The legendary Portland, Oregon band Dead Moon’s Fred and Toody Cole and Andrew Loomis were hugely influential in Portland’s ‘90s punk scene. PKM talks to Fred and Toody’s son, Weeden Cole, and longtime friends Keith Bornzin and Greg Shadoan about their memories of Dead Moon and of the late Fred Cole and Andrew Loomis.
Dead Moon is more than a rock band. It’s a gothic rock ‘n’ roll Western come to life. Dead Moon, formed in Portland, Oregon in 1987, has influenced generations of rockers stateside and abroad with their mix of blues, punk, garage, and psychedelia, as well as darker elements of country music. Founding members Fred and Toody Cole were like the Mom and Pop of Portland’s punk scene, as well as its leading lights. Together with drummer Andrew Loomis playing the part of the scene’s older brother, their beloved music stores and indie label (Tombstone Records) paved the way for Portland’s burgeoning ‘90s punk scene. Andrew Loomis died in March 2016, at age 54, and Fred Cole died last November at age 69.
Longtime friends Keith Bornzin and Greg Shadoan as well as Fred and Toody’s son, Weeden Cole, kindly took the time to sit down with me and share their memories and some lesser-known Dead Moon history.
PKM: So what are some of your earliest memories of Fred and Toody?
Weeden Cole: Traveling a lot and we were all on the road like bouncing up and down I-5 Corridor all up until my older sister was of school age. We lived everywhere between L.A. and Portland. I’ve spent a lot of time in L.A., a lot of time in Portland and back-and-forth. It would be like three- or four-month stints here and there working on a record or a mini tour or whatever; we were always together and that’s the thing I remember the most.
… They took us to gigs from the time we were real young. We always got to see people with green hair, purple hair, piercings before piercings were cool, tattoos before I even knew what they were. I remember being in 1st grade and we had to spell these words with “ig” at the end, “pig”, “jig”, okay. So here I am, 6 years old and my next word was “gig”. She (teacher) goes “Gig’s not a word!” and I go “Yeah it is! My dad’s got a gig on Friday!”
Once my sister got to be school age that really gravitated us towards Portland. That’s when the whole music store happened with Freedom Guitar around 1972 and later became Captain Whizeagle’s, downtown. It was just magic to see them operate their businesses on a shoestring from the early days.
One of the things I remember the most about the music store was that my dad would greet people with, “Yeah, try anything out. Help yourself. Plug in this, play drums!” and people would look at him sideways, thinking, “I can touch the instruments?” that was a foreign concept to them. “I can bang on the drums? Wow! Nobody else in town lets you do that!” And that’s what made Captain Whizeagle’s so successful in the 70s and all through the 80s before they moved out to Clackamas and became Tombstone Music. It was the fact that they would just do all this stuff for these young up-and-coming musicians everybody is totally broke and he did more guitar repairs for free than I could shake a stick at.
…so many young musicians that are probably pretty much our age bought their first guitars there and got killer deals and great advice and just genuineness. And (they) just loved his down-to-earth fact that he just wore the same clothes all the time and he’d be eating a cheeseburger and be talking to somebody. Just the fact that he was so hands-on and wanted people to play their instruments there and be a part of it and it was a huge network.
The Rats “Kids are Kids” The Dan Halvorson Show 1983
PKM: When Dead Moon got started, how old were you and what were you and your siblings doing at that time?
Weeden Cole: That was the summer of 1987. I had just graduated high school. I was 18. They used to go to Sparks, a city two miles outside Reno, to visit this old hotel that was built in 1880. And they’d gamble there and their whole thing was penny Keno. Sometimes he’d play nickels…So, they’re coming back from their 1,100-mile trip and there’s this huge harvest moon hanging low in the sky. Big, blood orange red, just magnificent. They’d already come up with this idea for a band and they wanted to get Andrew (Loomis) because they loved the fact that he was in the Boy Wonders. (Fred) was always talking about “Hey, we’ve gotta get hold of Andrew!” and he was like thinking of a name and at first he goes “How ‘bout Red Moon?” and she goes “Ugh” and then he goes “What about Blood Moon?” and she goes “Nah, that’s corny, that’s lame!” And they’re driving and driving and then she goes “It just looks so dead!” And then she goes “That’s it! Dead Moon!” And he goes “Cool, we’ve got our name.”
