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L.A. Beat

Lethbridge music scene mourns Randy Shaver and James ‘DJ Booda’ Nishima

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It has been a terrible week for Lethbridge’s music community. Two stalwart pillars of the community have passed away this week way too young — Randy Shaver and James ‘DJ Booda’ Nishima.

James Nishima, best known as DJ Booda passed away suddenly Aug 28. He will be missed by a lot of people. He inspired numerous local performers and basically kickstarted Lethbridge’s hip hop scene. In addition to being a fantastic  DJ, he was not afraid to dream. He brought in a variety of high profile acts including well known rappers like D12, Riff Raff, Deezuz, Randy Shaver playing at Bigwood in 2010. Photo by Richard AmeryMadchild, Swollen Members, Moka Only, Kyprios, Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. He also brought in up and coming rockers like Dragonette and well known names like 54-40, Matthew Good, Finger Eleven and Gob. In doing so he brought a taste of the big city excitement to our small town. And by doing so thumbed his nose at those who would denigrate Lethbridge as Deathbridge.

As any local concert promoter knows, it takes cajones of stone to put on a show in Lethbridge because you never know if people will show up in last minute Lethbridge. Booda knew this and while I’m sure he had his moments of self doubt — moments where he almost decided to quit, fortunately for us he didn’t. Lethbridge is better for it.

He probably lost his shirt on a couple of his shows. I have been to many of his shows in which I couldn’t believe there were so few people in the room and I’d been to to others where there were so many people I couldn’t breathe. But at each one, Booda was there at the door to greet me with a big smile and welcoming arms. And always, the entertainment was fantastic. Booda knew how to put on a party. I had the pleasure of interviewing him a couple times. He was always genial, friendly and most of all excited. His excitement was contagious.

He was an unbelievably hard worker, he had four big shows of all different genres ready to go in September and October alone — Gob with Sophmore Jakes, Sept. 20-, Twiztid with Blaze Ya Dead and Aqualeo, Sept. 21 Sloan on Sept. 26 and The Cancer Bats and Bat Sabbath on Oct. 5. Madchild of Swollen Members is returning to Lethbridge, Sept. 25 to play a memorial show for Booda at Studio 54.
  I never really appreciated rap music until his shows gave me the opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in the business. No matter who it was, they would invariably rave about how great it was to work with Booda. He expanded mine a lot of people’s musical horizons. His death leaves a huge void which will take some big shoes to fill.
A celebration of James Nishima has been scheduled for this Thursday, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m at Martin Bros Funeral Chapel 610 4th street S, Lethdridge AB T1J 4P3

Randy Shaver

 Local musician Randy Shaver passed away last week way too young, at only 43.
 Randy was one of the first people I met when I started covering music in Lethbridge for the Meliorist. He was also one of the first people I met when I moved back here, I was excited to still see him playing around town.

The early days were days when I was still a little awestruck by people in bands. I’d seen him play with his band Tinker’s Damn a couple times, then one day he showed up and hung out with all the new “res rats” at  one of the beginning of year get togethers in the university of Lethbridge residences. He sat quietly by himself. I didn’t speak to him then, being very shy and, like I said, awestruck.

 I’d go see him play with Tinker’s Damn countless times over the next four and a half years, I’d interview him and them several times. I wrote numerous articles about him and the band and took countless pictures of them. I was even the judge in a several band wars back in the day when they were among the competitors.

 Indeed, a pic of Randy was the first pic I tried selling to the Lethbridge Herald, back in the day. (They chose a different  pic, but Tinker’s Damn won the event.)

As of late, he had pretty much dropped out of sight, but when he did come out to see a show, or better yet, perform, it was always a treat to see him. Usually I could count on seeing him at Bigwood — a mini- festival just outside of town taking place during the last day of Whoop-Up Days. He wasn’t there this year, or maybe I just missed him in the dark. His Facebook postings were a window into his life and soul, from his bouts with insomnia, his passionate discussions of music, his battles with barking neighbourhood dogs, his fascination with Second World War Germany, he was always interesting, insightful, well informed and entertaining.

RandyJames DJ Booda Nishima. Photo by Richard Amery influenced and taught a lot of up and coming musicians, he helped record several others. He will be fondly remembered by all of them. The last time I saw him was at a farewell party for my friend Becky a month or two ago. It was great to see him, albeit briefly. I will always treasure it.

A special memorial show has been scheduled for Sept. 15. The details will be released later.

 It has been an incredibly tough year for Lethbridge’s music community.
 Several prominent members of the community have been hospitalized with serious health issues due to illness or accident and several more have passed away way too young.

At times like this, it is easy to be overcome by a wave of emotions. You don’t know what to say or do. Sometimes there is no good explanation, there is no rhyme or reason when a good friend passes way too young. Sometimes bad things happen, sometimes they just do.

Music was the motivation for both of these men, so the best way to remember them is to get out of your house and go a show.

Support the local music scene, which will continue to thrive. It won’t continue to thrive without your support. The passing of Randy Shaver and James  “DJ Booda” Nishima leaves the universe just a little bit darker and the world may feel a little bit harder, but their shining stars leave Heaven a little bit brighter. They may be gone, but their spirit lives on in our hearts and in the people they touched and inspired.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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