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Andrew Loomis, 1961-2016

Remembering the Portland punk icon.

On March 8, Andrew Loomis, drummer for Pacific Northwest punk legends Dead Moon, died at age 54, roughly a year after being diagnosed with lymphoma. As news spread through Portland, stories emerged on social media, painting a portrait of a uniquely charming rogue. We asked a few of Loomis' friends, contemporaries and admirers to share their memories. If you have a story you'd like to have added to this post, please email Matthew Singer at msinger@wweek.com.

We just fell together like a family right from the get-go. He's the same age as my youngest brother Kevin, and Andrew and I were both raised in Irish-Catholic families of seven, so we had a lot in common. He just always felt like my brother, always. He grew up with two sisters, so it was like that for him too. He used to laughingly call us mom and pop all the time, and talk about "getting up onstage with grandma and grandpa, kicking ass and taking names." Back then, we all felt we were on the same playing field, and we really were, even though he was 13 years younger than us. It was an amazing run, and I wouldn't be able to share it with anyone else. Fred and I have played in different bands with different members that we love dearly, but it's like falling in love, I can't explain. There's that click thing that happens.

There's a lot of people you love in your life, and then there's other people you can't imagine what your life would have been like without meeting them. He was one of the most cheerful, lovable, most all-accepting people I've ever met in my life. He really lit up our lives, and was really the catalyst as far as I'm concerned as to why Dead Moon went over the way it did. He had an incredible way with people, and unfortunately he was better to everyone else than to himself. It's going to be a way duller world without him in it. — Toody Cole, Dead Moon

I remember the first time I met him, because he was that impressive. This is 1984, and he was the drummer for the Boy Wonders. And he was—I don't want to say cute, but striking-looking. And he had a lot of flair. As I got to know him a little better as a person, [I found that] Andrew was multi-talented, really. He was a great comedian. He would imitate my accent. That kind of bothered me a little bit. He would imitate other people's accent or manners, and I would find it extremely joyful, really. But he was really charming. I can't remember myself getting mad at him. There was something about him that would change the mood, make a light situation and make it funny. He was a pure soul. He wanted to be happy. And that's essentially how I know him. He knew how to manipulate a situation very well. He was so slick, that might have been his own downfall, ultimately. He could get away with a lot of stuff. He knew life. He knew how to behave. — Satyricon owner George Touhouliotis

Andrew Loomis was one of the most charming humans I ever met, but also a scoundrel. He could be something of a jerk, cracking jokes at your expense and picking on you, but always with a light, tongue-in-cheek sensibility. He forever loved to call me Ben Dover. When I heard of his passing, I posted on Facebook that no one ever picked on me quite like Andrew—and that no one else was allowed to. —Ben Munat, former Satyricon booker

I have a lot of stories about drinking or partying, but I especially like the ones that show how witty he was. He could charm the pants off anyone—literally! We went to a bar once, and within 15 minutes of being there he got a girl to trade pants with him because he liked hers better. They switched right in the middle of the bar! — Jenny Connors of Don't

I've known him since 1985, and at one point we were in a short-lived all-star band playing a handful of live shows. Loomis was different things to different people. Sometimes different things to the same person. To me, he was the personification of "larger than life." A lot of people in the music community are feeling great loss right now. That's the measure of a person, how much their passing impacts others in whatever way it impacts them. — The Obituaries' Monica Nelson

In December 2006, rumor had it that Dead Moon had broken up, but no one could get a hold of Fred or Toody to confirm it. Former WW copy editor Becky Ohlsen told me Andrew Loomis could almost always be found at the Chen Yen (a now long-gone Chinese bar on NE 28th that served pint glasses of whiskey). So she and I went there, and there was Loomis.

I walked up to him just as he was getting up from his seat. I asked if I could talk to him, and he said I could help him pick songs on the juke box. Naturally, he was wasted, so the song selection was quite a production lasting about 15 minutes. The highlight was him making me guess what the best thing on the jukebox to woo a lady would be. I guessed David Bowie, but the correct answer was Echo and the Bunnymen. He picked "The Killing Moon" and said, "Watch this, ladies love this song."

Finally, we sat down and I interviewed him. He confirmed the band had broken up, but he didn't want to go on record. He told me the European tour Dead Moon had just been on was especially grueling and that he and the Coles had a falling out. He didn't want to go into much detail and he emphasized how much loved Fred and Toody. He offered to go on record in a few days.

We wrapped up the interview just as "The Killing Moon" came on. I'll never forget that Becky immediately said, "I love this song!" I burst out laughing and Loomis and I exchanged knowing nods. — Jason Simms, freelance writer

I can confidently say there has never been a sweeter, more die-hard rock 'n' roller to ever walk these streets. And he was always on these streets. He certainly meant a lot and represented a lot to me, from the moment I first arrived in PDX in 1991 to this very day, and his passing is sad in ways I didn't really expect. It's a new day in Portland and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. — Former Slabtown co-owner Sam Soule