So this one guy at their music store, Tombstone, when it was still in Clackamas, really prolific artist, Kelly Manahan. So he (Fred) tells Kelly, “Okay, I have this idea for a logo. It’s gonna be like a moon and a skull and duh da duh duh duh… just do what you can with that.” So, Kelly’s working on it for a couple weeks and he’s got like 8, 9, 10, 11 sketches. And he’s showing Fred all the nice ones first and Fred’s going “Uh, I dunno, what else you got? Keep going.” Well, he gets to the end of them and he’s like “Is that everything?” and Kelly’s like “Well, I’ve got this one more but I don’t think you’re gonna like it.” It came out really rough and (Fred) says “Go ahead and show it to me.” And it’s gnarly and (Kelly) goes “Uh…” and Fred goes “That’s the one!” The other ones were too cartoony and perfect and that’s what he wanted, the one with the Skull and the teeth and the cracks and on and on and he goes “That’s it! Don’t change a thing!” and he goes “Okay.” And that was the original logo done and designed and that actually got done really late ’87 going into ’88 because the first single came out in ’88 and they were able to put it on the record and all that.
PKM: I just read that Fred had auditioned Andrew Loomis to play in The Range Rats?
Weeden Cole: Yeah, Andrew was in The Boy Wonders, at the time and it just wasn’t a good fit. When they were ready to leave country and return to rock ‘n’ roll, they had Andrew because they loved his energy, ingenuity, and enthusiasm. His ability to improvise on the spot was unprecedented…They loved that! They wanted him and him, only!
The Range Rats – Two of Us
Keith Bornzin: I grew up on the southern Oregon coast and settled in Portland about ’87. The first drummer I met was Andrew Loomis. He came up to me at Satyricon and was like “Hey, what’s your story? What are you up to you…blah, blah, blah?” and just kinda took me under his wing, you know? So he kinda helped raise me and he’d be like “Well, who else do you like in town?” And I’d say “Well, I like this band or that band, these drummers…” and he’d say “Well, just go watch them all and take a little part of them and add your own thing, and then you’ll be you.” And so I did and ended up in a number of bands that got to tour extensively in the 90s.
Greg Shadoan: Andrew was a perfect pick for Dead Moon. I adored him, but if you sit him down and try to get him to cover a Rush song, forget about it! It’s not gonna happen or even something simple like, I don’t know, Beach Boys, he just wouldn’t do it! He was just like “Fuck you! I ain’t doin’ that, it’s stupid!” He was perfect for an original rock band that didn’t really matter what he played because whatever he was playing was absolutely correct. You know what I mean?
…I think he was the perfect drummer for Dead Moon. I don’t think they could’ve done as well as they did without him and I certainly don’t think he would’ve done anywhere near as well as he did with Dead Moon anywhere else. I guess that’s really the bottom-line, it was a perfect match. It was kind of one of those magical matches that worked out perfect.
PKM: So, what would you say set Andrew apart as far as other drummers, go?
Keith Bornzin: Well, a lot of drummers struggled with heroin addiction in the 90s and he wasn’t, you know, immune from that, so he had a problem with that, but you know, there’s times where he’s been not high and there’s times where he’s been high, either way, what set him apart from everybody here was he had a rock solid kick. He only had a kick drum with the Jack Daniels bottle and the candle on it, the snare and the floor (tom), and one ride cymbal and one high-hat and that’s all. So, it was totally minimal and stripped down and sometimes it would sound like he was dropping behind the beat but he was always on top of it because of his meter with that kick drum, ya know! And he played a smaller kick drum and a lot of guys like playing big kick drums like 24” or 26”; he always played a little 20”. He was like, “You could always get the same effect with just a good thud.” But there were always times where we’d loan each other gear like pretty regularly like he would be like “My snare’s in hock” or “You need to borrow a drum?” “Sure!” Ya know, we just swapped snares a lot and take care of each other because that’s what we’d do. He was always notorious for losing a drum key, so I always brought an extra drum key to every show, just in case. If I go visit his grave, now, on his birthday, I always leave a drum key.
PKM: What was he like to play shows with?
