MoMA will Honor Dead Moon’s Fred Cole with the release of Dead Moon: The Book at PS1 in Queens, NY. PKM talks to the book’s editor and Mississippi Records founder Eric Isaacson about the book release and exhibit

MoMA PS1, in Queens, N.Y., will honor the late Fred Cole with the release of Dead Moon: The Book on Saturday, March 24th. Dead Moon’s blend of garage, psych, punk, and even country music has inspired the likes of The White Stripes, The Cavemen (NZ), and Pearl Jam, to name a few. Equally known for their DIY ethos and commitment to nurturing the Portland punk scene, the band released Dead Moon’s LPs and those of other Portland bands on their own label, Tombstone Records. Fred Cole even pressed the LPs himself, on the original 1954 mono lathe disc-cutter used to cut the original Kingsmen’s “Louie, Louie” single in 1963.

Toody Cole by Jenny Connors
Toody Cole by Jenny Connors

Dead Moon’s Toody Cole will be there to sign copies of the much anticipated, 380-page cloth- and leather-bound definitive band history as well as give a live interview to music writer and musician Jenn Pelly (The Raincoats 33 1/3). I dropped by Portland’s Mississippi Records to ask Dead Moon book editor and Mississippi Records founder, Eric Isaacson, a little more about the book release and what folks can expect to see at the festival’s Dead Moon exhibit. Isaacson has worked with Fred and Toody since 2014, and has released several Dead Moon LP reissues and that of their earlier band, The Rats.


PKM: Can you tell me a little about the book release event for Dead Moon: The Book?

Eric Isaacson: It’s at the PS1 MoMA and part of (Come Together Music Festival). Other Music was this very infamous store in New York City that was sort of like very taste-make-y, kind of a hyper-curated store and they went out of business but they still exist and they’re this sort of floating entity in New York so Josh (Madell), who used to own that store, put this festival together and just called and invited us to participate in the festival. So, we’re sort of a sub-sect of the festival and we’ll be in the bookstore downstairs and Toody will be there with her daughter, Amanda, and her granddaughter, Morgan, and she’ll be signing books and selling stuff. I’ll be there selling Mississippi stuff. The two other authors of the book will be there, Erin Yanke and Simone Mueller.

Photo by Michelle Miller

The Come Together Music Festival will also feature a Dead Moon exhibit where fans will get to see the original Dead Moon album art and other iconic pieces of Dead Moon history on display, as well.

Eric Isaacson: We have all the original Dead Moon art, so like all the original collages that Fred made and also the first Rats record, the actual art will be framed and on the walls. There will be the original drumheads for The Rats and Dead Moon on the wall.

DEAD MOON – (1989) Unknown Passage


The Rats S/T– Teenagers

Brent Tipton

Published on Jan 9, 2011

Another cool thing that’ll be on the wall is evolution of the original Dead Moon logo drawing so you can actually see it go from the original sketch. Like Kelly Manahan who made the original sketch, brought the sketch to Fred who was like “My God, that’s terrible, that looks like a fucking clown!” Fred sent Kelly back to the drawing board. Kelly re-drew it and you can see every time it went back to the drawing, I dunno, I think it’s like 14 of the Dead Moon symbols coming into being and then you get the final one of the first one that was ever drawn. So, it’s fun stuff for super fans to check out.

Photo by Michelle Miller

Fred’s guitar will be on the wall, which has a very heavy aura about it. I was actually over there a couple weeks ago and Toody opened the case, I hadn’t seen it since Fred passed away, and a wave of energy hit me and it really felt like his vibe was so heavy on that guitar since that’s the only guitar he played. He taught himself to play guitar in 1977 so when he was 32 or something like that and that guitar has been his guitar through all his bands so it’s the guitar that he’s played in everything.

Photo by Amanda Sheppard

The Dead Moon book release at MoMA PS 1 is also one of several book release events lined up for this year.

Eric Isaacson: Yes, it’s true, at least three (book release events) are planned. I know we’re doing one at Mother Foucault’s here in Portland. We haven’t set the date on that one, yet. And there’s one in L.A. It’s in mid-May and that will be with a screening of the Dead Moon film, (Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story) and there will a concert with bands doing like a Dead Moon tribute covers thing. So that’s happening in Mid May as a book release. Toody is supposed to go down for that, too, and sign books. There’s at least three events but we haven’t figured out much more than that yet.

Trailer- Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story

Magicumbrella    Published on Aug 20, 2006

Eric Isaacson: Details are emerging. We wanted to do the Mother Foucault’s one because we wanted to do something in Portland. We actually asked Powell’s if they’d do it, but they were like “Nah, we’ll pass.”

PKM: Lame!

Eric Isaacson: I was like “Whoa, really? Okay.” (Laughs)


Eric Isaacson: At the moment, we’re open to doing it anywhere.


Dead Moon: The Book Release Event is this Saturday, March 24th 12PM to 6PM at MoMA PS1 as part of the 2nd Annual Come Together: Music Festival and Label Market. Tickets are $10 (MoMA Members $8) and festival tickets available online through Eventbrite.


22-25 Jackson Avenue

Queens, NY 11101

http://www.pleasekillme.comMORE FROM PKM: