"All my clothes are punky, man. But I will go to the laundromat and Jah will make them clean."- 'Down At The Laundromat'
I'm sure that you've got several criminally underrated bands in your music catalogue; those that draw blank stares and mumbled, "I think I've heard of 'em" untruths whenever bringing them up. Right?
Most of us do in one form or another. Unless, of course, you are - like my wife - one of those that opine that Cyndi Lauper is criminally underrated.
In that case, we are on different wavelengths.
Black Randy & The Metrosquad - 'Pass The Dust, I Think I'm Bowie'
Shunned by the pseudo-intellectuals in New York and the fashion conscious in London, the early Los Angeles 'Masque era' scene (1977-79) produced some interesting talent. While X, The Go-Go's and The Germs are three of the more well-known groups to crawl out of that particular muck, a listing of artists on the three Dangerhouse compilations ('Volume One', 'Volume 2: Give Me a Little Pain' and 'Yes, L.A.') reveals some equally talented bands: The Bags, the Weirdos, the Randoms, the Dils, the Avengers, Rhino 39, the Alleycats, the Deadbeats...
...and Black Randy and the Metrosquad.
Fronted by the notoriously outrageous Jon Morris; aka Black Randy, the Metrosquad was a super-outfit of sorts - consisting of musical director Dave Brown (the Screamers and the Eyes), K.K. Barrett (the Screamers and the Randoms), Pat Garrett (the Randoms and the Dils), Bod Dead, and eventually Joe Nanini (Howard Werth Band, the Eyes and Wall of Voodoo).
Unlike the three chord and die blisters delivered by a lot of punk bands, the Metrosquad were an odd fusion of white-boy funk, drunken soul, and punk. Musically, they were completely alien not only to their own scene, but also to every scene afterwards.
Lyrically, they were one of the more satirically offensive bands you are ever likely to hear.
"I got a long black eel. And I know where to stick it. So I'll barefoot on the wicket picket."- 'Barefootin' On The Wicket Picket'
Whether it was love songs to Idi Amin ("Everything is greater 'cause Idi is Dictator!") or fantasies about becoming a cop in order to bust all of the cool kids that ignored him ('I Wanna Be a Narc'), Black Randy's stage persona was that of Fred Sanford to Darby Crash's Grady Wilson.
A smutty and sneering blowhard who took great pleasure in pissing off as many people as possible, Randy's signature tune was a cover of the James Brown classic, 'Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)'.
Amazingly, not many people appreciated the irony of a pasty white thrift-store hippy singing such a well-regarded black pride anthem.
In typical punk rock D.I.Y. tradition, there were only four official releases by the band (all of them on their own Dangerhouse label) - not to mention a few compilation appearances.
And thanks to our faceless friends on the interweb, you, too, can check them out:
Trouble at the Cup 7" EP b/w 'Loner with a Boner' and 'Sperm Bank Baby', December 1977 (Dangerhouse #MO721)
Idi Amin 7" EP b/w 'I'm Black & Proud, parts 3 & 14' and 'I Wanna Be A Narc', April 1978 (Dangerhouse #IDI722)
I Slept In An Arcade 7" EP b/w 'Give It Up Or Turn It Loose', July 1979 (Dangerhouse #KY724)
Pass The Dust, I Think I'm Bowie LP, July 1979 (Dangerhouse #PCP725)
Dangerhouse, Volume One - featuring 'Trouble at the Cup', same cut as found on the EP of the same name
Dangerhouse Volume Two: Give Me a Little Pain - featuring 'Idi Amin' and 'I Slept In An Arcade', same cuts as found on the 'Pass the Dust' album
Yes L.A. (Dangerhouse #EW-79, Currently Way Out of Print) - featuring 'Down At The Laundrymat'