Capitol Hillebrity Slats is dead

Unofficial memorial planned for 3/18/10 at Linda’s

Word of the death of a Pike/Pine character spread today after a friend announced via Facebook that the skinny rocker Slats died this afternoon after a long hospital stay. The Stranger’s Line Out blog is also reporting the woman’s Facebook note and people who know the woman confirm that she was close to Slats. 

Slats has been a fixture on the Capitol Hill scene for long enough to have developed an urban-legend level following complete with speculation and goofy tributes. Last year, we included him in our discussion of who should be on the Capitol Hill $1 bill.

Of his notoriety, Slats told Wired magazine, “It’s kind of strange when I go in a bar and everyone’s taking a picture of me, or I walk down the street and they’re yelling my name,” says Slats, whose real name is Chris. “I’m just living my life and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?”

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41 thoughts on “Capitol Hillebrity Slats is dead

  1. I’m so sad. Slats will be so missed by me, I see him as a icon woven into the fabric of the Hill. I didn’t know him personally, but I cared for him as if I did. The people that are regulars, along with the architecture, make Broadway the wonderful place it is. Characters…that are special and unique. I’ve noticed his absence on Broadway and at Linda’s, I’ve asked about him, wondering where he was, color missing from Broadway. Now he’s gone, another huge change added to the already rapidly changing hill. Condolences to his friends and family, he was very special. The Hill won’t be the same without him, that is for sure. Next time I’m at Linda’s I will raise my glass and think of Slats fondly.

  2. R.I.P Slats, The Hill will never be the same. In many ways I think this moment is turning point (or a bookmark?) for our area. Along with Slats we are also loosing our neighborhood, to developers and the affluent.

  3. Every time I saw Slats I would tell my best friend that I just saw his boyfriend, just a good humored joke between us because he always knew who I meant. I would see Slats in the most random places, both on and off the Hill. I’ve been wondering where he’s been lately and this news makes me really sad. I’m sorry for his family and for those who were his friends. He was a true Capitol Hill icon.

  4. I am one on many people in seattle not personally aquainted with slats, but always felt as though
    i knew him. I always loved going to a show and seeing him there. If you saw slats at a show, you were at the right show. The comet won’t be the same. Fucking bummer.

  5. Slats real name was Chris Harvey. I hate saying the word “Was” when referencing Slats…. He will be dearly missed!

  6. This is sad news. At least he was able to live his dream for a while, and have his band playing at the Comet and people recognizing him on the street.

  7. My favorite memory of him is when we tried to play apples to apples card game. I went to a party at CC’s apartment on first hill with Robyn, Micha, and my girlfriend Hailey. Everyone was there partying witch entails everything you could imagine at a glam/punk party. everyone kinda stopped what they were doing just to play the game it was nice. Robyn was trying to help him play but he just didn’t understand I think, but he found the card that said “shark” and he said, “this is my card.” A week later we were all at the cha cha and Slats was there of course, It seemed to me like he was Santa who can be at every mall at the same time, Slats could be at every party or every show or bar that you went to. Anyway he reached in his pocket and pulled out the card and quietly said something like “hey I still have my shark card, I told you this was my card . . .”

    I remember him trying to tear down a fence on pike and 11h. He was piss drunk and pissed off and yelling about the changes on the hill. his friend tried for an hour he said to get him to stop so i helped him out.
    Miss ya bud.

  8. About 6 months ago, I decided to wander into a low-key Capitol Hill bar on my way home from being a downtown lawyer. I saw this character, flanked by a lovely blonde woman and a youth man with a faux hawk. I was looking to talk to someone who was the opposite of the stiffs i am surrounded by everyday (God bless ‘em). I offered to buy all three drinks in exchange for telling me their life stories. quite the gimmick, but I’m obviously not the creative type.

    the four of us had a good half hour chat. the younger two talked of moving here from separate states, loving “the Hill,” being involved in music, art, the whole nine yards. the person i now know as Slats was looking off into the distance, sunglasses on, could have been asleep but for the occasional contribution that confirmed he was listening. the blonde gave me the goods on him, with his occasional correction or addition. he was quite clearly revered by these two wide-eyed young people looking to find their place. oh it sounds romantic and idealistic, but he was walking them through their quasi-coming of age on capitol hill. there is no doubt that they weren’t the only two.

    rest in peace dear sir!

