Final Edition of The Newspapers

Arya Imig Aug 22 2008 3:18P 3

One year and three days after releasing their debut E.P. and two months after releasing their second, NEWSPAPERS have announced that their last show will be this Saturday at Neverland Ranch on SE 49 and Powell.

I first met Billy Webb on March 10, 2007 at the Pink House in S.E. --- a show I had set up with Narwhal vs. Narwhal, Hurah Hurah and Eskimo & Sons. It was the day everybody met everybody. Billy had e-mailed me previous to the show, complimenting me on the line up, my radio show, etc. Basically, he said all the right things. Within a few months, Josh Rivers and Jake Hershman followed Billy here from Cleveland, Ohio. Billy, Josh and Jake had all, by their own admission, been in a much lamented ska band - Skanktronics, growing up together, playing the Cleveland stop of the Warped tour etc. Everybody had their own pecadilloes, but playing music together seemed to be a common goal.

After an acoustic tour from Ohio to here, Newspapers played one of their first shows as a band in Portland on a May night in the Clinton St. neighborhood. One of the other bands on the bill that night was Starfucker, at the time still Josh Hodges, playing as a one man band. That night's Starfucker performance was recorded and I conducted a taped interview with Josh. Both recordings were included on my inaugural These Are The Days podcast for Willamette Week.

The night Newspapers released their E.P. late that summer, August 18, was the same night billed as Hurah Hurah's final performance [Photoset 01 || Photoset 02]. Multi-instrumentalist Ross McLeron, who performed on that first Newspapers EP, played with the band that night, a mere six or so weeks since being unceremoniously released from Hurah Hurah(a whole other story).

For many months, Billy managed to convince people to let him throw house shows at their house. I suspect he learned more than a few tricks from me. Finally, just in time for fall, Newspapers got their own house, a house many of us will always call with affection "The Brass Monkey." I have so many memories from the shows there, the sojourns back and forth, the friends gained and lost, words spoken and unspoken and moments and inactions regretted. This is not even to mention the time I broke the indoor window pane.

By the time Newspapers secured their own pad, Ross McLeron had rediscovered whatever it was he needed to be able to power the songwriting behind his own band, in this case Southern Belle. The very first show at the Brass Monkey, in fact, was one of the very first Southern Belle shows, when they were still playing as a three piece with their then drummer Elliott Preston. Southern Belle would go on to play a few more shows at the Brass Monkey, memorably playing to the packed basement there particularly well on the night in December that they played with Reporter.

Earlier this year, founding Newspaper Josh Rivers left the group to explore other options. I felt it was a shocking loss to lose Josh's presence and harmonies, and it was many months before I would see him again, at PDX Pop Now this summer, that place where we all come together.

Amongst the hardest working bands in town, Newspapers always knew how to have a good time too(it's their pleasure, but it's their job too) an ability they transferred to their audience at shows. Like Starfucker and Eskimo & Sons, Newspapers too have made me proud to know them.

There are always things we don't understand when we observe bands from just the other side. I believe Billy made noble efforts to do the best he could with what he had in his band, embracing the d.i.y. spirit of Portland, the booking of house shows, the self releasing of albums on the cheap. None of us can be all right all the time.

Some nights at parties, I would tease Billy that I didn't care what anybody said about him, that I still liked him. This, I suspect, led much to be pondered over --- what exactly were other people saying about him? I don't think he ever asked, and I honestly never cared.

While he still had much to learn, the truth is that we are all still learning. If we close ourselves off to that fact, we might as well just quit right now. One of the most important things we learn with the responsibility one has when in a position with the power such as booking is to be respectful and loyal.

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and under respected bands in Portland, I will always pledge my loyalty to them because they have pledged their loyalty to me.

From what we are to understand, Billy is returning to Ohio.

Jake, along with Brian and Andrew will start work soon on a new project together.

I truly wish them each the best of luck in their future endeavors.

They know where to find me.

talk about it …


  1. pc-pdx

    Newspapers was pretty rad and i'm bummed we missed their last show,
    if anybody got pics from Neverland Ranch: please get in contact : we'd love to post them.

    • pc-pdx
    • 8/24/2008 11:49:00 AM
  2. damn it didnt know it was their last show!

  3. pc-pdx

    Dave Hires just posted a photoset from the last Newspapers show, [ View it here ]

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