Archive for the ‘Randy California’ Category

Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988

Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988
nightofguitarstixNo Speak was an instrumental-only record label, founded by Miles Copeland in 1988. To complement the release of the label’s Guitar Speak album, Copeland organized a week-long “Night Of The Guitars” British tour with many of its featured artists. The line-up was truly stellar, and featured Copeland as Master of Ceremonies and the following guitarists: Randy California (Spirit), Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band), Steve Howe (Yes), Steve Hunter (ex Lou Reed band), Robby Krieger (Doors), Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Andy Powell & Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash), and Leslie West (Mountain). Each guitarist played a few songs of their own, backed by a “house band”. Highlights were Randy California playing “Hey Joe”, Powell & Turner with “The King Will Come”, Steve Howe performing “The Clap” and Leslie West with “Theme from an Imaginary Western”. But best of all was Robby Krieger who was introduced as the star of the show and played an impeccable version of the Doors “Love me Two Times”.
The London gig was recorded and the album contains the songs below. The show I attended featured a similar set.
Pete Haycock & Steve Hunter – Dr Brown I presume, The Idler, Lucienne
Randy California – Groove Thing, Hey Joe
Robby Krieger – Love me Two Times
Ted Turner & Andy Powell – The King will Come
Leslie West – Theme from an Imaginary Western, Never in my Life
Steve Howe – Clap Medley, Wurm
Alvin Lee – No Limit, Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’
Everyone on stage for – All Along the Watchtower and a rock’n’roll medley including Whole Lotta Shakin’ , Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Johnny B. Goode, Rock and Roll Music & Bye Bye Johnny

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Spirit Reading Festival August 1978 and Newcastle Mayfair 31st July 1981

Spirit Reading Festival August 1978 and Newcastle Mayfair 31st July 1981
spiritpeogMy first memories of Spirit are of hearing the track “Fresh Garbage” on the excellent 1968 CBS sample lp “The Rock Machine Turns You On”. The song is quite strange with a psychedelic feel to inn, and some disconcerting changes of tempo. The next time I ran into the band was when I saw them live at Reading Festival in 1978. By this time Spirit were a three-piece featuring front man Randy California on (amazing) guitar, vocals and Moog, Ed Cassidy on drums and Larry “Fuzzy” Knight on bass. California was an awesome guitarist and a big Hendrix fan, and the set comprised a few Hendrix covers (“Hey Joe”, “All Along the Watchtower” and “Wild Thing”) along with some Spirit classics (“Mr Skin”, “Nature’s Way”). Ed Cassidy was a power house drummer, and was also Randy’s step-father. He was much older than the other two guys, and will have been 55 at the time of the Reading gig. Spirit played between Lindisfarne and The Motors, on the early Saturday evening. Status Quo headlined the Saturday night, playing after The Motors. Spirit played a storming set, and got a good reaction from the crowd.
Setlist from Reading: Hey Joe; Looking Down; Animal Zoo; Mr Skin; All Along The Watchtower; Wild Thing; Nature’s Way; Like A Rolling Stone; My imagination.
spiritcomic2I saw Spirit once more, at a gig at Newcastle Mayfair in 1981. I think I also saw Randy California supporting Ian Gillan at the Mayfair in 1979. The 1981 tour was to promote the Potato Land album. The album, whose full title is “The Adventures of Kaptain Kopter & Commander Cassidy in Potato Land” (I assume Randy California ia Kaptain Kopter), was originally recorded by Randy California and Ed Cassidy during 1973/74. A concept album, interspersed with dialogue, it was not released until 1981 through Line Records. The line-up of the band at the Mayfair was California, Cassidy, Liberty on bass and George Valuck on keyboards. spiritcomic1The ballroom was half-full, and the set was similar to the Reading set, mixing Hendrix material, with old Spirit songs, and a few from the Potato land story. The programme contains a comic featuring the Adventures of Kaptain Kopter and Commander Cassidy in Potato Land complete with great graphics and a blank page on which you were invited to “Draw your own Potato Man”. I also seem to remember buying a badge which had a picture of a potato man on it, but I’m not sure what happened to it.

Gillan Newcastle Mayfair 5th Oct 1979

Gillan Newcastle Mayfair 5th Oct 1979
Support: Samson; Speedometors (according to the programme); Randy California (according to the ticket)
gillantixoct79 By 1979 the Gillan band had transformed into a much more rocky combo featuring Gillan (of course) on crazy, screaming vocals, the powerhouse man mountain John McCoy on bass, the charismatic Irish guitar wizard Bernie Torme, Colin Towns (from the Ian Gillan Band) on keyboards, and Mick Underwood (who I saw in Strapps as Gillan’s support act a couple of years before) on drums. The Mr Universe album had just been released. This was the Gillan line-up that was to become a familiar feature of festivals and concert halls for the next couple of years. And it was very much a band with three strong front men in the form of Gillan, John McCoy and Bernie Torme; all of whom had their own very different personalities and stage personas. McCoy would prowl around the stage, growling at the front rows of the audience. Torme mixed punk attitude with an almost glamrock image, and some amazingly flashy guitar heroics. I’m pretty sure I saw Bernie Torme once or twice fronting his own punk band, and I remember being quite surprised when he joined Gillan, but the mix worked well. Ian Gillan was the respected classic rock front man, shaking his long hair, and screaming out the vocals. gillanprog1979 Going along to a Gillan gig was a guarantee of a night of good fun; proper rock, loud music, some humour, some new songs and a few Purple classics. And at least once in the night, Ian would give out a scream that tore your ears apart and seemed to go on for ever. This gig presents yet another conundrum to tax my memory (which as usual fails me). The programme lists the support acts as Samson and the Speedometors, while the ticket says it was Samson and ex-spirit man and Hendrix disciple Randy California. I can’t recall who actually played that night. I certainly remember seeing Samson a few times. They featured Bruce Bruce (aka Bruce Dickinson and soon to be of Iron Maiden) on vocals, Paul Samson on guitar, and Thunderstick on drums, who word a mask and performed from inside a cage. John McCoy and Bernie Torme had both been members of earlier incarnations of the band. I don’t know who the Speedometors were, but they look pretty punky from the picture in the programme. I also saw Randy California a number of times, but I don’t recall if this was one of them. Its funny how doing this blog regularly brings up mysteries for me. I also note that the ticket calls the band the Ian Gillan band, rather than Gillan; and that the price was a bargain at £2 (in advance).