  9. I can’t be true what I’m reading. What about all the young people he got hooked on drugs? Really people what good did he ever do? I never saw him book a show or help close a bar down after a really busy night. Or just be a allright person. He always thought he was owed something. Yeah it does suck that someone had to die but, he was not a hero. If his band was good, why have I never seen them or seen a cd or 7 in. Or even a review in a newspaper or something. I can think of 3 girls and 2 guys who he ruined there lives and hurt there families very much, with hard drugs, unwanted sex and stolen money. That’s all.

  10. but if you know so much about a sleazy part of his life you must have been right there, participating.
    Way to go, you unsympathetic Chooch. Ya must have Asperger’s. The first hallmark of that is lack of empathy. I guess you’d know that since you’re a “doctor”….

  11. I was sittin’ in the back of the Rancho Bravo whenit first opened. Slats walked in & peeps stared at him while he waited for his food. A few tables whispered to each other and laughed (jerks- probably bridge/tunnel peeps). When he walked near my table, I said, “Hi, Slats”. He came over and sat down and we talked music,the hill, bands,etc. He shared his excitement about a new CD his band was going to record. That he was checking out some studios for the recording. Prior to that conversation,we had never met. Under this tough exterior,I saw someone who was happy to just live his life out on the hill. Take care SLATS, and R.I.P.

  12. “Doctor Dirty”? need we say more.
    Your spelling isn’t very good.
    You have no clear idea about the words, their, they’re, or there.
    Plus some of your sentences don’t make any sense.
    I hope you’re not a real doctor.
    I think you should focus on your English instead of taking stabs at a person you didn’t know.

  13. I’m a long time fiend of Chris and his mom. Many thanks to you for sharing your thoughts at this time of sadness and reflection. His mom plans a memorial service for him sometime (no plans yet) and wants to have somewhere on cap Hill. Peace to you all.

  14. 1. Sorry to hear about Slats. I always got excited seeing him just knowing he was part of the Hill mythos.

    2. Really? You’re going to start ragging on Asperger’s because some guy on an anonymous message board post was a jerk? You used it as an insult? Really?

  15. It’s so bizarre that people idolize a junkie. What did he ever accomplish? He hobbled down the street, got other kids hooked on hard drugs and wore a funny hat. I find it really bizarre that people looked up to this guy. Someone list his accomplishments or things he did for Seattle’s music community. As far as I can tell, he was a heroin addict who stumbled around from bar to bar. He died from a broken hip. You know who else dies from broken hips? Really old and sick people. He got what he deserved but about 10 or 20 years too late. If only the kids he got hooked on drugs had never met him.

  16. It would be great if you could let us know about the memorial once it’s scheduled – feel free to email me at seadevi at gmail dot com

  17. Oh no, a junkie died!

    I have lived on the hill for over 15 years. Every time I saw ‘slats’ I thought ‘oh look, another junkie.’

    The only redeeming quality to this guy is that he didn’t beg you for change as you walked by.

    He wasn’t ‘legendary’ he was just a hipster junkie with a big hat. The only ‘legendary’ thing he did was live this long.

  18. Slats was a guitarist that’s been part of the Seattle music scene since the early 80’s. He’s probably most known for the band the Silly Killers and the song Knife Manual. A famous band member “Duff” McKagan (played bass in Guns n Roses) played drums. Knife Manual was covered by Gas Huffer in 1992 and was released as split 7″ with Mudhoney.

