|Mountain View Cemetery 14 August 2023|
My Rosemary insisted that she, our two daughters and I
would leave Mexico City and drive our VW to Vancouver. This we did.
Since then and now 14 August 2023, I have become aware (specifically today at the Mountain View Cemetery memorial that was the 5th anniversary of musician Randy Rampage’s death) that somehow I am always there to bear witness.
|Rampage 2015 on his birthday|
There are connections that at first don’t seem to be there. I wore a D.O.A. T shirt to the memorial service that had this story behind it. I was at the Four Season’s Hotel to photograph film director Martin Scorsese. At the front desk I was asked if I was Alex. When I answered affirmatively I was told that a man called Dave Chesney (then a powerful record rep for CBS Records) had left me the T.
In this fifth anniversary I have traditionally taken the group shot. Time affects these group shots as people die.The recurring problem is trying to find the setting in my Fuji X-E3 camera for the self-timer. I want to not only bear withness to an even but I want to be in it. I am on the right on the ground wearing that D.O.A. T.
While there I run into all kinds of people that in some way were part of the fabulously active punk scene that Vancouver had in the late 70s to the 80s.
The memorial happening is hosted and planned (lots of drinks and food and a tent for protection from the sun) by Susanne Tabata who was Rampage’s partner for many years. It was in parties in their house that we found out that Rampage was a good cook.
Who would connect Tabata to Long John Tanner who was there today? I would as Tanner hosted the Cable 10 program Night Dreems that was really a precursor of later programs that featured rock music videos. Susanne Tabata and Deborah Jarvi were also hosts.
Amazingly my Night Dreems blog is labelled sensitive by Blogger. They don't seem to like the word Dreems!
Who would connect Tabata to that of the eminent Vancouver writer Ben Metcalf with whom I worked with while both of us contributed to Vancouver Magazine? Metcalf had a Japanese garden and when he found out about Tabata he suggested I photograph her with little clothes in it. Tabata, to my disappointment, declined.
As for Tabata dressed in armour, I borrowed it from Marlene Cohen’s (Army and Navy Store) husband who collected swords and had the Canada wide franchise for Levis and Sony. The photograph was for promoting some rock activity in Gary Taylor’s Rock Room.
As for Rampage, the man that I knew, it was not hard to notice his kindness behind his rough looking demeanour. In those five memorial services I have come to genuinely like all those (not rough to me anymore) dock workers he worked with for years.
How many reading this can boast that they rode in Rampage’s convertible Cadillac? My writer friend John Lekich did and he wrote about the experience in link below..
Lastly I have to explain that my favourite rock photograph ever started with me telling Rampage that I wanted to photograph him on a sofa with silver satin in the style of Jean Harlow. He looked at me incredulously but when I told him that he had nothing to worry he consented.
I sometimes believe that Vancouver is a lovely city that lacks passion. I can assert that watching Rampage jump to incredible heights while playing the bass was ample proof that passion did exist here.
For reasons that I cannot explain I cannot find any of the photographs that I took of Rampage’s band with Brad Kent called Ground Zero. Kent, who is also gone, was a man that was quiet and had that same degree of sweetness that Rampage had.
|Randy Rampage wearing my mother's Mexican Red Shawl - December 2015|
At every one of these memorials I am greeted by a sweet
young woman with a lovely smile. Her name is Jade and she surely inherited all
that sweetness from her father Brad. In the group photograph she is right behind me in her D.O.A. T.
It seems that I am always there.