Tragic news tonight: Andrew Loomis, the drummer for the seminal Oregon rock band Dead Moon, has died. Loomis was a founding member of the group, which formed in 1987 and took a hiatus in 2006; since then, Loomis and the band's other two members, Fred and Toody Cole, have reunited sporadically for occasional Dead Moon shows and tours, and Loomis drummed for another band, the Shiny Things. While Loomis was cancer free at the time of his death, he had been diagnosed with lymphoma last year and spent much of 2015 fighting hard, undergoing surgery and radiation treatment for the disease and combatting some other health problems.
Loomis' passing is an immense loss for Portland's music scene and music in general. Dead Moon remain one of the most important and best bands to emerge from the Pacific Northwest, and have garnered regional acclaim and a significant fanbase overseas, as well as influencing countless bands in its wake. The Coles are justifiably renowned for their longtime dedication to DIY music—not only with Dead Moon but with the couple's other bands, including Pierced Arrows and the Rats (and Fred Cole himself has lately been no stranger to his own health scares in recent months). But Loomis was a vital and foundational member of the Coles' best-known and best-loved band, and his contribution to some of Oregon's greatest rock 'n' roll music is immense. His achievements were enormous and his loss is incalculable.
Loomis' companion Neva Knott posted the following in the public Dead Moon Fan Club Facebook group this afternoon:
It is with the heaviest heart I'm writing this. Andrew passed away at 4:50 this afternoon. He took a sudden and sharp, unexpected turn for worse a couple of weeks ago and has been in the hospital since Feb. 25. Tests determined he had a series of mini strokes at home, then developed respiratory problems over this past weekend. This morning he was put on a morphine drip, passed peacefully with his brothers, sister, Ruby Ann Swaner Whitfield, and me with him. We'll throw a wake at Dante's as soon as we can. Ironically, he is still cancer free.
Our condolences to all of Loomis' friends and family. On a personal note, Andrew made music that touched me very deeply—and rocked my face off. The ability to see him regularly perform with Dead Moon around town in the early '00s, complete with Loomis' famous Jack Daniels/candle drum setup, was something I did not take for granted, and their first reunion gig at the Crystal Ballroom in 2014 was positively unforgettable. My turntable will be spinning Dead Moon records tonight and for the foreseeable future. Thank you, Andrew. You were incredible.