New Album "Psychedelic Blue"
Well All Right !!!!! Oh yeah got that CD and a blistering lead track sets the stage for the whole album. Holden Delivers as always. good old acid drenched hard driving psychedelic acid rock turned up over 10.
Well All Right !!!!! Oh yeah got that CD and a blistering lead track sets the stage for the whole album. Holden Delivers as always. good old acid drenched hard driving psychedelic acid rock turned up over 10.
Thanks again for your new cd "Raptor" with my order for "Guitar God 2001"! I love both cds!! Some of the words that come to me when I listen to them are "moving", "heartfelt", "sincere", "uplifting", "energetic", "exciting" and "dynamic"! The kind of music that makes me feel alive! Your playing is energized, confident, in control, and skillful. So much music (I was going to say "these days", but it's always been that way, really) has the "going through the motions" feel to it, almost like the musicians are painting by number. It is refreshing to hear real music, played by someone who obviously cares very much about his art. I WILL be ordering more of your music in the near future. Thanks again,
Randy Holden's new CD album "Raptor"
Among the most creative works I have ever heard. Its incredible end to end I haven't head anything like this before ... ever!
I've known Randy personally for many years, and had the joy of playing with in the "Fender IV" and the "Sons of Adam", In those days we played 5 hours a night 7 nights a week, and Randy was awesome every night." I always knew Randy was one of the great guitarists of the world.
I did an interview once in which I said, "I've played with some very talented guitarists ... guys who could play anything they heard ... but ... Randy played things that no one had ever heard.
This album is a perfect example of what I was talking about.
Randy Holden - Raptor - 2008
The new CD "Raptor by Randy Holden" Its Three songs Raptor 21:52 Sunken Ships 13:55 Tarantula 13:11 The power of three. That must be what it is. I have listened to this cd a number of times now and it really packs a wallop! Mere mortal words describing the music contained within could never achieve the eloquence of Holden's guitar or the effect of the three band members pounding away at their instruments developing the rythms of the three songs.
For some of us, on the eighth day, man created rock. It's zenith was is the late sixties and early seventies. It mutated into different forms and then lay in slumber awaiting a new lord and master of the guitar. Attempts were made to flood the air waves with formulamatic songs and clean fresh faced artists abhoring risk........NOT on this cd!
Holden has recorded some new music that breaks this mold and may awaken that sleeping giant, Rock. His approach is unlike any other. That can be attributed to an unrelenting desire of his to create new music and his background of surviving through the zenith which was in fact a mirage to many artists. First off, the music is not over processed. Some will suggest that was what killed rock, or knocked it unconscious. Rather than developing good songs, musicians got involved with creating a new sound with all the different gizmos and became technicians instead. Holden's guitar work is clean. He would rather turn up the volume than add effects. He also concentrated on the songs coming up with some powerful rythms and twisting and turning them into multi layered passages. His vocals blend into the songs keeping everything concordant.
The music is very visual and the cd is divided into parts - the three songs:
Raptor = Air Sunken Ships = Sea and Tarantula = Land.
Epic themes to be sure! On the first, the title track, Holden presents a new direction of his music, i.e. the future. The guitar tone is warm and has the feel of cruising......cruising at Mach 3, which leaves all the noise and power of the engines of the aircraft (if it can be categorized as such) behind you, leaving you with a calm that you can scour the horizon with amazement as things and places fly by underneath you. This is a very soothing even consoling song with the melody developed as if it were a jazz improvisation. But once Holden's vocals start after the early chorus, you realize that this is not jazz.
The second track starts out as a march which developes into a heavy section with the vocals sung as if a sea shanty. The marching section could have easily fit into the previous cd on Prayer to a Paradise. The direction of music Holden presents here is the present. The lyrics are cryptic and Holden's website helps out with the explanation. Actually all songs are given an extensive write up explaining their themes. Ideally, this should have been included with the cd, but with the limiting size of text. The reference to the dragon's claw and may be dead conjures images from a recent Pirate movie. The dread and the excitement of a ship wreck at sea are presented musically and lyrically as one who has sailed and sailed extensively. Great guitar and drum interplay on this track.
The third track starts out in a soft staccato phrase, which effectively portrays the movement of a spider. Really wierd, when you think about it. But you can almost see the spider going up and down on its thread. The heavy bass comes in and the vocals and drums take off. Holden achieves the tone he had in the past. And so the direction of music Holden presents here is of the past but with new twists. The speed of his fretwork is much faster than on Population II and he is working with more chord work. A blistering double lead instrumental ends the song with one guitar on wah wah.
