Dates Active


Band Members

Mike Refuzor-Vocals, Bass, Guitar (1978-1989)

Roach Refuzor-Drums (1978-1989

Danny Refuzor-Guitar (1978-1989

Ward Refuzor-Guitar

Al Dams-Guitar

Mike Purdon-Bass

Renee Refuzor-Vocals

Tom Hansen-Guitar

Mike Refuzor-Guitar, Vocals (1993)

John Carey-Bass (1993)

Dan Bradshaw-Guitar (1993)

Al Cannibal-Guitar (1993

Alex Maggot Brains-Bass (1993

Aldo Dams-Drums (1993)

Selected Discography

White Power-Seattle Syndrome Compilation Engram Records (1981)

Q.Why Do It, You’ll Never Get Rich  A.Cuz I’m A Refuser-Cassette Only- Rizz Records (1987)

Think I Lost My Faith b/w Jim Jones 7″-Bag of Hammers Records (1993)

Flashback-Idol Records (1997)


During the early to mid 1980s The Refuzors were A-list Seattle punk rockers. They were one of the best live bands around. Uncompromising, edgy and raw.  They could have been lumped in with alot of hardcore bands from that era but for one thing. The songwriting, mostly by guitarist and vocalist Mike Refuzor set them far ahead of other great hardcore Seattle bands.  And they were always unexpectedly fun.  The Refuzors started out as a trio, and it’s probably their original line-up or Mike Refuzor (Mike Lambert) Bass and Vocals, Danny Refuzor (Danny Barton) on guitar and Roach Refuzor Dan Bradshaw) on drums that is most memorable. Other incarnations included Ward Refuzor (Ward Nelson) on guitar, Al Dams, Mike Purdon on bass  and Renee Refuzor (Renee Vazquez) doing some of the vocals.

The Refuzors were good at creating controversy-but some of it was also the cause of the press.  In a revew of the band local rock critic (at the time) printed her views of The Refuzors (and Mike specifically) of being neo-Nazi, white supremecists and fascists.  The comments were made in the widely read but now defunct Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  Her pronouncement wasn’t based on the lyrics or outward signs of Nazism.  The Refuzors never associated themselves with the neo-Nazi or white supremacist movements.  Hackett based her opinon on their dress; the all black, all leather uniform that many punks adhered to in the early 1980s.  The result of the public accusation led Mike to write one of his best songs, “White Power”.  And of course, once more the media went wild.  How could any major band write such a song?
The fact is the song’s lyrics make clear that they did NOT support white supremacy.  The lyrics start:

People may say things about me.
Some of them things are true, some are lies
With the power of the press you labeled me a Nazi
I bet you can’t even look me in the eyes

Later in the chorus Mike sings;

I never said White Power
I never said White Power to you
White Power
I’m sayin’ it now
You put those words in my mouth…

A studio version of the song was included on the near-legendary “Seattle Syndrome” compilation, but it seems as of this writing there are only very poorly recorded live versions of the song available on the internet.  Aside from the inclusion on The Seattle Syndrome The Refuzors released a cassette-only project in 1987 titled “Q. Why Do It, You’ll Never Get Rich A. Cuz I’m A Refuser” as well as Idol Records’ i987 release of a compilation called “Flashback”.

Other controversies were totally staged by The Refuzors themselves. For instance swinging a dead cat into the audience while playing their song “Splat Goes The Cat” to an all-ages audience. The mainstream press was not amused.  Rock critic Regina Hackett took another stab at denouncing the band.  She publicly accused Mike Refuzor of not having morals, while Mike countered “The cat was already dead anyway”.  No matter.  The fans loved it and it has become local Seattle lore-and one of the most memorable antics in the city’s rock history.

The Refuzors never made it out of the confines of the Seattle/Portland alt vortex. They probably never made a penny, but they Refuzors were the real deal. Totally without guile or bullshit, their lives and music were undistinguishable. They were hombres, outside the lines, with fiercely loyal fans. By the late 80s, though, the band slowly unraveled from drugs, alcohol and limited recognition outside the Northwest. They called it quits in 1989.  It’s a typical story, but it’s without a typical ending. Read on.

