the birth & the band


early 1980 - met Jan Gregor.

Jan was the guitar player for Sweet Madness.

He introduced me to drummer Mark Fention (this video is from 1984). It's an honor to have played with him!

Started listening to The Cure, B52's, XTC, The Residents, Jon Hassell, Yellow Magic Orchestra.

mid 1980 - my daughter Naomi is born!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Naomi had a "natural birth" to a cassette tape playing
"Ambient 1: Music for Airports" and "Music for Films" by Brian Eno.

At the time I had read the name "Naomi" meant "Gods gift".
Now I find it means "beautiful, pleasant, and delightful".

Started to understand the importance of love in art which started my ongoing questioning of "What is love?" No one has taught me more about this question than my daughter, Naomi.

Started playing "the love game" with God. This being that the more unconditional love I have and show towards my daughter that God must surely have that much love for us.

The first test of unconditional love - baby colic.

If I held Naomi and danced to the B52's she would stop crying.

The second test of unconditional love - fatigue.

unconditional love

Started listening to "Heroes" by David Bowie.
I absolutely loved side two.

"V-2 Schneider"
"Sense of Doubt"
"Moss Garden" (Bowie, Eno)
"Neukoln" (Bowie, Eno)
"The Secret Life of Arabia" (Bowie, Eno, Carlos Alomar)

late 1980 - John Lennon was murdered.

My first experience with the loss of a loved one.

Started to wonder if this is the inevitable fate in our society of a person who seeks truth and speaks of love.

With the negative aspects of humanity I was often disappointed, disgusted, horrified, frightened and saddened.

This is the first time I was angry.

Started questioning the value of "fame". Started questioning the value systems of our society, of other societies, of what people think of as being important in their lives. Started thinking about the consequences of our actions, how our actions relate to others and the earth we live on.

Started to feel like I didn't want much to do with this society.
Started to truly feel like an outsider.

Even today May 25, 2009, I had tears running down my cheek while watching this video.
Played in the band PPku.

Charlie Schmidt - drums
Jef Morlan - bass
Val Hauer - vocals/noise makers
Pam DeMillo - vocals/noise makers
Scott DeMillo - vocals/noise makers

PPku plays at "The Armory" in Spokane.
Performing their hit song, "Chickens in the Barnyard".

Started listening to Gang of Four, Pere Ubu, Ryuichi Sakamoto.

early 1981



1981 - 1985
played in the indie rock bands Next Exit / Koo Dot Tah.

I had been running lights and sound for "Sweet Madness" and convinced my brother to play guitar for them. Now the bass player had quit. This opened up the opportunity to play bass in a *real* band and I thought I'd better do it now before getting any older (being 25 years old). Learned 35 songs in two weeks and auditioned.

They accepted me and "Sweet Madness" became "Next Exit".

Next Exit
Jan Gregor - vocals/guitar
Greg Morlan - guitar
Mark Fenton - drums
Jef Tzara (me) - bass

Contents Under Pressure - Next Exit

Koo Dot Tah
Jan Gregor - vocals/guitar
Greg Morlan - guitar
Mark Fenton - drums
Jef Tzara - bass
Rick Hogan - keyboards/vocals
David Fischer - clarinet/saxophone/keyboards

Slow Children - Koo Dot Tah

1 - 12" LP under Next Exit
1 - 12" LP under Koo Dot Tah
3 singles
produced by Gary Drager
recorded at Bear Creek Studio, Woodinville

We played many Night Clubs and Universities in Seattle, Everett, Bellingham, in Vancouver, BC at "The Railway Club" and opened for Nico and X.

In the basement of *the band house* after practicing our songs we would jam with "no rules, anything goes". This is exactly as it sounds and is the equivalent of throwing paint at a canvas then pulling out a composition. A couple of songs on the Next Exit album came from this approach.

We decided to do a performance piece at a theater in Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle. For the performance we had a plaster mold taken from our face and from this a mask was made. When wearing the masks we looked exactly the way we look except with no expressions. We played "no rules, anything goes" for about an hour.

Note: when wearing a mask on stage, under the lights. Be prepared for a steady stream of sweat pouring into your eyes... and a lot of pain.

mid 1982 - after returning to Seattle from Spokane, I saw Erich Werner again. He had put together a band called "The Blackouts".

The Blackouts were absolutely amazing and I saw them as much as I could. I have never heard or seen a band with as much intensity and originality. Nor have I seen people as excited at a show since. You had to have been there to understand. It still sends chills down my back remembering those shows.

One time after The Blackouts had opened for Iggy Pop, Erich said to me, "Jef, the punks today are just a bunch of jocks with mohawks." Sadly it was true.

early 1983 - first drum machine, a Roland TR-606 Drumatix.

Valerie and I split up.

Started listening to Bauhaus, Echo & the Bunnymen, Wire, Joy Division, New Order, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Bow Wow Wow, Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft.

mid 1983 - started cutting out of Masonite huge representations of the people I'd been painting. An arm, a head, some legs would be cut from 4'X8' sheets of Masonite and assembled at the joints with bolts. This created figures 12' to 18' in size and being bolted at the joints could be moved in a variety of ways. Several figures together would be composed on a large wall, using the wall as the canvas.

Started listening to Front 242, 3 Teens Kill 4, Laurie Anderson, Japan, The Sisters of Mercy, Tones on Tail, Killing Joke, Stewart Copeland, Wall of Voodoo.

late 1983 - first computer, a Timex Sinclair 1000, started programming for the first time. Got my first color TV (used).

early 1984 - Started listening to This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, The Smiths, Pink Industry, Dali's Car, Mick Karn (loved his bass playing), Nasmak, Einsturzende Neubauten, Skinny Puppy, Severed Heads and became interested in Rap.

late 1984 - had the longest running exhibition of artwork at The Vogue night club (3 months) with an installation of the cut Masonite figures.

Saw "Amadeus" which started my love for Mozart.

Once a year for the next 18 years my daughter and I would watch it again. We had it memorized.

dada da da
da dada da da
da dada da da
da dada da da ...

hahaha! love you Gnome! :)

Started thinking that if Naomi is ready enough to ask a question, then she's ready enough to hear the answer. No matter what she asked, I would give her the best and most truthful answer I could. No matter what the topic.

early 1985 - stopped playing bass for "Next Exit".

I would like to thank Francine, Michelle, Ava and Leslie for the times they watched over Naomi when I had to be away for Next Exit.

First synthesizer (Casio CZ-101) and 4 track recorder (Tascam 424) purchased with a drum machine (Oberheim DX) and bass (Rickenbacker 4001).

late 1985 - did the first full wall graffiti in Seattle on the south wall of The Vogue and performed there with my brother as TwoCanDo.

Was published in a book on Seattle Graffiti.

friends and colleagues (1980-1985)
Next Exit
Jan Gregor - YouTube
Rickio Woods
Charlie Schmidt
Gary Drager - Cooper Edens

karmaright 2021