Introducing Napalm Beach

Bodhi (from the verbal root budh – to become aware, notice, know or understand) is the understanding possessed by a Buddha regarding the nature of things. It is traditionally translated into English with the word enlightenment and literally means awakened. (from Wikipedia: Bodhi)

1966-1980

In 1966, as soon as Chris got his first guitar, he was writing songs. He wrote the main riff to the song ‘Why Do Parties Have To End?’ when he was 13. At 14 he brought his guitar and fuzzbox to Christian boarding school. It was 1967 and he wanted to be a hippie. Underground. A head.

Chris grew up in Seattle, New Orleans/Mississippi, San Jose, and Longview (town of his birth). In 1972, at the age of 19, he joined a Longview hippie band called Bodhi. He was their youngest member as well as their lead vocalist and lead guitarist. Bodhi was intent on working the northwest club circuit, which meant a strict limit on originals. (The fact that they played any original music at all made them stand out.) Chris and bandmate Spyder wrote the originals, but mostly Bodhi covered psychedelic underground hits – music by acts like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Spirit, Hendrix. Bodhi lived in a house together, ate hippie food, smoked homegrown weed, had plenty of gigs.

Bodhi - Longview, Washington - 1973

A year and a half later, Chris had fallen hard for the New York Dolls and glitter rock. So he left Bodhi to form his own glitter rock band. This new band would play nothing but originals. The cover-band club gigs fell away. They went to Santa Monica for a few months to try and “make it”. They lived on the beach in Malibu, did acid, jammed, starved, partied, were thrown out, and finally returned to Washington to start again.

Chris began to date a woman who worked in a record store. One day she brought home Iggy’s Metallic K.O.

He became enamored with, and began to study, Iggy, and the Stooges. Soon there was a buzz in the air about the “new wave”. When the Ramones played the Portland Paramount in 1977, Greg Sage, Chris Newman, and everyone else bought a $1 ticket.

The Ramones’ set was blistering.[6] They got horrible reviews. Chris thought “I’m going to start a punk rock band”. By this point he was an accomplished musician with 10 years of experience on guitar. But he loved the primitive abandon of punk, and the idea of throwing out the rules. When he started his punk rock band, he didn’t think about anything but playing what he wanted, the way he wanted to play it. He incorporated pop, glitter rock, garage rock, psychedelic, and new wave. This was 1979, and that band, first called the Goners, then the Untouchables, would eventually move to Portland, pick up the Wipers’ original drummer, Sam Henry, and become Napalm Beach.

1979

The Goners

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[6] Here is an essay about that Ramones show featuring Otis P. Otis who came from Seattle to play guitar on the final ‘Why Do Parties Have To End?’ and who still looks spectacular. Writer Marc Covert also conducted this Greg Sage interview.

(continues overleaf)

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