The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Black Randy & His Elite Metrosquad

5-8-08 Black Randy – “Trouble At The Cup”

I SLEPT IN AN ARCADE DANGERHOUSE KY-724 1979 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

IDI AMIN DANGERHOUSE IDI-722 1978 4 TRKS with pic sleeve

TROUBLE AT THE CUP DANGERHOUSE MO-721 1977 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

There are but 3 glorious 45rpm single by Black Randy & His Elite Metrosquad. I will pick “Trouble at the Cup” as one of the L.A. new wave / punk turning points – punk music with a sense of humor! I definitely had this superlative 45 before I got the esteemed honor of seeing Black Randy play live at The Whisky A-Go-Go in Hollywood.

“No gift is too great for my people!” was one of the many silly platitudes that spewed forth from Black Randy. March ’78 – a Whisky full of punks pogoing to “I’m Black and I’m Proud” – as being played by a stage of pumped-full-of-drugs white guys!

To fully appreciate the miracle of Black Randy, one needs go no further than his masterful sole (soul?) LP, “Pass The Dust, I Think I’m Bowie” (also on Dangerhouse) – thankfully still available on CD (courtesy SFTRI Records).

But “Trouble At The Cup” is the messy little 45 that started it all! Dang – Jordan & I followed Randy around for a while there – even going to San Francisco (Mabuhay Gardens!) to see Black Randy…or was it The Screamers? I distinctly remember driving 85 miles an hour up Highway 5, with Hawkwind “Quark, Strangeness and Charm” blasting (a cassette) on the little blue Fiat’s then-mighty sound system. We stayed at the Howard Johnsons hotel, motel…in Marin County – far from the spitting punks.

Jordan once (at The Whisky) gave Randy a handful of watermelon flavored Jolly Ranchers as he walked in the front door, saying “I know you people like watermelon!” – R.I.P., Jordan. You were one amusing guy! (Randy took ‘em, saying “No gift is too great for my people!”)

I worked at a record distributor with David Wiley, Don Bolles etc. David died young but Don is still my friend. To horrified onlookers, Don & I sometimes discuss stuff at the swap meet – “Y’know…like Black Randy!” – Cultural Icon? I think Black Randy & His Elite Metrosquad actually appeared in the film “Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains!” – but only in the background!

It’s 30 years later and my morning is spiced up with the very thought of Black Randy & His Elite Metrosquad. I always loved the tale that Randy played at a black restaurant here in Long Beach, “The Green Frog” (corner of Atlantic & P.C.H.) – wow, that must’ve been a special night!

Poor old Randy croaked – that old combo of epileptic illness and massive illicit drug consumption (Wikipedia says it was AIDS). He once walked amongst us – and he gave us “Trouble At The Cup”, “San Francisco” and so many other cherished memories. Thank you, Randy!

“Can’t stump a rump pump!” (as seen on the sleeve of “Trouble at the Cup”!)



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