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, Madchild, 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
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.