Duane Chaos (Rock City Riot): Long-haired trouble-makers and a cursed album

Yes, Judas Priest have just released their new album “Invincible Shield” – however, we would rather like to draw your attention to this remarkable Judas Priest tribute project which focuses on the band’s legendary classics. Rock City Riot features Rock’n’Roll legends as founding members (some of them sadly no longer with us). Naturally, those characters are the subject of many legendary stories, of which a few the guitarist and co-founder Duane Chaos is willing to share with us here! Moreover, in this extensive interview you can also find out who united the Punk and Metal genres and what is going to happen to the last Randy Rampage recordings. Enjoy!!

Please tell us about Rock City Riot The Judas Priest Tribute (and also about The Randy Rampage band). How did it all come about, Duane?

Hi John and thank you for having me. Well, you probably picked the question that has the most long-winded answer first. It was a journey.

As a metal and punk guitarist, I listened primarily to those genres my entire life. As a younger version of myself and as most guitarists do, I tended to learn the riffs that were stuck in my head from music I liked. While the early Judas Priest was immensely interesting musically (Victim of Changes, etc), when Unleashed in the East came, I knew I had found what would become one of my all-time top five favorite albums. My friends and I literally learned every single riff within weeks, except for some minor disagreements on which frets and strings were best to play them on. At the time, Wayne Darley and Dave Davis (both later to join Annihilator) and I went faithfully to the Saturday jam sessions at Oly’s Pub in Victoria, BC, and built a small reputation for ourselves as capable metal musicians. After the early years in Victoria, we all moved on to other projects in different cities.

Over the years I toured with many bands, released albums and played festivals with some of the greatest musicians ever like Randy Rampage. Randy asked me back in 2007 to join his post-Annihilator project, Stress Factor 9, as a bass player. I did and we did a great job until the ill-fated tour to Pennsylvania in the middle of January, 2008 where the band ended (drummer Ray Hartmann and Randy were both refused access to the USA). We never picked up Stress Factor 9 again after that, Randy asked me to put together a new band to play originals called “Rampage” as lead guitarist. We eventually recorded a full album in Vancouver’s Rainy Mountain Studios (formerly Little Mountain Sound). We put the finishing touches on it, had a 26 country EU tour lined up with Annihilator and then the unthinkable happened. We lost our bassist Brent Johnson to a drug overdose and Randy died months later. My other main bands (the Sacked and 22nd Century) also lost members drummer Zippy Pinhead and guitarist Jesus Krysler. This really killed music for me and I moved back to Victoria from Vancouver.

Covid didn’t help as all live shows were cancelled. It was at this time I reunited with lifelong friend Dave Davis to play golf just to get away from the lockdowns etc. As we golfed, we started discussions about what to do with the Rampage project.

Then came the creation of Rock City Riot! Dave loved the Rampage songs and wanted to play them in a band. We did not have a firm course of action, but decided we needed to play “some” music and ended up forming Rock City Riot with other friends. Since Judas Priest was a common thread of knowledge for all of us, that is what we started playing and Darren Crow (singer) turned out to be a great Rob Halford. Darren and bass player Bob Miron actually “auditioned” myself and drummer Brian Wright. It was funny as no one had asked me to audition for decades (they usually knew I could play), but we started Rock City Riot together. Musically, it lifted us all out of the creative depression we were experiencing in Covid, so in some small way, I guess Covid is a part of the story.

(L-R) – Dave Davis, Darren Crow and Duane Chaos in 2023. Photo Credit: Kim Jaxon


Before long, we realized we had a full set of Priest classics and just started playing as a tribute band. When Dave Davis joined as second guitarist, we also picked up a few Annihilator, Metallica and Megadeth covers to round out our other sets. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It turns out we weren’t the only people who love those Judas Priest classics and since they don’t come to British Columbia, Canada, that often, it leaves us a golden opportunity to quench the Judas Priest thirst for many fans.

Are you a fan of Judas Priest? Any favorite Priest albums?

(Laughs) CONFESSION! I am a total fan of Priest. Unleashed in the East is still my all-time favorite Priest album, because it captures the energy from the event. I found out later that some of the tracks were re-recorded in the studio, but it makes no difference to me. It might surprise your readers to know that the recordings were actually done over two nights at two different venues in 1979 rather than a single performance (yes, I guess I am a true fan). The first recordings happened at Kosei Nenkin Kaikan; the latter recordings five days later at Nakano Sunplaza, both in Tokyo. Tom Allom, the producer, worked magic with his mixing board. That album is perfection.

