Black Randy memories

Black Randy

“No gift is too great for my people!”, I once heard Black Randy say.  I was only lucky enough to see them a few times.

These days, they are more famous as Dangerhouse Records artists.  In fact, I recently bought another set of Black Randy 45’s (“Trouble At The Cup”, “Idi Amin” and “I Slept In An Arcade”), which I am not entirely convinced were legit – of course I own originals, purchased when the band was still together.

Black Randy died in 1988; I used to hear it was something else (drugs?), but Wikipedia says he died from AIDS.

The band was always very tight, on stage.  They could really play!  I remember thinking, Randy himself is the only one who is not a professional musician – but ultimately, they were all great.  I remember going to see The Screamers at a club out in the San Fernando valley, and Randy was yelling encouragement at them, “You came back too soon!”.

Friends at my work (Superior Music, in Glendale, CA) knew about Black Randy, too.  His only LP “Pass The Dust, I Think I’m Bowie” was a very special LP, and it still is (despite Long Gone John’s CD of it).

Simply put, Black Randy acted “black” – or as close to black as L.A. punks ever got!

But as Randy could be somewhat crude, there was no “eulogy” when he died.  He was just another victim.

There’s a film “Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains” that Black Randy & His Elite Metrosquad appear in, if you want to see them “in action”.


4-4-12             Retromania

Bluesman Muddy Waters born 1915; The Blues.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been using Simon Reynolds’ book “Retromania” to read right before falling asleep.  Inside the front cover, it says he lives in L.A., but I’m pretty certain he’s British.  He must have a film in him, otherwise, why would he have come to live in L.A.?  The weather here isn’t all that great!

His 2011 book is subtitled “Pop culture’s addiction to it’s own past” – I think we’re all rather addicted to our own past.  Seems like the main ax he has to grind is that there isn’t or shouldn’t be a “punk rock” museum – ‘cause punk just won’t fit into a museum.  Well, I agree in that each person who “was there” has a different take on it – my “punk rock museum” would be different from your “punk rock museum”, Simon,

You would enter via the parking lot of Capitol Records in Hollywood, through a phone booth – to an underground restroom.  The museum itself is in the catacombs underneath Hollywood Blvd. – down in the sewer.  The sections are Roxy / Whisky / Suburbs / Exotica.  At The Whisky, someone would spit on someone else, and you move to the back of the room.  At The Roxy, record company guys leer at waitresses and go to the men’s room a lot.  In Suburbs, you have to walk a long way and not be sure that you’re in the right place – ‘cause you never were when you went somewhere in the suburbs to a concert. Why else am I in Pasadena at midnight?  Exotica is where you got to leave L.A. and see a show anywhere not in L.A. – it could be San Francisco (Mabuhay Gardens) or Wellington, NZ (The Terminus) or ?

After you see all the areas of my punk rock museum, you emerge in another parking lot – that of the former Tower Records on the Sunset Strip in what is now thought of as West Hollywood.  History collides with reality – you can now walk to both The Whisky and The Roxy for real!  Zolar X waves goodbye to you as you leave the parking lot, disgusted at what’s actually going on there – ‘punk rock girls’ lighting matches, blowing them out and inhaling the fumes etc.  Don Bolles asks you for a couple of bucks, as he needs a ride somewhere – and he probably does!

So is today’s silliness also nostalgia?  “Nostalgia for an age yet to come”?  No, it’s not a re-creation – when I read about that happening in modern day London, I cringed.  “Ooh, we watched our Einsturzende Neubauten VHS so many times that we didn’t get the colour of the deck right!” – and they had the balls to charge money to get in to the re-creation?   An event of a known event?

If I could hire actors and re-stage an event that I had attended, it would be The Screamers, The Deadbeats and Black Randy & The Metrosquad at The Whisky – when “punks” were funny, played pretty good, and the universe seemed to make me laugh.  Not a re-creation of a specific show, any night will do.  Neither Black Randy or Tomata du Plenty can be there, unfortunately.  Special thanks:  Jordan Shroyer.