Everything Means Everything Forevermore

20 02 2011

Sit back, relax and I’ll impart a Tale Of Punk Rock. Children, I guess I was lucky enough to have witnessed some of the most notorious music ever to be wrung out of a Plain White T-Shirt. I’m speaking today about hitting up Hollywood at least a couple times a week back in the late 1970’s , having my ears and eyes blown out by a bevy of artists, the likes of which will never be seen or heard again.  The Bags, The Weirdos, The Germs, Zeros, Catholic Discipline, Johanna Went, IUD, I could go on for a week…and then we have THE ALLEY CATS hailing from glorious downtown LOMITA, CALIFORNIA. Randy Stodola, Diane Chai, and John McCarthy. Quite possibly the hardest working band from this, the inception, and sadly the last vestige in my memory, of anything truly interesting  happening in The Los Angeles Music “Scene”. Got me? This was when you could go to a show at The Starwood, The Roxy, The Whikey A Go-Go, The Masque…have a blast, Pogo on a slippery, beer soaked floor, fall down, and before you hit the floor, someone would grab your arm and pull you right back up on your feet. Poseur Clothing in Hollywood wasn’t open yet with their phony Pre-Fab Punk Rock Garb. There were a lot of Thrift Shop skinny ties, mohair sweaters and fedoras. I must have seen The Alley Cats about fifty times. Hollywood, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Orange County. It didn’t matter where you were. They were everywhere. Randy and I have been friends for years. He’s one of the most well read, funny, talented, and articulate chaps I’ve ever met. He’s given me a few amazing things lately. Original Dangerhouse singles (one is a test pressing). Some very old and precious show flyers. He autographed my copy of Nothing Means Nothing…”Good Luck, Saint Dirk, Randy.”  You can see the tattered nature of my original “Nothing” single. They changed the artwork later because you couldn’t see John in the photo. Hence the Porno-Style Moustachioed John McCarthy on the second version. How fucking Punk Rock is that? 100% Punk Rock. John is a powerhouse drummer…a very dynamic performer. Diane? Well, just forget it. Not another female (nor male) punk rock musician got anywhere near her possessed, throbbing demeanor. Okay, Alice Bag is right on par. Randy Stodola…one of the very few Punk Players that could actually play any kind of lead guitar. His lyrics border on the psychedelic. Street stories about a kid being killed by a limousine, Ice cream, Jesus,  Junk and despair. Randy gave me the snapshot seen here. The Alley Cats playing at The Masque September 1977!!!  There was a time when Dez Cadena’s father Ozzie was booking Jazz Shows here in San Pedro at The Sheraton Hotel. Kenny Burrell was playing and Randy, Mike Watt and I went out for the night. Randy showed up wearing Pseudo-Pirate Gear. Eye Patch…the whole bit. The Bouncer announced that he wasn’t going to let Randy in. I remember asking “Don’t  you know who this is? Do you know who you’re talking to here?” The guy looked so confused at my line of question and was left with no option but to promptly admit us into the venue.  Back to the map. I’ve included a video with this post to give a taste of what things used to be. Thanks to Randy for so many great shows and wonderful songs…it is all so deeply etched.


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12 responses

20 02 2011
buzz baby jesus

I was there for much of that! Didn’t realize how special it was until it was over.

20 02 2011
Guitar Safari

I know. It was a very different time on so many levels. It was like Happy Days, Richie, Fonzie…me and you. It’s sad how that whole thing descended into stupid, media driven, commercial bullshit. Then the Gentrification of a seemingly Un-Gentrifiable Generation. Bobby Gentry anyone?

25 03 2011
Seatbert

I Heart Bobbie Gentry.

1 08 2011
Rob Pierce

Ah, never knew I had the 2nd version of the Nothing cover. Loved that story, glad to hear Randy’s still around. Tracking down Dianne and John seems trickier, but if you hear anything, please post. What a great live band. Jailhouse Rock!

29 08 2011
gabo

i found randy. i didnt know who he was at first.i stopped in san pedro on gaffey st. at a 7 11 trying to get a beer. i stumbled upon two homeless guys i offered to by them a beer, the homeless are the underminded class of society, if we pay more attention to them we can all really learn alot. we went across the street he said nothing about playing in a band, his hobo pal mentioned that he was the guitarist for the ally cats! he was really humble as he grabbed his old english 24 oz. i purchased the beers and he gave me some of his own close to heart poetry…. i have his email address…. i really feel bad being a musician myself and how a star so bright can fall so low. only with our support can he shine agian…!

31 08 2011
Rob Pierce

Gabo – Sad but not surprised to hear of Randy’s current situation. If you are in contact with him, please let him know how important the Alleycats remain to some of us who were there at the time. I would love to tell him myself; his music has meant a lot to me. I’m not hard to find: robpierce2verbs@gmail.com . If you can share that with Randy, I’d appreciate it.

Dianne apparently is in intentional seclusion, married and doesn’t want to talk about her past, but is responsible for a recent release of a live Alleycats DVD, which I bought. It does a pretty good job of representing how good they were live – not great sound quality, but hey they were a garage band, and I’d forgotten that they did a great cover of Paint It Black.

“Little chickens and their chicken hawks/Gonna teach you a brand new way to walk.” – Randy Stodola

Love this band. Thanks to anyone who shares.

31 08 2011
Rob Pierce

forgot to ask for notification on follow -ups. that’s all.

1 08 2012
Ron Howlett

I played with Randy in the last years of high school. He had a Fender Super Reverb and an old Dobro. Shit he could play circles around all the hot guitar players at South High School in Torrance. It was me on flute and some guitar and Ernie Zampas on bass and now deceased Ray Jones on drums. We played clubs and bars all over L.A. Randy was really the talent. Driven to go somewhere. I had to decide between college and staying with the band. I let go after a year in college when Randy met Dianne. They were a pair. I ran into Randy 15 years ago driving by his parents house and I could barely recognize him. He glanced at me while I drove real slow and he was walking like he was 90 years old and said “your the flute player” He invited me in and we talked for an hour about his life on the music scene and the albums he cut and he showed his telecaster that looked like barely a guitar. He said something about going to San Pedro since his folks sold the house they had in the Riviera of Torrance for 30 years. Wow, I thought. Here was a UCLA math major graduate who just blew out of it since his dad ran the math department at Dominguez Hills College, I guess he wanted no part of that life. But still, I felt bad for him. No Dianne and no band and not much to fall back on. When I meet young music hopefuls I always tell that story and let them think about the chances of really making it big and what is does to your life. I really want the best for Randy, we were always friends. God he could play.

1 08 2012
Guitar Safari

Randy is back with a vengeance…so good! He comes by all the time. He’ll be playing at First Thursday for August…One of the smartest, funniest cats I’ve known!~

25 02 2013
Brian Smith

He was the best guitarist in LA punk, bar none. Respect to him wherever he is.

28 02 2013
Rob Pierce

Randy and his current band, Alley Cats S.O.B., are gigging. And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlleyCatsSOB/info

28 02 2013
Guitar Safari

True…I go to their practices all the time…they sound great. Too bad Paula is going back to Spain for a while…she’s amazing!

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