I am also in love with Defenders of the Faith and Painkiller. Defenders of the Faith has two of my favorite guitar solos on it, in the Sentinel and Rock Hard Ride Free. The solo in the latter is very bluesy using pentatonic scales primarily, but has a smoothness and melody to it that produces energy. Rock City Riot covers The Sentinel, one of the hardest-to-cover tracks from Priest we play.

Painkiller is especially dear to me, because it came out at a time when a lot of metal fans were thinking that Judas Priest might just be yesterday’s news. There were many newer bands on the West Coast like Entropia (Rattlesnake Suicide is my personal favorite track) and hardcore bands like the Dayglows recruited talented metal multi-musicians like Matt Fiorito (lead guitarist from Powerclown, an Iron Maiden tribute that performed dressed as clowns) and went into a slightly more metal direction. The whispers started – maybe Judas Priest were no longer capable of producing relevant music? Then Painkiller dropped. The first time I heard the title track, I felt bad for even allowing the slightest doubt to enter my mind about Priest. Never count them out. The latest album also produced an instant classic – Trial by Fire.

Tell us about the new recordings with Randy Rampage?

The new-ish (2018) unreleased recordings of Randy Rampage are on an unreleased album for our band “Rampage”. Randy passed away on August 15, 2018, just four days after the final mixes were done. He never even heard two of the tracks final mixes.

The tracks are somewhat diverse as they were largely written over a 10 year period of time, the melodies were written almost exclusively by myself. We spent many years writing and touring before heading into Little Mountain Sound studios in Vancouver to record with John Webster (a producer and engineer for Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Suicidal Tendencies, the Scorpions, Metallica and many others).

The first track, Asshole, was meant to be a political poke at the then US president of the United States, but evolved lyrically to account for the winner of the 2016 election. When you hear the track, it will make sense. It is a 2:12 burst of rage and angst with Pennywise style super fast rhythm guitar punctuated by melodic, single and double-note overtures. Rather than succumb to the cookie-cutter punk scripts though, I threw down an Eddie Van Halen style, double-finger tapping lead. The production on the song is amazing, thanks to John and the engineers at the studio.

The first track, Asshole, was meant to be a political poke at the then US president of the United States, but evolved lyrically to account for the winner of the 2016 election. When you hear the track, it will make sense. It is a 2:12 burst of rage and angst with Pennywise style super fast rhythm guitar punctuated by melodic, single and double-note overtures. Rather than succumb to the cookie-cutter punk scripts though, I threw down an Eddie Van Halen style, double-finger tapping lead. The production on the song is amazing, thanks to John and the engineers at the studio.

The track Asshole was meant to be a political poke at the then US president of the United States, but evolved lyrically to account for the winner of the 2016 election.

We also cover a couple of classic songs as well, albeit much heavier versions. One of them is the Subhuman’s “Slave to my Dick” and features Anet Ducharme singing backup vocals. Brian Goble (aka Wimpy Roy) was in the Subhumans and loved our version. We also cover a riff originally written by a long-time friend (who also died) Brad Kent called Evil Ways. Brad was a longtime band-mate of Randy’s and one of the truly nicest people I ever met. It is very hard for me to hear the song today as my eyes well up at the lyrics. All the original members who first played the song have passed (Brad, Zippy and Randy).

We wrote a myopic look at the fentanyl crisis in the song “Dopesick”. It is a difficult riff with a grindcore-type rhythm. The lyrics for it reflect the reality we lived in and the pain and death we experienced in our circle of friends. Other songs include a tribute to Cherrie Currie of the Runaways (Neon Angel), a verbal assault on toxic relationships (Dark City Woman), a song about being in the business of being a hitman (Straight to Hell). Straight to Hell has the guitar solo I am most proud of in my career. It is more in the style of Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray than Priest, but the song itself does channel the roots of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton of Priest.

Sadly, we have not been able to release the album yet. There are a few people who feel they should have the exclusive rights to it. The legal opinion we have is that this is not true, but that hasn’t stopped the threats. I find this greatly disheartening, because it was never about the money. Randy was super-excited about the new album. From a personal perspective, he felt the music was finally the music he wanted to make.

Everyone who attended our rehearsals, toured with us, came to see our shows knows the truth. In Randy’s memory, even though it cost a ton of money to record, we are most likely going to “give” the album away with a “pay what you feel like, even free” website. The music is the essence of the relationships with all those who put energy into us and I want to honor that. I would also never want to make a dime of profit off the album, because it is cursed. Over half the band members are no longer alive. They are my best friends forever and the pain I feel will never diminish.

Duane Chaos, from 22nd Century website

How did you meet Randy Rampage?

