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Lee Chapman, drummer for early 1990s local rockers Powerdresser, apparently passed away over the weekend. He was found unresponsive at a friend's house. No official cause of death has been determined, though friends and family report that he'd been suffering health problems.

With their signature prog-rock twang, Powerdresser was in the wave of early '90s "next Seattle" contenders, such as Heavy Vegetable, Three Mile Pilot, Drive Like Jehu, Truman's Water, Manual Scan, and Rocket from the Crypt. Powerdresser bass player Gabriel Voiles was also the road manager for Heavy Vegetable and Three Mile Pilot. Singer/guitarist Denver Delmonte Lucas worked at Lou's Records and also played with Physics.

After releasing a split single with Heavy Vegetable and the song "Split Fingered Fastball" on the Ask for Disorder compilation of local bands, the group splintered, though a compilation full-length (1994) and a later rarities collection (2002) were released.

Lucas drowned in 1994 at age 22 under mysterious circumstances, just before the band was to record new material. Drummer Lee Chapman had recently quit, leaving the band's future in question.

At the time, TV producer Jason Bang had a music show called Leche: The Musical, which aired on Oceanside's KOCT from early 1993 through early 1995. He recalls, "We taped footage of one of Powerdresser's last shows with Denver Lucas in 1994, and I shot the final video interview with him before he disappeared." Lucas was last seen alive by roommates on November 2, 1994, allegedly high on LSD and heading for the cliffs of Encinitas. His badly decomposed body was discovered over a week later off Carlsbad State Beach and originally listed as a "John Doe" until fingerprints were matched to musical instruments in his home.

Bang continues, "During the interview, he admitted to doing drugs -- mushrooms, acid, and any other hallucinogenic drugs that he felt like doing. He also put across a message of love. He said, 'If you're with someone that you love, tell them now while you have the chance.' Before he passed away, he agreed to do a bit in the TV show called Dear Denver where he'd answer letters about love and life to anyone that wrote in."

When he died, Lucas was talking about distributing Powerdresser's next record for free. His motto for this project: “Promoting Communication, Interaction and Exercise.”

RELATED STORIES:

Musician Interviews: "Relevant and Ignored" Jan. 11, 2007 - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

Cover Story: "The Lost Powerdresser" July 24, 2003 - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

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