And so after the numerous listenings, I gotta say this is one of the best cds I have ever heard. Yeah, I liked it......by the power of three!
"Guitar God" has arrived and he was damn sure worth the wait!! Thank you ! (till I need another God)
Jorn Schummer - Hamburg, Germany
Randy Holden - Surf Guitar God 1963 / 2001
Randy Holden, the self-professed guitar god, has a special treat for those of his fans that remembered him when he played guitar for a surf-instro group called The Fender IV. Yes, Mr. Holden has been around the block a few times. Calling himself a guitar god sounds like pretty heady stuff doesn't it ? Well, let me tell you, he can back up every word of it. And his guitar playing is a living testament to his title.
Holden is not the classic once bitten twice-shy indie artist, he simply got screwed enough to make him reevaluate the music business. Back in his days with Blue Cheer, around the time Woodstock was making history, some things happened that pushed a great artist to the brink of extinction. The self-imposed exile lasted for twenty years, and then he came out of it, thank god. There is a lot to that story (read my interview).
Holden is fiercely independent and motivated to make his own way, and he does it all very successfully. Holden himself painted the cover of this CD. As you can see, he is a very talented man.
Talking with Randy made me realize what a deep and sensitive artist he is. He is the consummate guitar player and technician. I referred to "Prayer To Paradise" in a previous review as a jam, and he straightened me out quickly in an interview I conducted with him. He told me it was a sonata, not a jam. Jams are disorganized, and he loathes disorganization when he creates music. It makes perfect sense to me, and I learned the true value of his creations in the process.
There are some great songs on this CD. "Prayer To Paradise" belongs on this disc along with all the other extraordinary compositions. For instance, "Hawaiian Rain", which really epitomizes a tropical rainstorm, is the difference between getting showered with real raindrops, and an awe-inspiring blend of guitar chords. It beckons images of the beautiful island in your minds eye. The notes literally come raining down upon your consciousness. "Highway Surfer" and "Malibu Run" have a nice combination of traditional surf and modern elements. I realize that seven tracks don't really look like a long running CD, do not be deceived by this. "Prayer To Paradise" runs 23:54 and "Hawaiian Rain" 17:04. The rest of the songs are more typically two minutes in length, which is standard for the genre.
I really have to come to admire this man, not only for his complete artistry, but also for his unyielding spirit and strength as an individual. This is a great man, playing great music. Anyone that can paint a picture like on the cover of this CD, and enable you to see it by listening to the music, has a gift that needs to be shared. Thanks for sharing your gifts with me Randy.
. . . Keith Hannaleck
Randy Holden - Guitar God 2001
When I first contacted Randy Holden I immediately recognized his name. I couldn't place him though. After more thought and reflection, I realized that this was the man that replaced Leigh Stephens in Blue Cheer back in 1968. And he did a really nice job filling those shoes.
Well, here it is 2001 and Randy is blazing his own path, producing and releasing his own music via the Internet. He told me before I received the CD that I would love it. He was right on the money. I was in awe of the guitar playing on this CD. The third track "Prayer To Paradise" is over twenty-two minutes long. My god, that's an entire CD for some folks ! It's a cosmic ride of instrumental fire. Holden reaches down real deep and lets his guitar do all the talking. What you will hear will leave your mouth agape wondering why you haven't heard of this great musician. Using middle-eastern flavored high-powered rock, Holden cuts loose an unembellished arsenal of crunching, power driven chords that will leave you in disbelief of what you heard when it finally ends. I thought of Hendrix, Zappa, and Dick Dale while I was taking in this awe-inspiring journey of rock nirvana. If that wasn't enough, "I'll Take Your Blues Away" kicks in to close things out. A female vocalist by name of Rachel Stavage sets the song ablaze with her authoritative vocal style. Holden's playing on this number is scorching, and truly befitting of blues-rock number.
Hang on to your a**. This guy will blow you away. If you like hard rocking guitar jams, you will think you died and went to heaven when you hear this CD.
. . . Keith Hannaleck
Population II - 1970 AD
I surely enjoyed hearing it (the CD) and this is as best as I can describe it:
A couple of years ago, I got to hear one of the unauthorized releases of Population II by guitarist extraordinare Randy Holden. Soon after I found a copy on CD in New York. This CD was very very hard to find. I only knew about it from reading the liner notes on "The Best of Blue Cheer - Louder Than God" compilation of 1986. But even the liner notes got it wrong by naming it "Population One" on Hobitt Records. No mention of it being unathorized by Randy Holden for release.
