Thursday, May 3, 2012

Black Randy and the Metrosquad

Black Randy and the Metrosquad was a punk rock act from the late 1970s and early 1980s in the Los Angeles punk scene. They gained notoriety not only for their surreal and smutty sense of humour, but also for their amalgamation of proto-punk, 1970s soul, pop, and avant-garde music.

The band formed in Los Angeles in 1977 with Black Randy (born John Morris) as front man, David Brown on keyboards, and other members including Pat Garrett on guitar, who later joined The Dils. However, the band had a rotating line-up, which even included live back-up singers known as the Blackettes which often included Alice Bag, Exene Cervenka, Lorna Doom, Jane Wiedlin, Belinda Carlisle and featured several members of The Eyes.

Black Randy's lyrics gave him a reputation for being as witty as he was offensive with songs about gay prostitution, Marlon Brando, and Idi Amin. Their first single, "Trouble at the Cup", advocated fighting the police, though this (like all their material) was as tongue in cheek as his cover of James Brown's classic "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". Some saw this cover as an offensive reinterpretation of the song as a mocking attack on black pride (considering that Black Randy was white); others saw it as irreverent, ironic, and humorous. The band also covered the theme from the cult Blaxploitation film Shaft, by Isaac Hayes, in the same irreverent manner.

These songs were compiled onto their only album, Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie, which had sophisticated and even innovative musical arrangements that had more in common with post-punk than hardcore bands like Black Flag.

The band imploded early in 1980 when their frontman succumbed to drug and alcohol problems, which were evident in chaotic live shows, where songs were hardly sung and Brown tried, to no avail, to salvage the show. Black Randy died on November 11th, 1988

No comments:

Post a Comment