    I was in a band with Slats for the past few years called Pain Cocktail. We had a revolving door of band members and didn’t have much of a following. My first show I played with them was at the Fun House. It was raw, chaotic, high energy, and the most punk rock thing I had ever seen. The drum set I played was a piece of shit and it fell apart halfway through the set. Roman (drummer from the Greatest Hits) and some others came up on stage and held the drums together as we finished the gig. Beer was flying everywhere, the guitar was feeding back like mad and Blake was insane as hell. Rob (now in Dies Drear) played bass and was the only thing I could anchor to. I would say that show and the show at the Comet were the most memorable shows I’ve ever played.

    He was a good friend and hell of a guitarist and I will miss him.

  19. It hurts to see this. People always judged Slats based on his appearance. Some people would push him or say something rude and it just rolled off him. He would be kind to you no matter what you looked like. His friends were street kids, college kids, young rockers and old and he was a very accepting person.

    There’s a good organization in Seattle for those you interested in helping rather than hurting people. It’s called People’s Harm Reduction Alliance (PHRA). I’m sure they could use a donation. http://www.myspace.com/seattlephra

  20. For those of you who are incredulous over the sympathy and loss reflected here, I have one question…did any of you actually know Slats? Or did you just see him standing on a Capitol Hill street and make your assumptions. Or hear about him and that he was an addict and make your assumptions.

    He was not my best friend, nor did I even know him that well. But we were street acquaintances for quite a while, more than strangers, and I did know his band. He wasn’t a bad guy. Nor was he just a random junkie.

    No one is saying that Slats was a “hero”. But he was a Capitol Hill icon, for reasons other than his drug use. And unless you knew him personally and have your own reasons for not looking upon him kindly, you really have no right to cast your ignorant and acerbic aspertions upon him.

    Please, keep your opinions to yourselves, and let people who knew him, or knew of him, share memories here.

  21. It’s sad that the internet trolls come out even when someone dies. In 30 years of knowing Chris and those who knew him, and knowing an awful lot of addicts in Seattle, I never, ever heard anything of the ridiculous allegations made by the troll above. Hush, weirdo. Those of us around for the last 30 years can see a sad, angry person like you for what you are. And educate yourself, eventually, about the actual cause of death before you spew more ignorance, showing yourself, again, to be a troll.

  22. In about 81/82 I was sitting in a language arts class at Garfield high school. Several minutes into class the most amazing (super skinny, crazy faux hawk) punk rocker struts in with a Debbie Harry look-a-like girlfriend. The guy looked familiar. It was Chris Harvey who I had known several years earlier as a preppy, puka shell necklace wearing, supposedly related to Edie Sedgwick kid who was two years ahead of me at Bush School.

    Chris and “Debbie” lasted about 10 minutes in class. They were laughing too loud, making snarky comments and making out before the teacher asked them to leave. I never saw him again. RIP Chris.

  23. The first time i saw Slats, he was walking down broadway singing “Hard to handle” looking like one of the Black Crows in ’93. It was summer and he was wearing exactly what he was known for. Well, the only time I had actually met Slats was three years ago. He was having bass tryouts at crybaby studios and Tyler wanted to try out for Pain Coctail, so… we met him on broadway and walked to his small rehearsal space. Long story short, Tyler didnt join up with Slats’ band. There were several indications this was a man too high to play well. And his guitar kept slipping off the strap holder, causing Slats to stop playing. I was very familear with the smells in the air: junkie, de-tox sweat and all that goes with it. Not one to judge him, because… um, It takes a junkie to spot these things. A person fortunate enough to have made it out of junk alive. The tryout was uneventful and resulted in a depressing trip home. I reaaly could tell Slats was seasoned in music, though… with his Les- Paul slung low, and his choice of garb simillar to anyone into the New York Dolls and Rolling Stones would proudly wear; He looked cool. I could tell he was once a good musician, but years of the life had definately taken it’s toll on him and the black stretch gloves did little to hide the marks. But I will say we had a hillarious laugh with him near the KFC before we parted ways. His glasses were partially down his nose, eyes half-mast and his voice slow with a combination of smack and several pins to augment the dopes legs till the next shot. He was joking about this woman who screamed something like: “I’M TRYING TO GET MY CHICKEN ON” and doing this hillarious dance. In the end, we stood near some payphones that probably don’t receive incomming calls anymore. Times change. People die. Yuppies have taken over. That’s progress, folks!!! R.I.P Slats!!!