I saw Dead Moon in '97 or '98 at the old La Luna, and I had no idea what a special thing I was witnessing. I was probably 18, and I had never heard of Dead Moon. They were the first Portland band I ever saw live. My favorite band, Far, opened the show, and I might have left early except that I was a small-town kid in the big city, and it was still pretty rare that I got to see live music. I wish I could say that Dead Moon changed my life that night, but I just wasn't ready. Andrew Loomis, though, completely blew me away. He was a sweat-drenched showman. Every time he hit his drums, these geysers of water would shoot up into the air, and whenever there was a pause in the music he looked like he was communing with the gods. He was in his own world and he was completely transfixing. I barely noticed Fred and Toody (who would thrill and move me many times, years later), but Andrew Loomis was obviously a rock star of the highest caliber. — Casey Jarman, former WW Music Editor

The first interaction I had with Loomis was sitting at the bar in the old Hungry Tiger when it was still next to a rundown laundry mat across from Holman's. He asked for a package of Rolos and a bag of Doritos. He opened the bag of Doritos and dumped all the Rolos inside, and then closed up the bag. He then put the bag on his barstool and sat on it, making sure it was all crunched and mixed up nicely. I was just kind of watching and giggling. We hadn't spoken to each other yet, and he pulls the bag out from under his ass and offered me some of his delicious treat.

I obliged and we wound up shooting the shit for a few hours. This was in the summer of 2006 and he had just recently found himself without Dead Moon and my band The Swords Project was in the process of disbanding. We had a lot of time on our hands and quickly became 3 o'clock regulars at the Chin Yen Lounge just a block north of Hungry Tiger. For a change of scenery we'd go up to Lucky's, which is now an empty lot on 28th and Glisan. We never talked about music except for joking around about having a '70s rock cover band with our friend, Justin Merrill. But with all the drinking we were doing, there wasn't much time for anything else.

His wife at the time, Jen, was working at Halibuts on Alberta, so he would head up to the street and come hang out in my bar, the Know, during my happy hour shifts. His drink was the Loomis: vodka, orange juice, and a lime. He had to take a piss test for something and was scheming a way to get someone's pee and warm it with some of those hand warmers (my idea) so it would seem like it just came from him.

As time went on, he would come in and tell me that the docs told him to only have a few drinks each day, but there was very little slowing him down at the time. He became very close to our friend Heath and they were like bosom buddies when they'd come in. Andrew and I were always very excited to see each other, probably because we were drunk all the time, but he was a good friend. My life changed a lot as I got married, had a few little girls, and have been sober for almost 2 years, but it was still great to see him when he'd come in the bar. He was still trying to get me to sneak some booze in his "virgin Loomis" the last time he came in a few months ago. I'll always remember our drinking buddy days. Never a dull moment! — The Know co-owner Ryan Stowe

When my son was about 3, he was really into drumming. So for Christmas I went to Guitar Center and got a 'real' drum kit. It's Christmas Eve. So after the kid finally falls asleep at like 1 am, I start trying to put together this drum kit. I'm not sure if I've ever been more confused in my life. I am scanning my brain as to who I know that's a drummer, that I can call at 2 am Christmas morning. There's only one logical answer: Andrew Loomis! He sat on the phone with me till about 5:45, putting together this drum kit. I can't tell you all how much I'm going to miss Andrew. He would do absolutely anything for his people. — Dante's bartender Jason Keebler

Andrew changed my life. I met him at the Virginia Cafe 30 years ago. The moment I saw him walk into the bar I knew he was someone different, someone full of life, smart and witty. He had a smile for each person, a joke, a tease, a handshake. I was, then, 22, new to the Portland scene, shy and naive. Andrew's friendship brought me out of my shell and introduced me to a circle of friends at Club Satyricon who, by their simple presence, allowed me to find my creativity. I was there for the first Dead Moon show, and in those early days watched Andrew build the audience for the band the same way he goes about anything: by being friendly and including everyone. I sincerely believe it was his early efforts that grew Dead Moon into a band that could play at the level they have for the past 28 years. When I started my own project, Plazm magazine, Dead Moon generously played many benefit shows and launch parties. Andrew and I have kept our friendship all these years, even though adult life made it less about hanging out every day and more about running into each other at Satyricon or at shows, where I could count on him sliding up next to me and squeezing my hand. He is truly the person I admire most. It has been a hard few months, watching as his health diminished. Though it was not fun, I feel fortunate that I was able to spend this time helping him navigate doctor's appointments and the rest in an effort to rebuild his health. Through it all, his strong spirit shined through, and most days he did smile. — Neva Knott, Andrew's girlfriend.

We weren't close friends, but of course I knew him and had some good fun. Anyway, I bought a van few months ago and this bottle was under the seat. Andy left a little something with all of us, some more fiscally than others. — Club 21 bartender Spencer Bone

Andrew Loomis epitomized the best of Portland. He never took himself too seriously, he never shortchanged an audience and he always gave everything he had to each and every performance. He was a warm and caring friend who would do anything to help you, and he treated everybody—from the guy who swept the floors to the owner of the club—equally. I will miss his devilish smile, him calling me on my bullshit and our local music gossip sessions. I'm touring in Europe right now, and everywhere I go, when they find out that I'm from Portland, they ask about Dead Moon and specifically Andrew Loomis. Andrew is gone but he will never be forgotten! — Fernando Viciconte

MORE: A wake for Andrew Loomis is scheduled for March 25 at Dante's, 350 W Burnside St.