Keith Bornzin: Just a hoot! He’d kinda take over the bar really, was Mr. Personality. He’d just kinda come in and own the place. And George from Satyricon would just let him sometimes get behind the bar until he’d given Mudhoney all the free beer they could drink and then he’d be like “Okay, you’re done for the night, Andrew. Go on, get outta here!” He was always willing to help you set up or tear it down and vice versa. He taught me that, too, at gigs, even when I’m not playing the gig, to help out my drummer buddies that I know in town. Portland’s always definitely had a shortage of good drummers. Guitar players are a dime a dozen, some bass players, pretty good ones, but drummers are few and far between. And one summer I was playing in three bands at one point, in the early 90s. I didn’t know what town I was in, I didn’t know what set list I was playing, Hitting Birth, Big Daddy Meat Straw, The Weaklings, it just gets chaotic and you’re not giving your band 100%, so that’s not fair. That’s what I respected about Andrew, was that he’d do a little side project here and there but normally, it was just all about Dead Moon. He was the only drummer I knew that was getting paid. He could pay is rent. They’d do these European tours and they’d get paid tons and then he’d come back and he’d get a stipend check every month and he did well with royalties, so I respected that, too. I don’t know any drummers who get paid from their band that well.
Dead Moon released their first singles, a cover of Blue Cheer’s “Parchment Farm” (which was itself a cover of a Mose Allison/Bukka White song) b/w The Seeds’ cover “Hey Joe” along with “Don’t Burn The Fires” b/w “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on their label Tombstone Records in 1988, cut on a 1954 Presto-88 mono disc cutter recorded in Fred and Toody’s home recording studio. Their debut LP, In The Graveyard, followed shortly thereafter.
Dead Moon “Parchment Farms”
Weeden Cole: Me and my younger brother, Shane, had rooms side by side. Once we moved out, I was going to college and Shane came with me, they cut a hole in the wall of our bedrooms and soundproofed it more and made a recording studio out of it and my mom bought my dad this mono disc cutter. It was a 1954 mono disc cutter, the one that cut the “Louie, Louie” single from The Kingsmen in ’63. That’s the one. That’s in my old bedroom. He lathed, in mono, the first bunch of Dead Moon records in there. So, they basically recorded between my brother’s room and my room and he used the disc cutter there to master all the records and ship them off. So, what they do is they do a master and then he ships it off to this company in Los Angeles and they’d press 1,000 at a time and yeah it’s really cool and it’s still there, now. When the Satyricon club closed down, they gave my mom and dad, I can’t remember if they gave my dad or both of them, it was some special event, anyway, they gave them the juke box that was in there with all the single 45s and there was 3 or 4 or 5 Dead Moon singles that were in there, and it still had all the original records in it as well and that’s downstairs.
Keith Bornzin: You see a blank record and you go “How does the sound get into that with a fuckin’ needle?” There’s no do-over’s with that shit. It’s an etching process and it’s petroleum based so vinyl is like moist or it’s gotta be a certain temperature and when you put the needle on it, it etches into there. They’re like “1-2-3-4-go!” and when you’re done with the song, it should be at the end of the record and if it’s not, then you just adjust accordingly and it takes it off. You get one pass and that’s it. So, if you’re gonna do an album, that means you’re gonna have to fuckin’ play that whole side perfectly because it’s just getting etched, once. You can’t stop and go “Okay, do over!” You can’t put long gaps between your songs. You don’t want to run out of your 6 or 7 that are on that side of the record. So, it’s fuckin’ brilliant!
PKM: The things you take for granted!
Keith Bornzin: I know and talk about DIY! They’re like “Fuck you, labels! We’ll make our own label!” And you know what? Fuck you, record plants! We’ll make our own records!”
Dead Moon “Graveyard” In The Graveyard (1988) Tombstone Records
Weeden Cole: Andrew is one of these guys where no matter where you go, he knows somebody. One of my favorite stories was when they went on tour down in Australia and New Zealand. Around 1993-94. This was a tour I did not go on because it was so far away. They’re walking down the street and he hears “Andrew Loomis!” and everybody couldn’t believe it! “Oh, you can’t be serious! You gotta be kidding me! Somebody here knows you? We’re like, I dunno, how many miles away… 15,000 miles away and it was some chick from Portland who either worked at the Virginia Café or used to go down there a lot and just happened to be down there at the same time. Unbelievable. Every time we’d get back from tour, I’d go out for drinks with him and we could go to several different bars in one night and you couldn’t go anywhere without someone saying, “Hey man, how’s it goin’?” So, he just knew a lot of people. That’s the magic of Dead Moon that whole line of just how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The reason being everybody had a role. Andrew’s role was PR. He’d get done with the gig and he WOULD want to hang out with people and just chit chat and hang out all night and get one hour’s sleep and play the gig the next night. Whereas Mom and Dad wanted to go like “Hey, we’re done and go up in our room.” So, like he was the go-to guy for that and I’d tag a long with him so on and on and it was really fun.
Greg Shadoan: He was fun. He was kind of the life of the party and didn’t really matter where he was or what he did he was always trying to be fun, spontaneous, witty, charming, all of those things. He did stupid shit, too. Mostly, he was pretty cool.
Keith Bornzin: Hitting Birth started the same year as Dead Moon and so we used to share bills at Satyricon and we’d do like every either New Year’s or Halloween. And then when we both got too big for our own britches, then we made a deal with George the owner and we said “Well, Dead Moon gets this Halloween and we get the next one.” So whoever wasn’t playing the Satyricon would go down and play the WOW Hall in Eugene and we would just flip-flop. The most incredible show we did with them was (Andrew’s) girlfriend, Neva, right before he passed away. Neva used to go to school in Olympia. She booked both of us at Evergreen State College. So Dead Moon and Hitting Birth played together at this giant gymnasium and set the smoke detectors off with all of our fog machines because it’s kind of a tribal fire ritual thing with shopping carts and metal shit –anyway, kind of industrial. So, the fire department shows up and they were like “What the hell’s going on?” Fred was outside and was like “Hitting Birth, that’s what’s going on.” “Well, we need to stop this right away” So they (the fire department) made us stop for a minute to clear the smoke and reset the fire alarms and then Fred said, “You know what? It’s bad luck to unplug somebody’s instrument while they’re playing. Just let ‘em have it.” So they split and that was like the best one.
And after that I had bands and I started working with this girl, Jen Genocide, who had a band called The Viles. I got into a band with her called The Nightmares for about six or eight years and then another one called the Iron Lords after that and Fred and Toody loved Jen quite a bit so they always called us and said “Hey, do you wanna do New Year’s?” and say “Yeah, absolutely!” So, I ended up doing four or five more with them with those two bands with Jen and Dead Moon. The last one we did was with Pierced Arrows after Andrew left. So, I met Fred and Toody through that, really. Through booking gigs together and just becoming friends. I knew who The Rats were but nobody knew what was hitting ‘em until Dead Moon came out and that just kinda took over the city, quickly, and all the European tours that followed.
They went over every year for New Years and we’d play a giant airplane hangar that had four stories of clubs. Their ritual was always starting at midnight. That was Dead Moon’s thing in town, they’d always go on at midnight. So, every gig you could know that they’d be starting out at midnight. So Fred and Toody just basically took me under their wing, or all of us, really, and showed us how to make our own records, book our own shows, make our own flyers… you know, just DIY. Tombstone Music put out a lot of good music for a lot of good bands. Just overall, their demeanor was all about love even though the music was dark; they still had some kind of family message–feel in it or some kind of pull.
DEAD MOON “Can’t help falling in love”
Reunion January 2014 Portland, OR
Weeden Cole: So many times when my mom would be singing in Dead Moon, whether this was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, these hardcore guys, these neo-Nazi or badass bike motherfuckers, okay… then they’d have a Toody song “Stand By Your Man” or “Can’t Help Falling In Love” or something like that and here’s these guys with the spikes and the leather and the tattoos and the Mohawks crying their eyes out ‘cause she’s just killing them. There was this one show where all these guys were standing in front of Fred for the first half hour going “Are you gonna rock me out? Are you gonna rock me out?” waiting for her to sing one of her songs and they slowly start to shift to the other side of the stage and by the end of the night, all four or five of them are standing in front of my mom and watching her intently like “Oh, my god! Can we clone you?”