  24. The first time i saw Slats, he was walking down broadway singing “Hard to handle” looking like one of the Black Crows in ’93. It was summer and he was wearing exactly what he was known for. Well, the only time I had actually met Slats was three years ago. He was having bass tryouts at crybaby studios and Tyler wanted to try out for Pain Coctail, so… we met him on broadway and walked to his small rehearsal space. Long story short, Tyler didnt join up with Slats’ band. There were several indications this was a man too high to play well. And his guitar kept slipping off the strap holder, causing Slats to stop playing. I was very familear with the smells in the air: junkie, de-tox sweat and all that goes with it. Not one to judge him, because… um, It takes a junkie to spot these things. A person fortunate enough to have made it out of junk alive. The tryout was uneventful and resulted in a depressing trip home. I reaaly could tell Slats was seasoned in music, though… with his Les- Paul slung low, and his choice of garb simillar to anyone into the New York Dolls and Rolling Stones would proudly wear; He looked cool. I could tell he was once a good musician, but years of the life had definately taken it’s toll on him and the black stretch gloves did little to hide the marks. But I will say we had a hillarious laugh with him near the KFC before we parted ways. His glasses were partially down his nose, eyes half-mast and his voice slow with a combination of smack and several pins to augment the dopes legs till the next shot. He was joking about this woman who screamed something like: “I’M TRYING TO GET MY CHICKEN ON” and doing this hillarious dance. In the end, we stood near some payphones that probably don’t receive incomming calls anymore. Times change. People die. Yuppies have taken over. That’s progress, folks!!! R.I.P Slats!!!

  25. I actually “dated” Slats in about 1987-he was 23 then and a really good looking guy. Yes, I too had the Debby Harry bleached blonde locks. He lived with his Mom over in Montlake. Yes, he is realted to Edie Sedgewick. Sedgewick is his middle name, if I recall correctly. It’s from his Mom’s side of the family. He was a sweet guy and had a drug problem -period. He had a lot of friends too. I think it says alot about a person who has a lot of friends.

  26. I knew Slats for several years . He was always there for me when I needed a friend . He turned me on to some great music ,and taught me to never judge anyone . He was very wise . He was filled with great punk rock stories . He always had a positive outlook on life .He always cheered me up. I miss him so much it hurts ,and I don’t know what to do.I can’t think of a person I could compare him to . He cared about people ,The Hill,and Punk Rock music . He loved his mom and his friends . He liked to party . He never complained .I loved him as a friend ,and will always miss him . He wasn’t perfect ,but know one is. So please stop posting bad things about him. He would never do that to you. I truly consider myself lucky to have spent time with him . I can’t believe he has died . I miss him so much .

  27. I must echo ‘Doctor Dirty’ and ‘Dead Junky’. As far as the retort by ‘ilovethehill’, nice job on correcting the Doctor’s poor English. If you were forced to stay on topic, would you have anything truly constructive to say about Dirty’s comment? If so, why then did you not articulate? Should we expect any other reaction from someone that calls himself/herself “ilovethehill”? Do you lot want to deep throat the ghost of a neverwas because that seems like the cool thing to do, because you romanticize anything with drugs or because Mr. Slatts actually contributed something to our city other than a trail of sick & depressed looking girls?

    By the way Slatts, George Michael’s ‘Monkey’ video called; it wants to know if you’re done with the hat now.

  28. I totally agree with you Dr. Dirty. Who cares if your grammer is poor, your point is dead on. It is sad that someone has lost their life but the fact that a memorial is being constructed in the name of an icon that was a burned out junkie freeloader panhandler is pathetic. Haven’t we all moved on from the 80’s and grown up? Do we really think that is still cool now that we are in our 40s with careers and assets and families? Nostalgia isn’t always positive.