In the early to mid-90s Mike had met the proto-punk, psychedelic “creator of Flower Power” Sky Saxon formerly of “The Seeds” (Pushin’ Too Hard, Can’t Seem to Make You Mine)  Sky was currently living in Seattle after going broke near the height of his career, ending up on the streets, and later joining a “The Source Family” in Hawaii and re-naming himself “Sunshine”. Mike palled around with Sky, did a few shows together as The Wolf Pack and took part in the kind of over-the-top-escapist drug use that both were known for

In 1993 Mike put The Refuzors back together, although with a completely different line-up that included several members of Seattle’s “The Accused”.  The reconstituted  band recorded two sides for the now defunct Seattle label ‘Bag of Hammers’. The songs had been long been in The Refuzors repertoire and results were spectacular. The single Think I Lost My Faith b/w Jim Jones’ might just be the true missing link between the brilliant NW underground punk scene of the 1980’s and the equally brilliant, but over-hyped ‘grunge’ of the 90’s. Unfortunately ‘Bag of Hammers’ released only 800 copies of the single and without any promotion it went nowhere.   An additional 200 of the singles were pressed on clear vinyl, making it a true rarity.

Meanwhile Mike sank lower and lower, eventually ending up on the street and in the 2000’s he suffered a mild stroke and lost some of his sight. Without support from his old friends and fans he ended up nearly forgotten by music fans who thought “grunge”

Both ‘Think I Lost My Faith’ and ‘Jim Jones’ along with the 1981 release “White Power” have upfront drums & bass that was typical punk of rhythm section.  But The Refuzors weren’t above a heavy guitar sound and the occasional solo. Mike’s vocals were torn, ragged and raw, but not like every other cookie-cutter hardcore vocalist. This was real pain. It’s not fake suburban angst. There was a beautiful, passionate cruelty at work here. These songs are a brilliant mix of writing and delivery.  Stuff that makes people want to howl and cry and bang my head at the same time. It proves the theory that the greatest bands in the world will probably never be heard, or at least only heard by a few. Most will never make it outside their garage door.  Luckily The Refuzors were able to be an important, influential part of the 80s Seattle music scene.

The Refuzors may never end up onstage again. Mike is somewhat disabled, and living the life of a hermit, although he’s spotted around town now and again, and has even appeared onstage with The Fags, and with his good friend Charlie Thunders of the band “Thankless Dogs. Sadly, Roach Refuzor (Dan Bradshaw) passed away in early 2015.  I don’t know if The Refuzors were some of the ‘Shoulders of Giants’ grunge bands stood on, or if they were just garage-bound guys that got stepped on and tossed aside when the music biz smelled cash. It doesn’t matter. They were brilliant, beautiful, caustic and heart-wrenching in their honesty.  Maybe one day they’ll receive the belated respect that’s been overdue for many years.

-Dennis R. White. Sources: Stephen Tow, “The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge” (Sasquatch Books, 2011)  Garage Punk Hideout Forum, June 25-27, 2009,, Charlie Thunders, Mike Refuzor.

15 comments on “THE REFUZORS

  1. Ralph Becker on

    Great article, DW! I was proud to have been, for a short time, the manager of the Refuzors, and their occasional photographer. Beyond their image, they were sensitive and raucous humans.

  2. Paula on

    I was there many a night back in the day –
    they were an awesome band & Mike a super talent. This was wonderfully written – thank you! ?✌?

  3. Little Alex on

    When I moved here fron NYC at 14 in 1980! Mike Refuzor,and my sister were together,so when she worked,Mike became my tour guide,and then I,and my sister moved into the Fag House,House of Ken,and other notable punk houses that we ourselves made! I was very close to Mike from 1980-2017 where we dosed at the Methadone Clinic,and later hanging in Westlake Park,along with Stan (R.I.P.) p.s. I was up on stage at Danceland during the infamous “Dead Cat” throw,as a back up singer “The Refuzorettes”! Splat Goes the Cat,Splat Goes the Cat! MEOW,MEOW! The cat was found by me in the alley of Crawford Place where we all were hanging out before the show at Kevin Eastwood’s apartment,Jeff House, and I wrestled over that cat,because as an animal lover,activist,etc.,I wanted to bury it,but others would have you believe that it was fresh roadkill found in the street on the corner of Bellevue,and Pike,on the side of Bensens Grocery, but it later became poetic justice,license in a book!!