Greg Shadoan: I think that at the end of the day, out of three Dead Moon people, she was definitely technically the best player. Fred was always the best singer, certainly the best songwriter and spiritual leader of the band, so to speak, even though they were all complete atheists. Toody was a really good bass player. You know the reality of it is that Toody probably inspired more women in a positive way than most women that I could even think of. I think there’s an International Following of Toody Fan Club. I really honestly do believe that that’s the case.
I Want the Autograph of the Son of Fred!
Weeden Cole: When I was 21 years old and that was 1990 and that was the first Dead Moon European tour. Now, it started off with this guy in Germany, Hans Kaslo, and he heard a bunch of stuff that was going on over here and he knew Fred’s backstory from the 1960s. And he put two and two together and a couple of the bands that he represented already, had done some covers of Fred’s “You Must Be A Witch” #1 by The Droogs and I had made this videotape at Pine Street Theater in 1989 that, somehow, he got hold of and I had filmed the entire show. He was just totally wowed by it! So, he contacted them in early 1990, January or February maybe even March, “Can you show up in Europe?” And my dad had already had so many disappointment. The Rats were a struggle for him and he thought none of this was ever gonna work out and he just played it off like “Yeah, yeah, this guy’s just talkin’ out of his ass!” So, eventually, he kept saying more positive things, talking to other people, and they convinced my mom and dad to come over to Holland for a one-off. They were gonna fly ‘em over, one show in Groningen, Holland and one more after that. And if that was successful, they’d book a tour. They basically went out for a one-off show in June of 1990 and it was successful because there was so much radio support and all of the people in the area were familiar with it. So it wasn’t like “Oh, who’s this band from the Northwest?” And this was just before the whole grunge thing exploded in 1991 with the whole Seattle Sound. All those younger kids will tell you that all that shit started in Portland. They were 15 years old and sneaking into Rats shows.
DEAD MOON – “Dagger Moon” +1 – Vera, Groningen The Netherlands (1990-09-16)
Weeden Cole: So, that was a success and a month later, they booked a tour from July through August 1990. That was the first tour that I went on and he goes, “Well, you’re gonna video us and you’re gonna sell merch and you’re just gonna be a roadie or whatever.” So, I started selling merch and I was real good at it because I’ve got a retail background and I know what I’m doing and the design sells itself. I mean, who’s not gonna love that? It wasn’t me. It was the design. So I went on six tours in the space of seven years and that was the most remarkable thing. And I got to be known as “The Son of Fred”. I’ve actually signed autographs. “I want the autograph of the Son of Fred!” and so many people would be so funny. My favorite countries were probably Germany and Holland. And some of these goofballs would come up to the merch stand all drunk “I’m in love with the bass player!” And I go “Yeah, okay.” And I don’t tell ‘em “That’s my mom”, you know. He goes “Is she with anybody?” and I’d go “Yeah. She’s married.” “Aw, how long has she been married?” and I’d go “Longer than she hasn’t.”
So, there’s this one show and I believe this is in Holland. Probably around 1997. These two people were invited backstage, through Andrew, of course. And they’re very polite and very shy and they wanted to meet my dad. And they were like, “Hi, we’re very honored to meet you.” “Oh, hey! Yeah, thanks for coming to the show!” and shakes their hands and everything and he asks, “Did you like the show?” and they say “ Yes.” So he says “So what’s your favorite song?” “Um, well…um…it’s ‘I Hate The Blues’, but you didn’t play it, tonight.” He goes “Oh, that’s your favorite song?” “Yeah.” They don’t wanna be offensive, they’re being polite and he goes “Oh, okay, wait right here. Hang on! Edwin, do you still have that amp?” and he goes “Yeah, it’s in the van.” And then he goes “Go get it!” So, he plays through this itty-bitty amp the size of a 1972 television and my dad plays “I Hate The Blues” for these two people solo. No bass, no drums, just his guitar and him whining it out. And these people left in tears. They couldn’t believe it. He killed ‘em. And this was after he played two hours.