  29. Yep, that’s my last name…”SLATS”!!! Never knew anyone else outside my family name, much less…never thought anyone else would carry that name: “SLATS”!!! I’m an AkNatv. Fucken missionaries gave my Grandma that name after they molested a few young native hunter boys! But gullible uneducated Natives were too blind to see…even last few “gullables” left! Can’t they die any faster? Fucken Ted Stevens, Don Young, and Frank Murkowski all made Political Careers out of “GULLIBLE NATIVE” votes! Ask them and they won’t admit it! Their trick to holding office term after term? Send all registered Native voters a calender with their whole family picture on them and it’s a done deal at the Polling Place. Lisa, learn from your dad! Send or promise a “DOORPRIZE” to every Native and you will win by a “LANDSLIDE”!!! Even your daddy and Don Young will agree with me.

  30. I remember that guy. I lived on Capitol Hill and saw him around.
    It was around 2003, and I was singing for Pumpstation69, while rehearsing at Hush Studios in SODO. He was always quiet and respectfull of others feelings, which was so opposite of the other guys when they got hooked or hammered. Honestly, I never heard him play, even though we were down the hall from him, which either says he prefered quiet music over the din of earslpitting metal we expunged, or he was simply passed out in his opiate stupor.

    Nevertheless, I am sure he will be missed.

    I wanna give a shout out to the PS69 guys:
    YO! Ben Chaiken, Gregory Heron, and Patrick!
    Johnny says hello and keep rokkin’!

    Also, circle of Force, you guys should have never broke up!

    If I didn’t mention you I still miss you but forgot your band name.

    P.S>I rember those hot gals next to the office, did you ever get any songs finished? Would love to hear them sometime…email me
    curtisspcrescue@yahoo.com

  31. I knew slatz back in 84ish?? and on? I am reading all of these comments…The slatz I knew was kind, had the most beautiful smile in the world, and wouldn’t hurt a fly. That was many yrs ago. Sad to hear some of these comments. He was intelligent, witty, and I’ve never laughed and smiled so much with a guy. A complete free spirit who was ahead of his time. Addiction is a tough road. I remember him always wearing a his lil black leather (later white), drinking wine at his ma’s till all hours and playing trivial pursuit, riding around in a wheelchair..backwards, with Carl and friends..laughing our asses off and being free..of course, with our case of Ranier..rip

  32. I dated Slats for several years and even lived with him and his mom for some time. I was devastated to hear of his death. It kills me that so many people had such horrible things to say about him! On the other hand, a lot of his true friends came out and spoke about what a sweet, gentle and wonderful person he was. Tony was right, Slats would never say bad things about someone he didn’t know. Judge not, lest ye be judged. I will do my best to laugh off the negative comments I have just read and focus on the positive ones. The fact that all of these people even took the time to comment about him would have probably shocked him. He was beautiful and he had a big heart; the biggest. I miss him every day and it’s almost been two years.

  33. Yeah, and by the way, HATERS, if you want to blame someone, blame the doctors that prescribed him Pain Cocktail, methadone and clonopin. No one should be prescribed that many narcotics legally! I blame the doctors!

  34. everyone here is reminiscing about the Capitol Hill Slats, but if you all knew him in the early ’80’s, he was so alive, charismatic, humorous, mischeivious, slick, cool, I could continue for an hour. He had the charisma and looks of an glamour-era Hollywood movie star.
    He played practical jokes, was athletic in his lean frame and was always (in public) happy and funny. It was important for HIM to entertain YOu. And he was soooo good at it.
    I only saw him once after moving back from NYC, when the Sex Pistols played Bumbershoot. I spotted his height (a lot of it being hair) weaving through the crowd and I saw him see me. When he did, I noticed a marked veering away, but I hurried to meet him, he looked almost panicky to see me. It made me sad to see his unhealthy state, but I had heard all the stories from our mutual friends. But what made me the most sad was that he seemed embarassed for me to see his dishevelment. I wanted to tell him that I always loved him and saw him with the golden glow of health and youth in my minds eye. I unfortunately didn’t have the nerve. I stupidly thought it would further pain him. I have always regretted it, to this day. I loved him like a brother, and I wish I had told him. I miss that Slats.