Chuck Biscuits Is Alive

And it seems it was all just a cruel, cruel hoax: legendary hard rock drummer Chuck Biscuits, whom this blog eulogized Tuesday after receiving a death notice that allegedly came from his wife, is apparently still among the living.

“I just wanted to let you know that Chuck [Biscuits] is alive and as well as can be expected,” said Bob Montgomery, Chuck’s brother, in an e-mail sent to the author earlier today. “I drove to his home in Seattle [from Canada] to confirm that fact.”

Suspicions rose almost immediately after heavy metal website picked up the news of Chuck’s death from this blog yesterday and made it viral, as Bob and at least one of Chuck’s former band mates had heard nothing of the former Danzig drummer’s passing. After a brief e-mail exchange with JG2Land, Bob Montgomery decided to physically visit his brother to find out the truth once and for all.

“The only reason I put any stock in the Internet rumours was because [James Greene, Jr.] used Chucks wife’s name [in private e-mails],” Bob wrote after his visit to Chuck’s house. “Otherwise, I would have filed it under the African ruler looking for money to enlarge his penis file. I am really curious as to who’s been sending [him] this info.”

In May of 2009, JG2Land received an e-mail that ostensibly came from Chuck Biscuits, who appeared to be using an e-mail address that bore his wife’s real name. The message, which was a response to an article JG2 had authored for entitled “An Open Letter To Chuck Biscuits,” found “Chuck” announcing that he was “awake and rotting twice to the gut in the land of flanneled, tree-huggin’ bunny-fuckers.” The drummer also offered himself up for an interview.

Subsequent communication with this apparently false Chuck Biscuits revealed that he was afflicted with throat cancer and could no longer speak. In July, a message signed with the initials of Chuck’s wife was sent that announced the founding D.O.A. member was in the hospital, his condition deemed “inoperable and terminal according to his care givers” and that “alternative therapies” were being explored. Communication dried up until October 26, when an e-mail was sent announcing that Chuck had passed two days earlier:

“In response to the inquires, thank you for all the support. Chuck did not survive his battle with throat cancer. He passed surrounded by his family on 10/24/09.”

It is currently unknown who exactly is responsible for perpetrating this hoax, nor what their motivations were.

In response to the avalanche of criticism, comments, and questions JG2Land is now currently receiving thanks to this debacle, I wish to state the following: it stings bitterly to know that my communication with Chuck Biscuits, a talent I have long admired, and his wife was all a scam. After all the highs and lows I felt on this six month journey, to have it end like this is just sickening.

I never had any reason to distrust the people in question. No serious flags were raised. Who would pretend to be a dying hard rock drummer for a half a year? There was no monetary gain, and I have no journalistic stature. There seemed to be no angle for this, other than to hurt and embarrass me (mission accomplished). Thus, I took these people at their word.

When I received the e-mail about Chuck’s passing, it hit me in the gut. I was reeling. I decided to write a succinct but heartfelt blog announcing the news Tuesday and that would be the end of it. The news would get around and the world could mourn the loss of the best hard rock drummer of the 1980s. That this could all be some insane prank was the furthest thing from my mind.

I can understand why some people would want to try to ruin my reputation or make me look like a complete asshole lacking journalistic integrity, but I cannot fathom why anyone would want to trick thousands of Chuck’s fans into a false state of grief. That is the real crime here. Reading some of those early comments about fans’ memories of Chuck is especially heart-breaking now. Were these people laughing at those memories? Because I was fighting back tears.

Shame on the party responsible for this. You hurt too many good and innocent people, including Chuck’s close friends / family.

Although I flunked out of the journalism program at the University of Central Florida, I know the rules and I follow them. I fact-check to the best of my ability. I never falsify quotes unless I’m writing an obvious parody or joke. I do thorough research and I try to protect my sources because I don’t entirely believe in this burgeoning “show us everything you got” style of Gen Y reporting. If I had any reason to believe the “Chuck Biscuits” I was talking to was full of shit, I would have put him through the wringer.

That said, I think it’s rather telling that Bob Montgomery couldn’t comment on the state of his own brother without driving several hours to see him in the flesh. The real Chuck Biscuits fell off grid a decade ago, and he’s clearly worked a bit to have things stay that way. I’m not knocking that at all. I’m just saying…I couldn’t verify anything about the real Chuck Biscuits a year ago when I began research for a retrospective piece about his career (which eventually morphed into the much shorter and tongue-in-cheek “Open Letter” piece). One person mailed me back. It took a fake death story to get anyone to confirm that he lived in Seattle.

I’m sorry I unknowingly spread this horrible lie. I apologize to the world, Chuck’s family, Chuck’s friends, and especially Chuck.

P.S. – Concerning Chuck’s contributions to Tougher Than Leather – again, researched to best of my ability, and if you’re familiar with the album and Chuck’s playing style, there’s no reason to seriously question it. Of course it could be a lie, but it could also be 100% true.

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40 responses to “Chuck Biscuits Is Alive”

  1. S says :

    Nowhere on this post do I see an apology from you for announcing Chuck’s death yesterday before getting your facts straight. Your post caused a lot of people who know and love Chuck a lot of unecessary pain and worry. Completely reckless on your part.

  2. S says :

    And if you couldn’t “verify” anything then you should not have posted anything at all.

  3. jamesgreenejr says :

    You didn’t read far enough, S. The very last thing I say before the P.S. is “I’m sorry I unknowingly spread this horrible lie. I apologize to the world, Chuck’s family, Chuck’s friends, and especially Chuck.”

  4. Mark says :

    At least one good thing came out of this — Chuck got to hear how many people love and respect his work as a musician, and he can see all the love that was spread for him. Not at all the way he would have liked to find this out, I’m sure, but if he ever wondered how people feel about his musical legacy, now he knows. Wherever you are, Chuck, glad you’re still among the living.

  5. roxy says :

    and people wonder why I want all men dead. you asshole!

  6. Chuck fan says :

    “I can understand why some people would want to try to ruin my reputation or make me look like a complete asshole lacking journalistic integrity, but I cannot fathom why anyone would want to trick thousands of Chuck’s fans into a false state of grief. That is the real crime here.”

    Er, YOU tricked Chuck’s fans into a false sense of grief as YOU posted this rubbish in the first place. THAT is the real crime here.

  7. ton says :

    Seems like an honest and well-intentioned mistake, and I’d be completely torn up if I were in your place.

    You were just trying to honor an unsung hero, who, apparantly, was much more beloved than most of us realized. Chalk it up to a learning experience, and don’t let the assholes bring you down.

    By the way, you’re a good writer.

  8. Pat says :

    You people need to get over this. Obviously Chuck couldn’t care less that these rumors were premature or he would’ve spoken up by now. So crawl out of your warm baths of moral superiority now, and recognize that Chuck is a public figure who is just as subject to public scrutiny as are more famous public figures. I still respect the guy (even more now, for his anti-PR acumen,) so what’s the harm done? Perhaps we’ll finally hear from him after all this, which wuld be a good thing.

  9. DNA says :

    S Says: James had what he thought was DIRECT correspondence from Chuck’s wife—what would have verified it more than that? The who repeated the story from James are really the ones who should have verified it more before repeating it, since they had only secondhand information from a blogger.

    Roxy: Wow, so the Hofstra Student who would have sent five innocent men to prison for “raping” her but made the entire thing up would justify me “wanting all women dead”? Of course not. You’re completely out of your fucking mind. Please kill yourself.

    Chuck fan: No, “tricking” requires intent. James didn’t try to mislead or fool anybody. He had no malicious intent. As far as the “false sense of grief” goes, fucking get over it you pussy. Be stoked Chuck is alive and stop whining at James, who is also a victim of this hoax.

    You people are idiots.

  10. Allan MacInnis says :

    Just a note – at the risk of inciting the wrath of Nick Jones (among others) and making me look like I’m equally “careless” as James, as a fellow blogger and sometimes music journalist, if I had been in James’ position – assuming it is being accurately represented – of being in correspondence with someone for six months and believing they were the person in question, and then I received a report from a second party saying they had died – I could see myself being duped… particularly since that photograph from May DOES look quite like Chuck, to me. It’s true that I probably would have double-checked with a couple of people before blogging the news – which seems to be the ultimate lesson of this story for any bloggers out there – but I have the advantage of being in touch with various Vancouver punk figures that I’ve interviewed (Joe Keithley characterizes the above as
    “a cruel hoax” via email and confirms Chuck is alive, by the way). Still, I have some degree of sympathy with James on all this; assuming he’s accurately representing the story, he has been set up, and is not the real culprit here (just the only one you can take a bite out of). Bob even suggested his brother might be trying to fake his own death – did that angle get explored, that the culprit here might be, in fact, the real Chuck Biscuits?

    Anyhow, I think it would be fair to focus on the relief that this is a hoax, rather than dogpile on James. (James: uh, you need to doublecheck anything pertaining to Vancouver punk in the future, feel free to ask me to pass on messages!).

  11. Pat says :

    “…that the only culprit here might be, in fact, the real Chuck Biscuits?”

    Occam’s razor. It’s the most logical explanation for this.

  12. Kyle Harcott says :

    Well, whatever the moral of the story is, I sympathize with you James, it seems to me you were set up for a bit of a long con.

