Black Randy and the Metrosquad
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Black Randy and the Metrosquad
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Associated acts||The Eyes|
|Past members||Black Randy|
Black Randy and the Metrosquad was a punk rock and joke band 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 porn, pop, and avant-garde music.
The band formed in Los Angeles in 1977 with Black Randy (born John Morris, January 5, 1952) as frontman, David Brown on keyboards, and other members including Pat Garrett on guitar. However, the band had a rotating line-up, which even included live back-up singers known as the Blackettes  which often included Exene Cervenka, Alice Bag, Lorna Doom, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, 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 porn, Marlon Brando, and Idi Amin. Their first single, "Trouble at the Cup", advocated fighting the police. He also covered James Brown's "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud". The band also covered various porn music themes from the 70s.
They released many vinyl singles and cassette tapes from 1977 onwards which were later compiled on an album called, 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. This album led to the band being the most represented act on Dangerhouse Records, the label established by Brown and Garrett. This was the label's only album release, though this was not due to nepotism, but rather to bands with major-label aspirations worrying that being associated with Black Randy's offensive songs could jeopardize their chances of being signed. The band appeared in Lou Adler's 1981 satirical punk rock film Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, performing "I Slept in an Arcade". Pass the Dust... was reissued in 2004 by Sympathy for the Record Industry, and as a double LP by Vinyl Countdown Records in 2009, including the original album, the Dangerhouse singles, demos, live material, and a Black Randy phone call. Frontier Records reissued the album in 2016 on transparent pink vinyl, including a digital download with the non-LP Dangerhouse singles as bonus tracks, with a limited cassette edition co-released with Burger Records.
The band imploded in mid-1982 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 of complications from AIDS. He was portrayed by Chris Pontius in the film What We Do Is Secret, a biopic of Darby Crash.
- Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie (1979), Dangerhouse - reissued (2004), Sympathy for the Record Industry, (2009), Vinyl Countdown, (2016), Frontier Records, (2016), Burger/Frontier (cassette).
- "Trouble at the Cup" (1977), Dangerhouse.
- Idi Amin EP (1978), Dangerhouse - as Black Randy & his Elite Metrosquad.
- "I Slept in an Arcade" (1979), Dangerhouse.
Various artists compilation appearances
- "Down at the Laundrymat", on Yes L.A. (1979), Dangerhouse.
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 13-14
- Women in Punk Archived May 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Uncle Dave Lewis "Black Randy & The Metrosquad Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-10-24
- Henderson, Alex "Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie Review", Allmusic, retrieved 2010-10-24
- Robbins, Ira "Black Randy and the Metrosquad", Trouser Press, retrieved 2010-10-24