  4. Glenna Foreman on

    I was hanging with them from the outset. Stan and Mike were best pals and I met both of them March 12, 1978, at The Bird on Spring St. and began hanging at Mike’s apt on lower Queen Anne on weekends. I went to rehearsals, somewhere I’ve got a rehearsal tape from 79 or so and I’ve also still got the “Think I Lost My Faith” single, tho unfortunately not on clear vinyl! I consider Mike one of my few true friends. And he wrote some great songs to boot. But why no mention of the original drummer, Skip Bryson? He played with them before Roach…I have photos…!

  5. John Carey on

    Nicely done other than literally writing me out of Refuzor history. I played with them for 20 years, played on the single (Lost My Faith, not Jim Jones) and all of the Flashback album. Mike & Roach were amazingly talented. One night we played at the Lake Union Pub as the ‘Silver Refuzors’ and played Beatles songs from the first album, with Me, Roach and Mike up front and our pal Ziggy (RIP) on the drums. No rehearsal, just 123 go, and it was fantastic. Anyway, as far as this article goes, it is pretty accurate. Thanks for writing.


  6. Shawn W Smith on

    Thank you so much for writing this article!

    Unlike the “human jukebox” local bands of the seventies,The 80’s marked a time when bands started creating there own music. A lot of it was okay, but some of it was good, real good. Of the few that were on top were The Refuzors.
    Between the raw power of the band and Mike’s lyrics, they were no corporate trash. They were real rock and roll.
    I was there when the dead cat hit the audience.
    I was at a small club when Mike got on stage and sang the best cover of Heroin that I have ever heard.
    I even remember him in a parking lot flipping shit to a bunch of communist kids who were saying that they didn’t work and that their life was “devoted to the revolution”. He kept asking where they got money to live. It became apparent that they were on welfare. Surviving of money from the same government they wanted to destroy. He was intelligent and he was cool.
    The Refuzors were a force of nature god bless’em.

  7. Gale gehri flanagan on

    Thank you for this well written article it takes me back to a time and place I wish I could go back to today bittersweet memories as I was Daniel earl Bradshaw aka roach girlfriend for many years and even after separating we remained friends to the end one thing for sure he was talented they all where and I feel very honored to have been there in those days priceless thank you gale

  8. Norma Dailey on

    Many years ago as I was leaving, Mike’s mom told me “You’ll never find as great a love as you had for your first love” (husband). I scoffed at her and her words. Damn! She was so right. ?

  9. Gale Marie gehri flanagan on

    I miss Daniel (roach) my love of many years I miss mike,Stan,and ziggy I know there up in rock and roll punk heaven hammering it out and during a lightening thunder storm when I hear the clasps of thunder I think to myself there goes roach on the drums dam he was good and the lightening bolts signify their raw jagged edgy ways they where a powerful force and I feel honored to have been there in their living days gone but never ever forgotten rock on in the celestial heavens my friends and love

  10. deborah j barnes on

    Went looking for a cut and paste flyer as I remember helping Mike make a few when we lived together for about a year on Eastlake above Stan and Glenna! Mike was great, more or less, and he helped me though a rough time in my life. Then we created our own mess! It was “be the show not the audience,” and so we danced and screamed and lived out loud. Thanks for putting the White Power song lyrics up as yes, the song deserved a place in the space/time of Seattle Punk. As for the reporter and her attempt to create “enemy” in the scene, classic. One of the steps that got us to this Great Mess of the now. Patterns and repeats in the game of standardizing status quo.

  11. Sheryl Mack on

    Close, but no cigar. Skip Bryson was the Refuzor’s 2nd drummer. He replaced their first drummer Dan in late summer 1978. I was with Mike & Danny Barton when they auditioned Skip at Skip’s place. It was a win for Skip when he played his song, “King Shit”. Dan had written the song “Work like a Jerk”. The band had actually performed “Work like a Jerk” live.


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