Rest in peace, Stan Foreman

Stan Foreman, RIP

In the 1960s, long before Kurt Cobain and my friend Krist Novoselic harnessed their angst into rock ‘n’ roll immortality, Grays Harbor boasted one of the top bands in the Northwest: The Beachcombers. Their leader was Stan Foreman, a first-rate keyboardist, charismatic concert promoter and disc jockey who became one of Capitol Records’ top promotion and marketing executives.

I’m still coming to grips with the news that Foreman has died. His passing on Aug. 8 in Palm Desert, California, is irrefutable evidence that those of us who followed the Beachcombers from Hoquiam’s Vasa Hall to Parker’s Ballroom in Seattle, and to Seaside and Spokane, are now certifiably elderly. Losing Charlie Watts compounds the grief and nostalgia. It may be only rock ‘n’ roll, but I still like it.

I met Stan in 1959 at Bill’s X-L Bakery in Hoquiam, where I was scrubbing pans and frosting maple bars before high school four days a week. The first time I heard his band I was hooked. The Beachcombers were a tight combo that featured a fist-pumping sax man, Dave Reed, and a great girl singer, Jo-Celle Russell. Stan was the glue. In time, they all became my friends — Paul Love, Terry Biggs, Dave Anderson and Jim Wynans.

The Beachcombers never made it big because they were never willing to decamp to Hollywood like the Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Those guys never did a better “Louie Louie” than Stan’s band. But don’t take my word for it. I was at the old Hoquiam High School gym in 1964 when the Beachcombers opened for the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson, a bona fide genius, told Stan he was blown away by how good the Beachcombers were.

After Dick Clark died, Stan always announced himself on the phone as “the world’s oldest living teenager.” Sooner or later, the tide goes out. We can’t defy the sands of time. But Stan Foreman will be long remembered as a great music man.

John C. Hughes