I first saw Tom Pig perform when his first band, The Imperialist Pigs played Urban Noize on MLK in the early eighties. He was big then, but his sound was bigger. It’s a really hazy memory for a variety of reasons but he had a nasty fuck you swagger and so did the rest of his band. I seem to think they were from Seattle – far before Seattle was cool. He was screaming fast – his drummer yelling at him to slow down! Black leather and redneck fury. They were scary for nice folks who went out to see Upepo. And scary in Portland meant ignored.

Tom’s dead at 47. Olde English I suppose. There wasn’t any hyperbole about Tom Pig. This is a fairly dignified publicity picture.

Talk to Greek or German teenagers. Mention “The Portland Scene.” Teenagers in Yokohama, Boston, Rio, Auckland. It’s not Jay Backstrand or Jon Dubay or Lew Jones or Nancy King or Minh Tran or Pete Krebs. It’s certainly not the alleycats of the Oregon Biennial. It’s Poison Idea, which means Jerry A and Tom Pig.

They pretty much stopped touring in the mid-nineties. There were start-up gigs, but Tom couldn’t travel well, and the sane members of the band had day jobs and the insane ones were, well, insane.

Record Collectors are Pretentious Assholes, released in 1985, pretty much summed up all the fear and frustration of hardcore, Typical, Die On Your Knees, fingerpointing anthems of hate and bile. Great album. Entirely unrecognized by Portland cognoscenti, who did not stay up late enough to see them at Sten’s Clockwork Joe’s or Pacific Academy.

Plenty of obits – from Blabbermouth.net, which republishes the TAANG! web site obit. Looks pretty accurate. Jerry A was in a band called The Stand with Chris Tense and Mike King before Poison Idea. From Enough, Something I Learned Today. There will be more obits. Unlikely in Portland.

Listen for yourself, from Record Collectors are Pretentious AssholesLaughing Boy.mp3 and from Filthkicker, Hangover Heartattack.mp3. The sound is naive, blistering, pain-filled, a simple catharsis of caterwaul caught in a complicated timecount. And amidst the tens of thousands of silly punk bands Poison Idea survived and kept surviving. Perhaps this was their most endearing trait. They wouldn’t give up, give in or die on their knees.

(These links serve only as a way to briefly remember Tom “Pig Champion” Roberts, and will be taken down in 10 days.)