Dead Moon – I hate the blues at Dauwpop 2015
Weeden Cole: Fred gets a lot of kudos from a lot of Pacific Northwest musicians that are basically right around my age or a little bit older or even a lot older that have just seen through that fifty-some years of being in the business. Whether it’s people who are really famous like whether it’s Eddie Vedder or Dave Grohl, people like that, they have nothing but great things to say and what a powerful influence and what an amazing writer he was and on and on and on. A lot of them have covered the songs, Eddie Vedder has done “It’s Ok” and one other song.
Even Kurt Cobain who, word around the campfire was that they were working up a version of “Dagger Moon”. That’s what I hear but it never came to fruition because he’s not alive, anymore. He would’ve done a great version of that.
…Kurt was a shy introvert around my Dad, and completely intimidated! He would sit in the back, watching attentively. Andrew would spot him and point him out to others, then draw him out to be included…Mainstream audience has NO clue!
And Eddie Vedder is always in really good contact with both my mom and my sister. I don’t really know the guy, but those two do a lot. My sister did a fundraiser for a school years ago and Eddie donated all this band memorabilia that she auctioned off and made a big fundraiser for her daughter’s school. I just hear these stories from here and there.
Dead Moon – 54/40 Or Fight (1989)
Greg Shadoan: I did sound for Dead Moon but I never really did much sound for Pierced Arrows. I don’t remember exactly when I started, I’m thinking 2004- 2005 is when they started calling me “Would you come down and you know, twiddle some knobs?” It wasn’t for that long. Just a couple years. I’d go to little bars around town and start doing the local sound and then, out of the blue, they decided that Melanie (my wife) and I were going to go on tour with him in 2006. That was the last one and it was horrible. Three months. It was the longest tour they’d ever done or attempted before or since and it was horrible. (laughs) Believe me, go on tour in the back of a van for three months, then we’ll talk. And then when they got back, they knew in Europe that the band was breaking up. I remember one day, we were at a rest stop. Melanie and I were just off by ourselves, doing whatever, and Fred comes over and says “So, when we get back to town, don’t say anything, but you’ll start hearing rumors about the band is breaking up. It is. Trust me, it’s breaking up, we’re done!”
But doing their sound was great, they were a really great rock band, and super easy to mix. You know, mixing bands… it’s not science. Well, it is kinda sciency, but it’s more art and science. It’s really hard if a band sucks because then you have to try to fix stuff. You gotta do this, you gotta do that. You know, you have to manipulate things that aren’t really there. The thing about mixing Dead Moon is that all I had to do was just make it a little louder in a PA.
Dead Moon live filmed by b-light.tv in Frankfurt, Nachtleben 10.10.2006
Keith Bornzin: Right around 2006 they did a European tour and Fred and Toody loved Andrew and cared about him so much. It hurt them to see him hurt himself when he’d get high. They came back from the tour, they settled up and then either he quit or they let him go, I don’t know how exactly it went down because I’ve heard both sides. And I understand both sides. But I knew his ex-wife, Jen McKnight, really well. She and Andrew lived near me and my ex, two blocks away, and we would hang out and get in trouble with our exes, “You guys are bad news for each other! You can’t hang out together!” We’d go, “I’ve known him longer than you, sorry!” Anyway, I kinda consoled him through that, too, because he was really bitter and pissed. Yeah, I can’t speak about it too much other than that. He was hurt and they were hurt…When Pierced Arrows formed without him, that didn’t bother him so much as the fact that they’d go tour Europe and sell Dead Moon stuff with his likeness so he’d have to hassle Fred and Toody about it but they’d make right with that, too, again, family thing. They’d never leave him high and dry, they’d cut him a check or whatever, so everything was cool except for his depression about it. And getting the cancer– well, he stopped, he got totally off drugs. He stopped drinking, as well, because he was in line for a liver transplant, but got cancer before that. So, the radiation pretty much took him out more than anything. He survived it, beat the cancer, got cleared of it, and then, not even a month later, he was gone. Once the liver starts shutting down, any other organs just pretty much are like dominoes, but I think it was a minor stroke or some blood clot issues and they thought he was gonna be okay when he got to the hospital and he didn’t pull through, so, he just went kinda quick. That was 2016, so that just crushed me. I didn’t know how to deal with myself for several months.
