By Cat Jones
Andrew Loomis has died. If you lived in the Pacific NW during its punk heyday, back before the hipsters moved in, before Satyricon shut down, before every dude there grew a lumberjack beard… you knew Andrew. The driving heartbeat behind the band Dead Moon, Andrew was a beautiful mess.
We used to go see them play every chance we got. Dead Moon was Andrew on drums, along with Fred Cole on vocals and guitar and Toody Cole on bass, and they provided the soundtrack to a good lot of Portland’s underground history. They presided over some of my most memorable Portland nights, and when I was 20 or so, one whole wall of my tiny apartment was covered with a giant, black and white, DIY Dead Moon poster that I’d stolen, with the band’s permission, from a nightclub where they’d played.
Although they had become one of the biggest bands in the NW, and had achieved a surprising amount of fame in Europe, I never saw it go to any of their heads. Especially not Andrew. He was always sweet and self effacing, always up for a game of pool in a dive bar somewhere, and I never recall him sober. That’s not to say he wasn’t. It’s been a very long time since I saw him last. God, we were all just kids back then, weren’t we?
One weird bit of trivia that, for some reason, my troubled mind expects me to write down. I actually had something of a crush on Andrew for awhile, and I recall just being mesmerized by a tattoo he had on his calf. Funny the things the mind picks out.
I haven’t seen Dead Moon play in a thousand years. I think they broke up as a band back in 2006. Last I heard, Andrew had been off playing with some band from Longview called the Shiny Things. But this news feels devastating. Like one more irreversible tear in the fabric of what was. Oh, in Portland, it was always Dead Moon, Napalm Beach, and the Wipers….
I’m not sure exactly why he died. He’d had lymphoma, but was cancer free at the time of his death. The treatment for lymphoma is pretty brutal, and it seems to have wrecked his health. He’d had a number of small strokes, went into the hospital, and died. Alas.
One of the worst things about hearing this news, oddly, is the way that the first thought I had about it was, “Oh, God, I’ve got to tell Sid.” It was Sid, after all, who used to go with me to all those shows. He and Andrew were friends from way back, and it was Sid I used to dance with in all those mosh pits back when. It’s always like this… some detail from back then comes up, and I have this urge to run and tell Sid. But Sid is gone too, three and a half years now, from cancer. Oh, how different the world is than it was back then.
“It’s okay, we’ve all seen better days
It’s okay, you don’t have to run and hide away
It’s okay, yeah we love you anyway.”