Randy Holden - Guitar God

 

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Biography

A bit of History:

Randy Holden - Guitarist, known for passionate virtuoso guitar styles held several bands including "Fender IV", "Sons of Adam", "Other Half", "Blue Cheer", (its third LP New Improved! (1969), "Randy Holden - Population II", "Randy Holden - Guitar God", and "Randy Holden - Guitar God 2001", and latest release 2008 "Randy Holden - Raptor" (the first of the next generation of new releases to come).

Arriving Earth July 2 1945 in Pennsylvania, Randy grew up on the move. He was set on playing guitar from a young age, and says his childhood had a profound effect on the music he was to create in the future. His first band was "the Iridescents", who played R&B rock covers typical of the time 1957-60. He played out of the Baltimore area during those years and eventually founded the "Fender IV" Instrumentally based, with Surf Music they released a transitional single with the Fender IV sound, "Mar Gaya" with "Sons of Adam" B side "You Better Tell Me Now" (1964-65) and previous to that "Malibu Run" and "Everybody Up" in (1964).

Being absorbed in surf guitar in 1963-64, saturating his sound with reverb reminiscent of Dick Dale his sound transitioned in his next band, the "Sons of Adam, who were virtually the same band with a change of drummers. Being the commanding band of the area at the time, they attained second bill to the Rolling Stones first Los Angeles show at the Long Beach Sports Arena. Holden took instant note of the dry reverb-less overdriven sound of Keith Richard's Les Paul guitar driven through the same amp Holden used at the time a Fender Dual Showman amp set up. This show changed his own attitude towards sound. Holden's experimentation with feedback and pre-amps set a new course that would eventually wind into psychedelia.

The Sons of Adam came to a close as the direction of music began to change while the vision in Randy was set on investing in new and better gear to reach sounds never before heard. Not satisfied with playing the club circut for no greater purpose than earning a living, but set on blazing new frontiers in musical sound, Randy continue pursuing the siren song that ever was calling his name. Volume was on the rise. like a wave whose magnitude was yet to be known, Electricity was the heart and core of the otherwise near silent electric guitar, through which Music was brought to life by a single guitar that previously took an entire orchestra to create such a voluminous sound by moving air waves. Evermore volume was a natural quest for Randy who sensed evermore was still to be discovered. To play music merely for the sake of eking out a meager living in beach bars, while being a place to start, was not a place end. Had legendary Sons of Adam the fortune to have the proverbial hit record that may have led to a whole other story.

A brief moment the Yardbirds needed a new lead guitar on the departure of Jeff Beck, but the band was to break up before space, time and distance could be brought together.

A new band, which became the Other Half, drew Randy's interest, were able and willing to advance volume to the next level. As part of The Other Half's live stage show, they would plug the half dozen Fender Dual Showman 100 watt amps in tandum, with Randy doing an experimental solo performance as parts of the band's set, (Keeping in mind this is 1966). The audience response exceeded all expectations.

The Other Half would do only one album that received sparse attention. Exit The Other Half, Enter Blue Cheer. Blue Cheer were the new kids on the block, who began playing the same shows as the Other Half were playing, and were the only other musicians who were interested in, and seemed to love playing at a volume level that Randy was using. Blue Cheer entered the scene an instant hit record of the classic "Eddie Cochran fifties hit "Summertime Bues. Paul Whaley extraordinary drummer for Blue Cheer knew Randy from the Sons of Adam time when Paul wanted the drum throne with the Sons of Adam. Blue Cheer came to replace Leigh Stevens with Randy who then went on to tour with Blue Cheer for the next year, across the US and Europe and back again.

Halfway through recording what would become the 3rd Blue Cheer album, circumstances that seemed to be a common affliction to many bands dealing with mismanagement of finances, and addictions that became more important than the music, brought Randy to pull the plug from his amps, and part company with Blue Cheer. The album subsequently titled "New Improved Blue Cheer" was released anyway regardless there was no contract between the record labeland Randy. The abrupt close of the door for the band left what would become a curiosity for many to fans who had no idea what happened. The album went on to become a sought after collectors item, with many wondering what might have been, had the problems plagueing Blue Cheer been able to be dealt with, and the "New Improved" album been completed with Randy (1969.