Benny Doro was introduced to me by the so-called “manager” of Driven Force, a band I played with. He kept telling us that “this kid is a prodigy on guitar”. I met Benny and it turns out that this was literally one of the only things the manager was ever right about. Benny and I became friends and one of the first things he said was “You have to meet Zippy Pinhead and Randy Rampage”. I knew who Randy was (DOA bassist) but was curious about Zippy since the only one I knew with that moniker was the comic by Bill Griffith, a favorite of mine along with Reir Flemming, the World’s Toughest Milkman and the Freak Brothers.

After weeks of near misses, I got picked up and put in the rear passenger seat of a car. In the front passenger seat was Randy. He was all pissed because he had just come from the hospital and had crutches and a cast on his leg. I tried to say “hi” but he ignored me. I have to admit being a little intimidated as he was as Punk as they come and also had a reputation for randomly punching people just because. Anyways, it turned out that he had fractured his ankle a night or two before, because he was on Georgia street on his Harley trying to “surf” it in front of “Outlaws”, the biggest nightclub on the West Coast at the time. He was drunk and fell off, breaking his ankle.

In the car, he didn’t speak a word, then erupted into this “FUCK! FUCK THIS! FUCK THAT!” rants (at no one in particular), then rolled down the window and started using his crutch to try to hit rear view mirrors off parked cars. He missed a few, nicked one, then connected. The crutch was made of wood and exploded into about a thousand smaller pieces of wood, one of which split his nose open (like WIDE open). I met him in those days of the greatest and most stupid things any of us have ever done. Meeting him turned out to be very surrealistic, as he almost did not acknowledge me at first. Deep down inside though, Randy was a very intelligent human and an avid book worm. He used to devour a novel a day on tour. He suddenly just opened up to me about all kinds of weird stuff. It turns out that we had many mutual friends, mostly strippers who worked in Western Canada.

Any stories you could tell us about Randy?

Haha! In addition to that one? Well, this depends on how much time you have. Yes, there are many stories from over the years.

After DOA, Randy was in a band called the Sick Ones. We had hosted them on Vancouver Island and Randy and I really hit it off. I was playing in a cover band at the time called “Driven Force”. We had a tour booked and played at a popular club in Vancouver called Vancouver Tonight on East Broadway. Randy asked if we needed help, so he ended up running follow-spot for us that week. Back in those days, bands like us used to get guaranteed around $5,000 per week and we toured with our own sound system, effects, lights, gear etc and had a big rented truck to get around. Throughout the week, it was party-party-party! On Saturday, Randy set off a flash pot at the wrong time and singed my hair. This helped him avoid jail a bit later.

We all abused our bar tab but knew we had about $3k left in the kitty to get to the next town. Our “manager”, though, was a bit of a con. He was always trying to sneak and work angles. On Saturday night, he set up a cocaine deal unbeknownst to the band. He was going to get a cash advance from the manager for a few thousand dollars, buy some cocaine and flip it the same night, pocket the profit, give the band the cash and no one would know the difference. Things did not go as planned, though.

Our “manager” was a bit of a con… Things did not go as planned, though.

At the end of the night Randy, John, Rob and I went to get paid and found out we actually owed the bar money after Saturday night’s bar tab was calculated. Randy found out he was not getting paid, got a bit pissed and went to leave, but found that his car was gone, too. It turns out that our “manager” had lifted his car keys and borrowed it to go do the deal. We found out later that he had basically been ripped off at the deal and lost all the money. He panicked, decided to use Randy’s car to B&E houses, take all the stolen goods to the pawn shop and make good on the money. I have no idea what he was thinking, because Vancouver pawn shops are not open at 2:00 AM Saturday night. From what the police tell us, he successfully hit two homes and robbed them, then got caught in the act in the third house. A guy chased him to the car (Randy’s car) and he turned, threw the keys at the homeowner and ran away. Since the trunk was open, Randys’ duly registered and insured car was now the only clue police had to catch the culprit. They arrived at the club at about 3:00 AM ready to arrest Randy, before the club owner and band attested he had been at the club all night (I even showed them my singed hair from the flashpot) and his car was stolen. To this day, neither Randy nor I have seen the person again.

