R.I.P. John Napier of Ethyl Meatplow

> Nov 11 2012

R.I.P. John Napier of Ethyl Meatplow
By Josiah HughesA friend and collaborator of Carla Bozulich in the '90s alternative rock group Ethyl Meatplow, John Napier has passed away. While his exact cause of death is unclear, Bozulich said, "It was drugs that got John."

That statement comes from a lengthy statement that Bozulich posted on her Facebook page. While it's too long to repost in its entirety, here's a particularly touching excerpt:

John was the most dynamic performer I've ever known. Sick, scary and loving. The cat that knew the best books and records and shortwave channels. He would pull things out of nowhere. I shiver to think what I would have missed and maybe someday I'll make a list! That was John. Same with tons of stuff. He just found things. He cared not for being cool. He treated people the way he thought was right and mostly that meant very gently and with great interest. Sometimes he was an ass. Sometimes he'd sit down for hours with someone and teach something excellent. I'm not gonna pretty him up. I wouldn't want him to do it to me. The things about him that were fascinating and kind can't all be listed but he was also a volatile guy and a bit dangerous at times. We all were. And we all found and loved eachother and were a real (fucked up) family and our extended family was and is very large.

When we split up John went and got degrees in social work and focused on troubled kids. I'm sure he changed some lives that way. I know he had a sweet girlfriend but i've been away so long I can't say I know hide nor hare about almost anything. A thing like this really makes you remember the times where your life changed course forever because you knew a certain someone. I feel extremely lucky ever to have found my "voice" not just my singing voice, and much of that has to do with John drawing me out of my shell and saying, "Come on, Carla, you are still a musician. it's just one song on a 4-track....". "Flower" from our 1st tape, MK Ultra.

In addition to his time in Ethyl Meatplow, Napier (who was credited as Wee Wee) also formed the label Basura! and fronted the group Buccinator.

Some live footage of Ethyl Meatplow is available below.

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She said in her eulogy that he didn't have much contact with him, but insists she knows it was drugs. I don't think it was her place to make that statement without proof. It is disrespectful to his (close) friends and family that have been with him for the last few years. I personally think Carla should retract that statement until someone has access to an autopsy. Just because she was in a band with him doesn;t make her the mouthpiece for his death. Maybe she should have kept in better touch with him, so she would actually have a clue.
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I thought the same exact thing as soon as I read Bozulich's self-absorbed post. Does she have any respect for John's family? Answer is, NO...
But I'm sure she got a lot of hits on her FB page which was her motivation in the first place. What does she care? She hated John and hadn't spoke to him in over 15 years. Why not throw out one last good rumor? If it is true, then have the decency to let his family make a statement.
Death has no mercy...I'm sure John wouldn't be surprised by Bozulich's carelessness...But then again, that is why he hadn't spoken to her in years....RIP Mr. Napier...RIP...
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Gena and Longfellow, I agree that it's not helpful to purport "it was drugs that got John in the end" -- that's a generalization based on passed experience from 20+ years ago without contact between the years, and if anything minimizes John's state of being as he passed. There's much more to the story than what's being told. For now, let loved ones heal. Thank you.
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Also, Johnny was born as John Fitzpatrick Napier, January 21, 1965, in Los Angeles County.
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Thanks Louise...it's good of you to pass on John's full name and DOB...He was a special guy.
And you are right, let the Loved Ones heal their loss...
As far as Bozulich is concerned, people that know her already know what she's about....this is nothing new for her to look for headlines at someone else's expense. Classlessness is an easy drink for her...
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Hugs to you, Longfellow. I was a close personal friend of John's since 1985 through Anti-Club when he was in a dynamic duo band with a bass player named Doug and their group then was called Incest Cattle (later Insect Idol when drummer joined). Thereafter, John did some time and was out of civillian life for five years due to bad choices made. John experienced extreme hardship in prison but became motivated to get an education. Upon release, he took up remedial jobs and then began taking general education courses at City colleges. I recall recording in Biff's studio, Motiv, from 1986 - 1996 and seeing John off and on at the studio from about 1990 onward, then Ethyl Meatplow. It was incredible how the group stormed ahead like wild fire-- an exciting new band full of energy, outrageous, bold, daring, DIFFERENT and good music. I could hear a lot of John's soul in Ethyl. An old song from Incest Cattle, "Rat Poison" (Repercussion) set the precedent. Over the course of life, John fathered a little girl (name tattooed on arm), was married, then divorced, moved bunches of times, toured, performed in many other bands and experimental theatre, including: Pressurehead, Baldylocks, E Coli, collaborations with Stephen Holman (Theatre Carnivale), Len del Rio... this is off top memory and written while exceedingly tired and from grieving heart. I know John loved his mother and sister, adored being an uncle, was very proud of having earned his Masters in Psychology and social welfare to become a therapist and social worker. He worked with numerous at-risk youth, especially teens in foster care if not in the system, helping them become future focused, heal..... John set up self-sustaining programs for low income youth, and would go out to no man's land areas inhabited by meth addicts where needles littered pathways, places avoided by most people. John was also a vegetarian, animal friend, loved cycling, beach combing, meditating for hours daily, cooking, cooking, cooking. He also held a deep love for people and an abundance of surrender and awe with God, Nature, Buddha, was metaphysical, scientific, aspired to be self-sustaining and 100% green... talked about building a home by scratch using large truck wheels fileld with plastic bottles containing cat litter.... entertained a plan with me to cooperatively share an old motel along Route 66, convert it to 'old punk's home' and offer friends rooms to reside in upon retirement age..... this is the John I know. I knew the wild and crazy guy John as well but deep down inside, the true John did not need trappings, was not interested in conflict-- loved life fervently, collected antiquated medical text books, put others before himself....... One I suppose could ask why then die by one's own hands.... well, sometimes grief is too great..... sometimes old hurts resurface. Thus for Johnny, it was not drugs that got him in the end but matters much too deep to generalize. What I can say of John, Johnny, John Doll, Johnny Napier.... He so loved and felt intensely, intelligently... accidents were not in his repertoire, thus parting was no accident, and for this reason, I grieve all the more. If only love were enough to combat old wounds. Consider why so many soldiers 'give up' after duty...... PTSD.......
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R.i.p John Napier. I got to see Ethyl Meatplow in San Francisco at The Kennel Club in 1984 opening for some forgotten band- they STOLE the show from the headliner and will go down in My book as one of the most over the top shows EVER. John made Perry Farrell look like fucking Liberace tinkling on Ivories. He was a force of nature...-el MALO
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His name was John Fitzgerald Napier.
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How sad. He was a good guy. Very talented, funny and unique. Someone should think before they speak ill about the dead. Wrong.
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Longfellow got it right.
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Dear Folks, I don't know if any of you check back here. I AM super sorry to his family and close friends for barfing up that letter, talking about drugs at such a tender time, when I was in shock and horror. But John would forgive me.

Like everyday, I'm thinkin' about John. Tryin' again on the net to find the few pics and writings and music of my friend. Why would you use this space in which you could have a forum to write about John's stories and life to character assassinate a person that tried, however clumsy, to tell the world about someone I loved----JOHN! For better or worse, it, along with that of Dave Gomez are among the few things out there trying to leave word of what a special guy he was.

Sorry, but are you totally nuts!? Uh... there are not that many open forums to talk about and celebrate John. Maybe simply state that I was wrong and go on my website or facebook or any other 1000's of places you can write to or about me!!! Lay right into me. People find this thread when they search John. Wouldn't it be good to talk about John from a place of celebration and stories? He wanted to help others by his lifelong journey to overcome addiction and other demons. I was told that there was no doubt by the person who found his body----a person in many ways closest to him. I am sorry for spitting that out. I was crestfallen, 7000 miles from our common friends and totally screwed up.

I felt for you, family and friends from the start and didn't mean to hurt!! I was doing what we had all learned in recovery----tell the truth about how vulnerable we all are. Honor his struggle. Now people say the info could have been wrong. Well, that's something I can not defend. I just send love and hope. I was far away---lost my judgement.

But some of the words here just stink. Do you think the spiritual side of John Napier would like to know that you are associating him with being hated or with hating? Is that nice for an ascending spirit if he has one? Do you want his fans to reduce him to some petty squabble when he was so much more? His fans only have a few sites to read about him. The stories of his life some of you have told here are fantastic. We should all try to tell his stories---what a character.

Do you think I'm a figment of the internet that doesn't bleed? Goddamn. Maybe when someone says they had fallen out that doesn't mean we never talked. It means that I envy those that did communicate regularly. John and I were cool, btw. All was fine and we even had some little things in the making.

You are advertising the lamest possible aspect of John Napier that exists---his troubled relationships and your "insider" knowledge of them. When people Google Napier/B-z-l-ch in a couple of clicks they get B---z--ch hates Napier. Is it crucial to think the most important thing is one of his earliest and longest friends, in a touring band with him for 5 years, hated him? You want him to be portrayed like, what? "The hated guy taken advantage of by a backstabbing bitch willing to use one of her oldest and most influential friends' death to get........ what, exactly? Hum? What? What did I get by telling people who were fans or never heard of him about John? Again, sorry I said drugs but CLIMBING??????????

And what did I get before----that you mentioned, while you're at it, Longfellow or whatever your name is. PLEASE go on a site that isn't giving loved ones free space to write about John and SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS ANYTIME I EVER EVEN DROPPED A FUCKING NAME IN 25 YEARS. Even lie about it some more. Go ahead and say I didn't get to this giant lear jet castle on my diamond hill by hard work and honing my skills. John was so against that kind of portrayal of women. Ask anyone. And any dumbass can see I gave up almost every part of normal life NOT to sell out. Not to work status of my famous friends. To HELP other artists-------I don't know anything of John? Really? JOHN was INTO THAT, you nut. I live out of a bag. How are you doin?

Why not find stories of the brilliant guy? Funny. SMART AS A WHIP. No one is holding John up for ridicule for anything he ever did. We all know that being in bands and families is nuts. But John gets a pass on everything because he was just that fucking cool. PERIOD. Let's celebrate the freaky, funny guy. You guys can do what you want but for me that means telling it like it is, sometimes. John was WAY into that. You don't have to dig deep to see that he was not afraid for people to see him be himself----the big, hilarious, generous, complicated, spiritual WEIRDO.

Does someone here have a problem with 2 humans trying to make their way through a 30 year relationship that's none of your biz and you DO NOT understand? Do I pretend to know what you two had in private? Are you dreaming when you toss off words implying you might know what that was like or what we said or felt? What it was for anyone to almost lose him in life and now completely in death? I bet you have a lot of shitty answers for me on that-----I'll put on my hard hat. Why don't you just keep making up screen names all these years "Longfellow", and following me from opportunity to opportunity-----or----leave these people, grieving people, alone.

Wouldn't it be better if we all made something for him or talked about him? I see that people don't want to mention any of his more extreme sides. Well, what can I say..... I owe much of my inspiration to him so I can't afford to be so tidy about it-------I simply don't think he'd like it. John was one real, multi-faceted, spiritual, demon fighting mutherfucker. We saw eachother when we were 16. We were fast friends. All the guys in Incest Cattle were amazing and Here Eat This, Buccinator, E Coli-----we all have stories of ups and downs. Longfellow, you were not there. Yes, you saw us play together and maybe you bonded later over the troubles people have, but you never got it what it means to be connected like that. Please leave me alone.

I'm on the Seine at an artists' residency between tours. My life rules. Is that despicable? Should I be ashamed to be alive and doing what we whispered and laughed about under the covers when we started EM? Yes, I learned so much from him. Yes, I'm so proud to be a more of a person from knowing him. I always tell people about him and ALWAYS have. He enjoyed hearing my take on that in these last years and I'm so happy we wound up trying to build. I hope you enjoy knowing he wasn't surrounded by this "hate" suggested here. Quite the opposite.

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PS---I'll delete this letter in a week or 2 to avoid continuing the detour from John. Hope to reach family and close friends with love and encouragement to clear mistakes about COD and we can move these talks elsewise. Yell at me directly. I've already heard from Longfellow. Why not any of you? I'm easy to find and I, too, won't forget him, ever.

If there are retractions to be made, please tell me. I want to set things straight. OK, Peace, Carla
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BTW when I say John would forgive it's because I think he was simply that way. He understood that people make dumb mistakes. He taught that even way back when...

By the way, have you guys noticed the ballerinas behind him in the picture at the top?

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Also, feel FREE to deal with me directly. Longfellow did before he ever posted here-----very pretty stuff. Maybe wouldn't exactly warrant a "hi-five" from anyone with a heart. He calls me self-absorbed but kicks me when I'm most vulnerable. I admit I can't seem to let this or John's death go. If you expect me not to defend myself and the lack of hate surrounding John you're nuts, Lomgfellow, vengeful jerk. Anyone here, the loved ones or people who honestly believe these attacks were right for john's memory, message my name if you want to say these things to me. Perhaps ask me something about John, even. Hate to burst bubbles but 5 years of touring wild, loving friendship.... and just 30 years of knowing someone does yield more than just the naive starfucking I'm being reduced to. I'll write you back and I just want to hear from people that really liked him. It is great if you really were way closer to John than me and loved him and cared for his life's good news way more and tried super harder than me to find the peaceful place between the 2 of you for YEARS. Why don't you tell me directly about that? I want to know about the people that loved him. Not so much the psychic people that knew how we both felt. Can we hear more from people that loved him, PLEASE?
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I knew Johnny the last three years of his life and spent a lot of individual time with him. He was on his way to being a LCSW and worked as a social worker with troubled youth. He was a vegetarian, a good friend, he was into alternative and mindfulness. His music was still import and and so was psychology. He did a pod cast. He had direct family he spent time with and was into deep meditation practices. He created an intimacy with all people he was around. I was happy to have him as a brother. He spoke to me daily up until he passed. I write this because everyone who knew him knew him from when he was in his 20's and I knew him as a learned, mature, healthy adult who gave to youth to help them live better lives. I want to add this here since I just felt a lot of people didn't know that person I knew. I knew of the old Johnny but I also knew who he was at the end of his life. Love to all who knew him. Rita Wafler Ph.D MFT , sister and soule friend.....
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