Although recorded in 1970 it was never released by the record company. I have heard stories that the record company went bankrupt just as the album was released. But I have found out that all of that was erroneous and false. A few years later the record appears in a few places and is snatched up by collectors, mainly record store owners, and offered at escalated prices, if at all.
Well, that was then and this is now. And now is the authorized release of Population II - 1970 AD by Randy Holden as it was meant to be heard ! This CD comes with warnings that need to be heeded. For one keep in mind that the CD is recorded at a level twice that of a normal CD. Further explanations and warnings can be found on Randy's website. With this in mind, it is recommended on first listening to turn your settings down on your stereo and as the CD plays slowly turn up the volume to a maximum level that your ears can absorb. Every person probably has a different threshold and this CD was meant to be played loud. But it is not intended to destroy your hearing. It is intended to destroy preconcieved notions about what music can be. Headphones are also recommended.
A remarkable CD ! It contains the original recording with Randy on guitar and vocals and Chris Lockheed (of KAK) on drums, bass and keyboard. It also contains Randy's remix and guitar enhancements that try to capture the sound produced by 3200 RMS watts delivered by eight double stacks of Sunn Amps. No copp-outs here. It is difficult to imagine such a sound. So imagine how difficult it was to capture it on CD. So work your way gradually to the listening level required and let the music move you . . .
And it is moving. The bass is so heavy it sends reverberations up your bones and through them. Holden's guitar is on fire. The vocals are a bit distant and the drums in the background, but that is the way I remember some of the loudest concerts I attended. None of them, however, could compare to Population II.
The first track, Guitar Song, warms up the listener to what lies beyond. Fruit and Iceburgs starts with a ferocious guitar that is not found on the New ! Improved ! version. Between Time with its concise vocal closes with an amazing dubbed second guitar that completely changes the return of Fruit and Iceburgs and gives an insight to the creative genius of Randy Holden. All of the overdubs maintain the tone of the original recording. Which is another jewel. The listener is presented with the seasoned, experienced Holden playing to and bouncing off the younger fiery Holden in a musical duel / excursion. Quite thrilling ! No singing with a deceased person here !
And then what was side two starts off with Blue My Mind, on which Randy goes ballistic adding a low end tone guitar to help fill out the original tracks. The new mix is really showcased on this song. Then on to Keeper of My Flame. Additional rythm guitar and added soloing give an added kick to this extended track. In the closing section, Randy adds his guitar with a flourish hammering the chords with glee twisting the song's rythm in a different direction only to return again mutated from ones former self. And the listener likewise hangs on for the final chord. His added chord sequence ends with the most sorrowful sounding chords I have ever heard. Another gem.
The whole CD leads up to this ending track, so when you reach this song turn the volume up just a bit more ! And when the silence returns, and it will be more silent now, your body and mind can reflect on the awesome power, not oppressive . . . but overenveloping, that the sound of this guitar has.
And so Randy Holden presents his vision of the extreme possibility of the sound of the electric guitar. And it roars . . . like a lion . . . uncaged . . .
I recently purchased Population II from your web site and after listening to it a couple of times over I loved it. Your guitar work was awesome.
Question: What is the difference between the serial version and the printers proof ? I have the albums New Improved - Blue Cheer and Guitar God on CD. Thank god I read the interview you did recently because it kept me from purchasing Population II. I had no idea it was not an authorized release. Anyways I will purchase Guitar God 2001 soon. Thank You for coming back to the music because you are one of the great's. Keep it up and hope to hear you will be touring soon.
Sincerely, John Kunz
The track Prayer to Paradise on the new CD is mind-blowing, and I don't feel in a fit mental state after listening to it. I feel keen to hear more . . .
. . . Ian Turner
I would just like to say thank god someone out there stays true to their musical roots and doesn't cave into the mess that they call today's music. I'm glad that someone like yourself still plays the sounds that millions of us listened to and relished. Your "Guitar God" cd was a long time comin', but it was true to form of what you sounded like in the 60's. Your new one "GUITAR GOD 2001" is even better. The only problem is that you didn't lay down enough tracks to totally satisfy us. We want more and maybe the next cd will give it to us. Until then I guess we all will have to wait for the third coming . . .
