"WE'VE ALL been kind of thinking about it... just kind of waiting for the right occasion," says Toody Cole.
It's been seven years since Dead Moon's breakup. Led by power couple Toody and Fred Cole with noted wildman Andrew Loomis on drums, the band has been the subject of a documentary film, had Sub Pop put out a two-and-a-half-hour-long retrospective that only scratched the surface of their career, and have had their songs covered by everyone from Grouper to Pearl Jam. Mixing stripped-down punk with early rhythm and blues, Dead Moon toured relentlessly for almost 20 years and built a cult following the world over—becoming one of the Northwest's most legendary bands in the process.
When the group began in 1987, the members were already veterans of the Portland music scene, running their own label and having played in the Rats, King Bee, and Western Front. And since calling it a day in '06, Dead Moon's legend has only grown, even as the Coles formed Pierced Arrows and Loomis went on to play in the Shiny Things. On Saturday, January 4, Portland will get to see Dead Moon in action again, as the Coles and Loomis reunite for the Crystal Ballroom's 100-year anniversary "100 Nights" concert series.
"The Crystal [Ballroom] has a very special meaning, to me and Fred especially," Toody says. Shortly after Fred and Toody got together in 1967, Fred's band the Weeds—a band that opened for the likes of Janis Joplin and the Doors—performed there. Dead Moon also played at the grand opening of the remodeled Crystal in 1997. Loomis even used to squat at the venue. So when the Crystal presented the idea to Dead Moon, they saw the perfect opportunity.
Loomis says they're making the show a special event, with a tight-knit community of old friends. "From the sound people to the people doing the lights to the bartenders, everybody knows everybody," he says. "So it's just gonna be real comfortable."
It's an event that'll bring in fans from all around the US and Europe, a perfect indication of how dedicated their followers are—not that the vast number of Dead Moon skull-and-moon logo tattoos aren't indication enough. "It's almost like having a giant family, and everyone that has a tattoo is a part of it," Fred says. The band members love seeing all the different variations, adding that the logo has also made its way onto classic cars and even a huge granite gravestone for a Dutch fan who put the request in his will.
"It's outrageous that the band has meant that much personally to so many people around the world," Toody says.
With the epically long set the band is planning and the energy of fans from around the world, Saturday's show could easily inspire some more bodily adornment. The big question, though: Is it a one-off? "We don't know!" they all say in unison.
While Loomis and the Coles know they won't be taking Dead Moon on the road again, they're just going to leave the possibility open of playing more shows, and see what happens. "We want to keep it to where it's something incredibly special," says Toody.