One of the least-known stories involves Judas Priest, strangely enough. Before I had moved to Vancouver, we used to come over for concerts and crash on sofas of friends’ houses. A mutual friend, Benny Doro (himself a phenomenal guitarist), had introduced me to Randy months before and we kept in touch. Randy said that we could crash at his band house, called “Ground Zero Gardens”. We all came over to see the Priest concert then went to the house after. It was on the South side of Marine Drive in central Vancouver by Royal Oak, a steep mother fucker of a hill. It is so steep that the sidewalk literally has stairs in it. Well, stoned on mushrooms, we all decided to go up the hill to the Seven Eleven at some wee hour of the morning to get some food (Ground Zero as a band had nothing edible in their pantry, so we had to fend for ourselves). The uphill hike took a long time. Rather than walk back down, one of the crew decided we should take shopping carts and ride them back down. Well, as you can imagine, things went sideways really fast and we ended up with several carts and people crashed at the bottom of the one kilometer long hill. Randy used to tell this story often and when he gave me my personal copy of his autobiography, he signed it “Duane – let’s go shopping carting! Randy”.

I promised him I would never reveal the details of our road trip to play the San Francisco Punk Rock royalty homecoming festival, so that story will die with me.

Any favorite Punk and metal bands?

I am partial to the original punk movement with bands like the Pistols and Ramones at a global level, but I also was lucky enough to have awesome local bands like the Dayglow Abortions. In Victoria back in the day, the punk and metal crowds had a wall between them. There was a specific incident that happened involving Motorhead (another one of my favs) that united the two groups. As young long-haired trouble-makers, we were out in search of a house party and had heard rumors of one. As we got near, we heard “The Ace of Spades” and “Overkill”. We were relieved because this was one of the signs that this would be a heavy metal party. When we got inside, the first person I saw was Brian (Jesus Bonehead, drummer from the Dayglows) and Murry (aka “Cretin”, the guitarist singer). We ask “why are you listening to metal”. They replied “Motorhead is punk, morons”. We both laughed and from that night on the two genres were united. We were both outcast groups and helped each other fend off the “normies”.

Punk and Metal – the circle is now complete! Photo by David Jacklin.


This exposed me to albums that have since become favorites. We did a gig with Henry Rollins (Black Flag) at the FOE Hall once, which got me totally into their music (and Rollins band too). The guys from the Dayglows also introduced me to the Dead Kennedy’s music and many more albums. My favorite albums (top five) remain Never Mind the Bulloks, Black Sabbath Heaven and Hell, Unleashed in the East, Motorhead live and Sweet, Desolation Blvd. Runners up and sometimes on the list are the Runaways album as well as some vintage MC5, Riot (a US metal band that never achieved the level of commercial success they should have) and many indy CDs. Of course the New York Dolls were pivotal too and I had their vinyl. Ginger Coyote, who is an amazing person and has run Punk Globe magazine for year and years has had me on the cover twice and done interviews with us. One cover was with Sylvain Sylvain of the dolls, the second time on the same cover as Sid Vicious. While I do consider myself more into the metal genre now, I am a punk.

Cover of Punk Globe (Credit – The Floydian Device?)

As a side note, I also listen to Al Di Meola and Pat Metheny, both amazing guitarists. The music of Queen is also one of my favs.

What are the live Judas Priest shows like?

Live Priest shows are in a class of their own. The one noticeable thing is the audio quality. They have played some venues that have the worst possible audio profile, one of them being the old Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. It has a cement roof and most bands sound like they are playing their music with an “Always On” audio track that perpetuates the sound of a cement mixed being flushed backwards down a large toilet at 120 decibels (an echo-chamber, swirling-feedback loop). Priest was the first band that did not have the echo in the mix and I could also clearly hear every note. I am not sure how they did it to this day, but every time I have seen them, they have the best sound.

Energetically, it is hard to match the classic lineup of KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Rob Halford and Ian Hill. They don’t stop moving during the whole show. Halford is the best frontman from that era IMO.

Rock City Riot tries to deliver that same experience.

Any future plans and projects?

My most immediate focus is to release the Rampage album. The band was possibly named badly as most people substitute “Randy Rampage” and “Rampage” interchangeably. The truth is, Randy was very specific, he did not want the band to be the “Randy Rampage Band”, as he was a large advocate of five equal members with equal credit. This lead to the band being called Rampage, but now people will expect a performance when the album is released. Given Randy, Zippy and Brent are no longer with us, this is a dilemma. Recently, David Davis and Lou Bujdoso (both former Annihilator members) and I are rehearsing the songs on Vancouver Island. Tim Bitz (Tim Plommer of 22nd Century), who played bass on the album in the studio, is also over here now. Lou is reaching to try to recreate the vocal sounds of Randy, but he was very unique.

Ideally, we would like to have the ability to have Rampage play a few shows to support the release.

I am also bringing over a friend’s band from the UK for a tour this year (Rough Gutts). They are (my opinion) a neo-proto-punk band with a grunge backline and I love their music, so I expect to be touring again soon.

Interview: John Wisniewski

Start photo: Duane Chaos website

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski