Black Randy and the Metrosquad – Trouble at the Cup 7″ (1977 Dangerhouse Records)
Black Randy, if any of the stories in We Got the Neutron Bomb are true, was perhaps the most wild and crazy of all the punks from the early Los Angeles scene. He lived fast and died young and left a few records and a part of a legacy in his wake.
Black Randy was a “con and street hustler” who became part of the blossoming punk scene in the mid 70s. He helped start and run Dangerhouse Records along with Pat Garrett and David Brown. It was no surprise that the label released his own band’s recordings of course, and those are perhaps the most “difficult” to listen to of all the label’s output.
The band, which consisted of members of other well known, and now legendary, bands, played plenty of gigs and put out three singles and one album (which ended up being the final release on Dangerhouse). Musically they were like a punk rock soul-funk band. Not that the bands sounded alike anyway back then, but Black Randy sounded like nothing that came before, or since. They were perhaps a big joke band, and their lyrics were certainly full of satire, but somehow I found charm in such songs as “Loner with a Boner” with it’s chorus of “I’m a loner with a boner and I’m going to telephone her”. Incidentally, that happens to be a favorite of Lady Combustion who wondered why I didn’t pick that song in favor of the title track of this single, which happens to be my favorite Black Randy song.
After the album was released, it spelled the end for Dangerhouse Records and it wasn’t long after that it also spelled the end of Black Randy. Randy died from AIDS not too long after that, a result of his wild and care-free life riddled with drug use among other activities.
A few tracks can be found on the Dangerhouse Volume One and Volume Two on Frontier Records. Sympathy For the Record Industry had reissued the album for a short time, but it seems to be out of print again.
Listen to “Trouble at the Cup” from the record (right click and “save target as…”)
~I have popped in, via blogexplosion, countless times and never commented…but I did want to tell you that your site is very well written and quite original…I have actually learned quite a bit about punk music and the artists you highlight…thnx for a great read~
I did know Randy as a person and rather better as a performer.
I have no doubt that Randy could have progressed to having a career as an actor. He always stayed in character during his “Black Randy” routine.
Eventually, someone would have come along and
successfully marketed Randy’s talents.
The con man aspect of him may have been a myth. Once a con man, always a con man but I don’t recall anyone getting burned by Randy and he certainly didn’t try to con me.
Dangerhouse was a quite wonderful co-operative
endeavor by the 3 or 4 partners. Truly innovative and obsessed with an artistic vision always. It just was impossible for them to make money. The US market was small, and the L.A. scene was ridiculed in both New York and London.
I used to love this band, still do! I always thought they were from Frisco, yes? One of the early bands I missed 🙁 I do own “Pass the dust” on vinyl. Nice going MXV!
Great site, thanks
I lived with Randy (nee John) in the fall and winter of 1981/82 at a notorious welfare hotel on 34th st. in nyc. It was a cold water flat and was freezing-ass all the time. Randy was shooting speedballs everyday and doing telephone sales for some jewish mafia guys out in Queens. In this respect Randy was a real con man and also one of the top telephone salesmen around.He had a whole alternate personality which would kick in when he was doing the sales thing ( he was selling office furniture to companies in the midwest }. Randy was bringing home between $500-600 a day in cash then ( which was a hell of a lot of fucking money then!). Every night when he got home from work he would go out and spend all of it…ther was always a trip to the Bowery to score heroin and cocaine and then we would go out to bar and clubs and Randy would buy drinks for everyone and cigars and would often stand on a chair and give a cynical lecture of some sort which would usually go right over everyone’s heads…Randy and I would talk endlessly about everything and I truly considered him to be a genius of sorts…our conversations ranged from Burroughs ( who was a friend of mine) to Philip K Dick ( I gave him VALIS to read afterwhich he routinely called me Horselover Fat even though I weighed 140 pounds at the time )…to the illuminati to Crowley to James Joyce to Thomas Pynchon to people’s delusions about having been abducted by aliens… randy was witty,funny as fuck and bursting with insane ideas…we talked about starting a band to be called spastic expose but it never happened…Randy was also taking vitamins ( including a weekly speed/vitamin injection from Dr. Robert’s protege } and spirulina…I had some amazing time with Randy who had one of the wickedest senses of humor I’ve ever encountered…I first met him in 1977 in L.A….by the way Randy was from the Bay Area…but his bandmates were all L.A. locals from the punk scene like Joe Nanini ( great guy, great drummer!}…i last saw Randy out in front of the Cathay De Grande in 1983…