Take Care . . . Garry Grandstaff
Randy Holden - Guitar God 2001 - Guitar God Records CD
Randy Holden was once lead guitarist with surf legends the Fender IV, fronted the Sons Of Adam, lead guitar and chief writer of psychedelic punkoidal masters the Other Half, transient lead guitarist with the inventors of loud and ugly Blue Cheer, and a solo artist in his own right. This 4 song CD of new material is monstrous. "Space Surf Rider" sports highly compressed guitar rings out with a heavy psych sound like a voodoo child on a 40 foot face . . . Randy's voice is just right for this elongated surf epic. The lumbering pace and heavy metal thunder describe surf conditions only a mental defective would tackle. The break cleverly includes double picked lines and huge sound. "I Sail On Love" displays chop and chunk, rhythmic thunder, and finely ground metallic rinds blended in a cool semi-reggae format beneath a tight vocal . . . very enjoyable. "I'll Take Your Blues Away" is a solid blues like Blue Cheer woulda done, but with a female vocal. Quite powerful. The masterpiece here is the surf instrumental "Prayer To Paradise." This is many miles from trad, but Randy's surf roots are clear enough.
Prayer To Paradise - Clocking in at a mere 22:55, this post modern surf epic borrows darkness from Randy's Other Half / Blue Cheer period, using soaring guitar laid out at a deliberate pace. Very thick and intense. Aside from fine melody lines, some of which are double picked in precise meter, there's the added treat of a surf medley part way through which includes "Hava Nagila" and the Fender IV's "Mar Gaya." In some ways, this spans the gap between the Thrusters and Jimi Hendrix and the classic surf sound. "Prayer To Paradise" demands your attention with a relentless pummeling. The dark side of surf will control you !
Gotta Have It Factor: Kill For It !
Just to let you know, "I love this CD" ! I've been listening to "Guitar God 2001" on the road lately. "Prayer to Paradise" sounds pretty wild, driving in the dark, in the rain down some backroads. I can tell I genuinely like an album when a tune is stuck in my head. Yesterday, the song "I Sail On Love" was in my head almost all day. The drumming on that track is awesome. I hope to one day drum in that caliber. My fave guitar playing is still the last half of "I'll Take Your Blues Away". So this CD is what I call "Road Tested", and it passed with flying colors ! Funny thing is, when I put this CD in with the rest of my CDs, the other CDs closed up the center holes so that I couldnt play them, so embarrassed were they ! I think this is a terrific album. Every time I play it I'm more into it. So keep making music like this Randy. You are truly gifted. Thank you !
. . . I listened to a sound sample of HAWAIIAN RAIN. It is simply the most beautiful piece of music that I have heard in a long time. Really, I mean, it just struck something deep inside of me. As much as I like to rock out, I like moving pieces like that. I honestly was moved by the sample of HAWAIIN RAIN. I am elated to see that you are not just into making rock music, even though I like it. If so many other artists were able to be creative like that, I think the music scene would improve alot !
When I first read on your site that you were putting together a surf cd with a new Hawaiian slack key guitar track, I was initially shocked. After all, part of your trademark is your electric guitar style. So, when I heard the sample on your site, I thought it was an incredibly beautiful melody. Now, upon hearing the track in full, I must say that my opinion has increased tenfold. This is a magnificent, emotionally moving track to me. There are a few moments when you "wail" on the guitar, and you grasp the main melody and take it into different places, at various speeds. As much as I like your hard-rock side, no songs have moved me quite like this one. I think that it reveals a different side of your talent, and it indicates that you won't be "pigeon-holed" into a certain style. A unique feature of the entire CD is all of the tracks are instrumentals, allowing the listener to pop in the CD, and just immerse yourself into the music, and not concentrate on the lyrics. I can't wait to "road test" this CD !
Very Sincerely . . . John
Hello Randy !
I got my package tonight & just finished my first listen (and it's almost midnight). First impression: Good God !!!! It's f*****' awesome ! I'll probably develop more opinions with repeated listens (there's a lot to digest) but I must say that it is very eclectic and combines a lot of your styles (is that a Fender IV riff I hear in track 3 ?). It's got your modernized sound that you introduced on Guitar God but it follows the same philosophy as Population 2 (ie, there is absolutely no wasted space - you wail non-stop from beginning to end !!!). Plus, you got some new styles here making it all the more unique. I liked that reggae beat used on "Sail on Love", which at the moment is my favorite cut. As guitar players, we both seem to agree that emotion is the No 1 key ingredient. I believe that one can play as technical as he/she wants, but if the playing don't move the listener, what's the point ? All I can say is that I think I'll keep this one as I plan on listening to it for a long time.
Hi Randy . . .
