For me, bandmates are family. For life. Forever. Current and former. And Randy changed my life, such as it is. Was. Along with Brad, whom I suspect was inspired to create his own version of the Avengers after returning to Vancouver.
Thus the 45s were born. As with many ideas, the band crashed and burned within less than a year but we wrote singular songs and played memorable gigs along the way before foolishly breaking up on the eve of opening for PIL, at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, which I chalk up to youthful hubris and folly. Another dashed dream. C’est la vie.
In any case, it was always a privilege and a pleasure knowing a rara avis such as Randy and not surprisingly, he popped up in one of my recent poems.
Not much to do in a small town.
We’d skip school, drive to Richmond,
hang out in the airport lounge,
swig Heinekens and watch
jumbo jets land and depart,
rarely carded in those days,
no one surprised if you drank alcohol
at age fourteen. It was expected,
like shedding one’s virginity.
My mother never flew in her life,
terrified the first time I took off
in a 10-seat Otter north to Gilford Island
for a summer job of tree-planting,
hapless recruits seated on the floor,
engine cacophony so loud I nearly puked.
I would have been mortified.
Too young to be a hippie,
I lasted four days,
relieved to escape the stench
of fried tofu and patchouli.
My next flight was south,
to Los Angeles to join
punk rock stars Randy, Brad and Karla,
we, the newly formed 45s,
to share a bill with PIL
at the Olympic Auditorium,
going so resoundingly
I didn’t return for twelve years,
pummeled but resigned
to my tantalizingly
close to-the-brass ring
but never-was status.
Surveying the girl
with the Please Kitty backpack,
fevered skin crazed with crimson,
I knew this flight was to be
my last excursion
for a while,
for as long as it takes
for everyone to recover