Friday, August 19, 2005

Randy "Biscuit" Turner Dies

Randy "Biscuit" Turner, legendary Austin punk singer for the Big Boys, Cargo Cult and Swine King, was found dead in his home yesterday afternoon.

A cover story by Marc Savlov about Biscuit's transition from punk rocker to artist appears in this week's Austin Chronicle. The Statesman reports it was Savlov who looked inside Biscuit's South Austin home and called police. No further details have been released by police or the medical examiner's office at this point.

This is shocking, saddening news. I can't think of anyone who did more to shape the funky, catch-all aesthetic of punk rock music in Austin than Randy "Biscuit" Turner. The music of the Big Boys gave voice to alienated rage, but it was also ambitious, colorful, inviting and fun. The band's battle cry of "Go start your own band!" was an exhortation countless listeners wound up taking to heart.

I got to interview Biscuit in 1993 for a state-of-the-scene story in the Chron. Instead of bemoaning the lost glory days of Raul's, Biscuit talked up all the cool things that were happening right then and there. It was a refreshing change from the standard-issue Austin nostalgia wallow. He continued to grow as an artist long after the Big Boys broke up.

Rest in peace, Biscuit. You will be missed.

UPDATE: Biscuit was to have an art opening at 7pm tonight at Pedazo Chunk, 2009 S. First. The opening will now serve as a wake for friends and fans to pay respects and share stories, of which there are many. Also, Todd Wolfson took the wonderful photo of Biscuit you see above.


Anonymous said...

Good lord, I'm shocked. Just as his profile was on the rise again in his beloved city. Wow. The universe can really be a fucking bastard sometimes.


Kat said...

Halloween night, 1982: seeing the Big Boys at the Skyline Club changed my life. But Randy's influence was deeper: by example, he gave me (and a lot of others) permission to pursue crazy artistic dreams. Go Make Your Own Art!
I always thought about writing to tell him that, and I'm deeply sad today that I never did.

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,

My name's Johanna and I'm the director/outreach coordinator for the Hepatitis C-MO in Kansas city,missouri.
I was taken aback about the news of "biscuit", and would like to talk to those who were close to him about hepatitis c.
We need people with the spirit and heart of biscuit to help us inform people of this virus that can lead to liver disease and death if not checked early enough. People need to know that for every one person with HIV, there are four with Hep C.
My number is: 816.763.4766, and our organization's website is:
Looking forward tohearing fromyou.

Johanna Koskinen