Well, as you Americans would say, this album really kicks a** ! My first impression was that it wasn't up to the standard of Guitar God, but it rapidly grows on you. I love the second track especially the musical arrangement coupled with the lyrics, and was gonna say that I thought that the long guitar solo at the end went on a bit too long . . . but not now. It's tremendous. "Prayer for Paradise" . . . I think this could become one of the best psychedelic rock guitar solos of all time if it could get out to the right listeners. What about cutting the guitar solo on the end of "Sail on Love", packaging it as a single, and sending it out to the radio stations. I love it. The final track sounds more in company with the album as I listen to it a third time. I had the volume up again. There was only one slight problem there. The pitch of "Sail on Love" is less than on "Space Surf Ride" and I have to go and turn the volume up again to bring it up to the previous track's volume.
What can I say ? A thousand thank yous, perhaps ! No, I wasn't expecting the new release . . . something else, maybe. I've played it a couple of times . . . one after the other . . . I have thoughts from first listen to second listen. The "Prayer for Paradise" was definitely worth the wait. "Hava Nagila" . . . did you cover that with the Fender IV ? On the second play, I think that the first track takes off where "Guitar God" finished. I also enjoyed the second track first time around. Of the final track . . . on first play . . . I felt that it didn't belong on this album. It was reminiscent . . . very slightly . . . of parts of "Peace of Mind". The second play, I enjoyed it a lot better. I played it twice . . . one after the other . . . as I had limited time as I was just home from work and was going out to a function, so I didn't really have time to take it all in. I got some brilliant stereo sound . . . bouncing between the speakers . . . on a lot of the guitar parts. It sounded better the second time, when I pumped the volume up a bit. That's just my first impressions. I was really surprised that it was only four tracks . . . but 48 minutes. The artwork on the cover is superb. Should I congratulate your son for that ? This is obviously a VERY private pressing, being "No 6 out of 20", and thank you for having my name on the label along with your signature. I don't know how to express how much this really means to me. This CD only exists for me, as far as I'm concerned. I fully accept the conditions of the "cover note". I've a few friends from further afield who are into the "BC Family" and I'll wait to see whoever acquires the album from you before hitting them with "I've got No 6 . . . what number have you got ?" So, are Nos 21 to 1000 going to be differently packaged . . . and did you consider my suggestion to send copies of some sort out to selected fanzines for review ? Words can't express my reaction.
Rock on . . . Tommy
I got home about two hours ago and noticed that there was a Sunday delivery of mail. Your package was there waiting . . . Turned on the stereo, inserted the disk, volume at medium, stood and listened. (Speakers are set about 6.5 ft from the floor.) My immediate reaction was . . .
Your guitar playing is so beautiful. I can hear strains of what Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn might be playing now but the voice of your guitar carries it further. The guitar licks are your own, the tone recognizable. Much stronger and direct than Guitar God which may have suffered from too many overdubs. Great opening track. Starts with the intensity of Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). The next track even better. I Sail on Love. Very intense. Has a great feel combining a reggae type rythym section with soaring guitar solos. Then the long track, Prayer to Paradise, which is impossible to describe in one listening. The beginning starts like Hendrix's Are You Experienced ? and then takes off in a flight of its own combining riffs sounding like Maleguena and even a Middle Eastern sounding riff . . . followed by a bowed guitar or bowed bass lick that makes way for another tremendous solo at the 8:33 mark (still sending shivers up my neck even on the second listening . . . shivers return at the 14 minute mark) . . . was that an improvisation on Fruit & Iceburgs with about 5 minutes to go at the 18:48 mark ? All three songs sent shivers up my neck. The mind recollecting Hendrix can't be helped. This album has all original music but in some sort of mystical way seems to be a homage to this guitarist while successfully outplaying all. I have not ever heard anything like this ! This is like taking a ride on the American Eagle for the first time ! As an introduction to roller coasters i.e. how guitar should be played. The closing blues piece demonstrates another side of your playing which completes the picture. The mix is a little "bright" and gives a live feel to the whole album. Hard to believe that you have captured a sound that brings me back 30 years and forward another 10 at the same time. Please, get your homepage online so that I can tell my friends and associates to drop what they are doing, get online, go to www.guitargod.com and order Guitar God 2001 and hear some of the best guitar rock that these ears haven't heard for some 30 years !!!!!
And that is just my immediate reaction. I am giving this cd a couple more spins tonight.
Thanks for making my day. It has been some year. I like what you did on the cd by putting your name, my name and the date it was printed. Quite different. Establishes a connection between the artist and the fan. You would be able to command a higher price for that offering vs. the standard issue.
Many thanks again, I am honored to hear this. I could only guess what your current songs are like.
Sincerely yours, Ralph