When the management of Blue Cheer told Randy he could not have the amps he wanted to use, and wanted Randy to "tone it down" ... imagine hell freezing over ha ha ha, you aren't serious - are you ? of all bands to imagine being told to "tone it down" this called for a sanity check. Randy set off once again with the goal of creating the music only he seemed to hear within his own mind vision, and the way he wanted to play it.

Exit Blue Cheer, Enter "Randy Holden Population "II" with Chris Lockheed, as a two man band immortally voluminized in the annuls of the only Power Duo to have ever existed in Rock Music.

After parting Blue Cheer, Randy was approached by drummer (and keyboardist) Chris Lockheed, who also played both drums and keyboard. For no apparent reason, Randy asked Lockheed if he could do both at the same time, Lockheed responded "he could"! Randy was sponsored with Sunn amplifiers. He received his legendary sixteen 200 Watt amplifiers. From then on, he had real volume. The new power duo was christened "Population II" that defined astronomical galactic star clusters that were formed of Heavy Metal. A better shoe would be difficult to find to define what this new stellar power duo intended to do, as well as reside as a link to the origins of of creation, Adam, his wife Eve, and the two Sons of Adam.

Intense rehearsing and creating followed, and subsequently they recorded a self-titled album. (a little known trivia attached to the band was the change to the name "Lucifer" after Chris noted the word in a dictionary he was holding and suggested it as a name, that was nixed, until a second occasion months later Chris was again leafing a dictionary and noted the word again appearing, and again suggested it as a name. Randy asked Chris if he remembered he did this very same thing some months before, but Chris had no memory of that event. On that fuse of innocence Randy determined there was something magical that needed discovery, and they elected to change the band name to ""Lucifer". Randy checked with a church to learn what biblical references alluded to the well known figure, which everyone seemed to know, at the same time none seemed to know much of anything. It became a curious interest, but Alas, as with the same allegory to the angelic creation fallen from heaven, it was not to be. A new album cover had been designed, and the name formalized, then came the fall.

The Record company failed to release the new album, remaining secretive about it, while Randy reviewed his contract, found there was no guaranteed release clause, to his amazement, having left the legal details to the (sic) professionals. Nor would the record label release Randy from the contract. A meeting was arranged with his CPA and Robert Stigwood to negotiate a release, but the label remained toic and silent. the big guns got up and walked out commenting the chair was a pompous idiot. As with all things that come to an unexpected sudden end, with the album not being released, Randy went bankrupt. The situation was worsened when his equipment manager sold all his gear. Holden was left with nothing, ending what some believed should have been something to behold, but became as sand in the sea, and so it was there the eyes of his mind wandered. the call of the muse that had always been central to his soul would seek another window to release the energy that had been kept contained.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, he was sought out, and coerced into playing again by a loyal fan. The realization of the love affair, the cycle of creation ignited once more.

After the extended hiatus, he recorded Guitar God in 1994 with his old band mate Paul Whaley on drums, and a friend of Paul's on Bass, Robert Bauer. Advancing from the side lines, Captain Trip Records requested and was granted a limited release of 2000 copies to distribute in 1996.

Recorded in 1997 "Guitar God 2001" followed released on his own label Guitar God Records.

Randy Holden has been called Rock music's long lost guitar great of the 60's and 70's era, but the path to fame never quite materialized in the form of the proverbial hit record, the medium to launch international acclaim in those times.

He spent years as a painter and found a passion in the seas game fishing, out of whose horizons beckoned he sail the world. After more adventures than this small note may portray, he unexpectedly returned to music. His aim was, and is "Comprehension of the depth of our souls emotives, communication surpassing words". His epic music is a testament to his dedication and skill. And as one fan wrote - that moment in "Fruit and Icebergs (Conclusion)" will last forever.

"The primal element of formative rock is rebellion against oppression of the soul". - RH.

By: Arthur Richards