    Chuck Biscuits, in his reclusion, has become a mysterious, larger-than-life persona: What happened to this guy who played amazing drums on a bunch of everyone’s favorite records? Where is he now? What is he doing? Why has he dropped so far off the radar? The story of his apparent demise made for great copy, and burned up the interwebs. I could see myself getting taken in by the same approach you describe. At the very least, Chuck now knows what people think of his contribution to this scene of ours. Funny that it took a rumour of his demise. Hope he finds comfort in the love that was shown.

    Add it to the list of music imposters (Nikki Sixx, Peter Criss spring to mind) and move on.

    At the end of the day, Chuck’s alive, and doing well in Seattle, and if he chooses to stay out of the limelight, more power to him.

  13. Denise says :

    Well, the whole thing has me pretty pissed. Many of us were in genuine mourning. I don’t know if there is a way to track down the asshole who had nothing better to do for six months than role-play for no conceivable reason other than to fuck with people, but if his or her identity is ever revealed, there could be a shit storm. Obviously, you wouldn’t have printed this garbage if you had any reason to doubt it’s veracity. Thanks for having the balls to own up and attempt to make it right.

  14. DNA says :

    Oh, and Roxy, you’ll undoubtedly be shocked to learn that Chuck Biscuits is, in fact, a man. Since you’re a hateful creature and “want all men dead,” I guess you were thrilled when you thought he had died.

  15. JohnManyJars says :

    “Facts – we’ve heard of them.”

  16. dan10things says :

    On the positive side of this, I went back and listened to Hardcore ’81 last night and reminisced! And I think all the hoopla of this hoax made a lot of younger punk kids learn about the life of Chuck Biscuits and they’re seeking out some of the great bands he played in over the years.

  17. Balloon Boy says :

    JG2… You said we did this for the show?

  18. Nick says :

    what worries me is that this could possibly be some lame PR stunt to get this blog noticed, at the expense of Chuck and his family and friends…

    First thing i did when i heard about this possibility of a hoax early yesterday was search facebook for said CB page. I haven’t seen it. I think posting some of the fake correspondences are in order. No harm being that they’re not the real Chuck or his wife right?

  19. Erling says :

    Re: Allan MacInnis’s comment that the photo looks like Chuck: I’ve also been told by people who know the Montgomery family well that the note being held up looked like Chuck’s distinctive handwriting. Someone went to a fair bit of trouble to make the scam run.

  20. Tim B says :

    James, from one journalist to another, you could have *qualified* the information you were reporting and avoided this whole mess. Like this:

    A woman identifying herself as the wife of legendary punk rock drummer Chuck Biscuits has stated in an email to this writer that Chuck died on 10/24 after a battle with throat cancer. While we have reason to trust the authenticity of the report, confirmation is pending. More to come…

    Right? Could have saved you lot of trouble dude.

  21. Dave2112 says :

    I feel for you James, and pay no attention to the idiots still coming down hard on you for this. Who pulls a 6 month spanning hoax centered around something so weird as this? Fuck them, they would have done the same thing. For the record, this debacle brought Chucks brother into contact with him, something he hasnt done in a long time. Chuck got to see first hand his musical contributions have not gone unnoticed, and at the very least, he now knows he is loved. More good then bad came from this. Keep your head up James.

  22. jk says :

    A supposedly famous person saying they could not speak because they were dying of throat cancer…and you say there were no flags raised? With publishing comes responsibility to fact-check. Your excuse is that you had trouble fact-checking–that means you should not have published.

  23. Bella Martha says :

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  24. RigoZeroT says :

    someone has to track down the cock sucker that went through all the trouble of faking this hoax and post his address so we can use his computer as a virus petri dish and his face as a cymbal. Watch out SHIT TALKER the BISCUITS ARMY is coming for ya!!!

  25. Alison Grote says :

    Thanks so much for the post.Much thanks again. Want more.

  26. Anonymous says :

    this is rob james here I am starting my power rock trio doomed back up again I sing and play bass at the same time and am looking for the best drummer Canada has ever known my band influences include bgand pussy dwarves beefheart trout mask rep era early rollins band and some slayer more than just 4/4 waltz time odd meter def song sub matter include writing about injustices the downplaying of albatross religions dark side of doing hard dope child molesters the stench of the c I a and its butt buddy the occult satan against def idiot people from from back in the day prison life you know every thing the first doomed is ready to go all guitar bass lyrics little keys 2 songs only you wont play on these just the other 23 songs where I need drum parts with the bass and guitar vocals and drum being the only instrumentation on these you will get 25 to 30 percent of all publishing on the songs you create the drum parts for if interested call me at 1-951-202-5299

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