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Randy California

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Randy California (born Randy Craig Wolfe; February 20, 1951 – January 2, 1997) was a guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the original members of the rock group Spirit, formed in 1967.

Randy was born into a musical family in Los Angeles, and spent his early years studying varied styles at the family’s Los Angeles folk club, the Ash Grove. Randy’s Uncle was the famous founder of the Ash grove Ed Pearl.

He was 15 years old when his mother Berenice Pearl and his new stepfather Ed Cassidy, (later to become a founding member of the band Spirit, with Randy) moved to New York City in the summer of 1966 because Cassidy had a number of jazz gigs lined up. It was there, at Manny’s Guitars, that Randy met Jimi Hendrix.
He played in Hendrix’s band, Jimmy James & the Blue Flames, that summer. California, Cassidy and Pearl lived in apartment building whose other residents included future Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker, who cites California’s blues-based guitar style as an influence on his own playing. The stage name “Randy California” was given to him by Hendrix to distinguish him from another Randy in the band (who Hendrix dubbed “Randy Texas”).
When Hendrix was invited to come to England by former bassist of British Invasion band The Animals Chas Chandler —— who became Hendrix’s manager and producer —— Randy was not allowed to go by his parents, so that he could finish high school. So at that time the 15-year-old guitar genius did not become a member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

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  • in90sec

    17 years ago, today, Randy California died in a swimming accident off of the coast of Hawaii. He and his son were caught in a rip tide, Randy pulled and pushed his son to safety and collapsed and drowned in the effort. One of the most distinctive guitarists ever

    2 Jan 8:50pm Reply
  • vvye

    This man died a hero. [3]

    17 Sep 2013 Reply
  • reagan0

    This man died a hero. His name (and music) should be celebrated.

    14 Apr 2011 Reply
  • Kor21

    RANDY DEVIL RIP

    8 Jun 2010 Reply
  • ChariotsOfFire

    hello Randy!!

    13 Nov 2009 Reply
  • JOHAN175

    The true master

    4 Nov 2009 Reply
  • Bullinamingvase

    Randy California gone but not forgotten. A true rock legend. Still can’t believe your gone my friend. -R.I.P.-

    9 Apr 2009 Reply
  • TheX-OT-X

    Randy; It was a lot of fun and a great honor to have toured with you. - R.I.P. - I'm sure you're jamming up in heaven ! Rock on, Dave Waterbury

    2 May 2007 Reply

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