We were saddened today to hear of the passing of Derek Shepherd.

The first time we met Derek was when we played a show with the Queers around 1997 at Pioneer Square Theater. I saw Derek and was shocked at how much he looked like Touch back when we were in Junior High. I would guess Derek must’ve been 14 or 15 years old. We asked photographer Curt Doughty to take some photos of them together (which I have to admit was more for my amusement than anything). We told Derek he had won the Touch Look-Alike contest, and gave him an ultra rare Head Zeppelin shirt.  He was a sweet kid.  About a year later, we played with Derek’s band The Retards when we both opened for the Groovie Ghoulies at Velvet Elvis.

I didn’t see much of Derek for a while after the Retards broke up. When he resurfaced, it seemed to me that his love had gravitated towards power-pop music. He played in Weird Science, Plastic Letters (which I believe had their LP produced by Peter Case from the Nerves/Plimsouls) and The Pop Machine. We saw Derek on and off through the years. He was always very pleasant to us and excited to talk about whatever project he was doing. When he worked at Bop Street Records, he unsucessfully tried to talk us into playing at the store (I also remember him scoring a Pointed Sticks/Wipers Showbox Concert poster while working there)! Last time he resurfaced here was in a band called the Sick Secrets, which I never saw.

The last time I saw Derek was when I was driving through the U-District a few months ago with Big D. I saw a guy walking down Brooklyn with what looked like a bag of groceries; then I said to Big D, “Holy shit!!! There’s Wreckless Derek!!!” I thought about stopping, but decided I didn’t want to bother him.

We’re really going to miss you, Derek, and our thoughts go out to your family.

Here is a song by one of Derek’s heroes, Peter Case:

Curt Doughty’s photos of Derek and Touch at the Queers show


Hi. We're Head. How's it going? We're from Seattle. We've been kicking around the hardscrabble streets of Queen Anne Hill since 1990. Head consists of Ree Ree on Bass/Vocals, Touch on Guitar and Tulu on Drums. The Giggles was a full time member of the band up until 1999 when he got his head screwed on straight and went into the Head Army Reserves. We've put out several records on our imprint Evil Clown Records as well as records on Steve Priest Fan Club, Regal Select and Goner. We average about 3 or 4 shows a year. 2011 we played 2 shows. Looks like 2012 will be more than that. I'll believe it when I see it.
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3 Responses to R.I.P. DEREK SHEPHERD

  1. kirsten says:

    i bet derek was over the moon to win your contest.

  2. danny norris says:

    Yeah, man. He was always going on about Head…

  3. Scott Ellis says:

    I clearly remember Derek and his leather jacket with a rotating cast of bands painted on the back. Last time I saw him it was The Devil Dogs on his jacket. I am very saddened to hear that he has gone. He had a die hard enthusiasm for rock and roll music. I saw the Retards open for Head at the Velvet Elvis, with their Mosrite guits and Ramones/ Head influenced tunes and I was proud of him for having the guts to get up there and do the thing, the thing we all wanted to do in our heads but for one reason or another, never did. Derek didn’t like me and my pal Greg because we were a bit older and had been into punk rock for a while and we always had the shirts or the pins or the records that he was into as well and I got the feeling he wanted to be THE COOLEST kid on the scene. Too bad he didn’t realize he was really cool to us, so young and so involved with the Seattle music scene already, he was doing what he dreamed and that’s as rock and roll as it gets. I never saw him after his days in the Retards cuz I left Seattle, but I would occasionally see their 45 on ebay and think “good for him”, he put out a record and I had dreamed of doing so and never had the guts to do so. From all the people that have been mourning his passing, it seems that he eventually touched a lot of lives. Derek, you were a fixture in my teenage years and I’ll remember your wild and loud ass as long as I live. Why’d you have to give up, the dope is just not that important or unbeatable. That Seattle smack scene claims another. Peace be with you Derek and your family as well.

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