B.C. punk pioneer Randy Rampage had a ‘heart of gold’

The bassist for Vancouver’s D.O.A died at his Vancouver home earlier this month of an apparent heart attack

Vancouver punk pioneer Randy Rampage rocked so hard, members of the city’s music scene say he helped define the hardcore genre.

As the original bassist of influential Canadian punk outfit D.O.A., the peroxide-blond headbanger lived up to his musical moniker on stage, thrumming his instrument as if the high-octane songs were coursing through his veins.

It sometimes seemed like he spent most of a performance in mid-air, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his acrobatic stunts as he leapt off of a stack of speakers, launched into splits or bounced with abandon to the beat.

But those closest to Randall Desmond Archibald, as the musician was legally known, say he will be remembered as a hell-raiser with a “heart of gold.”

“Randy was a founding member of the original punk scene in Vancouver. He lived for the moment, and he gave everything for the moment,” said Susanne Tabata, his partner of more than a decade.

“He gave of himself, and he was completely selfless, as a person and as a performer.”

A funeral for Archibald will be held at the Christ Church Cathedral on Sept. 29. Tabata said the 58-year-old died in their Vancouver home on Aug. 14 of an apparent heart attack.

She said musical luminaries are expected to attend the memorial service to celebrate his life with eulogies and songs.

And with a life like Archibald’s, there’s a lot to celebrate, said on-again-off-again D.O.A. band-mate Joe Keithley.

“Randy would be known as a pioneer of the scene and well known around the world too,” Keithley said. “(He was) the wild man of punk rock. A crazy guy that lived life hard and took a lot out of it.”

Archibald’s reign as Randy Rampage began in 1978 after he responded to a newspaper ad calling on musicians to join Keithley’s new band. There was only one caveat, Keithley recalled: “No wimps need apply.”

While the fledgling punk group had no wimps, it did have two too many drummers, said Keithley. So he took up the guitar and became the lead singer, while the bass was a natural fit for Archibald’s sense of rhythm.

Touring across Canada and the U.S., D.O.A. combined obstreperous vocals, onstage antics and politically inflected lyrics to hone an uncompromising sound that distinguished the band from the punk styles of New York or London.

With their 1981 album, D.O.A. coined a term for this emerging punk offshoot: “Hardcore ‘81”

“No one had really thought about using that word for music,” said Keithley. “That kind of sprung that whole genre of music.”

Keithley said his relationship with Archibald could at times be contentious, and the bassist parted ways with the band several times.

During these leaves of absence, Archibald served as the lead singer for thrash-metal band Annihilator, and briefly teamed up with The Clash as the runner on their American tour, Keithley said.

“We had our differences. We didn’t get along all the time,” said Keithley. “That doesn’t stop the guy from being like a friend and brother. We kind of grew up together on the road.”

Tabata said she came to know Archibald during her days as a radio DJ in the 1970s.

She decided to feature D.O.A. in a documentary she was directing about Canada’s punk scene, portraying the band’s body of work as the “cornerstones that laid the foundation for hard-core punk in the world.”

But as her relationship with Archibald deepened, she found there was much more to the man than his punk persona.

She learned that he read three books a week, was trained as a sous chef at Benihana and used to be a competitive swimmer.

He was a longshoreman of 32 years, and even after an injury left him with chronic pain, she said he would still go out of his way to help his “brothers and sisters” on the docks of north Vancouver.

“I always felt as though Randy would try to give people wings when he might have had a broken wing himself,” she said.

“The odd thing is that despite his … rage-against-the-machine, burning-in-hell exterior, I’m pretty sure Randy’s an angel.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wenatchee Wild earn split with Trail Smoke Eaters with shootout win

Trail Smoke Eaters open with 4-3 win, then fall 2-1 after nine-round shootout in Wenatchee,

Literacy Week coming to Trail: Make reading time, family time

Family Literacy Week in B.C. runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 2

The Voice of Raisin: A whiff down memory lane

The Trail Times is introducing a new column. Benjamin Howard recently moved… Continue reading

Rossland council okays temp shelter for local man

Garry Camozzi can stay in the trailer until October 2020

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read