Pierced Arrows – “Let It Rain”
Weeden Cole: The whole reason Pierced Arrows happened was Dead Moon’s last major tour was in 2006 and Andrew was having a really hard time. I don’t really know all of what was going on with him at the time, I’m just gonna say it was a lot. I’m not even gonna speculate. It was just enough to make it unbearable for them and vice versa. My dad had a way of being very demanding and expectant and he had very high standards in a lot of ways. Andrew was going…he just had a down slump at the time and he just needed time to recover. Now when my dad basically dissolved the band, after this one tour, I’m pretty sure it was an American tour, they were in North Carolina and New Orleans, places like that. It wasn’t a European tour, they went for close to year and a half without being in any band at all. And then they started getting together with Kelly and in really late 2007 going into 2008 is when Pierced Arrows formed and he wanted to make sure it was a different name. I just think it was because they had ended on a really bad note at that time, Dead Moon. At one point, Andrew was quoted as saying, when he was asked the question “What would it take for you to play in Dead Moon, again?” and his answer was, “I would rather chew broken glass.” That’s pretty severe. It took a long time but a lot of bands have said that. So time heals, but time only heals half of it. The other half takes active engagement from all parties. Them reaching out, him being receptive. Him reaching out, them being receptive…
They played a few reunion shows and toured a bit in Seattle and did the big show over at the Crystal (Ballroom in Portland) and that was huge. And then my dad collapsed at Bumpershoot in November 2015 and that was my first real sign of it that okay, something’s up. And we already knew he had problems before that but this is the first real sign of “Okay, you can’t get through a show.” That’s why I was glad that my mom and dad started doing the Fred and Toody thing where they’d sit down in chairs and be slightly angled at each other and it was so personal. No drummer, it was just the two of them and it was just so beautiful. And everybody loved it. I took my son to see their show at Pioneer Courthouse Square a couple summers ago and it was just gorgeous. And that was the setting that they needed. I always knew he’d play music ‘til the day he died and die with your boots on and he’d just do it in a different setting. If you can’t stand up and play rambunctious, then sit down be a little more relaxed. Sing the love songs, write new stuff. Tailor your approach and they did that they still got so much out of it and people loved it just as much.
Dead Moon (Fred & Toody) — It’s OK / Can’t Help Falling in Love
Keith Bornzin: And then they came back and they did do a Dead Moon show at the Crystal Ballroom and sold the fucker out with a couple of good local bands. The Ransom, who Andrew really loved, and P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S., featuring Kelly Halliburton who played drums for Pierced Arrows. They did two shows at the Crystal as Dead Moon and a couple more as Pierced Arrows and then Fred just couldn’t handle it anymore doing the loud, live rock thing for two hours a night. He and Toody did an acoustic tour and got honored when Andrew passed away. Fred and Toody went back to… they have an agent they work with back in Amsterdam and there’s a Dead Moon cover band out there. They did all Dead Moon songs and honored Fred and Toody. And then Fred passed away. People kinda saw that coming. It wasn’t a big surprise. It’s nice that he got to pass away next to Toody.
Dead Moon – 1/3/15 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom (full show)
On October 5, 2017, the City of Portland officially declared every October 5th Dead Moon Night in honor of Dead Moon with a ceremony, musical guests, and announced the preorder sale of the band’s upcoming book and double LP, detailing their complete history tentatively scheduled for release in April of 2018.
PKM: Can you tell me about Dead Moon Night at City Hall?
Keith Bornzin: So basically, there’s a woman on the city council -one of our commissioners, Chloe Eudaly, I’m not sure how she pronounces it, and she grew up at the Satyricon with all of us. She worked her way into that kind of position locally. She found it imperative that she set aside one day in October for Dead Moon because she knew where Fred and Toody were at the twilight of it all and that Andrew had passed. So she actually got it pushed through city council to honor Dead Moon with Dead Moon Night every October 5th. So a friend of mine, Kyle Huth, who’s another drummer in town, he and a few others helped to put together the show. They had the two big giant thrones with Dead Moon logos on top for Fred and Toody to sit in and watch the bands play. They put together a good, I dunno, 15 or 20 bands who all came in honor of Dead Moon to play Dead Moon covers for Fred and Toody. About 2,000 people showed up. They got rid of some merch and put some money in the old folks’ pockets and had a good time for all. And now, it’s cool, we can now do that every October 5th. It was quite the undertaking.
