, though. And damn, we had some good times. Funny that the tunes were a document of the disintegration of...well, never mind. Some things are better left to the imagination.


...was, as mentioned above, the first band that my ex-wife, Spirit, and I performed in together. Lara Uskavitch was the drummer, and she had an amazing-sounding gold-sparkle Gretch drum kit. We played maybe 8 shows during 1996. We broke up horribly when Lara walked in on a John Henry's show where we were playing with a different drummer...(Sarah Steen - damn, she was really good.) It was a terrible drama and a big life lesson - always tell your drummer that she's out of the band when it's time to move on. I'm just glad that no one present had a gun - it was really bad, people. Take my word for it.
Trike sounded like a rudimentary version of X or the Cramps vs the Fall.

Billy Jack:

Well, I played in Billy Jack for 6 months, but I wasn't ever involved creatively with their music, aside from making up a few guitar parts. The "original" BJ was: Joe Brooks - drums; Dave Nagle - guitar; Wayne Shellabarger - bass; Bruno Bersani - vocals and Dan McClure - guitar. They recorded a classic Eugene punk album in 1995 called Wrestling the Bald-Headed champ. Wayne and Dave quit the band in September 1995 and both moved out of the area. I was recruited on guitar and Tim Murphy on bass. I liked BJ - Bruno was completely funny onstage - and we played some awesome shows opening for the Cherry Poppin Daddies in 95 and 96. Joe worked very hard, I remember, at booking shows and making the whole thing happen. It was very nice to be in a band with a motivated guy like that. Unfortunately, I was a bit stuck up about not having much creative input as far as the direction of the music in that band. I became flaky about making rehearsals and they eventually canned me with no hard feelings. Hmmm....writing this is an education as to why my "music career" has kind of lurched and careened like it has. Humility, people; Just work hard and shut up and you'll probably go far.


This was the first band where I was the lead singer. The line up was Mark Stern on bass and Bob Becker on drums and me on guitar and vocals. This band sounded pretty good - very much drawing on our mutual influences of Husker Du and the Wipers. Very sonically crunchy and the songs weren't bad either. Unfortunately, I was extremely insecure about singing my own songs and canned the band without much communication in the summer of 1995. We did regroup in early 1996 and record a 3 song demo at Pro Arts studio. It came out pretty good - maybe someday it will be released, if anyone cares to hear it. I sound very young and squeaky in the voice, but the music definitely stands up on it's own. Kind of like a heavier Activator.

(early) Henry's Child:

OK, forgive me on this one. I had just moved to town in the summer of 1992. Spirit gave birth to our son, Cosmo, in November of that year. By December, I was getting the itch to play some music again, so I answered a local ad for a guitarist. It turned out to be Rob and Pete, the bassist and drummer from the not-yet-formed Floater, as well as Andy Smith, future singer for Henry's Child. At this time, they sounded like Rush or Primus with the singer from Alice in Chains. Also at the time, I fucking hated Rush and Primus and Alice in Chains, but, I liked playing with Pete and Rob very much because they were awesome musicians. Most of the time, Andy wasn't around and we just jammed on stuff. I actually knew a whole lot of Rush songs from my former life as a teenage metal-head, and playing 'Red Barchetta' was a guilty pleasure I enjoyed with these guys. They even tried out some of my heavier compositions, which was very nice of them, considering that I WAS RATHER STUCK UP AT THE TIME and thought everyone should bow down to my asshole and do things MY way. (you can tell where this is headed...)
I actually recorded a 4-song demo with these guys at Roger's Recording Studio in Glenwood - which was a suprisingly good 16 track studio. My only regret was that I recorded the whole session using a Sans-Amp direct box instead of an actual amp - it would have sounded much more realistic had I done so, but live and learn.
These guys parted ways with me after I started flaking on practices. I jammed with Pete and Rob a handful of times the next summer; soon after, they found the guitarist that led to the creation of Floater (Dave Amodar, I think) and the rest is history. I suppose I could have gone further with this band, but, as usual, felt like I was on a much different creative trajectory and couldn't come to terms with the whole Primus/Pink Floyd thing. Still, I've seen Floater a few times and enjoyed them - they are good fucking musicians and deserve the success they've worked hard to create. I think attitude has a lot to do with it.