Friday, September 19, 2008

It's DOA's 30th anniversary (and you're fired!)

“Never get involved in a boy-and-girl fight.”
- Wm. S. Burroughs

I wanted to just air my own views on Randy Rampage being sacked from DOA for the third time, since they didn’t really make it into my Straight article:

a) I file it close to the Butthole Surfers suing Touch and Go Records, or East Bay Ray suing Jello. It’s one of those things that, as a punk, I feel really sad about, though I don’t necessarily leap entirely into one corner. I feel more sympathy for Jello than I do for the Kennedys; but I also wonder if maybe the rest of the guys have cause to be upset with him, you know? And I feel more sympathy with Touch and Go than I do the Butts, because, while I don’t begrudge them having control of their music, some of what the Butts had to say publicly about the lawsuit was just gross, devaluing their work and thus those who admire it (Gibby said something like, “It’s not like we’re making art...”). Maybe knowing the whole story in any of these cases would completely vindicate one side or the other, but mostly you don’t want to look too closely, because you sense that it will depress you; punk values allow for all sorts of messy human behaviour and complicated “grey-area” situations and self-serving agendas, and some of it isn’t pretty to contemplate. All the same, though it doesn’t necessarily come across in the piece - which is fairly neutral - I feel more sympathy for Randy than I do for Joe, here; the values that I associate with punk make it seem like a questionable move. I expect some tribal loyalty among brothers to take precedence over all. Am I harbouring illusions, here?

b) The sense that something wrong is goin’ on is greatly exacerbated by the fact that this is DOA’s 30th anniversary show, and Randy is one of the original guys; as a publicly viewable act, it seems to add insult to injury, and is a bit of a blow, not only to Rampage, but to fans of the old band, who think that Rampage with DOA is 1/3 closer to “the real DOA” of yore. (These same people still mourn the absence of Dave Gregg and Chuck Biscuits, of course). I am pretty sure that there will be calls of “Where’s Randy?” from the floor of the Commodore tonight, from people who have not read the Straight article or heard it on the grapevine and are kind of shocked. If I were Joe, unless he really had cause to fear that Randy was going to completely fuck up (see his anecdote about why Randy got sacked from DOA the first time in I, Shithead), I’d have stuck it out til AFTER this show, at the very least. As business savvy as he may be, Joe has probably made himself look not-so-good to a bunch of people here.

c) Personally, I’ve got nothing against Dan Yaremko - for all I know, he might be a tighter, faster player than Rampage, and he doesn’t seem like someone completely caught up in rock’n’roll/ metal excess, which is good; that quality oozes from Rampage’s self presentation, and its one of the reasons I have had little interest in any of Randy’s metal output (“Pig Farm Willy?” Jesus fucking Christ! ...tho’ I like some of Rampage’s early stuff). However, it must be said: having seen Yaremko with DOA a couple of times, I have absolutely no memory of him as a stage presence, and I cannot say the same about Randy. As a fan who likes going to gigs and likes to see a dynamic stage show, I’d rather see Randy onstage over Yaremko any day.

That’s all I really need to say, here. I wonder what will happen at the Commodore tonight? I won’t be there, personally - family stuff takes precedence - but I’ll be curious to read the reviews...

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