1980s Northwest Hardcore Punk Rock

Eugene, OR - Portland, OR

"Eugene, Oregon, in the latter part of the 1980s was a fertile time for fledgling musicians, with bands forming and breaking up every three minutes or so. The town was awash in punk talent, fortified by local legends like Moose Lodge and E-13." John Chandler, The Rocket magazine, 8/13/97

The core of E-13, also known as Etherteen or Ether-Teen, was John Lyons (guitar/vocals), Tim Murphy (bass), and Kelp Bed (born Bill Kuder, drums). The band was founded in September 1982 with guitarist Todd Souvignier and vocalist Damon Oliver.  Oliver coined the name, inspired by a Venice gang, and the idea of the "Eugene Thirteen." Oliver soon moved into a rented house with Lyons (and others) located on Eugene's East 13th street.

Situated on a main street near the university campus, their high-visibility band house was a perpetual public spectacle, health hazard and freak magnet, yet attracted surprisingly little interference from the hippieshit neighbors and police. Ecstasy was not illegal in those days, but alcohol was the primary vice. There was a steady stream of adventurous breeding stock from South Eugene High School, almost no money whatsoever, and the wildest music and people, seven days a week.

The band played frequently, at venues including W.O.W. Hall and the Erb Memorial Union, as well as numerous house parties, and appeared with groups like the Wipers, TSOL, Minutemen, the Dead Kennedys, Dirge, Final Warning, and many, many others.

In early 1983 the group made a four-track recording, engineered by Chuck Clearwater, in the basement at E.13th Street. That recording by the original line-up was never released and is lost forever as far as we know. By the summer of 1983 both Souvignier and Oliver had been sacked, and the E. 13th St. house was kaput. Lyons took control of the band, brought in Mark "Hand Dog" Heathfield on vocals, and recorded the No Mercy For Swine EP. Other derelict band houses followed, notably the Vatican, which occasionally held shows in its basement, including an early D.R.I. gig. There was also the Cottage of Cheese, home to E-13 buddies the Cheeseheads.

Etherteen went on to release the Quest for Gilligan 7" (1985), their masterpiece. They also contributed a track to the Drinking Is Great compilation with Poison Idea, Final Warning, and Lockjaw (1985). All were issued on the legendary Fatal Erection label (run by Malcolm Conover, and the late Tom "Pig Champion" Roberts of Poison Idea) and are extremely rare. These E-13 recordings have since cropped up on various bootleg compilations. 

By 1986 or '87 Lyons and Murphy had formed Osgood Slaughter, with Bruno Bersanti from Moose Lodge on vocals. The group moved to San Francisco, and did a record for Fatal Erection.  Lyons eventually wound up in New York, where he led the Barnyard Playboys (1995-2005) and most recently, Peter and the Pansexuals. Murphy is also now in NY, where he works alongside Lyons. Kelp Bed is reportedly in San Francisco playing with Davo "Shredder" Levin. Souvignier is now in New Orleans, where he performs with SOUTHERN SEXUAL. Heathfield was last seen in San Francisco, but hasn't been heard from in years.

UPDATE: April 2006 - Free MP3 tracks of the No Mercy For Swine EP have been posted to the "Dressed for the H Bomb" blog, along with a thumbnail of the cover. And over on the "Something I Learned Today" blog we found the "Pancreatitus" track and artwork to the Drinking is Great EP. Sorry, Malcolm. Plus some new photos have come in from Cindy and Lyons; scoll down to view. Update: September 2007 - Added DKs poster, sent over by Jennifer Gale.

IN MEMORIAM : Original E-13 vocalist/lyricist Damon Oliver died on March 10, 2006, in Ventura CA of liver disease. Damon was the guy who put E-13 together initially, and he had the unique gift of being able to honestly relate to practically anybody, from any walk of life, without prejudice. He was an exceedingly intelligent, charming, and good-natured fellow, yet made many poor choices and had some troubled, painful years. Our deepest condolences go out to the Oliver family, and to Damon's close friend Janci Johnston. See photos below.

Original E-13 Posters, Photos, Artwork, Recordings

Click any image to view full-size, high resolution image (big files; broadband recommended)

Opening for Greg Sage and the Wipers at 3-D Ballroom (aka Gary's mom's basement). The following night at the Met in Portland was cancelled, so the bands all played and hung out at the House of Toast. Poster by Souvignier Headlining WOW Hall with Friendly Strangers and Carrion Commandos. Poster by Lyons. Skaterock concert at 3-D ballroom, following a vertical ramp contest in Salem. Headlining 3-D Ballroom with Wasted Effort, plus the Rejectors and the Accused from Seattle. Handbill by Souvignier.
Opening for the Minutemen at Project Space, summer of 1984. Poster by Rob Waldman.
Party at the E-13 house on East 13th Street, December 1982. "Sportpack" cans were available for $1 each, no ID required. A really fun gig! Poster by Lyons Cover of the No Mercy for Swine EP (Fatal Erection #2). Design by Lyons. Click here for free MP3 downloads, courtesy of the Dressed for the H Bomb blog. Headlining with Rebel Truth (from Sacramento), Agent 86 (from Arcata) and Final Warning (Seattle). The same bill played the following night at Portland's Pine St. Theatre (now La Luna), with Dirge and several other PDX acts added. Souvignier, no longer in the band, was the promoter of this show. Poster by Lyons.
Cover of the Drinking is Great compilation 7" featuring Poison Idea, northwest neo-fascists Lockjaw and Final Warning. Click here for the free MP3 tracks, courtesy of the Something I Learned Today blog. Artwork by Henry "Buns" Small. Damon Oliver, 1963-2006, pictured with Janci Johnston. Photo courtesy of Janci. Damon & Janci, 1984. Appeared in the Sunday paper's magazine section. Big hair, part one: Playing at 3-D Ballroom, also known as Gary's mom's house, 1983. L-R: Oliver, Lyons, Murphy, Souvignier, Kelp Bed (elbow).
Big hair, part two: Playing in the basement of W.O.W. Hall, 1983. Rafer Pickering and John Lyons, taking their pick at the Saturday Market. Photo courtesy of Lucinda Heitmanek. L-R: Lyons, Pickering, Screwhead, Schweers, Andy, Jimmy Dred. Photo courtesy of Lucinda Heitmanek. Jimmy Dred today, photo courtesy of John Lyons.
John Lyons today; photo courtesy of his own bad self. Tom "Pig Champion" Roberts, Malcolm Conover, John Lyons outside Tom Jones concert, Portland OR, June '05. Photo courtesy of Lyons. Opening for Dead Kennedys at WOW Hall, 1984 or '85, with Theatre of Sheep. Original artist unknown; scan courtesy of Jennifer Gale.  


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