Randy Rampage- A Passionate Gentle Soul

Photographs — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

It was almost exactly around 1978, when I was 36 years old that I discovered that beyond Bach and Vivaldi, Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan there was something called Punk Rock. It happened at a Vancouver, BC dive called the Smilin’ Budha. The band that removed the scales from my eyes and the wax from my ears was a band by the name of the K-Tels with an electrifying guitar player called Art Bergmann.

From the K-Tels I explored other Vancouver punk bands. My two faves were D.O.A. and The Subhumans.

D.O.A. besides its lead singer, Joey Shithead featured an astounding guitar player, Dave Gregg, and a bass player who defied gravity called Randy Rampage.

Now we all know that rock ’n’ roll like photography only pays good money to a few in some upper stratosphere of fame. I often wondered why Art Bergmann had fantastic biceps and Randy Rampage looked tough in his leather jacket and motorcycle.

L to R

Sonny Dean, Grant McDonagh, Zippy Pinhead, Doug Donut, Chris Walter, Lynn (McDonagh) Werner, Randy Rampage, Susanne Tabata, John Tanner

While shooting photographs for Canadian Pacific Limited in the 80s I found out that many in rail maintenance crews were Hells Angels. I often had to ask out loud, “I am going to take some photographs now. If you are wanted by the police please stay out of it.”

Likewise honest punk musicians had day jobs. Bergmann nurtured and improved his biceps by digging ditches; Rampage worked that tough zone of Vancouver’s port as a longshoreman.

Besides doing an honest day’s work Rampage and Bergmann share a gentleness that belies their rough outer shell. And yet I know that I could walk the darkest and most terrible back alleys of the Vancouver Downtown Eastside with Rampage and nobody would touch us.

To this day I can remember and savour those nights when I was up front in very loud circumstances watching Art Bergmann, the Subhumans and D.O.A. Watching Rampage jump and play his (I believe indestructible bass). The electricity in the air was no less so than listening to a cellist play Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello.

Passion may come in different disguises but in the end passion is passion.

Book signing at Grant McDonagh’s Zulu Records on 4th Avenue

Whenever I decide about buying a book I go to the last page (except of course with mystery books). In Rampage’s I Survived D.O.A. written by dictating to prolific writer Chris Walter (who looks like Patrick Stewart’s double with the addition of tattoos).

This is what I found:

Rock n’roll will never die, but everything exciting is over and done. Myself, I listen mostly to classical stuff these days. I’m really into Bach and Vivaldi — dudes like that. You just can’t beat that shit. Those old masters were fucking geniuses.

Now if I can introduce Rampage to Tarquinio Merula, Miles Davis & Gerry Mulligan…

Link to: Randy Rampage- A Passionate Gentle Soul

Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.