Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Randy Kaye, R.I.P

i'm sure that this is not the happiest way to start a new weblog, but the fact of the matter is that my old friend Randy Kaye is being buried today in Los Angeles.
he died very suddenly (and unexpectedly) last week of a heart attack.
Randy was apretty amazing guy any way you'd care to cut it: i probably am not the person who should be explaining what the guy did and who he was (but somebody oughtta...), because i was only his friend for the last decade and a half or so, and, you know-- when he died i googled his ass for a while and "punk rock icon dies" came up (which i can only imagine would have made Randy laugh...or scowl...or something).
that's not how i knew Randy: i met him in the early 90's, when he was involved in the legendarily great L.A. all ages "club" Jabberjaw. my band Low played there, and we became good friends with him-- we stayed at his house countless times, we just...he became our (and my...) friend in a way that...you know, transcended "band" stuff.
scratch a little deeper, and...well, when WE met him, he worked at Slash records, and it was a good long while before i realized how involved he'd been in the early L.A. punk scene (it's not something he went around yelling about...)...he'd known the Germs (he was the guy who put together the "G. I" comp that came out on Slash), he'd co-edited the "Lobotomy" 'zine with Pleasant Gehman (a fact that i had to learn after i'd known the guy nearly a DECADE, from none other than Aaron Cometbus, who was/ is a big fan of said 'zine...), and, you know...he took Souixie Sioux to Disneyland on her first trip to the states. so, maybe he was a "punk icon". he was a lot of stuff.
and later, he... aw fuck it--he did a lot of things: Faith No More, Soul Coughing, those were his bands you've heard about and there were a bunch more you havn't. he had his own label ( a couple, actually...), he worked at Warner Brothers, he worked as a realtor... like i said, i'm sure i don't even know the half of it.
the thing is, he died last week, and a lot of people are just going to miss the living hell out of him. he was mean, funny, sweet, and a very good friend-- to me, and to more people than i could mention if i tried.
the last time i saw Randy was in april, on the La Mano book tour. i did a wholly miserable signing at Meltdown, on sunset: 3 hours sitiing next to a giant Batman sculpture, with all my little books sitting in front of me, and not a SOUL showed up.
except for Randy, and his friend Jesse (who i met for the first time that day). after the nightmare, we went to Astroburger (like always), and sat around talking about "the old days", Jabberjaw, etc etc. we talked about him FINALLY sending me all the issues of Lobotomy, and maybe we should just put it out on La Mano, and...i've got to say-- this is not just because he's gone now, but i had never seen Randy that healthy, calm, happy, and... generally PEACEFUL than he was that night. i left Astrobuger happy for him.
look, i don't exactly know what these "blog" things are for (and, if you are wondering what this has to do with La Mano and book publishing, well--this IS what La Mano is, way more than any silly BOOK, damn it...): but if this is a public forum in some sense, i want to give my sincere condolences to Randy's family, both blood and extended.
he was the kind of guy you want to..SHOW UP for. i wish i could pay my respects today in L.A, but i can't.
he was a good friend, and i will miss him terribly. i loved him dearly.
Randy had a phobia (that i thought was hilarious. but he was dead serious...) that all at once, gravity would cease to exist, and he (and everyone else, i guess) would lose his tether to the earth and just keep floating up and away into infinity. it scared the hell out of him.
i hope now he knows that it's nothing to be afraid of.