Weeden Cole: I was so glad he was alive to be honored by that. My biggest regret is that they were hoping the book would be ready by March or April. I really wish he would’ve seen that but I’m a spiritual person and I know he’ll see it in his own way. I still have a lot of faith in that. Nothing about him dying scared him and I’ll tell you why: When he was 12, he fell out of this huge tree. He probably fell 30 or 40 feet, enough to borderline kill somebody, but a young person is very resilient. So he lands flat on his back, knocks the wind out of him and lies there unconscious. What he remembers is he’s floating above and he’s looking down on himself and he sees himself and he’s all confused “Why am I looking at myself?” and people are gathered around him and he sees his mother crying, his sisters are crying, the town’s people are trying to wake him up. He goes, “If I had to guess, I’d say 20 or 30 seconds” and all of a sudden, he’s sucked back down into his body and he’s looking up at everybody looking down at him. Out of body experience, okay. So, none of us are really that religious, per se, even though my mom went to 12 years of Catholic school. She never bought into any of that, at least in my opinion. Maybe she did. He was ready and I’m very comfortable with it. He lived a full life. Everyone knows what a Bucket List is. Now, this guy’s bucket was pretty damn empty by the jumping off point, okay, and that was very comforting for all of us. My dad was so excited to move on from this world to the next because you know, here’s the main reason: He wants to know all those questions and answers through his whole life to see his movie. “What was this that happened here? What’s happened there?” And have all those questions answered and I’m no different, too. I don’t wanna know right away, but I still wanna know.
Jenny Don’t and the Spurs – Down the Road (Dead Moon Cover)
Dead Moon Night at City Hall 10-5-17
Fred Cole died on November 9, 2017 from cancer at the family home in Clackamas, OR. Portland’s Hollywood Theater held a free screening of the 2006 Dead Moon documentary Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story to honor Fred Cole’s legacy.
Trailer – Unknown Passage: The Dead Moon Story
Weeden Cole: Me and my mom went to go watch it (Unknown Passage) at the Hollywood Theater, two weeks after my dad had passed away and that was really cool. It was so funny, my mom goes “Okay, yeah, I’m just gonna get there and go see Kate [Fix, Unknown Passage co-director] and to maybe watch the first half hour but then I have to hit the road.” Once she sat down, she never got back up. She was just glued to it. Oh my gosh, she hadn’t watched it in quite awhile. I hadn’t watched it in eight years and I was like “Oh my god, yeah!” It was really, really cool and when it finally got over, she was like “Oh my god! It’s over already?” It felt like maybe 20 or 30 minutes to her but it was an hour and a half. Hey, that’s the sign of a good show, but yeah, it was a kick in the ass.
So this younger girl; she was probably about 25, comes up to my mom and me after the show, we were just milling around in the lobby chit-chatting to people. Younger girl says, “I just wanna say I’m so sorry for your loss.” My mom says, “Me? I’m not! I mean I’m sorry he’s gone but he gave me 50 of the best years of my life that I could only dream for! I’m lucky!” She goes, “We all gotta go sometime.” Anyway, my mom just had this positive way of looking at it and it was just hard, but I was really lucky to be there the last day he was alive. I was there up to two hours before he passed away and I remember my mom saying “I’m really sorry you came, today. He’s having a really hard time.” “Ehnt, no! I think I really need to be here today.” And it was the last time I was there. What I really liked about it was he was coherent, he had all his mental faculties and he was able to understand everything that was being told to him and he was able to say what he wanted to say to us. He didn’t have that luxury with his parents. One of them had Alzheimer’s, the other one had severe dementia and didn’t know who he was from anybody and I didn’t have to deal with that. I think what’s kept a lot of us family members so healthy is over all of the positive correspondence whether it’s through Facebook, emails, texts, phone calls, it just makes it so much more fulfilling and wonderful to be a part of that. So, I’ve done a lot of activity on Facebook and people are like “Oh, thank you for sharing that and giving us an inside view of everything.”
On December 30, 2017, Ash Street Saloon hosted A Dead Moon Tribute and celebration of Toody’s birthday as part of Ash Street’s Farewell to Rock ‘n’ Roll. The beloved downtown Portland venue officially closed its doors on New Year’s Day 2018.