logo the freedom man

Mike Randle


Musings of a Lead Guitarist (part five)
March 6, 2003

It was now around the end of the summer of 1987 and Jamie and Mary had a friend who lived in Hope Ranch who wanted to hire the band for about $600, plus he was gonna put us up for the night because the party was going to be an “all-nighter,” whatever that was. Now, Hope Ranch was where all the Santa Barbara rich kids lived and everyone at the party was drunk beyond belief and very much “coked” out of their minds. I viewed it all a bit suspiciously at the time and, as it turned out, I was right feeling a little awkward about this crowd.

They were all a bit insecure and kept calling me “Bro”, which I found silly. Still, we were paid to rock and rock we did. Afterwards, people told us how great it was to “finally see Bad Brains.” I didn’t have the heart to tell them we were Bad Press, not Bad Brains. It really didn’t matter because they all had a great time, there were plenty of booze and lots of girls. The singer, Garfield, was more impressionable and we later found him on the floor in one of the guest-rooms on his knees and coke powder under his nostrils. He was doing blow with Steven and a bunch of girls from the party. Rusty and I tried to let him know that, maybe these weren’t the kind of people you’d want to call friends but he seemed content to fit in. We couldn’t have known it at the time, but this night would only be the beginning Coke journey for Garfield. He would eventually throw everything away; his guitar. his friends. his family. he would become a different person. And it all started that night, in that room.

The next day, the guy who threw the party, Steven, let us use his truck to transport all our gear to Mary and Jamie’s house. The rest of the guys decided to head back to L.A. but, since we had another show 2 weeks later, it was decided that i would stay in S.B. and take Steven back his truck and then neet up with the other guys in 2 weeks. Mary and Jamie were totally cool with me crashing at their house, which was 2 blocks from the beach. I was o.k. with that idea, feeling that, two weeks of beer, pizza and guitar playing couldn’t hurt.

I tried for 3 days to contact Steven, to no avail. Finally he left a message at the Pizza parlour; he had called the Cops because his truck had been stolen! This stupid, coked-out kook had totally forgotten that he loaned us the truck! When i finally got in touch with him he DENIED ever loaning it to me. I didn’t want to see that police station again so soon so i left his truck at a location, keys inside, and phoned him on where to pick it up. Things had gotten THAT weird.

The next few days consisted of listening to the Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, Big Star and The Velvet Underground, while smoking Mary’s pot, drinking “Milwaukee’s Best” 12 packs and eating veggie burritos (Both Mary and Jamie were Vegetarians.) One night, after getting REALLY drunk, Jamie and I started kissing. It was kind of funny but it was definitely something to do. She went to the bathroom and when she came out (according her) I was fast asleep, snoring. Jamie and i never did have a sequel to that night and it was just as well, as we were tight friends and that kind of stuff never does quite work out right, does it?

The guys in the band came back up and we played 3 nights in a row in Isla Vista; once at the U.C.S.B. student pub and two fraternity gigs. We were being paid to play our friend’s Batmitzvah in Brentwood (L.A.) the next day but everyone wanted to stay in Santa Barbara a couple of days and just hang out and drink, go to the beach and stuff. Our friend, Ryan, was turning 16 and her dad had hired us to play it for $500. She was nice and we never liked turning money down but everyone was kinda tired so rang up her dad. Turns out, he was in the Jewish Mafia or something like that because he sounded like Tony Soprano, the way he threatened me and stuff. I didn’t get scared but i was a tad bit concerned when he said i’d never work in this town again. That’s the way people in L.A. talk to each other. Silly, huh?

After that incident, Ryan never spoke to any of us again (we could have cared less) and her dad promised to spread the word around town that we were a bunch of bums (which wouldn’t have been news, really) while we were basking in the warm Santa Barbara sun, drinking Daquaris and eating BBQ’d chicken at the EL CID with Beach and his friends. Mary and Jamie moved back to Petaluma and 1987 ended pretty much like that; rocking and rolling, hanging out, drinking, chasing tail and enjoying everything southern california had to offer to four boys who, legally, were not even supposed to be drinking.

Mike Randle


Click on a pick to go to other Diaries