Monday, March 07, 2005

Confessions of Randal High

Randal Pepsi tippin' Posted by Hello

Like Courtney Love and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, you could not imagine a more unlikely twosome than Protestant whitebread-looking, button-down me and Randal High, a harmless madman, and a pluperfect textbook example of a PK, i.e. preacher's kid. Nevertheless, he was my running buddy throughout most of my teens and early twenties, i.e. the Sixties.

Remind me someday me to tell you about the time Randal dropped a buck into a redneck Southern jukebox and played a song by jazz singer Gloria Lynne ten times in a row, when all that the good old boys wanted to hear was LORETTA Lynn. After about the third spin, the bartendress yelled out, "Who played that crappy thing?" To which Randal replied, "Shut your crappy mouth!" Then the fun reallly began.

If Life Magazine paid me to write about "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Ever Met," it would definitely be Randal. Except there's no way you could possibly print much of it in a family mag. However, there's a great deal about him in my 2000 memoir Early Plastic.

But Early Plastic wasn't my first self-publishing venture. In 1974, I put out one issue of a 'little mag" entitled Soon. I had started on a second issue of the thing, but the mimeo machine broke down, then we moved to California, and then, and then. . .. The second issue was to have been an all-Spike Jones number. (If anyone's interested in publishing it, I still have the complete manuscript.) Soon number one's contributors list included: Richard Meltzer (a long essay on Pud bubblegum comics); and film crit (and my gf&ctc for the last 30-some years) David Ehrenstein (an essay on Frankenstein). I paid Meltzer with an Elvis Sun 78.

Back then, Meltzer was still writing as "R. Meltzer." That's the name he signed to his now-famous book, Aesthetics of Rock. Randal High's contributions to Soon were two-fold. Under the pseudonyms of Georgie Brocade and Michael Drink (I was the latter) he and I wrote a dialogue entitled "The Beach Boys: Their Big Changeover to Heavy Kid Music and What It Really Means."

Also, I cobbled together the best of letters he had been sending from the backwoods somewhere in North Carolina. He'd retreated there and was living on his PK "remittance money." His goal was to try and bond with the locals, or to start an organic farm, or some such hippy-dippy nonsense. But mostly what he did was to cause a lot of local ruckus, fuss and dustup.

A self-styled writer, I seem to recall that Randal had exactly one piece published. . .a brief review of Van Dyke Parks in Cream mag. Thus, his description of himself in what follows as: "a hotshit rock critic." I've not been in touch with Randal for a long time. The last I heard---about twenty years ago---he was living in Kentucky and had got himself into a jam of such proportions that even HE couldn't possibly have extricated himself.

Here's a brief section from "The Confessions of Randal High."

"All summer long, 2 musicians, Leo and Leo (cusp-Scorpio) have been visiting the house up the mountain from me. When I'm out working in my garden, I can look up the hill and see them on their front porch playin' guitar and singing. Even a distance away I can tell they are real good. . . .More

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